Desert Madness and The Jewish Oracle

January 5, 2009

My hands are firmly placed on each side of her waist, preventing her from floating off the ground and into the night, that is orange and yellow from the fire that surrounds us. Her arms are moving up and down in waves, her head and neck thrown back and her eyes are closed, the whole of her body moving in slow motion to the battling drums. In Hebrew she asks to hear the prayers of the surrounding dancers and receives them, not as muffled whispers, but as aggressive roars. The despair she hears is so raw and direct that it shoots like little bolts of energy from her body, into me, and escapes as thick breath from my lungs which she inhales to complete the circular process. She tells me she commands her own universe and asks for wind and safety. I sling my arm around her and gently lead her to a log where we rest for a minute of uncertain length, feeling the stroke of a breeze, gazing up and beyond the shifting light that looks down from above. She asks me to fetch her water and as I reluctantly raise from the log, she grabs my hand and pulls me down. No, she says. Take it from the grass, it holds everything we need. I kneel down, stuff my mouth with long leaves and suck until I feel the juice, then return to her side and replenish her thirst in a long kiss. Everything I see or feel is through her, a lens through which I can look further into the mystery this night has offered. I hear a music in which her breath is the pulse, her touch the melody and her words the lyrics of my future self. I have lost the ability to form my own speech and therefore simply repeat what she whispers in my ear, most of which I fail to comprehend and therefore only imitate the syllables and sounds of. She tells me I am her protector and lover and that she is my muse and sister from another galaxy or life.

We leave the log and I carry her towards a square of glass bells that chime in orderly compassion, pass through and stop at a purple bedouin tent selling tea and cake for the willing. I put her down on four green pillows and then approach the merchant to command a pot of black-leave tea and plate of sugar-cakes. I follow his every movement as he prepares my order, allowing him no unnecessary tinkering with the ingredients in the process; there are many jars and bottles on his shelves and in my state of protection and defense, I am doubtless at least one is of poison and death. As the pot of tea slowly heats, he proceeds to carefully arrange the twelve cakes on a silver studded wooden plate, with a swiftness and precision that seems to bemuse me to the point of swallowing an outburst of laughter, tickling in my throat. When everything is done and perfectly served, I am asked for a small payment for the goods and this seems to me both unexpected and cruel. I had truly forgotten that I was unable to pay any of my orders, and as I search my pockets and pouch, I feel his impatience, piercing as cacti-needles on my shamed face. As I’m about to plead for forgiveness and philanthropy, she silently slits a twenty into my back pocket and kisses my neck.

The tea is eatable and the cakes liquid, but we both seem to enjoy it, facing each other with crossed legs and silence. We finish up and stride back into the night, our tent and the inevitable comedown.

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