War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

the turning point

another installment of May Day, a fictional series of letters from a young woman to her lover serving in Afghanistan. for more on May Day, click on the May Day icon at the right of the page and either read or listen to Writing May Day


today in the studio we worked and we sweat. bullets. footwork. fast. complex. contra tiempo, remates, puntas, flik-flaks, big body moves, then subtle. committing over and over again. muscle memory. to pull out when all else fails. to pull out when it’s the real deal. an audience. all the boys on guitars, cahones, the cantaor, the palmas, the room anxious. to be amazed.

J was here when I got back from rehearsal. he told me there’s a moment. a shivering in time. when suddenly. suddenly. after months of levels. ranges. Ex., after a lifetime of training. that a soldier realizes. this is it. for real. play time with the boys, days on the Karl G range. stab runs. boom boom boom. house-to-house with hooligan kits in plywood buildings, fake assassin alleys. gone. time to move on. time to begin thinking, this time next year. will I be dead?

today for us dancers. was it. today we went from the sketch to commit. it was something small. a remate then a break. but what a break. one that will have the audience AND us dancers incredulous if, no when, we execute it. fitting so much footwork into only 12 beats. precision. speed. grasping at the fire, duende, as it bursts above the stage. and everyone. everyone will be left. breathless. and images of all the colour of us singed.

and J told me how the boys all look at each other as the wheels touch down in KAF and they smell the burning of brakes, their eyes all say, “oh, I fucked up” signing on for another tour as they hold their rifles ready to land.

and M, you said for you the turning point was when N, your best soldier. so good. so noble. so fun. was killed. suddenly the world turned from colour to black and white. and the rehearsal was over. you grabbed your weapon. cleaned, oiled every last bit of metal. this was it. the real deal.

it broke you. but it made you.
and you were gone. again.


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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled the turning point. It was posted here on November 29, 2010.


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