The Chair

by Christel Janssen

Why is that chair empty?
I scream I am running through desert
Climbing upon stars, looking down
Looking with remote control, binoculars
Under looking glass and microscope
Why is it empty?
Why is that chair empty?
The chair for the champion who showed me love?
Where do I find you?

Are you hidden in my childhood books?
Hidden on the last page?
Are you hiding in my dreams?
Buried, under many mattresses, to stand the test of the pea?
Are you a man?
Are you a woman?
Do you even have a face?
Where are you?
I demand you now to come unto the stage!

Who is the one?
Who dares to be that one?
Who dares to take that place?
As everybody holds their breath
Audience in darkness is losing their faith
Putting toes into ground, to not get sucked in
Who? Who?
I scream
There it enters and smirks
And laughs

What an irony huh, it screams
wiggling, squinting, and worm-like creature
Ask me
Ask me that question again?
You know me right?
You know me really well
So you ran, and ran, and licked tongue,
and ran, and held breath,
and ran, and kissed neck and ran
From man to man to man to men
From Poland to France, to England, to India

All of them you barely touched
All eager to lead you into deeper yellow caves
Into more liquid underground rivers
Into the soft heartbeat of plants even
Yet, all of them you ignored
and I was with you
I became bigger and bigger I am suffering beside you
The audience groans, and moans

And you barely touched hand
And other hand
And you touched penis
And disgusted penis and licked penis and wondered how that ever happened
That motion from soft to hard
And you couldn’t then
But run,
Run, run, run
Faster, faster, always against the wind

As you could feel it on your heels
Coming closer and closer
It’s breath in your neck
Louder and louder The fear of me now
A little creature, pushing you further in and further in
Until that wind became too strong
Until that wind became a hurricane
And couldn’t but ask you
Turn around, turn around, and look at it!

My tree had only one root
It is easy to hunger harder to love
That what you are so afraid to see
Look at it now
There it is!
You never learned love
You never gave anybody the power to teach you about love
Since you felt above it
And since you only allowed yourself to have it

But you couldn’t find it
Not in muscle, not in beard, not in sweat, not in innocent kiss on central square
So men came, and men went, and you drove to Egypt and made love in Tibetan monastery
And kissed on Milano square, and walked up the stairs to British disc jockey
And slit over border, in times beyond these, in dreams and
The space between I love you and I love you too…
And the audience exhaled

Photo by Daniel McCullough on Unsplash

Philip Brautigam
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