eggshells and honey

On experiencing the second sold-out performance of ‘Eggshells and Honey’: Before it begins the rooftop crowd gathers energy— stark shadows sparking on frigid concrete, a dry chill rides the air. Talk turns to eggshells, how paying for calcium supplements is a waste of money; women should just dry their spent egg shells, grind them, and stir the powder into anything, dissolve it on the tongue, snort it— the conversation dissolves into giggles. I’m thinking about white women kneeling on pedestals of match sticks watching smoke lift, choking— I am thinking about identity. White/Woman. I am thinking about my own propensity for victim-claiming, transcendence. Technical Director Jordan Daniels opens the door. The show has already begun.

EYEBALLZ & HONEY

Balmy 90’s pop spills from the blue’d cave of Mesa Art Center’s acting studio.

Body-width strips of white paper stretch ceiling to floor

taped to the rigging, anchored by bricks. Accompanying music videos

splice between swaths, snippets of action, slices of wanton face.

It takes a few moments to notice Julie Akerly (Creator/Performer)

crouched over a mixing bowl in the back, sheer black robe trailing— cool.

Rising, paint-brush in hand she scrawls something—

taking up space. Moving to fresh piece, an image evolves stroke by stroke,

cold honey beads drip from fresh-painted vulva lips.

From Natalie Imbruglia the soundtrack slips into

silence, a collective holding of breath.

“Can you hear me?”

From behind the honey-scrawl painting.

Again, “Can you hear me?”

I want to say, “Yes.” Instead, exhale held breath.

An invitation to bear witness with upturned palm, closed eyes—

To feel the inside. Eyes tease open. I can’t do it tonight.

My vessel already so full that it might spill over,

“It takes a lot of courage to say ‘No’.”

Julie’s voice is a balm cooling warm ears.

I watch the honey beads inch floorward.

Each outstretched hand receives the gift of knowing,

an invitation to unwrap, to feel, to listen.

One tiny ball falls from someone’s palm, rolls across the floor—

truth of the moment, levity, shared smile in darkness.

Then, mood shifts red, double entendre sex and scare, scream.

A sultry crescendo of innuendo builds, diminished proximity.

How we beckon our own ball and chain. Or, brick. Tape to skin.

Julie’s commanding and consoling body is bold and breaking.

Is fervent, tempestuous. Is painfully specific, precision of language and pain.

Her rhythm balks and builds- tenuous, tempting, gorgeous, pouring into rage.

Then, it’s intermission. Voices pile on echo. Excitement, exclaiming over the temptress. In 9 minutes flat Daniels has transformed the studio: A simple circle of chairs; dim yellow light melting its edges into darkness.

EGGSHELL STERNUM/PELVIC NERVE

Photo by Jenny Gerena

Allyson Yoder (Creator/Performer) is curled up, fetal

on a black box folded into the circle of chairs.

It is silent, but for shuffling and breathing. Soft.

Bit by bit, sound like ping pong balls dropping from a low height

clinking, crackling. Just a subtle are the motions of waking.

Allyson explores to the edges of her black-painted pedestal. Recoils.

(What is the symbolism of painting it black?)

Pause, watching us watch her. Gazing back. Curious? White polo crop

mock turtle neck, sleeveless & red shorts, elastic in the waist—

epitome of American Apparel dream girl taking it all in. Innocence

or, ignorance illuminated by the intensifying yolky sunshine.

Dear diary begins, and we sit all together listening to the swelling