Wednesday, April 13, 2016

SEATS


by:Adel Khozam

Musical chairs may be simple, but it truly symbolises what happens in life when people fight and compete with each other to win the best seats: at work, in power or even on a plane – all they boast is a hollow victory, transient possession. Others, even if holding royal regalia and wearing a gold crown, find sitting on a seat to be true imprisonment. The difference between one sitting and one standing is vast. The first is rooted to the spot, confined by the significance of the seat – but he is superfluous to this meaning. The second is always moving, confined by the next step. He belongs to the way more than to a single place.

In life, some prefer to sit forever in a chair in one place and never get up. They’ve been trained since childhood to sit down at school and listen to teacher. They grow up to regurgitate rote and rule. Then on to university and employment, till they retire after fifty years, more or less expelled from the job. Heavy and flabby they taste the pleasure of walking, but it’s a rare pleasure.

Others are not drawn to seats. They spend their lives exploring, leaping, venturing. Some bestride the sea, hoisting a sail to the migrant wind, heading to the unknown. They may die drowned or struck by lightning, but some defeat distance and reach the far virgin shore. There they excavate the caves of myth to decipher obscure and dormant memory; or sleep naked in the valley of the foxes; or dangle their legs over the edge of the volcano. What draws them to bestride hardship, and why do they see chairs as only suited to executions?

How many chairs do we get through in a day? In the morning we sit for a quick breakfast as we flip through photos of the dead in the papers. Then a seat in the company car and the blare of traffic; followed by a seat at work where we’re told what to do, and say “at your service, sir” and jump to it. Next the barber’s chair and a seat at the cinema, in a café or restaurant, in the sitting room at home. We flit from one piece of wood to another. Sparrows observe us as they flit free from branch to branch.

There are chairs devoted to cruelty, including the electric chair and those in the corridors of the monotonous ministries. There’s also the seat of justice, where no one sits.

* * *

We run among the chairs in the fun game
The lazy lame man beats us to the seat
The cripple wins the cup of waiting first.
Let’s go behind the plains and meet in our names
Let’s sit on the rock of impossibility and whinny,
the sun sketching our two upright shadows with no one between us.


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