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Madame Earthquake

Jan 17, 2021 | Dreams, Dreams from the Pandemic

You can clearly see her in the surveillance footage.

Blonde hair blown out.

The small and tasteful sterling silver earrings one of my girlfriends might have worn in college.

Attractive oblong face, dark blue eyes, well made up–just the right amount of lipstick.

Comfortable, quasi-clingy print blouse.

Tight jeans, untorn and practical–not quite killer heels


She’s at the controls like a DJ just getting comfortable at the console,

eases up the volume—the bass and whatever the other dial is.

The one that really does the damage.


It starts with just a little rumbling.

Reminds me of the Stanley Milgram experiments, when the innocent bystander

administers shocks to strangers on the other side of a glass panel.

Obedience to authority they called it.


She dials up and the quaking begins.

You see it start to rattle around her.

There’s concentration on her tight lips like a performer used to loud music. No signs of distress.


You feel the damage before you see it,

the sense of faint distant screeching

all mixed in with the music.

Whatever it is.


Are those screams? So hard to tell with the sound so loud.


Of course the other cameras capture the mayhem. All of it.

The implosions.

The crashing glass.

The collapsing walls and floors.

The buildings turning into themselves.  


Every time she dials clockwise

there’s more screaming.

Her room shakes violently

though she’s indifferent–poker-faced

maybe the hint of a smile

though she resists any display of discomfort

like trying to smile when you’re being shocked–cattle prodded.


Until there’s a slight wince.

You kind of see it when she turns the dial higher,

well past 8 on the Richter scale.


It’s interesting these exceptional people, the ones who somehow avoid damage to themselves

like the survivors of atomic blasts.

All blessed with the strangest kind of resistance.


When the time seems right she turns it high enough past 9.5.

The great rumbling becomes so deep, it’s almost subsonic

and you can actually see her shaking.

It’s even hard for her to hold it all together so she does this only for the briefest of moments,

turns it back down and all is quiet,

except for the muffled cries from those buried under layers of debris.

Muffled cries from victims becoming accustomed to their new crypts.


The set over she still stands at the console

until the light fades

and she casually walks from the camera.


Sometime soon like an aftershock

another blonde woman arrives at the console.

Less confident, likely from the other side, her attire not quite as tasteful.

She seems more of a warm-up DJ. It’s interesting she comes last.


She turns the dial in the other direction

trying to turn back time

as if she wants to take us back to yesterday

before all of this happened. 

She turns the dial in the other direction but

doesn’t try for long.




  1. Filozofia

    What I wouldnt give to have a debate with you about this. You just say so many things that arrive from nowhere that Im quite sure Id have a fair shot. Your weblog is excellent visually, I mean people wont be bored. But others who can see past the videos and the layout wont be so impressed with your generic understanding of this topic.

    • Richie Smith

      Thanks for your comments. Please be aware this post in no way means to be political. It is based only on a dream. I suspect our subconscious says a lot about us, but it is usually beyond our control.


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© Richie Smith 

© Richie Smith