Thursday, 19 January 2017

What The Blazes? - Flash Fiction


A funeral pyre on which an Indian widow throws herself to honour her dead husband, while preserving that of her own. Firewalking across hot ashes. The burning tip of a cigarette cinching a corona, in the mouth of the man facing a firing squad or the electric chair as his last sensuous earthly act. An effigy burned to commemorate the resonance of past and present protest. The balefire beacons lit on the cliffs to warn of foreign invasions. Nomadic burning of the savannah to renew the soil and make it bloom. Kafka ordering his books to be burned on his death, the Nazis obliging with the works of all other Jewish authors in their cleansing Sauberung. The djinn that resides in the fire and the arsonist whose face lights up having summoned similar power with his gas can and matches. Prometheus who is punished for conferring the gift of fire on man to raise us up from the animals. Swords annealed in fire, decorative glass also forged in the flame. The murderer who trusts in the power of the flame to remove all forensic evidence, but who is worshipping a false god. The salamander that cannot burn and the witch who can, whatever she recants at the stake. The homosexuals who were used as Counter-Reformation kindling, from which the word faggot derived. Gypsies, Jews and Queers up in smoke in Nazi ovens. Holocaust, a complete consumption by fire, neither burnt offering nor offering pyromancy. The KKK careful to try and distinguish a light for Christ rather than burning the cross into cinders, basted in Negro blood. Punitive hell fires without the faintest suggestion of purgation and redemption. Icarus’ wings on fire and the burning oil fires in the upper stories of the Twin Towers. Incontestably we cannot live without the elements of air, earth and water. The element of fire is far more double-edged. We live and die by it. 

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