Wet Grass

excerpt from ACT I

Second Song of the Rain:

The waiting room is driving like

a car through the night

nurse nurse

how much longer

ssst quiet ssst silence

the doctor will be with you in a moment

the knife is already being sharpened

only the nurse knows

where the doctor is, the day nurse

the night nurse and the watch nurse

the fright nurse and the operation nurse

only the nurse knows

who the doctor is.

Virgin: Poetess is getting out so we must be there. The wet sky is breathing heavy upon the shiny asphalt. So this is it? Just another rain-drenched village, everything the same as back home... The whole flock of sleeping roofs doesn't look up, doesn't even seem to notice our arrival, as if the village has no reason to be nervous, as if nothing ever happens around here. A circle of numbness slowly encloses me from dark to dark... I've already forgotten which way we came from... And already poetess is walking off into a dark crooked road, without saying anything, without even looking back my way. The closer we get to our destination, the colder and harder the silence that surrounds her...

Skirt: Quick, follow her, if she loses you then you'll be standing here all alone and then what? If you're lucky a car will come by before the night is over, and if you're even luckier he won't pick you up for the wrong reason.

Turtleneck: Quick, follow her, somewhere in this village a party is waiting for you, maybe they've already begun, you don't want to miss anything now do you? Later on you can think about getting back home... Tomorrow... After it's all done and over with...

Road: So ask her then... Is it still far? Is this party really expecting you? Why doesn't anything fit into words anymore? Where are they, the smiling open arms that welcome you in out of the cold?

Virgin: A door opens, a silhouette breaks away from the light, the gravel underfoot crunches step by step towards the street. Our host perhaps?

Turtleneck: "G'd ev'n'ng..." No, just some old villager. Someone who knows very well the difference between evening and night. So that means it can't be too late, not yet, not as long as the evening can still get good.

Virgin: The road is crooked, the road is straight, flesh and bone never got back from their date, I footstep from sidestep to quickstep to doorstep, dumb dumb, the rhythm is marching my thoughts numb numb numberdeedumb...

Road: Poetess leads the way to an abandoned old barn. With no doors but half open in the front. Faded wood. The yellow light of a streetlamp. Old air in old dusk. Inside, a dirt floor, some worn-out farming tools, a pile of moldy cloth sacks, a broken wooden wheelbarrow, everything covered with a thin layer of dust and dried-up mud. A rickety old ladder that disappears into a trap door in the ceiling...

Virgin: Hearing about something is so different than experiencing it. Wordless cold is so different than poetic silence. Breath swells up to a storm and thoughts clamor as through a megaphone. Are we waiting for something or are we just sheltering here? Everything and everyone seems to know more than I do. Cows in the distance know how to make the emptiness bellow. Rain knows when everything outside should get wet. Old barns know how to creak in the dark. Poetess knows why we're standing here. Distant voices know how to approach step by step. Cold knows how to creep in, through the ears that hear the voices, down the neck, to the tender drum-roll muscle in the middle of the chest...

Turtleneck: Fear is for victims. Your friend isn't worried so why should you be?

Skirt: It's probably nothing, just a couple of evening strollers or village boys...

Virgin: As soon as they've walked by, poetess will turn to me and laugh... She'll tell me the rain has stopped... And that we can move on at last... To the party...

Turtleneck: Give me your hand for a dance, don't be shy, laugh, cry, the war is passing by, disguised as a father, a poet or some night life... But sometimes his living gun wakes him up with an urge to shoot. The sacrifice too wants to dance, not a court dance of the righteous but a real mating dance of lost tribes and wild beasts...

Road: Poetess laughs but she doesn't turn to you. Her shine is awakening again... Enter two young men, into the circle of light under the streetlamp. They bring with them the cold-making voices.

Virgin: A tall handsome one, could easily be selling toothpaste in a housewives' magazine, and a short one with muscles and glasses, must have done plenty of sports and reading in the dark. Both in grey suits with white shirts and dark ties, hair glued back loosely, badly shaven, students obviously, either law or business. You can already hear their future, the puffed-up accent alone is worth half a university degree. Never a doubt, never a need to think and still everything is always the way it should be. And poetess too is suddenly no longer such a sphinxlike misfit, immediately she's swallowed up into their casual self-confidence, talking with their accent, thinking in their language. A language that knows how to say a nice easy-going hello, and long time no see, and we could hear you coming for miles... I should also be making the right sounds. I shouldn't be chewing on my thoughts, I should just spout them all out without thinking, the way they do. A smooth gesture, some easy words, a witty remark...

Turtleneck: At least try to laugh. Don't you remember how to laugh? You know, ha ha ha? Mouth open, corners up, teeth bare and then machine-gun some breath past the vocal cords...

Skirt: Don't just stand there staring at nothing, so stiff and so cramped... You know that no one ever wants to be around you when you're like that.

Virgin: But all I see inside is a big empty hollow hole where their chatter bounces and spins around without ever saying anything. I wonder if they've even read her poems... Don't they know about the salt and the sand and he who makes her whole and then finishes her off again and leaves her behind with a map of the flooded country where he might be but then again maybe not? They're not even looking at me. I see myself standing there like a piece of dead wood. And of course it's all my own fault. As usual. That I don't feel at ease. That I'm not having any fun. The way they are. Too many soft little feelers that notice everything that others don't see, and don't notice what everyone else sees. I guess I'll soon be introduced, and then they'll all expect me to say something. To talk along with their easy-going witty small talk. Their little jokes like needles, little pinpricks and little razor cuts that never quite bleed. Slippery language to help the thorns slide past. Sauce to cover up nasty mouthfuls. Because isn't this a party after all... Now poetess starts climbing up the ladder. Toothpaste follows right behind her, grabbing at her legs, almost up her skirt. She giggles at him over her shoulder. The ladder creaks and swings under their weight. Then together they push open the trap door in the ceiling and dissolve into the darkness above. And now the other one turns around and looks at me. For the first time. So this one is mine. That's the way it's been set up. Just a bit cruder and uglier than hers. His gaze casually sweeps up and down my body. He says something trivial to me. Still, how nice of him. He's acting like I'm normal and belong, with the people who know how and always feel at ease. I should be grateful he even wants me. He doesn't say his name. Nor does he care to hear mine. Once again I'm nothing. He steers me forward, ahead of him, to the ladder. Not a question. Not an order. A mild pressure. Not rough. Not tactful. Just the way it is. Up you go. The steps of the ladder are much too high for my tight skirt. My hips sway before his eyes in a way like I would never walk. I climb and my hips speak.

Skirt: You know that men are supposed to go first up the stairs, especially when it's so steep.

Turtleneck: Do you feel his eyes? Without touching you, they touch something. In the depth where belly and spine marrow meet.

Virgin: Then he lays a hand on my leg. No caressing or grabbing, no threat or violence. Simply as a matter of course. A hot hand that gives off cold. Shame stabs up through my flesh, drives me up the ladder, away from him, and yet closer. I pull myself up through the hole in the ceiling and step with wide open eyes into the void. A stale breath of old darkness crawls up my neck. The sound of a match sparking off. The flickering of a candle. In one corner a heap of potatoes, probably full of worms. Friends from under the ground. Dark filthy rags, dirty shovels and an old rusty scythe. Like a storage room where the Grim Reaper leaves all his stuff when he's not using it. A little window in the roof, curtained with wisps of cobwebs swaying in the draft. On the wooden floor beneath the window, two weather-beaten mattresses. So here I stand, with wordless hands...

Road: This is as far as I go. When you stop walking you've arrived and don't forget, you can always turn back. I'll be waiting for you here.


Interlude: Theater of Cruelty


The author walks onstage and speaks: To keep it simple. Why can't I just say it straight out. Because that would make it lie. So I go on stammering instead. For half a book already. Characters in order of appearance: Crowd, Virgin and Doctor Truth.

Scene 1.

Crowd (chanting): All together now! Sports! Beer! Home sweet home and a mouthful of dollar bills! One on top of the other for some senseless violent thrills! Rattle! Rattle! Rattle your rattle!

Virgin (desperate): May I get through please? It's so crowded in here... I can't even see your toes anymore... I'm afraid I might step on them by mistake... Let me through. Even if I can only make it to the edge... Maybe then at least I can see a little farther... Which way I should go...

Crowd (angry): There is no edge. Everyone is always standing right in the middle. What do you think you are, any better than anyone else? Must have been hearing voices inside the padded cell. So no more swimming in the river of coffee for you, and no more sleeping with the poodle, that should teach you...

Virgin: I can't get any air...

Crowd: Don't look for the red exit light, it doesn't exist. There's no way out. The fire department has already approved everything here. No need for an emergency escape they said...

Virgin: I squeeze my eyes shut, fingers in my ears. And all of you no longer exist.

Crowd: Hear our voices inside you. Keep off! Eat up! Sit still! Stop it! Be sweet! Guilt! Belong! Scared! Lonely! God! Love! Hope! Bend! Break!

Virgin: I still hear a faint noise. But I'm no longer listening. If there's really no exit. Then I'll just sing my own song.

Crowd: Your eyes have gone bad. They're rotting inside your brains. Your toes are even longer than all of ours put together. Come on guys, let's stomp on them... See what happens. Is she going to cry? You are us and we are you.

Dr. Truth: Who's that I hear singing so strange above the noise of the crowd? What kind of a song is this? Give me your hand. I want to be with you.

Virgin: What? Who? Don't start playing games with me. Go away.

Dr. Truth: No, seriously. I mean it. Hunger for your song.

Virgin: Your hand is really warm. So of course you'll pull it away any moment. First you make me believe and then. Boom. Panic. Besides. I've got the whole crowd inside me. I am the crowd. I have no choice but to hurt you. I was raised on pain. I'm made out of pain.

Dr. Truth: Sing for me... I trust you. Pain was my first milk too.

Crowd (chanting): Rattle! Rattle! I rattle my rubber nipple! Consolation will never dry! The kick of a wooden-legged cripple! Who else has told a lie? Oompah oompapah! Oommah oommamah!

Virgin: I hear the wind rustling its gentle voice through the stardust. Unspeakable love, nameless love is the one true love. New words, I'm searching for new words of music.

Scene 2.

Virgin and Dr. Truth are alone in the dark. The crowd goes on clamoring and chanting outside.

Dr. Truth: You see. It's not that hard. We've already made it to the edge and beyond.

Virgin: I don't believe it. Just give me your hand and don't step on my toes.

Dr. Truth: And what if for once we weren't so careful...

Virgin: And what if for once we stopped being so fucking diplomatic...

Dr. Truth: It doesn't have to hurt, let me just touch them very gently...

Virgin: Ow ow, my toes. You're standing on them. I hate you. It reminds me of... Dirty mean... Crowd from the past...

Dr. Truth: They're all dead and gone. It's just you and me here.

Virgin: How do you know all this?

Dr. Truth: I learned it from you. From your song.

Crowd (chanting in the distance): Oompapah! Oommamah! Take a poo! In your shoe!

Virgin: Oh no, I touched your foot. Wherever I step I feel your toes underneath.

Dr. Truth: It hurts. I'm running away. Hiding in the harshest little box I can find. Leave me alone.

Virgin: I'll find you wherever you go. I'll put my arms around you. That was all a dream from way back then. But this is us. Together and here.

Dr. Truth: Do you really want to see the crowd in me? Will this new thing still be there, that for which we have no words?

Virgin: Show me your crowd. If this new thing goes away so easily then what was it even worth to begin with?

Call and answer: Deep inside the closet of fear. Naked under my skin is father's filth. On a leash of barbed wire. You can be the executioner. My parasite is always hungry. Men cast a spell on you and then. Just begging for that boot in the face. The world is hard as stone. A knife full of hate. Dripping into the empty ear. All she needs is my empty bed. My fists protect me from what. In the dark of my bowels. Living in the now so that later on. Smash open the windows. Splinters of glass in my fists. Don't you see your hands are bleeding. Throw open the doors. It looks like it's getting lighter. The fog is clearing. I see. I see.

Scene 3.

Dr. Truth: What a blessing.

Virgin: Everyone should be so blessed.

Dr. Truth: Let's go outside and share it.

They open up the doors. The crowd flows in.

Virgin (opening her arms): Friends, we've found something. We know you too are all seeking. It's so simple. Come here. I'll hold you and then I'll gently step on your toe. Then you'll look into my eyes and you'll see that it's me and I'll kiss your tears...

Dr. Truth: I say what I see. I give what I feel. Friends. Yes, it hurts sometimes. But it never lies and it doesn't bite your face in your sleep. And this is only the beginning.

Virgin: We don't know where it leads either...

Crowd: But we do. We too are blessed and just the same as you. Only much better. Because we can do it lying. And don't start splashing your dirty paranoid truth serum in our face because it makes us blind with pain and pain must go. Quick quick. Death to you. And after you're gone comes the devotion. Two thousand years of bread and wine.

Scene 4.



The author walks onstage and speaks: Theater is all make believe, smoke and mirrors. It's so easy to make it lie the truth. If you've seen God, the last thing you want to do is go running out into the crowd shouting eureka. Don't make too much trouble or else there'll be lots of carrying to do. First you carry their cross and then they carry you, cross and all. All those millions of miniature crosses riveted to your miniature body cast in precious metal... If only you could see yourself hanging from countless necks... Dirty necks. Fat necks. Stupid necks. Red necks. Pimply necks. Necks necks necks necks necks... Pressing the passion of your flesh against their lips, against their hearts, lukewarm like a used toilet seat. And they all go on hoping for a free ride on your back trussed up to that cross... Forgive them for they don't know what they want. They couldn't even stand you and what are you anyway? Compared to you know who. Shut up or else speak their language. Lie. Give them a good show. They know they've lost and now they want to be amused.


excerpt from ACT II

Last Minute Song:

Nurse, is this really the doctor?

His hands are naked and

The knife is gloved in rubber

Nurse, is this really the doctor?

The knife is hot, the knife is blunt

And knife and doctor are one

Nurse, is this really the doctor?

The operating table looks so dirty

It doesn't smell like it's been sterilized

And a candle is the only light

Nurse, is this really the doctor?

Nurse, I am the virgin membrane

The seal soon to be broken

Of her innocence soon to be spilled

Nurse, the blood will be with you in a moment

Nurse, watch me bleed, the blood proves my life

And the blood proves my death

Nurse, are you really the nurse?

Candle: So much noise about such a little operation. Why didn't she just do it with me? I wouldn't have disappointed her... Always hygienic and always reliable.

Gin: This is all my fault. If only I could drown my pain. But of course a drink can't drink.

Mattress: No, she was corrupted long before she was deflowered. We all know that when you've had a cold hard father whose caress hurts harder than his fist...

Candle: Always looking for your home. For a place to blame. As if nothing else exists.

Gin: Nowhere is the devil served so hot as home...

Candle: She couldn't wait to grow up. She knew this wasn't a job for sweet gentle boys. And now all of a sudden it's time to paint the poor guy black? But she didn't push him away. Didn't try to escape. Didn't even say no.

Gin: All my fault. I want to cry but I can't because I'm already liquid...

Candle: The good doctor can talk you into every memory you want to believe in. That sordid little night that didn't turn out as fun as you hoped, why not just rewrite it as a date rape? And as long as it sells, who cares what happens to the bad guy...

Gin: A dewdrop trembling on a spider web is what I am...

Mattress: But he's not a therapist. He's not making any money out of this.

Candle: No, he's just taking her dirty past and twisting it around so he can claim it for his own dirty self. I don't blame him though, sex is so much more boring nowadays. Hygienic and wholesome, as long as you don't look too close.

Gin: Won't anyone hear my confession? I'm all alone in the darkness of her cells. Of their cells. He opened the bottle and freed the spirit that she had been avoiding for so long...

Candle: All the fairy tales a girl wants to hear before she can get to the point. Brooding over her precious little egg, waiting for the prince on the white horse, and wondering how she'll recognize him, how she'll snare him when he finally comes by. And the prince and his billion disposable droplets of seed bursting to be shot across the horizon. A few minutes with the right shapes and textures is all he really needs... But wait. Listen. I think they're about to begin.

All words and images copyright 2008 by Vanita & Johanna Monk

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