Pots and pans

 
12

¹² In a drawer full of dusty film rolls that smell of smoke. 

The crowd will not advance anymore: it is being charged at, teargassed and forcibly dispersed. No stones had been thrown, only slogans echoing and flags waved and those brandishing roses and bread — 

A few hundred meters earlier, a boy had climbed up a street lamp and attempted to cut the Party’s flags. Hoorays from the mourners: a small crowd stops and anticipatingly watches him ascend. It takes longer than expected and we see him struggle and sweat. He uses a pocketknife and the flags are finally shed to the ground: Hoorays from a thinned crowd. He has difficulty getting down, dangles uncertainly mid-air and jumps rather than glides to earth.  A hero for a few minutes. Welcome back — 

Why these coloured bullets in the crowd
Nobody had warned us and said : this is the unallowed street, the uncrossable boulevard and you will not cross. 
Just fire and run. 

(It takes time to realise that the crowd is us, they’re firing at us. 
The useless thought : they’re not supposed to do that.)

The scene becomes chaotic, the air tearful, friends loose each other and banners are left for ever on the sidewalks. 

We take refuge in the stairways of anonymous houses. 

Peep out, cross the street. 

The divisions appear to have gone further North and one must follow the sound. Path's cross with a squadron — get that innocent look on your face quick, quick  I’m a simple onlooker a tourist what is this mess I am looking for the Blue Mosque could you please help not quick enough — bionic arms life me up: an eternity of seconds above the ground and the sudden fear that no words will ever be able to bring my feet down to earth. (Later, I realise how small a fear it is: others are being beaten, imprisoned, shot at.)

Dusk falls. The Geography of the city has stopped obeying to fixed grids and rigid layouts. It has become a moving labyrinth of temporary guerrillas, of momentous struggles, of bonfires lit on squares and charging policemen, street by street. 

I am hungry and momentarily leave the scenes in search of food. Nothing has changed a few streets to the West. Veiled matriarchs hurry home, clutching groceries or children. 
Back : 

/There’s an assassin
There’s an assassin/

The small groups, thinning out and recomposing incessantly, rebuilding slogans, barricades, fighting for — ten minutes of freedom, a street of freedom, a shout of freedom, before Riot police and water cannons run down the streets, how far will they advance, how far will we advance until the only choice is to run and to hide.
Our eyes have gotten more accustomed to the teargas and the air is only smoke. 

/There’s an assassin
There’s an assassin/

Under the pepper spray, the bullets and the water cannons, the strange sense of playing a game, dangerous, but a game nonetheless. (I learn later, that in the night, someone was killed in the same streets.) The anonymous night shared, the giddiness and the fear. 

/There’s an assassin
There’s an assassin/

Hoarse voices emerge, hazed, after a charge on a new street. A new sound: I look up. Women, all women, the terraces full of women silently drumming on pots and pans.

Drum Drum Drum Drum Drum Drum Drm Drm Drm Drm Rm Rm Rm Rm Rm Rm   

Tears mix with the gas
head back
the streets have tired
the metro is working
I wonder
how to wash out the night from my clothes 

 

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