Thursday, 3 December 2009

Standing Still




    Standing Still
 by
Marc-Anthony Taylor



    From nine till six they flow by you.
    Some stop to take pictures, forced smiles as dad says 'cheese', grubby little fingers tracing the embossed letters on your plaque. Others just gawk and talk in pretentious tones of the skill used to tease your perfect body from the stone on the plinth, how beautifully the artist captured your expression.
    Groups of school children gather around your feet, throwing nervous glances at your face while their teachers lecture them on history. Students come and discuss what you mean, the 'why' of you.
    And all day you must stand, and watch and listen.
   
    At least in this museum there is daylight. So long under the suffocating sands, no sun or sound but for the odd insect scraping it's chitinous legs across stone that was once flesh. Then the months in boxes, carted from one place to the next, thin slices of sunlight slipping through the cracks. Old musty museums, home to the stolen artifacts of a hundred lands. Mummified old men poring over every inch of your body, measuring and taking samples. Talking about you as if you weren't there.
    Now you rest under a glass ceiling. Under the clouds, girders and bird-shit. But there is sunlight, I have allowed you that.

    After six come the cleaners.
    Even if you could scream they wouldn't hear you. They are locked away in their own little worlds, music pumping through the tiny speakers stuffed in their ears. Heads, and mops, bob in time to music while minds wander to those places most minds go.
    Even as they rub and polish you they notice nothing. You are just another statue. The expression that has caused so many historians and philosophers sleepless nights is lost on the tired people who slave to make you presentable.

    When they are done the security guard makes his round. Just the one, there is something good on the TV tonight.
    His hand is glued to his ear as his girlfriend tells him, again, how much she loves him. With his spare hand he checks the security switches and makes sure no one is hiding under the tables. His eyes pass over you and he shivers, quickening his pace till he is in the next hall with you safely behind him.

    And then you are mine. Your beautiful face once again subject to my skillful hands. I might let you scream, then again, I might not.
    I listen to your pleading, and wish that we were back at the beginning of our relationship, back to the days when you were full of hate and rage. It was so much more fun back then. Fresh.
    When I am finished you are more splendid than you were before, not that the ingrates around you shall notice. Their reality to narrow to encompass my art.
    You are my masterpiece and maybe, when I am finished, I will let you go. You can sink into the depths of insanity, just like the rest.



(All feedback and comments warmly welcome, I gotta learn :))

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