Revolution #99

Once more with feeling.

Once more for the century.

It’s been a week since I got here.

Two hundred miles up in the sky.

They said “you’ll soon get used to the view”.

But that turned out to be a little white lie.

Ninety-nine times I’ve been around the world.

Around the world in ninety minutes.

Ninety-nine sunsets. Ninety-nine new dawns.

And I’m still looking at the view.

From here, I can cover my country with the palm of my hand.

If it’s still my country.

Sometimes, you can see the lights.

Clustered in cities, strung out along rivers and roads.

Sometimes the lights go out.

Like they went out in Japan after the quake.

Sometimes new lights come on.

Volcanoes. Auroras. Lightning.

We’ll be over my country in just a few minutes.

I wonder if I’ll be able to see its new lights.

The fires burning in its streets.

The new dawn rising.

Ninety-nine times I’ve passed over my country.

My home.

I wonder.

When I pass for the hundredth time.

Will it still be mine?

4 thoughts on “Revolution #99

  1. A personal first: this piece was written intentionally for performance – specifically, for The Speakeasy, Insignificant Theatre‘s excellent monologue night. It was hastily written, as usual, and fairly simple stuff as a result, so I was somewhat surprised that it was accepted.

    I was still more surprised at the amount of expression that actress Lucy Grey managed to coax out of it: homesickness and sorrow mixed with detachment and wonder. My thanks go to her and to Insignificant directors Phil and Amy.

    The audience feedback that the Insignificant folks collected was mostly kind:

    Reminiscent of ‘Major Tom’, Lucy portrayed the wonder of watching the earth from orbit,and the sadness as her country erupted into chaos beneath her. Very sad, and excellently acted (though I have to admit to being biased – I adore Lucy’s acting).

    ‘Revolution 99’ – Really impressed to see so much put into such a small space

    ‘Revolution#99’, which is an interesting idea, could do with a smidge more polishing and enlargement. There’s some further truly interesting thoughts and observations waiting to be winkled out there but which never quite made it on the night.

    Sumit Dam – beautiful and opaque, a well placed shift of tone for the evening. Lucy Grey – a pleasure to watch being performed – tender.

    Revolution 99 – very original take on the theme, though it felt less like a dramatic piece than a short story.

    That last one is interesting. I don’t know what about the piece comes over like a short story, though I’m happy to accept that it does. Perhaps if I could work it out I’d be better at writing performance pieces.

    A final note: I wrote this on the evening of 8 August 2011, as riots swept across London; and with the events of the Arab spring fresh in my memory. Those very different revolts mixed with vague memory of an real astronaut (cosmonaut?) whose country nominally ceased to exist while he was in orbit, possibly during the last days of the Soviet Union. But I couldn’t track down the story behind that memory. Did I imagine it? Or is it a real footnote to history of spaceflight? If you know, please do leave a comment.

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