Command Pieces


Imagine for me

A dark place. It exists but you haven’t been there. I’ve been there. I know what goes on there.

Now you’re there. You’re a spectator. Two figures break up the undivided darkness, a girl and a boy. They stand on smooth silver half-circles. You’re positioned just close enough to catch her facial expressions. He doesn’t make any. His back is turned to her. She sees every motion he makes, each twitch of his body. He’s directly in her line of sight.

His eyes may be closed. They may be open and fixed on some point in the darkness or another. They may be wandering. We don’t know.

First Moment

The girl steps off her half-circle and crosses the darkness over to the boy. She taps him on his shoulder. He turns around swiftly, producing a long sword that he raises above her head. Now he seems a million feet taller than she. The girl jumps and removes the handle from his grasp, wielding it superbly, to slit a hole in the darkness above her head.
Beyond it there is a bright night sky, a milky way. Now the girl and the boy are on the moon together. You disappear.

Second Moment

The girl crosses the darkness over to the boy. Her steps are measured and easy, fluid. She taps him on the shoulder. Turning to acknowledge her, he produces a shining sword that he raises above her head. Plunging the sword into her ribs she crumples to his feet. Her long hair streams off the half-circle, hanging in the void.

He kneels down to inspect his handiwork. Between her severed ribs, precisely where the abdomen was, he finds a pool of water. Deep blue and bright, he finds his face perfectly reflected on its surface. You disappear.


Imagine for me

A room with black walls. There is one window. Twice as wide as it is high, this window provides little light.

Its bottom left corner is obscured by a bureau with intricate decorations: Baroque spirals and flourishes accent its corners, floral inlays recede at the edge of its drawers. Human faces peek out from the molding.

You’re perched on top polishing an arrow. You’re an angel. On the floor burlap voodoo dolls are splayed out as if thoughtlessly discarded. They have your friends’ eyes.

You remove an arrow from a satchel that bisects your right shoulder blade on a diagonal in the direction of your left hip. You position a bow above your head. You say, “today I will be cupid.”

The arrow makes a perfect arc and lands in the center of the largest doll’s heart. “The next person you see,” you say to him, “you will fall in love with.” You don’t count.
You’re hungry for breakfast. You dust off your wings as you walk through a door to the east. The sun rises.


Imagine for me

A system of wires laid beneath the city.

Imagine the wires as copper coated by rubber.
Imagine the transformations encircled by copper:
The mechanism by which a code assumes meaning is standardized.

A dense animal: you contracted the finest cryptographers to reveal the operation, but the conclusion is a vanishing point. You contracted the finest philosophers to interpret the sublime and they hung up their hats. You contracted the finest mathematicians to throw their cards on its table.They wept at its finesse.

Imagine desperation.
Imagine the rumors you spread in despair.
Imagine a monument into which the wires run, exploding their way up.
Now you’re calling an official to determine who owns the sky.


Imagine for me

The blueprints of a palace to be built seventeen miles from the outer limits of a city.

Imagine that this palace will cost more money than the average income of every citizen doubled and combined.

Imagine that the blueprints are meticulous and account for every detail:

With his kit of bronze tools,
the architect has mapped out the degree of curvature of the archways in the back garden;
discerned the size of the morgue in meters;
determined the depth of the moat;
ascertained the width of the dining hall’s transept in millimeters;
he knows how much its mahogany should weigh, in kilos,
so as to efficiently support the Queen’s ivory chandeliers.

Imagine that the children of wanderers have broken into the office of the royal architect and are using the blueprints for kindling.

One of them says, if we kill our parents, we will have everything they own and we shall be wealthy and happy for the rest of our lives.

So they burn the caravans where their parents sleep, vehicles which consist of nothing but blankets, rickety wheels and molding canvas.

They watch the bodies of their parents burn and assume the graces of stoicism as their fathers scream for help.

The flesh on the parents’ bodies curls into ash

Some parts of the blueprints are recovered.

⚡️ emma stamm / 2016