by Mark Blickley
I’m tired and I hate the daylight. This strange sun reflecting off the white djelllabas irritates me. It lights up a city of men tugging at their genitals, smiling toothless smiles. It shows dogs and children, bone pressing against skin, begging for relief. The sun releases the warm smell of urine and I hate its familiarity. Sunshine gives clear, ugly faces to the staccato voices echoing through the narrow and filthy streets. It is impossible to hide anything under that sweet burning Moroccan sun. I feel exposed.
Each day I amuse myself sketching until darkness frees me from an imaginary world that hides me from the sun. The thick violent sunset is my signal---a multi-colored alarm that assures me it is safe to leave the expensive hotel room.
The evenings are cool by the sea so I follow the salt scent for a quarter of a mile until I stand on the beach. The growing darkness makes the people handsome. Eyes dominate. They make me feel secure. As long as I don’t have to squint at the sun, which impairs my reading of men’s eyes, I feel safe. At night the only reflections are friendship or danger, not white djellabas.
I listen to the waves slapping the beach. Women in veiled burnooses file past me clutching their small sons and staring at their feet. I smile at the women. Their silhouettes against the horizon turn them into phantoms, insuring them of a most respected position within the night.
The ocean sounds and phantoms become too familiar so I walk up to the boulevard just as the night lamps snap on. I love the lamps because unlike the sunlight they throw everything into shadow.
Mark Blickley is a widely published author of fiction, nonfiction, drama and poetry. His most recent book is Sacred Misfits (Red Hen Press). His most recent play, Beauty Knows No Pain, opened in November at NYC’s 13th Street Repertory Company. A text based art collaboration with fine arts photographer Amy Bassin, Dream Streams, was recently featured as an art installation at the 5th Annual NYC Poetry Festival on Governors Island and excerpts from this series were published last month in Columbia Journal of Literature and Art. His Real Realism: An Art Manifesto for the Disenchanted has been published this year in Great Britain and the U.S. and is currently being translated into Dutch. He is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and PEN American Center.
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