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Malverde Days 2

(This is a cutting from Malverde Days written by Duke Miller. Please imagine I’m still up on stage delivering a monologue to only one person in the audience, you. The show is sold out.)


GENEVIEVE WALKS across my back with tiny feet, she leaves the impression of pink toes, smooth heels, the wind, the curtain, the spirit’s touch … she hides between moments, silently breathing in my ear, counting acorns for future reference
Making love with her on the grass is a cross between opening a Christmas gift and burning the wrapping paper in the fireplace … everything at once in an early morning frenzy


MISS TINKER is Malverde’s town historian
She has cobwebs for hair and lives a life of soundproof comfort
Her dusty fingers wrote A History of the Malverde Silent Movie Company
The book is like the image of an old mirror taking back smiles
Unrequited love was a common theme for a Malverde movie
Only mute actors were given contracts
They moved across the frames as if the light was welcoming them home
Films were bankrolled by two silent partners, Lone Wolf Dry-Stream and Roger Mars
They made a killing on cotton and butter during the war
Checks for new projects were written on foam rubber
They were sent from distant offices and they floated endlessly through the vacuum of time and space
When the theater lights went down on a Malverde silent movie, the darkness replaced the people in the seats and they were frozen in mid-chew, eating popcorn that tasted like buttered cotton
During those days, Malverde was a town of shadows without sound and the people went about their business as if no one was really there


GENEVIEVE LOOKS and the flames reverse, walking back across a breathing bridge
This is one of her gifts to me, along with flax and organic greens, and then she says, please give up opium and cards

Well, maybe
I cut off my head and watch it fall

What good is that, she says
This is not Thailand or Hong Kong after all

We lay slightly stirring each other
Turning over and back again
Thinking about the sparks in our hearts
Longing for the heat of cities in the room
I can hear the train in the night,
people clinging on top
The dust from the border blowing
against the window
The old man paper thin over the lamp
His hands join a Kowloon pipe with wisps of light
Muttering our strange language
We amble down the milk-moon path
Along the streets lined with deposed kings
Armies silent in the snow

I am so cold, Genevieve says
As if the world is drifting away from the sun
Perhaps we need to burn kittens to stay alive
I tell her we must both get undressed
Then I cut off her head and she crawls under the sheets
Naked we warm each other like Arctic dogs upon the icy sea
The current rocks us back and forth
I feel better, she says, our bed is a realm of the sun
We make love, curling as one, not two
Who knew, I say, who knew


I TAKE one last look back at the war of her identity
The wall turns a page heavy with metal, a spine to flay … she moves and sighs, ugly in candlelight
Abandoned braid of hair, lips of flowers, bird nest burns within
Let us cover the face forever down, float the body, throw the bleeding nurse onto the ribs and use a knife to stab the lungs
No breath for the blind child … only stones for roses, only mud for meat


AFTER BEING fired for telling people Gloria served prison time, I decided to take Genevieve to the beach
We drove her old green Volkswagen four hundred miles
The sand was still there, blazing like a molten crown, I explained to her that the sand was the language of the sea and we could read the words when the tide went out
Genevieve cut her foot and came out of the water with a dead starfish in her hand
One of the points was broken off

She held it up like a kaleidoscope, twisting it around, looking through a bleached hole
There was a line of horse-drawn wagons inside and a bunch of clowns on the ground, playing cards, smoking, talking in fatal tones

I think it’s something from the future, I said

Right, her lips drawn tight, it’s from the uneasy story and then she started to weep

Later that night, in the outburst of her dreams, I vowed to stop using spoons and the smooth edges of wood 
The confusion would give us more time to decipher the secret language of our unnatural things
Belongings that came toward us like headlights on a dark highway
She was naked beneath smiles and hair and her breathing was the fine print of finger tips, more gentle than eyes or whispers
Soft upon soft and in the glance of a low dawn she turned over like reddish glass and said to me

I was dreaming about the starfish

Yes, I waited

Well, hold me tight love, because invisible words have unseen translation, and secret messages come from nothing
They are more than death
They are the end
The end of everything we think beneath the sun
I couldn’t agree more I said and then we felt our lives shake as if we were being poured out to rest there forever by the dying sea
Of course we only had enough money for the week, but we carried the message of the starfish to Malverde and spread the word about how everything was coming to an end and when the people on the street heard, they began to laugh, dance, and launch skyrockets



Duke Miller is a writer and ex-refugee worker living in San Miguel de Allende. He has published four books. Living and Dying with Dogs is about his years as a emergency relief volunteer in war zones. Malverde Days is about his life in San Miguel de Allende.

See Duke's Books on Amazon


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