|Moses Striking Water from the Rock by Francesco Bacchiacca|
I fail in my attempts to scale a sheer cliff face. The convex shaft of rock rises with crumbling shale and patches of vegetation. About 12 stories high, there a small plateau can be seen, whereupon a sparse array of pines and a wild horse appear at the glinting corner of my eye against the vertical immensity.
With extreme patience, I wait so long at the bottom, contemplating my journey up to the top of this rocky upshot plateau that my surroundings turn to nightfall. I am somewhere, it seems on a street corner of an old Western town mixed with a particular street corner in Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt where an old-fashioned, abandoned colonial bar still exists as the sole edifice of its kind across from the Iraqi embassy. It is nightfall and the dirt road is damp. Eyeing a nearby cat atop small, ramshackle homes and halfheartedly constructed projects, I shoe away stray dogs. I am playing an odd percussion instrument. With vertebrae, it seems of dog, horse and cat, in different sizes strung up, and hanging down off a piece of wood, I knock against them with the skull of a dog. The bone-knocking sound is then accompanied with a metallic cymbal-like object that I also strike against the differently-sized vertebrae hanging down in various lengths, to produce specific tones upon striking them. The sounds are enlightening, yet as the dog nearly kills a cat, attempting to chase it into certain death around my roofless quarters, I still yearn to rise with break of day and scale the rocky outcrop.