The Man

I watch the man burn amongst the most spectacular fireworks and explosions you could imagine. I feel a sense of calm to see it burn as if all anarchy and hate is disappearing with its removal from the world. I yearn for someone special to share this moment with, to replace these negative energies with something more positive.


Like meerkats the people in front of me rise with the flames and block the view. I rise with them, only for two arms to grasp at mine and my lower back to turn me around. A lady behind me tells me I’m too tall and she cannot see. Somehow, someway, in a way to compromise we fall into a warm embrace. My arms clutch her and her head pushes affectionally into my chest. We watch together in near silence, with the occasional shriek and wow as the man burns until there is nothing left but a wooden wireframe. Then we together clutch one another knowingly as if we have known each other for years and years, as the last piece of the man hits the floor. As only smoke remains, we separate and talk for the first time. The first time properly seeing each other’s faces.

Tamara asks if I saw her shirt. I say I didn’t, and she steps back to reveal it says “free hugs”. She admits that I am the longest hug she has ever given away. I step back and reveal the 8 watches on my 2 wrists and the 9 watches that hang around my neck and say that it must be related. We hug one last time and walk away without exchanging details, for it seems more special that way.

As she leaves I look around me, the desert now a stranger without a distinctive wooden man in its heart. When everything around you that know best and love dearest is destroyed, surprisingly the one thing that shines the brightest and helps you through, is Love.

/ and the world ended /
/ in fire, neon and chaos /
/ beautiful it was /

by Jon Robson

About the author: Tales From the Playa

Tales From the Playa

Tales From the Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by participants. Submit your story here.