EXT. BETHANY’S HOUSE—NIGHT 1954

 

It’s Texas Indian summer.  Near the end of hurricane season. Rain is falling.  You see a light in a window.  Forms moving behind curtains.

CHORUS

This is not the house of David.  Time seen as a progression.  Halted in the moment of reflection and losing its truth, its allusions to a tragedy.  This home along the Sabine not the home of the husband to a granddaughter of a man called Papa Frenchie.  But yes, Frenchie’s house.  Paid for by hurricane and fire—the home of Bethany, divorced, and her children.  David the shadow of who was once overseer now just the payer of support and visitations.  The Tantalus drawn by insane descendants the lubricious hum of laments once sung at slave funerals—the generation of his, David’s, the Threnody name—Tantalus that faceless and unknown slave the father of Demetrius the father of Horace the father of David.  Each their respective Pelops and Atreus and Agamemnon.  Destroyed by the horror that comes with providing what’s needed to eat and sleep in America, by that irresistible power of the past, and brought back to life by the hopes of their offspring—the grandfather a migrated rail yard worker dying of a blood infection, the father a cook at fish fries awakening his children in the hunt for worms, and then David—a Psalmist—a singer of the Blues.  Demetrius Threnody losing his hand and his life to a train. Horace known as Duke wishing the sun would move backward in the sky so that he could stay fishing.  Black men—a family—lost in the American Dream, lost in David’s dream.  And yes, infanticide and incest and blood-lust followed them, instilled in this family line.  David the killer of Goliath and Bethany’s husband—his sons the seeds of adultery—and he the father of a daughter, Dulcinea, who loved him.  David playing both the role of father and grandfather to Solomon.  His brother and nephew, Benjy, the one who must work out the curse on this house, exact vengeance and pay with his own ruin…  But this is not the house of David.  For it is told of elsewhere.  In other songs.  In a long line that leads to Bethlehem.  In another lament—in the cry of, “O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!

INT. BETHANY’S HOUSE—NIGHT 1954

The children are at play under their feet.  Bethany and David sitting.  A glass of tea between them.  A damp ring of condensation has settled on the wood of the lamp-stand where the glass of tea rests, this the light you saw from the window.

DAVID

You’ve killed me.  I’m dead.  You know that—don’t you?

 

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