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Torn Limb
(a torso-monologue for private viewing from a human opera)

By Caridad Svich


The grey skeleton of a leaf
A bowl of darkness

The deep deep
I am about to understand

On the serpentine path
On the toy boat I follow
My soul expands with my eyeballs

Macedonia, Panama, the Falklands, the Gulf, interventions on the planet psyche acts of cleansing/disruption/distortion

methinks it should now be a huge eclipse
in the form of the age
winter and blackness
Ecstasy on breath of morn
Sun grazes sky already sliced by blood, silence, and hunger

This is the deep deep
I am about to understand
Under moon
In the fields of Africa
And the East

A self
A single self
A real self
Wrote and fell silent

Sun gash again

Jour de ma vie
She wrote and wrote
I wrote and expanded
Soul spread as with my eyeballs


I told a story to my love
I told it like this
In high pitch and soft sound

Shrapnel through


I tell a story to my love
I tell it like this
In low pitch and harsh sound



This is the true self
The one I keep locked
again, I cry
no words now
only feeling
vowels long
consonants in bits
the purple iris of my eye
reaches out to everything
I cry

The shadow of Cuba beside me through day and night
Forgotten island
island countries suspended in time
convenient for power's march through speed and light

And I remember
Trees glowing white
Cakes made of silver
Golden crowns on the tabletop
A hole in my manuscript
A charred fragment remains
This is my childhood
Glowing white
Stealing silver
Upon the forehead
What incessant light and shade humbles me


here is a letter to my love
Dear Love,
How long has it been since we have spoken?
Do you miss my voice?
Or is it my body only that you seek?
And which body? The woman she or the man he, both consumed in love's fire?


I am incognito
Put me on a tiny boat at sea
Clothe me in white
As Ophelia once was
As Juliet must have been
The white of woman wrecked before Dionysus found
Deep sigh
And again

Split for no reason
Taken from
Where to, how to,
And the slippery earth in unrest

Here is the arrangement we must make
Write me another book
Write me
Such words as this
And more are what we make
Beating as a living thing must do

Shun me
Read me
Do not surrender


And so I write another letter
But this one is to myself
To the other side of me

Throw memory down
Plug into the socket of forgetting
Immediate amnesia
All done this
See? How easy it all is
If you just
Refuse to remember


The single self multiple falls silent in rage
Under the moon the nerve controls the pen
She writes
He writes
The self begs for another time to release her
Should I transform myself and how?

Mi boca es agua.

My mouth is water.

Gotas caen de mis labios,

Drops of water fall from my lips

caen de mis ojos

From my eyes.

Haciendo un mar.

Making an ocean.

Que lengua es esta, que no me deja hablar,
Que hace de mi agua y me dobla los brazos?

What kind of language is this that does not let me speak,
That makes me liquid and bends my arms?

Que lengua es esta que llena mis senos,
Que tiembla entre mis piernas
Que hace de mi un ser con boca de mujer
Y espina de hombre?

What kind of language is this that fills my breasts,
That trembles between my legs,
And makes me a body with the mouth of a woman
And the spine of a man?

Transmigration: Under the Atom

There were blue flames on bodies
And people standing frozen in time
I walked past them towards the arm of the desert

The road was paved with bodies broken
Copper-stained fingernails loose under my feet
Men in suits were digging
I couldn't see their faces, hear them speak.

Inscriptions of the dead:
To my beloved, to my beloved.
This is the story I dream
This is the story I tell
This is the story I dream of telling.

And as the road bent toward dark red trees
Fir on tongue, and branches against my thigh
I kissed the earth for letting me live
To awaken in the margins of time.

Inscriptions of the dead,
Those no longer living.
To my beloved.

To my beloved.

I hold you in my arms
So I may keep you from falling.

To a body with no history

I give you my body.

To a body in pain

You give me your life.

…I am standing in a cloud

At the edge of the bay.

Skin peeling in fragments

I turn towards my name.

[She sees her other self, and recognizes her. Her other self sings to her.]

If I told you
I was falling
Would you catch me
Would you let me bleed?

If I told you
I was alive dear
Would you believe me?

Nothing come by
Nothing go my way

Got no mercy
On this cloudless day.
Cut a hollow
Deep inside me
Come down slowly
In my mind.

(the richochet splinter of performance
the axis of being
in each state of intervention
where do we…?
In fragments charred, in voices mutilated
Where do..?
How am I to…? )


I am a tuning fork for the world
A deep note strikes
A brilliant circle
At one moment I am summer's green and winter's black
I stand with my mouth open
A single self
A real self
Make me

[Caridad Svich's play Iphigenia Crash Land Falls...(a rave fable) will premiere at 7 Stages in Atlanta, GA in 2004. She is co-editor of Theatre in Crisis? (Manchester University Press, 2002), and is resident playwright at New Dramatists.]


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