The Spice Trade
Stephen Nelson

I express a theory of colours affecting body and soul. Those who laugh belong underwater. It is the seventeenth century after all. Governments grow incensed, propose a counter theory of black and grey which opens trade links with the Orient, spins a web of criss-crossed shipping lanes across the globe. The seas are choked with debris. The seas are full of drowning men.
I bring my colours to the King. He laughs me out of the palace, then chokes that night on strong meat laced with vinegar. His funeral is black and grey. The crypt smells of cinnamon. Only his youngest daughter triumphs with a spray of wildflowers in her bonnet. She is set for the beheading.
I abandon my theory in Regent's Park. They call me effete. They call me effeminate. I run to the docks where I hide in a cargo of tobacco and sugar. My theory has spread like a rash among the slaves. There is talk of hot revolt. I sail to Jamaica and on to America where I start an insurrection. Civil war erupts, followed by a long period of promised liberation. People adopt anthems, march on Washington, instigate a season of assassinations.
We alone are alive in a commune of colour filled with aromatic smoke. Outside the sound of sirens, flashing lights. Rubble, abandonment, desolation. No one reads the Bible anymore.