Musings and Writing of GG Alexander

Savage Writing: Babel

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I decided to take a couple of weeks off from writing for the Savages. I didn’t want to phone it in with my pieces any more, and I didn’t want to bring in the start of longer pieces because last time I did I felt I was personally psychoanalysed and got no real feedback for the piece itself. Luckily I found some real inspiration for this week.

This week’s theme was picture based. I chose this picture as inspiration.


It’s the contrast that does it. If both the sky and the ground were on fire, there would be some unity and I could convince myself that I am in a hellscape. But the sky is blue and cloudless while my tree has burst into flame.

I heard once that cavemen used to sit and watch fire in silence, mesmerised by the dancing twists and flickers. Dangerous ribbons, snapping towards you then back just as quick, teasing you the damage they could do but decided against. All while the fire douses you in noxious gas, stinging your eyes, raking your lungs.

I cannot move. He tells me to move, but I am hypnotised. I built that garden, and I loved that tree. This is myself, a part of me I broke off my soul and crafted into physical form, going up in smoke.

I tossed those beds with orange peel to keep away the cats. I sprayed poison on the slugs. I threw a tennis ball at a squirrel that was on the bird table, stealing food from the finches. I cut my wrists and knuckles on thorns and splinters and the dirt under my fingernails felt like it would never go away. More natural out here, in the garden, helping life to grow. More natural than stuck behind a plastic-coated desk in a room with artifical breeze blasting through a grate in the ceiling. More natural than getting tetanus shots and taking your antihistamine when the pollen comes.

He tells me to run, but I am Lot’s Wife, I must turn to salt and ash and he will taste the remains of me on the wind as he runs away, the dust specks of my love rubbing on his wet-stained cheeks.

This is God destroying what I made. This is my hubris repaid. This is fate returning me to the soil and dirt beginnings from which I sprung, from which I tried to distance myself, in thought if not in act or body. So natural, as natural as the strong scent of honeysuckle after a spring shower, as natural as the lushness in the air just before the heat of summer hits and dries and withers. Nothing as natural as destruction like this.

If the sky was black and clamouring, like a duvet pressed over your face, then I could say it was lightning. If it was red with sunset I would say that the tree ached so hard to emulate that beauty that it combusted into orange flickering insanity. But the sky is blue, and my bedroom window is smoking where the tree branch meets the open window, flower-patterned curtains a pale imitation of the shrivelling petals out here. It could have been a cigarette tossed over our fence. It could be a plug socket given up on existence. Either way, my tulips are burning, and my rhubarb plants will see no use again.

He says he has phoned the fire brigade, we need to run and warn the neighbours, we need to get away from the smoke before we inhale more. I say—but I cannot say, I cannot speak, but in my mind I say—I must stay and watch it burn. I must watch it all burn. Because in my life, I have seen nothing as starkly beautiful as the azure sky looking down, indifferent, as each cherry blossom flames from pink, to orange, to black, and nothing—again, again, oh Lord, again.


Written by G.J.

15/05/2014 at 3:00 pm

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