What Is Treason?
I didn’t want it to end this way. Of course not. But as the rope tightens round my gizzard I must confess to savouring the moment. For this is the final proof of my victim-hood and we would not have it any other way.
To strangle the life from this body is a more tangible murder than what I have done to my soul over the years with rusty knives.
I look at the virtual crowd on a vast screen above me, faces in the Cloud. It was a big selling point that a billion YouTubers could subscribe to the grand finale, and that I would watch them watching me watching them. The rope chafes my neck. I may be getting a rash. It worries me.
The black cloaked man that is a recording of myself continues to read the charges. It is clear, his wrinkled lip sneers, that I am guilty of failures and betrayals beyond all treasonable doubt. But treason against whom? Our brave boys who fought for the English language?
It is true that I never listened to the Word of my Teachers, the grey tank-tops charged with transmitting the tribal lore. I stared through the classroom window for ten years, cultivating succulent shoots of asparagus syndrome.
And then the years of my rebellion. When Royal weddings came I limply refused the general erection. As gleaming carriages passed by I wanted only to be a passenger on that Golden Gravy Train, not an on-looker. When the great arenas filled with human fragments of collective charitable hysteria I deserted to fields of absinthe green reading Keats beneath a tree. When the Soap Princess popped her diamond slippers I kicked the flowers all over the road and laughed when they locked me up. And you know what? I’m glad I done it.
And when they wanted cynicism I was sincere. And when they wanted sincerity I became heartless. And when sex became a cyber-product I found some real balls. I fell foul of the family nexus. Refused to consent to consensus reality. Systematically avoided the System.
As a youth my collars were always too tight. And to think I once contemplated clipping on a dog collar! This bow tie around my neck takes me closer to God. I’ve learned to tie my own, you know.
But when it comes down to it I might say that my greatest act of treason was to collude with all of you. To have suffered a thousand whips of rejection and given sanctuary to them all in this prison of laughing faces is the act of a man determined to overthrow his own State of Mind.
And if I don’t jump now, you’ll want your money back. But I ask you this. Whose face is this? Mine or yours? Did you dare to be yourself or did you sell your own body down the river a long time back? Whatever. I must think of a good last line.
“Minnesota Fats, you play a great game of pool.”
Not mine, but it will do.
The revolutionaries were exiled for life
in a puce colored colonial prison
on an archipelago, untraceable on the maps.
Every breath harrowed, black-hued or not at all.
Iron contraptions for the neck and ankles
Coarse jute tunics for torsos. Rations - fit for sparrows
Flogging that made buttocks bleed.
Permitted to urinate just once a day.
Tortured and abused on hand-driven oil mills
extracting 10 lbs of coconut oil, like an indemnity.
Their nerveless hands slack, their countenance fractured
Up in the heavens, stars glistened moistly for these rebels.
No one ever escaped these Black Waters, the excruciating seas, the agonizing oceans.
Only screams made it out. Raided the air,
cracked the winds, lay scattered like dead leaves on the islands...
like fragments of a tormented mind.
To think that political dissent could be like this.
Indictment could be like this.
That a man might lose all dignity, die of hunger, lose his mind,
be crucified at the edifice of endurance but gain a country, nevertheless.
I am the prince of my eyes, and the emperor of all the senses.
'We need to keep this ship going' I hear a voice in a dream, and when I wake I pay my dues as always; perform the little rituals and offerings, make some coffee, maybe buy some clothes or some books.
You ask me 'What is Treason' and I look up over my wine and tell you 'This is treason'. Every time I fall short, I am less than treacherous scum – not fit for purpose.
I look out over the sore watery blue shores, at the room we share and bed we escape to, and I see you are broken too.
Here only the old and lazy cat is fracture-free. She is warm in her world and treachery has not found its way to her. She knows a good thing and has no questions.