August 21th, 2020
JJump Janitor Jailhouse Junior Jury Jackhammer Jackfruit Jester Jest Joke Jibe Jive Jelly Jellyfish Joust Joint Joist Join Joiner Jewish Jabber Joy Joyful Jittery Jet Jeer Jilt January Jade Jaded Jacket Jack Just Justify Judge Judicial Jewel Jon John Jack Jessica Joan Jimmy Janet Jill Joanna June July Juliet There are many words that sound as if they begin with a 'J' but are more likely to be 'G' words. Genuine General Girate Giroscope Giraffe Gentile Gentle Germ Germination Gesticulate Gestate German Ginger Gesture Jack the Juniper Jellyfish Gently drifted down. Just as the Judge was Gingerly Gesturing, the Jester Joked Joyfully, Just Japing around. The Joiner Jilted his Juliet in July, he Justified Jumping by Genuinely Jeering his Jaded Jailer, till he Joined Jack in the Jailhouse with John. Two men in a prison cell, one on his bunk, the other shuffling cards for solitaire. A knock at the door. The guard slides the hatch across and says get back. They stand at the window, holding onto the bars as the door opens and a man is revealed, their father in white. The bars bend and break, the moat breaches its banks and the water rushes in. At home a woman cries at the phone to hear her husband is dead, that he drowned in the river when he went to be baptised. She takes up a pencil and writes down his names, writes them again a hundred times till the paper is black with ink and her hand is cramped with wear. From there she goes to the garden and digs a hole for his head which she buries with the promise he would ever be free. At noon on the first day he walks through the door and puts on the kettle for coffee. Under the covers upstairs she weeps with his brother who open her up like a book and writes his name where there is written another. He goes to the garden to dig up the head but the spade is broken in two and the tree is burnt from the sky. The roof of the house flies of with the birds, and the woman opens her book to find two names written there. She picks her quill and puts the tip in her mouth as she watches the birds flit back and forth between branches. A squirrel catches hold of a swallows tail and is carried by the wind to a migratory home. The quill tip is sharp is cuts her cheek as she slips on the water spilt that morning from the jug. The fragments of the jug are carved with the two names, a circle surrounds them, the brothers that loved her, that kissed her on their wedding day, that slipped between her sheets, that carried her sleeping from the sofa downstairs and tucked her into bed. The prison warden is reprimanded and held up in chains, the inmates all stand below the gallows and weep, that man from man should cut life with a whip, should tie the knot so the choking stops. In his wallet is a picture of a sunset, clipped from a cheap magazine. He dreamed of escaping the black and white stripes, and bathing is sky blue and green. He pushed open the iron doors of the jailhouse and felt only the rough bark of palms under his key-calloused fingers. In his youth he had walked the streams that ran behind the farm, watching the way the trout kept their place, their gills breathing hard, mouths gaping like slippery panting dogs. The trout were caught and speared across the fire, or doused in lemon for the oven. A silver pot no larger than his infant palm stood on the sideboard, a tiny spoon poking through a hole in the lid. He opened and found sugar in a navy bed. He looked over his shoulder and nobody was there so he lifted the spoon and poured the sweet crystals into his giddy mouth, ready for the hit. At noon on the second day the trapdoor swings shut with a bang. The executioner falls sideways, the ground rushes up to meet the noose that loosens and breaks. The guards open their eyes and watch the man dressed in white reach into the pocket of his jacket and draw his weapon. The standoff is broken by the jailhouse bell that rings for mealtime and afternoon prayers. For the second time the gallows are dismantled and burnt with the books about science and history. In a haze the man walks through the smoke, breathing in the knowledge, ready to pass it on. Somewhere south of the border another woman wakes to find her bed empty, her room empty, her house empty, her heart, her head, her lungs. She walks through the wasteland preparing a speech that she gives to the gathered masses that press against the doors of the capitol, screaming for blood and justice, reaching through the iron bars for the hands of the guards who stand with raised guns, ready for the war that began in an internet chatroom seven years ago. Mailing lists are shared with the great and the good, an underground revolution is born and dies in hours as the government withhold then cede, then secretly reunite and recruit the commandant for active service to better understand the lives of the proletariat. At noon on the third day the gates open and a dream is released into the night twenty miles wide and seventy miles long it rocks through the flood and carries the hearts of passionate people in pairs to the entrance of the truth where they learnt that the boat is built of paper and the hull was breached before it sailed. Tin foil hats are thrown overboard where they are picked up by magpies and the poor, sold for liquor and keys to open the doors of prison cells. In the jailhouse they sing for the warden who's birthday is his retirement day, and he is let down from the gallows by a man in white who's sons are buried under a burning tree.
©2007-2021 Benedict Esdale