by AFIQAH IZZATI AZHAR
Cigarette is her father. Camera is her husband. Crystal is her son. Champagne is her lover. Lights, camera, action!
‘Look at me dancing in these diamonds, adik!’ My mother. My Linda. A serpent of my soul, slithering in opulence and sweat. A goddess living in the kingdom of deities and imps. Born into a home of baby-breeding actors and thrown into a circus of trippy mannequins on the highway. There she goes, prancing in classic black Chanel with a cancer stick glued between her alabaster fingers, those broad hips swaying softly to the psychedelic poetry of Jim Morrison, clad in her John and Yoko Ono’s Bed-In Peace thin shirt that denudes her bosom. The swelling flesh is tingling and alive like stubborn mosquitoes on my salivated tongue. Her flaming red nails match those inviting ruby lips down to the deflowered genitalia that were once a warm home to me. She flutters her black cartoon eyes like a flirtatious darling; teenage boys and sidewalks would prostrate at her feet not long ago.
‘My baby, do you love me?’ she asks, flicking the ciggy amidst her ashen-coloured teeth. A poignant image of her green tudung attacks my brain cells as I drink in the woman twirling before my unwelcome eyes, boundless and free from a stranger’s hand in a desperate land. My mother. My Linda.
‘This is the end. My only friend. The end.’
Morrison echoes in our ears. Jimi. Janis. Jim. There goes another one. ‘Yes, Mama.’ I whisper. Audiences view her like a picture book in an ancient library without alphabets and numbers, failing to read the shades of blue beyond her nose ring and mouth piercing that glitter like gold moles each time she drinks her Cola in the meth-fumed flask. ‘I live for luxury. I live for love. I love you too, sayang.’ She wobbles unsteadily like an acrobatic girl training to steady herself on ropes and giggles in my dumb face, chokes on her cigarette and puts the half-burnt menthol lipstick into the ashtray while smoke licks us all over. The woman in the green tudung stares frighteningly through the Swarovski-studded frame on the foyer table, black-mascaraed tears staining her plastic cheeks.
Money is her mother. Medicine is her sister. Music is her daughter. Make-up is her best friend. One, two, three, go!
‘You are ashamed of me, sayang. I know you are.’ Her sadistic aura and slurred speech stings like a honeyed venom through my psyche. The little girl in me gouges her eyes out, eats them for dinner and spews out my own face. She is blind to the night call of a phantom singer who pays a visit to Linda as he cuts the strings off from her body like a broken wooden puppet doll. Her domestic world is shut; she is flying home towards a suicidal music festival with her past paramour. 1969 Woodstock is waiting and celebrating her arrival in a hippie camper van of vivid colours. Wrinkled baby-arms probe impatiently inside their former mothers’ nests to shoot fast bullets of swimming tadpoles; to seek security, warmth and pleasure. This is a beautiful image of gods copulating with monsters in the garden of poets and politicians. The master, the brother, The Lizard King chants to his serpent sister in a welcoming foreplay.
‘The blue bus is callin’ us. The blue bus is callin’ us.’
‘I am lighted again! Dance with me, adik.’ Strange scenes pirouette in my mind seductively as I watch her body ignite with an old flame, like a race car competition, until she reaches the border of her homeland, driving fast and wild to win the famous grand trophy of blood, tears and gold. The green tudung has burnt away; its ashes are scattered among her dandruff-hair and blowing stubbornly in the stenchful wind of liquor and love. Naked slaves of physical harmonies and emotions grind against one another on the grass of grey-fluid earth. Linda arrives home. A wild serpent hunting for rats and sex. She hisses; ‘Where are you?’
‘Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill.’
Morrison provokes behind her, his long pink tongue poking and invading my home. The beautiful union of brother and sister. ‘Here. Always.’ I mumble. She smiles sweetly at me, her sharp intake of breath a greeting gesture as she tastes glitter and guitar with rock n’ roll in her womb. An alien sensation stirs in the cloudy room of smoke, sweat and stained sofas. ‘Come here and kiss your mother.’ She discards her shorts and tosses them on the bed she shares with her man and men of bad fruits. The emerald ring radiates like a fiery beacon against her scale-like fingers, a token of my poor father’s love for his rebellious young wife. My mother. Our Linda. Thirty years sentenced to this jailhouse motel madness by the signed contract of drag aunties and chain necklaces have delivered the final blows to her head, breast and feet.
‘Ride the snake, ride the snake, ride the snake.
Father, I want to kill you.
Mother, I want to fuck you.’
There’s a killer in the house and a family will die before dawn. I gaze at the long serpent of seven miles, touch her cold fragile skin and offer my white orchid to Linda to end her nights of secret sports and tender perjuries and for her coming home from caged debaucheries. Taking her hand, I ride the reptile through the summer rain in the blazing desert under the apricot spotlight. She smothers my lips until we puke cherry wine of rust and salt, flowing like a river from her eggs to my engines; sucking on her sugar-flavoured lollipop still. Our purities are extinct; we are two incognitos in the heated dry sandstorm. We descend rapidly like two trapped cannonballs that are hungry to be released for the destruction of an innocent town. Once the fireworks kiss the citizens and embrace their children, explosions of bright confetti will be a triumphant celebration among carnies and cannibals of our blood. Her new people will dance on future generations around a bonfire where they burn fresh condoms, torn clothes and pious peers. A new song of musical moans and orgy orchestras will become the national anthem as two serpents, two Lindis, brother and sister, recoil incestuous on sigils all around the country as they praise joyously for the return of their king and queen.