Or is it?
The following is a piece I did on the Yoga/Wriring retreat I went on in April. We were read a poem about the color yellow and then instructed to focus on color and see where it takes us. We were given 30 minutes to write and the following is what I came up with. I just went through and did a basic edit, but otherwise made no changes? Does it continue? Is Merrill the band that was setting up in Alex Chapter 12? Where did it come from?
pick a color
deep sea blues and greens pool
with just the slightest edge of purple hues
as she ascends toward the surface
it becomes apparent that the water is clear
the color is all generated
from something gliding forth
closer still her tail is layered
in shimmery delight
scales of slivered diamonds sparkle
as light penetrates the water's surface
The cafe was ablaze with activity. Merrill was to perform tonight and that always brought in the most delicious crowd. The purest groupies, affectionately known as Merrill's Mermaids, were lining the stage in goddesslike splendor.
This would be Merrill's first public appearance post cancer and she was feeling strong. She was ready to give the crowd what they wanted, to know that she was back and to know she was here, once again, to stay.
The Mermaids had long flowing hair adorned with locks of vibrant color. some had charms woven in and some had glitter haloing all the edges. They were all pale copies of Merrill, the original, but they were also all unique in some way. It was not an unusual sight if you ever even heard of Merrill, let alone be enough of a fan to see her live. Clearly, these women, and one man, had taken considerable time and care to perfect the look to just so.
The stage itself was rather bare. There was a stool and a microphone center stage, presumably for Merrill. There were two barber chairs with spots shining directly on them. It made little sense. but Merrill's agenda always became clear shortly after the music began.
The venue went dark and in a flash, there was the warming vibration of Flamenco guitar. The light that came on was focused in such a way that the only thing you could see was the guitar, seemingly playing itself. We all knew this was Merrill, but it was interesting to not see her and it was quite apparent she did not yet want to be seen. Merrill played with vibrance, sound gathering momentum and volume enough to silence everything else in the room.
The spot shone blue and the whispering began. "Do you still pledge to me your undying allegience?"
There was a moment of silence and the crowd then went wild whooping yeses all around. The spot then went green over the two barber chairs, all else black. Merrill whispers again. "She who offers herself unyielding shall be the first of the reincarnation."
Merrill's spotlight was slightly broader now revealing her guitar, which she had begun softly playing again, and a bit of her midsection which was bare. There was suddenly a flash of light and a lone violin joined Merrill on guitar. She too was mostly in shadow, but her violin shone in a purple light. There was someone standing behind her whispering, "We're waiting...for the honest few...were waiting...for the light anew..." It was chanted again and again in a pleasing rhythm.
Merrill was steadily playing accompanied by the violin and subtly, they were joined by an upright bass in its own pale lime light. The chanting grew louder. "We're waiting..." The spots on the chairs shifted toward the shadows of the two people standing behind the musicians. The light on them was deep fiery red. It was bright enough to tell they were completely vinyl clad from head to toe. "For the honest few..." Their hands were clasped behind their backs and it was obvious they were holding something. "We're waiting..."
One of the mermaids suddenly walked onto the stage and took a seat in the barber chair. The vinyl clad woman walked to the chair and draped her in cloth in the most gentle fashion. "For the light anew..."
Merrill began singing the chant softly and there was a choice to either pay attention to the lyrics or to watch the action on stage. It really was impossible to do both. Tears were streming down the mermaid's face as the vinyl clad soldier brought forward a gleaming pair of industrial clippers.
Merrill was singing to sooth the mermaid.
"You've taken the steps across the stage
a second verse of your solemn vow
in blinding light it's clear to see
the clippers on your path to me..."
The mermaid is talking to herself inside her head. The barber chair is here for a reason. There are clippers sparkling clear. I can deny her nothing...
There is a building frenzy in the music. By now, other instruments have been unveiled. There is a teal blue glow surrounding a field of flutes. Forest greens shroud the cellos softly adding their harmonious hum. Merrill's guitar is still awash in cerulian blue as the spot, widened a bit farther, reveals brilliantly sequined breasts covered, yet displayed.
The sight of Merril's breasts indicated to a second mermaid that it would be safe to journey across the stage. As if on cue, the second vinyl clad henchwoman came to the edge of the stage and offered the mermaid her hand in reassurance. The school of mermaids surrounding number two helped to launch her onto the stage. By this time, the devout mermaid fans were struggling internally, afraid to be left behind in whatever Merrill had in store.
There was a jump from the seated mermaids as the roar of the industrial clippers, magnified through the venue's sound system, flooded the room. Nothing else could be heard and it was reminiscent of the waterfall pooling into the lake from which they all seemingly sprang forth.
The only visible light was a warm orange glow, its center that of blood oranges, its edges that of lemon chiffon. The fiery red mermaid's hair was ablaze under its glaring enhancement. Suddenly, the mermaid's streaming faces were joined by the diamond brilliance of gleaming clippers. Nothing else was visible, but the roaring of the clippers was mounting and the presence of the vinylclad cutters was assured as they swayed in and out of the shadows.
There was a sudden and instant shift when the clippers became silent and the guitar again began. Merrill was soothing the mermaids with echoes of steadying words cadenced softly beneath the lyrical notes of her guitar. As the synchronized gleaming clippers approached the mermaids' mane-ish halos Merrill was whispering "A light anew is shining through..."
With the first tremendous arc of the clippers, hair was removed from in front of the left ear to the right nape the movement was graceful and smooth. There was no wincing from the mermaids. They were ready to serve and deny Merrill nothing.
Merrill was meanwhile singing of liberation. Of freedom from binding ties. Of tranquility. Of peace. The deep blue spotlight had begun to fade lighter, still blue, but widening nearly imperceptibly. As the second arc of the clippers began traversing the mermaids' skulls in mirrored reverse, Merrill stepped forward into the light revealing her own bald dome.
The mermaids' bowed heads began to lift and there were radiant smiles gleaming in the now lemony light. The light had faded as the hair had fallen. Their scalps had been dusted with glittery fairy dust. the drapes were removed and the vinylclad women ushered them toward Merrill. She kept playing giving each a soft kiss on their forehead.
Merrill knew her audience. As the full stage lights came up, a row of chairs, each with their own vinyl clad shearer were revealed. The remaining mermaids all had a place to sit where their manes were sheared with synchronous precision. They were dusted and lined up awaiting Merrills kiss as the close of the first act of the evening began.