Burmese Marionette

A genderless, Burmese marionette. Neither 18 nor 19 strings. Wooden and hollow, submerged in waters thick as molasses. Looking up towards the sky to see 52 soles, tapping, moving. An entire world exists on a plane that it cannot reach. A complex marionette, lower than the Shakespearean stage overhead. No amount of blood or entrails stuffed into the doll’s hollow corpse could coax life into its carcass. A leper, for all intents and purposes. Its movements, mechanical, controlled by another; every gesticulation an exorbitant effort, wading heavily through a deceptively clear coagulation.

It is solitary in every way possible. If you were to look at the stage, you would see 27 Burmese marionettes but the mind of one radiates far below. Deep into the Mariana Trench, spanning the distance from Providence to Wichita where faith in God only exists in the face of tremendous fear. The people it loves are no longer enough and it has lived through hell a dozen times over in its mind. Stripped of purpose and a sense of safety to the point of suicidal ideation, wood can set itself on fire. Some of what it wanted, needed, was given then mercilessly taken away, some never given at all. Redemption curled up and died in its palms. Hope withered when it forced its arm out in a feeble, yet courageous, attempt. Love weaved through its hair like a gentle breeze only to fade into oblivion, without explanation.

A genderless, Burmese marionette. Neither 18 nor 19 strings, exists on another plane. No number of strings could elevate its mind, no puppeteer skilled enough to recognize the mind has separated from the body, slipped away, giving the puppeteer unconditional control of a cadaver.

It exists simultaneously above and below, on land and under water, in life and in death, in reality and in its mind, on earth and in hell. It is a mummified, genderless, Burmese marionette. Neither 18 nor 19 strings, but certainly one around its neck.

© Leila Chammas, January 26, 2017.



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