Marie Santos as Zakeya

June 6, 2000

Reverse Time

In his world time exists in reverse. He awakens from a long, deep sleep that has settled his troubled soul. As he stirs his bones crack and click, his skin - dry and pail from the meds and the lack of sun on his face. The medications make him nauseous and dizzy. On the floor he sees his pail for when the illness takes over his physical being and he cannot quite make it. Across from him in a chair he sees his mother at his side looking worried but oh so happy he has awakened. She is seventy and just recently awakened from her sleep as well.

He tries to get around but his coordination is poor. Bruises cover his knees and back. No matter though, for tomorrow he is better. He is younger and not as ill, although he has to deliberately try to hide the track marks now. It's Saturday and the house is fragrant with Spanish cooking. He is dancing and singing to Diana Ross and the Supremes blaring from the record player. His mother laughs at the dance and smiles to know that the worst is over. So accepting a mother cannot be found. Her love is without conditions or boundaries and he knows this and it comforts him. He walks out of the apartment and finds the friends that show him to sniff glue that led to the pills that led coke that led to the heroin which led to the AIDS, but no matter for tomorrow he is better.

Tomorrow he is in Puerto Rico with his mother in his teens being loved by his family. Not quite understanding why his sexual preferences are different from his brother. Life is carefree now. Mami cooks rice soup and Dad still loves him and all is well tonight.

And the island is so beautiful in November when he turns eight. The mountains, the coqui chirping at night, mami's garden, his abuelita all surround him in the evening air. He plays with his sister's dolls and no one even cares to notice. The sun has made his skin golden olive and he looks so healthy. His body is free from those toxic chemicals that plagued him so long ago a world away.

He is at his mothers breast, safe in her arms having lived a life of pain and suffering but the last years have been the best. Full of love an security amidst a land of beauty and harmony. His final journey ends as he falls back into slumber in the orange glow of his mother's womb on a balmy night.

 

 

June 27, 2000

Narcissus' Torment

The abbey is black and I lie here in penitence

For the sins of the world and the sins in my mind

God please forgive this fervor and lust for this beautiful creature you have placed in my path

Goldmund, you plunge a dagger into my being and

I bleed a river of crimson red

Each lover you take will deepen my wound

You speak of freedom and confine me in a prison of regret

You wish to drink and eat from life's bounty while I thirst and starve in a desert of loneliness

You wish to gaze at nature's beauty while I remain behind in a flowerless garden

You search for the warmth of a woman

While my arms so readily could warm your golden skin

That gypsy! That wanton gypsy Lise - seducing you with her lips

Lusting you with her eyes.

My love, have you not seen my lips?

Have you not seen the lust in my own eyes, do you not wish to feel true love and passion?

Who will protect you from your own innocence?

She will abandon you cold in the forest

While I will ache to comfort you

They will all leave you with a wanting

That only my love, mind and loins can satisfy

But it will never come to be

This love and desire in my heart and soul

Will stay within the boundaries of my mind

In a time and space you will never be able to penetrate

The abbey is black and silent

I can here my own breathing

We are one - though you do not know it

May you never know such torment

Of Solitude

Of longing

Of emptiness,

 

July 11, 2000

Lolita looks Back

 

At thirteen he holds me. The woman in me is emerging

As does the promise of a sunrise over Mediterranean waters

The curve of the sun is the shapeliness of my breasts

The warmth of the rays is the blood racing in my veins as thoughts of his touch envelope my thoughts

Never having felt strong hands on my thighs --

The sensation leaves me breathless, as does the smothering heat of a sunny, hot, hazy, humid afternoon

He is my master - my teacher - my Pa-pa

And I his willing student - His Lo-Li-ta.

I drink from his cup and eat from his table

He consumes my thoughts and ravages my innocence

I use my skin and my youth to entice his hunger, elicit his passions and provoke his manhood.

---

Years have passed and I am no longer thirteen

I remember again and the memories

He was not the love of my life - nor I his

In fact, he is whom I now detest

He is the reason that loving for me is an impossibility

The sun sets and I cannot recall ever basking in it really

The years in the sun should have been gentle kisses over me


Instead only the scald marks remain on my incestuous skin

 

July 25, 2000

Zakeya in Hell

(No Exit)

Such a strange dream I've had. I dreamed I could not speak. I saw my family, my friends, even some of my enemies. I felt some of their pain and also felt some of their joy as they stared at me - unable to speak or move. I cannot say that I understand this dream very well at all.

I dream some more of my body wrapped in white. More tears it seems. My body being carried and laid to rest in the half soil - half sand of the river Nile. Concrete block at my head and another at me feet and I finally understand my dream - I dream of my death.

My consciousness is clear and I can feel my physical being. How silly this dream of mine. This place seems so unfamiliar. These people are unknown to me. How did I come to be in this place?

 

Zakeya: Who are you all? Do you know how I got here or how I get back? The air is stifling. I feel my heart beating.

Inez: {Laughs} Isn't it funny how they always come in so confused.

Estelle: {Snarling} After as long as we've been here, can't you ever be nice Inez?

Inez: {Bitchy} No, I can never be nice. Isn't that what got me here in the first place?

Zakeya: {Confused} I still don't understand. Would either of you please explain to me what is going on?

Garcin: Stop it both of you. Old woman, you are no longer in the place which you think. This is a different place. One where all will change. One where you will remain for eternity andů..

Zakeya: Eternity? Eternity? How can you speak of such things? My eternity is Paradise - Eternity with Allah and his Prophet Mohammed.

Inez: {Laughs sarcastically} Sister, you did something that makes you no longer welcome with those guys!

Zakeya: I did nothing. I avenged our womanhood from the tyranny and oppression of men. I have wept tears into the Nile for the suffering of women just as yourself. I only meant to seek repayment for our breast milk and bloodshed.

Estelle: {Very slow and solemnly} We always think that what we do is the best decision at the time. As I saw the baby looking at me on it's way down - I thought - "this is best". But the truth of the matter is - sometimes our decisions land us an eternity in hell.

Zakeya: Allah, lah lah - My hell was on earth and in death there is still no escape.

 

August 1, 2000

God Dies by the Nile & Brave New World

 

There were a number of comparisons in the underlying themes of both books. In God Dies by the Nile, my family and I {Zakeya} are controlled by government. We had illusions for a large part of the lives that in some respect God and the Government were working in unison. We {Zakeya et al.} have learned not to question our poverty, lack of education, my non-status as a woman and our ever enduring torture and torment.

While in Brave New World, it is also very clear from the onset the egregious degree of control that the government inflicts upon it's population, creating strict social classes, as well as controlling the mindset of the people vise a vie drugs and subliminal programming. The inhabitants of a Brave New World live in as much fear as do the inhabitants of Kifr al Tan - They also, through a different type of programming have learned not to question the existing structure.

The major difference in both God Dies by the Nile and Brave New World is the existence of God. In God Dies by the Nile God is the presumed to be the foundation for daily life. While in Brave New World there is a designed absence of God. As the pages unfold though, it is clearer that reverence and worship of a supreme being is another common thread of both literary works. However, this being is not necessarily a divine entity but a governmental figurehead that manipulated the population.

Both stories have distinct styles of writing that depicts disturbing scenes. There is genius in both creative works. God Dies by the Nile does reflect what is in some cases still an accurate picture of an almost unbearable life for women and peasants in many Islamic countries. By contrast, Brave New World is a creation of a vivid imagination.

August 1, 2000

Final Zakeya Monologue

Cyber-Performance

Zakeya is in prison on the day she is to be reviewed by her parole officers for

possible freedom 10 years after her murder of the Mayor.

 

Crouched in a corner

Islamic Call to Prayer starts

Zakeya in full galabeya and head covering prays on her carpet

Peace to you my Brothers and Sisters

You have come to decide my fate. I no longer have hallucinations, illusions or dreams. Although the pain of losing Nefissa, Zenaib and my son do burn my skin. That burning flame of loss replaces the sun of Kifr al Tan. The cock crows in the distance; the buffalo plows the field of another.

What have I learned you ask. These many years here, I have longed to be asked that question. The first years after my imprisonment I stayed in my daze and stupor - but that passed. I turned to the Quran.

Pick up book and kiss it.

God was dead remember. I killed him if you recall. But I read this book despite that. I read to understand what God asked of his daughter in his verses for women - the Surat Nissett --

Surat Nisset says to serve man --

Surat Nisset says to show your hair only to father, brother and husband.

Surat Nisset says to accept life and humility

I, the humble, servant of God did those things.

I have read and reread - And what this Holy book did not say as for man to take a dirty, dull knife to my womanhood. Would God have cut of my breasts had they not been able to nourish sons. This book said nothing about beating my nieces; said nothing of forcing sexual acts of the innocents of this world. This book said nothing about exploiting my innocence and lack of education.

I thought God did - But it was God who did.

So if man does not respect these laws - then nor will I! (Throw Book)

Zenaib is alive. We must never tell. She is alive. That man that housed her, he helped her and loved her and educated her. She visits me every now and again and brings me books to read while I am alone in this darkness.

Pick up Einstein's Dreams

I learn of time and space. My everyday; my every moment has been already outlined. When the drudgery of my cell confines me, I use my amulet to take flight. I fly to the past and see those I love and miss. I feel the sun again and feel my son on my breast, I look back and see the Nile - I look forward and see only clouds.

Drop Einstein's Dreams and Pick up Narcissus and Goldmund

They Fear God - as we did the Mayor who was the only God we ever knew. I lived Goldmund's journey. I saw the wonder in which he saw the world. I felt his rage and compassion towards those he met on his journey. I have never felt the love though. Only love for my son and nieces, but never the love he experienced. Goldmund and Narcissus' love was as fleeting as Zenaib's and my son.

Drop Narcissus and Goldmund and pick up Anais Nin

You could jail me again only for reading this book. But hear e before you do. Anais was a lustful and sinful soul. Her lesson was a sad one, Her existence was vile and she did not even know it, No - I do not idolize her. She seeked only for pleasure, while I searched only to exist in peace. She rambled nonsense while my families bellies ached for pickles and dry bread.

Drop Anais Nin and pick up No Exit

I traded this book for my old galabeya. It speaks of God again - But more of his wrath. I tire from talk like that, I have learned that God's punishment is indeed just. He does not punish because we could not pay our taxes. He will not punish me because I will no longer cower to man's beating, exploitation and mutilation.

I am saved. I have learned. I do not apologize for the death of the mayor - I revel in it. I can teach that pain has been my life and through accepting and reform my life can change.