Hush. Listen. Beyond the lights of the city and the fresh concrete on the roads lives a people. Beyond the skyscrapers and the factories lives a story. Their story is my story and my story is your story, our story is one story that is as old as the waves of the sea and the rocks of the earth. One story.
The flames cast shadows on Chief Yellow’s face. His skin hangs loosely from his cheekbones. He whispers into the night, and his tongue is the tongue of his fathers, and his father’s, and his father’s, and on. The children chase each other around the fire with feathers and furs falling from their shoulders.
The shadows dance across the wall. We choose harmony, we choose peace, we choose the wind in the trees, we choose life. Listen to the shadow’s whispers. They haunt me every night.
But nay, it was not to be. It. Was not. To be.
Quit your rambling and listen, fool. There are children shrieking, but how would you know? You’ve muffled their voices with so many tunes and advertisements, you probably forgot they existed. But now I’m making you listen, I’m making you watch. The boy shrieks, and that one shriek is enough to shatter seven skies. It was not to be. Gunshots. The earth is suddenly thrown off its axis. The boy feels it. They all do.
The man yells at Chief Yellow, but Chief Yellow doesn’t understand. More gunshots. His skin withers away and becomes earth. I feel the sadness sifting through my fingers when I’m gardening.
My story, your story, ours, listen. Listen to the beat of the drum, quick as dancer’s feet. Quick feet, chocolate skin, and eyes dark like an oak tree in the night. Young, old, everyone dancing. The mango is tangy in their mouth.
It was not to be, no, it was not to be. Children and elders lie side by side exhaling the last breaths of life. I smell death. You smell perfume.
At Winona Plantation, you will sense the presence of a word. It can be found in the ink on a page, in the beams of a moon, in the heart and soul of men. Have they found it yet, have we?
The boy walks with a limp. He’s supposed to be twelve years old, but he can hardly reach the button of the machine and does not speak. It’s not enough. It’s never enough. The boy stubs his toe, trips and falls into the machine. I will never forget his bones as I scan the aisles with my eyes.
You do not speak the language of the dead, I know this. You wipe your feet on the doormat that is stained with the blood of-- “Oh, say can you see?”-- No, Sam, I see, I see.
You are a happy man. But are you? They say ignorance is bliss, but they forget. These are your brothers and sisters, but you forget.
Beyond the city lights and barbed-wire fence lives a people, a story. It is your story too, and mine, and ours.
And the story goes on.