First Martian Eclogue

by Bertrand Cayzac

Melly and TT Ray grew up together in an agro-industrial area by the Mexican border during the early days of the space flight, millennia after Virgil sung the herdsman’s lore in his eclogues and some few generations after the last cowboy was seen taking shelter under a highway overpass as captured in Cormac McCarthy’s novel Cities of the Plain.

TT Ray and Melly used to work hard for a meager wage, sometimes in the fields, sometimes in the mills, and they loved to rap a little during their spare time.

Now, food mass production is undergoing a new wave of consolidation while investors are claiming the land to operate real-scale agro theme parks or luxury vintage ecosystems. This time, innumerable jobless have no choice but to leave for the booming space colonies.

Our heroes, too, have lost their jobs in the shutdowns. In this chant, Melly is heading to the spaceport. She meets TT Ray, who rejoices, as he has just obtained a grant from the Arts Council to continue rapping downtown for the space tourists. As usual — but for the last time — they turn their story into rap.

MELLY

You’re taking it easy, TT Ray, dancing in the streets,
farting in your sheets. But I’m bust, I’m leaving our valleys
for them space galleys,
’cause they shuttered the meatpacking plant,
they shattered the neat working plan, you saw that on the telly.

TT RAY

Yeah, yeah, Melly, an angel gave me this leisure
the day they put wheels under the cattle.
We lost cowhands quit the land without battle.
Now calves will be cut in half by the bionic chattel,
animals and menials all enslaved,
but God pitied the poor knave!

MELLY

Ain’t holding a grudge against you, dude.
No, just saying I’m that drudge again,
stampeding to the hot rocket summer
with all the bummers and my babies.
Wish you’d keep them, TT Ray,
’cause I’ll be astray forever.
Why don’t you tell me who’s your God?

TT RAY

I went straight to City Hall,
said I’d hate becoming the thrall
of the colonists, said I can rap for the excursionists and all
the tourists. The officer said I’m fitted for the benefit,
a grant from the Arts Council.
Just the stroke of a pencil!

MELLY

Be happy, TT RAY, at the end of the day
it’s funny you made it, I say.
You’ll stay in town with your kin,
I see you chilling down in the bars we’ve been in,
content with your day,
the scent of the highway
yonder, where the mountains turn blue
and the trains whistle true.

TT RAY

I reckon you’ll see the coyote at the groom room,
the peyote in the classroom,
doom and gloom in the industry,
machines on strike with heads on spikes,
no more seeding or harvesting before
I stop voting for my purveyor. Yes, I pray for the Mayor!

MELLY

But we must go and get annoyed in the void,
benumbed on Ganymede. Some of us will reach the Moon,
some will ditch in Titan’s methane lagoons.
Others will sell themselves to the outer-debris dwellers,
all sundered from the sun, busy with the business,
’cause of the business.

TT RAY

Stay with me tonight, come chill out at my place
and watch the game.
Headlights can be seen on the hill roads now,
moving at a slow pace.
We can have some cold beers, fresh oysters
and a rack of smoked ribs,
while the nighthawks glide and scream
over the roof of our cribs.


Copyright © 2015 by Bertrand Cayzac

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