LOST FOOTAGE FROM A LACK LUSTER FILM


ZOHRA QAZI



                        INT. SALOON - NIGHT

Let me set the scene for you: I’m sitting at the bar,    I drink four whiskeys.

You’re sitting next to me, so far away from me that the smell

of your smoky musk       kisses my forehead,

a love gone too soon to the light.


I drink four whiskeys,   you drink four more.

I don’t remember my lines.

You’re holding down your words, letting it burn in your throat,

as the score of violins erupts behind us, birds of melancholic flight,

headlights of a car on blank deer eyes.

                                                            It’s not in the script but I want to hold your hand.


I know what you want to say. Your eyes say I hate whiskey,

I think you hate the feeling more.

I don’t want to hear about it though. I don’t want to know how you’re only here

because I’ve saved your life and this is a thank you note you couldn’t find a pen for.


I don’t want to know how you’re sorry for leaving your boots with me,

blackened mud and shit on the broken, tired soles.

But I wish we could say what we want to say. (I wish we were something more.

           I think we could be something more.)

I’ll let your knuckles turn red then yellow then white under the orange of the dark bar;

it can speak for you.


Let me set the scene for you:

            We’re trying to kill each other now except you’re winning and I’m

lying face down on the floor, cheek pressed

against the cold, cold wood, whiskey glass in my throat, counting the stretched streaks

of our dirt

like this knowledge could change the world.

You’re still tearing at my skin, scratching my eyes with your hands turned

bitter claws belonging to a merciless beast

trying to find my heart to eat raw.

I’m pressing down on these bruises, wishing them go away.

                                                                                                          I want you to stop,

I don’t want you to stop. Isn’t this an act of love,

cigarettes burning skin and pulling teeth?

Whiskey breath torching hearts?


If this is what love is, blood on wood and words forgotten,

it doesn’t make any sense to me.


                        EXT. GHOST TOWN – HIGH NOON

The camera is back on us and now

we’re holding guns like it’s the first time,

your finger aching for the trigger;

is this all we know how to do?

           I don’t know how we got here; you don’t care how we did.


But these boots don’t fit right on my feet,

the leather reeking of carcasses, innocence dead to violets;

and your cowboy hat is too big for your head, leaning so far forward that

I can’t see your eyes (you can’t see mine)

                        We’re just two girls pretending we’re something

and boy do you play the part well, partner.


Now we’re just staring at each other from different ends of the same town,

your side is new like spring    with people hiding behind the barrels and

the bloody fringes you wear

thinking you’ll protect them while

my side is    empty

except for the desert wind that blows sleeping tumbleweed and

lifeless dirt in my eyes.

            (I think I’m the villain in this story.)


I’m going against the script here; in this scene I’m not acting anymore. My eyes

are saying Please don’t take this the wrong way. My bullets are wildflowers.

I don’t want to fire, but I know you won’t care.

I’ll be aiming for your feet and you’ll

still be trying to shoot at my chest, imagining a bullet wound there, a cherry kiss

on tender blue skin; is this is an apology?


   And when the bullet does finally hit me,

I’ll fall to the ground the way shooting stars do:

slow-motion explosion of colors   I didn’t know existed in me.

They need to get the bullet out;

No let me keep it I say, it’s mine

it’s all I have of you, it’s all you’re gonna care to give me.

The camera is still rolling, everyone can see this. Everyone wants to see this.

            I am going to die for love I think.       I want to die for love.




Listen to "Los Vestidos Desgarrados" by Alberto Iglesias below, one of the pieces Zohra listened to while writing "Lost Footage from a Lack Luster Film":

00:00 / 02:35

ZOHRA QAZI is a Pakistani-American writer and undergraduate student at the University of Central Florida where she studies English Literature and Philosophy. Her work has recently been published in Sparks Magazine.

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