In Parkland (Preview)


The morose poet Mayakovsky sits down next to her,
And, just so that she cannot mistake his intentions, says:
—I do not exist.
Ok, she can cope with that.
—But you’ll have an orange juice… or a coffee, won’t you? You look like you need something.

The magic hour. He watches the bumbling carp in the dark green, ornamental, artificial pond.
The moths hitting the surface tension.
He notices the sun’s oblique ray and shifts himself slightly, such that it now comes in over his left ear — more raffish — although, since he and the woman are on the same bench, identically facing, the effect is rather lost.

After he has watched enough:
—You know what I’m going to bring you, don’t you, says Mayakovsky. What my message is going to be.

—I do, says the woman.
—So should I bring it yet?
—I think you should get something, there’s a cafe, it’s only a kiosk, but I’d be happy to…
It’s a false-start, he knows he must recover the situation quickly or lose the opportunity.
—It’s not really hunger, it’s more melancholy. I have medication for it.
He reaches over with his lips and kisses her.

In return, the woman puts out her hand, patting his knee to cheer him up:
—Time to say it, I guess.
Mayakovsky agrees, and does say it.
—We in the Soviet days, we had to keep our own thoughts private, but you free people, you are controlled so effectively you don’t know your control.
—Will you be kissing me again? she asks.
(Even though she doesn’t sense any vast passion in him, no trouser-stirring, with those neat turn-ups and that homburg.)
—Probably not.
—Absolutely, says the woman. Question is, can we do anything about it?


Tomorrow, the woman is wondering when Mayakovsky will arrive; the anticipation has burned up her day.
He is not at the ornamental pond, where the city is held back and made small by the detachment. (There’s a shipwrecked concrete Neptune in the middle: small and lacking his right hand).
He is not at the play area: roundabouts, swings, where children can be catapulted back into the city.
He is not hiding…
She has nowhere else to look.

With a practised flick of ash, Mayakovsky:
—Give me your character so I can reference it futurely, securely and justifiably.
He has sprung out of nowhere, but she knows he must have sneaked up on her using the rhododendrons for cover.

—My character is that I dedicate myself to controlling all I can control, and conversely being equable towards all I cannot control, replies the woman.

After forty-five seconds, Mayakovsky decides he has to continue:
—Am I supposed to believe that?
—Up to you, says the woman.