the same story

The romantic version

 

They both hope the impossible.

He hopes that she might desire him as a man.

She hopes that he might realize how a woman is built and that he would accept her with her issue. It is not a crime. It’s just her way of desiring. She will not bother him anyhow. He could follow his chase at his ease.

We are always told: men and women are the same species. No. They aren’t.

 

One cannot hope the impossible forever. The thread that all the sunrises hang on, breaks at one moment.

 

He hopes that her way of being would synchronize with his tides.

She hopes that one day he will stop leaving. But she doesn’t understand the low tide and the ebb tide.

Ulysses is a story written by Penelope.

 

He is revolted because she doesn’t treasure freedom. But he suffers to know her with another.

He would love her to belong to him… but like the lust of music or the silence of noon.

He would love her to be always the same, like the sea. Time not to touch her face and breasts. To be a statue of marble.

The more he desires her to be a thing, the less he lets her see inside him.

By the contrary, she gives herself the more ardently as he strives to turn her into a ritual object.

 

She explodes into an attack of fever and melancholy.

His idol falls down and crushed with noise at the asphalt.  He spits with disdain.

He casts her away.

She remains locked into the cell of insomnia to haggle with his shadow.

 

The postmodern  version

 

the idealist rationalism and good part of the civilization’s archives consign that men are endowed with a stronger metaphysical sense than women, that have been proven to be more carnal.

 

Empirically, things appear to be different.

She tells other women: he has a contagious smile that wraps you up into the vapors of other centuries. His heart is pure ember, his sights are healing water, his arms are the promise land’s ground. And when he kisses me, it’s like trying to suck the whole life out of my breast into the unforeseen depths of his being.

He tells other men: she has a perfect ass. I don’t know if I can make myself clear. By perfect ass I mean The Perfect Ass. It’s such a pity she is a sentimental cow.

 

Night is falling over the city of Troy.

Women are washing their blood spotted headdresses into the same waters for centuries.

 

Psychology

 

The mind is a mirrors system. Everything is backwards in reality.

 

This explains why victims have complexes of guilt,  why intelligent men are convinced that others are smarter, why arrogant pals suspect their fellows of vanity, why the ones full of envy are convinced they are coveted all the time, why women believe in men’s love.

 

The scientific version

 

The good side is that male potency is not just a myth. The bad side is that every potent man is conscious that he is a rare exemplary and he could have an army of slaves. Women that sustain they can make a devoted partner out of a potent man, applying various strategies, have never met one.

 

 

Zen version

 

You better die of a God’s hand, after he offered you the happiness, than living a long live with a devoted slave that kisses your feet because he has nothing to offer.

 

The personal version

 

I always hated the word hope.

 

Anytime

 

You may come anytime

even at the hour when the scavengers pick up the forgotten umbrellas from the bus stations

or in the middle of the night

it’s good anytime

 

just come

 

even only in my sleep

all I want is to see you no matter how

to touch you

nothing more

to sniff your smell

 

show up for only few minutes

no matter when and where

when I barely drag my feet on the beaten tracks of solitude

 

you may come when the leaves are falling

or  in a misty winter morning

when the walnuts are blossoming

or next springtime

even for a few minutes

or less

 

just to let me know that you breathe

no more

 

you may come anytime

even now

when everything is too late

The Fool and the Wiseman

The Fool and the Wiseman

‘I’m free, I have nothing to prove,’ says the Wiseman.

‘The one who feels free is just as entitled to prove to himself or to others what he has to prove,’ the Fool contradicts him.

 ‘Freedom is when you have everything under control and are able to shape reality through your own will,’ the Wiseman says.

‘No, reality is when you lose control, if you were raised to be a rigid English man,’ the Fool concludes.

‘Freedom means giving existence a meaning and being able to live in accordance with it,’ the Wiseman ponders.

‘No, freedom is being able to live without a purpose. A form of spiritual vagrancy,’ the Fool objects.

‘Freedom is being yourself in any circumstances,’ the Wiseman speaks again.

‘Freedom is the modesty to decline any identity in a world in which all boasters compete in being more themselves,’ the Fool challenges him.

‘Freedom is independence, it is the lack of any inner or outer constraints,’ the Wiseman utters confidently.

 ‘But freedom is also allowing yourself to be subjugated and dominated when you feel like doing so,’ the Fool objects.

‘Freedom is when reason manages to control chaotic, turbulent or destructive feelings,’ the Wiseman states serenely.

‘No, freedom is assuming what you feel, despite any reason… Realizing that nothing worth living is subjected to the rules of reason,’ the Fool retorts, grinding his teeth.

‘Freedom is the possibility to choose, a mean of getting what you want,’ the Wiseman muses.

‘What if you don’t want anything that you are allowed to choose from?’ the Fool provokes him.

‘Freedom is questioning everything you believe you know,’ the Wiseman tries to reconcile.

‘And being able to surpass any doubt when it comes to essential matters,’ the Fool replies.

‘Freedom is honesty in a world in which everyone is phony and hypocritical,’ the Wiseman says, reflectively.

‘And it’s freedom to dissimulate in a world in which everyone is fatally honest,’ the Fool adds.

The problem with freedom is that it doesn’t have a precise object, it can be anything, therefore it is nothing. It’s a chimera that can take on any face.

You probably thought that this dialogue of the Wiseman and the Fool is an allegorical one, and rushed to cast Irène as the Wiseman and Tristan as the Fool… Think again. Who is the Fool? And who chases freedom, believing that if he can seize it, he’s hit the jackpot?  The one who feels that he misses it, of course: the Wiseman.

No, you didn’t figure it out this time either. Irène isn’t the Fool. Irène doesn’t stumble on freedom and she doesn’t crave it. She has it, she uses it, she makes do with it… She is a free person, for her, there’s no point in chasing freedom. Tristan is sometimes the Wiseman and sometimes the Fool, that’s how he’s always been. In times of peace, when he stops running and draws his breath, he’s the Fool.

Irène would only die for love. Norman says it, she herself says is and Tristan says it. Otherwise, Irène would live like an immortal. Otherwise, Irène would be happy. Happy people don’t need freedom…

Everyone realizes that freedom is what happiness is to an unhappy person.

People are set on presenting things with a moral or, anyway, under moral auspices. You relate a story and the interlocutor asks you at some point: and what’s the moral of the story? Or he is outraged. Or he shakes his head, meaningfully. He makes negative or positive remarks. But there’s no moral behind existence, there’s only void… Tristan says it and Irène, although she agrees with him, can’t stop herself from suffering.

Sanctuary

Tristan

There was a joke going around our school: ‘What’s the difference between what the boy thinks about a penis and what an old man thinks about it? The boy reckons it is used for peeing. The old man in certain of it.’ Back then, I was a lad who had just stopped being a boy and the joke amused me greatly. Now I don’t find it as funny.

People don’t really talk about the impotence due to age. You can sooner find information about incurable diseases than about andropause. You are somewhat forewarned if you are to lose a hand in an accident or become paralyzed, whereas no one rushes to warn you about the fact that at some point, you become inapt for what you did best. I can’t tell what it’s like. Are you left with the desire but can’t get it up anymore? Or does the desire disappear as well? The idea that one day I won’t be able to satisfy Irène makes me ill. Because she wants my desire… not a certain type of touch, and I understand her, that’s what we all want. Otherwise, what happens between sexual partners wouldn’t be called eros, but massage or double masturbation. The question is: will I become inapt for love?  And if so, what will the day be like when I look at a naked woman and not feel anything?

Irène tries to ease my mind… She tries to do things for me. She told me she would have taken a beating for me and many other things. She’s exactly like my mother. I was supposedly very sensitive in kindergarten. Can you imagine?

Sometimes, Irène really does manage to take over my migraines, but she can’t want herself for me, that’s a problem…

The first that age are the hands, the skin swells and reddens, the pores begin to open. I’ve seen so many old hands! I look at mine and don’t recognize them anymore. I’ve seen them so many times in others, I’ve seen them in photos and movies. In my imagination, my hands are still young: white, with no wrinkles, ungrooved. There’s nothing stranger than growing old. You continue to have all your former ages inside of you.

Your memories from since you were three are almost as fresh as those from the day before yesterday, as the ones from the age of thirty. There’s no chronology in memory. Time doesn’t pass in a recollection. Each remembrance is another world, another universe, just as real, just as true as the one in which the hands grow old. There is no order of things in our minds. The pieces fall together randomly, in one way or another. I look at my aged hands and continue to see the ghost of my young hands overlapped on their image. We carry an entire cemetery of shadows inside. I think about all the faces that I still carry with me, although the mirror doesn’t recognize them anymore. I think about everything that happens outside of the world, about all the impalpable ramps that make up our existence and about how we all pass through transparent labyrinths of memory, confused, trying in vain to gather ourselves into a single face and a single fate. I think about the hands that I paint with, as if they are one with the painting, as if nothing has happened to them since the moment I started working on a canvas and the moment I finished it, as if they are always the same hands, which ritualistically perform the same gestures, as if life itself could still erupt from my chest with no stripes, no folds, no crosshatches or wrinkles, as if I could still understand it without increasingly complicated maps of desire. All the walls of my heart are covered in such maps. My views are full of crosshatches and arrows, of stripes that overlap the thin grooves that seam my hands, so that I only see the immaculate spaces between the wrinkles, the image of my white hands, with their smooth skin, forever young. Memory is the fountain of youth. Time doesn’t pass in memory. There are only statues with immaculate skin in memory. Caryatid-moments that support the walls of the world. I’m not afraid of death, I don’t care that there will be nothing left of me, I don’t care that I won’t come back, but strangely I can feel Irène’s pain following my inescapable disappearance, it’s an infinite pain. I can’t find another word for it. A pain heavier than Uranium. Deeper than the deepest hole, darker than a black hole. I can feel her pain pulsating in me like a second heart. Like a shadow of my own breathing that widens with each passing day. The fact that I can feel her pain, just as I can feel her passions and her throbs of pleasure, probably doesn’t mean anything. We are resonance boxes for each other, nothing more. What surprises me is how easily I accept her desire to commit suicide immediately after my death, given that I understand the proportions of this pain… Then, there will be nothing, not even darkness, it will be a liberation for her. I obviously can’t let her harm herself so much by loving me. I obviously have to do everything in my power to let her down. I can’t stand the idea of causing so much pain, even involuntarily.

Irène opposes the absurd in an absurd way. She has a sanctuary with photos from my youth. She frantically resizes and processes them in her programs and gives me the impression of someone who is fighting to convince a stuffed bird to flap its wings. My strategy was to live several lives consecutively, to start over from time to time, with no nostalgias. I only managed to do it partially, but I strived to, and I’m still striving. But Irène’s memory is like the National Archive: it records everything, it swallows everything, it absorbs and preserves everything embalmed in the liquors of melancholy, and it’s not easy to live when you are dueling with the hyperbole-image of your lost youth, in the eyes of the woman you love.

Irène

The first thing I noticed was that three of his photos, which I kept framed over the fireplace, were missing. Tristan was sitting comfortably on the couch, watching a very exciting game of snooker on TV.

‘Do you happen to know where the pictures over the fireplace are?’

‘In the fireplace.’

‘I don’t understand.’

‘I burned them. I didn’t like how I looked in them.’

‘I hope you’re not serious.’

‘I am.’

He continued to sit there, with his eyes glued to the screen.

‘That’s ok. I can print them out again. I have them on my laptop and on CDs. I also have them on a memory stick, I have enough copies. But it will cost us about £15.’

He didn’t say anything, he just sipped from the coffee cup on the table and fluffed up the cushion behind his back. The folder in which I kept all his photographs was empty. A shiver ran through me. What if! I rushed to the drawer where I kept my CDs, but I couldn’t find the ones with the pictures of him. And the album I had brought from his mother’s house had also disappeared. I checked the memory stick too, although things were fairly clear.

‘Tristan!’

He wasn’t going to justify his actions. I didn’t need to rummage through the dumpster in the street, because the garbage men had already emptied it. I burst into tears, rushed over to him and started hitting him, enraged. He threw me on the couch and immobilized my hands. He started kissing me savagely, believing he could calm me down, but I continued crying.

‘That boy in the photos was my soul! And yes, I love him, I love him. Precisely because you don’t care about him, because you consider him dead, you had no right to touch the photos! I need memory to be able to love, to be able to understand something from this life, to be able to motivate myself enough to move day by day. We’re not all as enlightened as you, as adapted to living only in the present.’

‘You love a fucking ghost,’ he told me, in a harsh voice that I hadn’t known until then.

‘You’re just as much of a ghost as him… In a month from now, none of your cells will be the same,’ I told him, just as cruelly.

I was sorry for it. In the end, he was right. I apologized, kissed his hands and placed them on my chest, crushing my lips on his, but I felt him absent.

Norman

Irène has begun to feel the pressure of his age on her, that’s what she told me. “If I could give him 10 of my years! Or at least grow old myself!” She’s in a crisis in which she perceives the passage of time almost physically. She’s started to go to the gym, to run, to strain herself, as if she could fortify him by acting on her own body or make conservation efforts for him, since his health is pretty feeble after the years of excesses he has subjected his body to. I won’t go into details.

I picked her up from the gym one day. She looked exhausted and was very thin, her cheeks had become as hollow as his. She had dark circles around her eyes and a distraught look. She told me passionately about a new series of paintings that Tristan was thinking about. I watched her gesticulate and utter the words in a manner very similar to his and I was afraid for her. I had hoped that, after knowing Tristan better, her frenzy would die down, but things evolved in the opposite direction. What followed was a failed act on my part, it was the worst possible moment to let her know that I was jealous. And I really wasn’t, I just wanted to understand, so I asked her some questions. She didn’t intend to live peacefully in a beautiful and stable couple life, but boil over, be devoured by obsession, intoxicated.

‘I too am a sort of Tristan who needs to walk on tall roofs and make moral leaps in order to feel alive. I was a child in the ‘90s, I know very well what a free runner is, I grew up in contact with that spirit. You have no idea how much I looked up to those guys!’

‘That’s crazy!’

‘Yes, Norman, it’s crazy.’

‘So that’s it? That’s what love is to you? An extreme sport?’

‘How you love to give definitions!’

‘I understand that you admire acrobats… Unfortunately, your extreme sport is not exactly compatible with his desire to run,’ I told her, bitterly.

I remembered having read in a book, the author of which I don’t remember, that you can’t fall in love with a tangible man. How can you crave for what you have? Passion draws its juices from absences, from conflict, it’s a painful inflammation of an absence. And pain is precisely what keeps the flame alive.

Irène

Norman doesn’t understand, he doesn’t realize. I am a lot like Tristan. I know very well the fogs of melancholy that his wanderlust erupts from. When I was in Brussels, and even during the first years of marriage, I always had the impression that reality wasn’t alive enough. That I was living at a periphery of the world and I had to do something to move from it towards the center. I would have liked to reach the same intensity I lived at in the depth of my loneliness or when I painted, as in the tangible reality. You imagine things at a temperature that you would like to live at and you believe that you are wasting yourself and dissipating in an anodyne decorum. That’s the feeling.

When I returned from faculty, I used to take a bus that came at precise hours of the day. When I got on it, they were already on the bus, propped against the rear window: a boy and a girl. They never sat down. He leaned against the window at the back of the bus and stared into space, and she stood with her face buried in his chest. Their bodies seemed to be welded together and have only one face: his. I got on and off before them and that’s why I never managed to see the girl’s face, and the matter intrigued me. I tried to guess it and one day, I painted it. A few months later, I saw them on the street and almost fainted, that’s how shocked I was at discovering that in reality, the girl looked very similar to how I had imagined her. Of course the phenomenon was easily explainable: I had scraped up a female portrait, derived from his features. But I thought there was something more to it: a law of nature, an algorithm of instinct that made people who were predestined to form a couple resemble each other, in the essence of their features and expressions…

Norman

I don’t know what Irène was imagining, what she had hoped, what she had thought she could do. As soon as he started selling paintings and having some success, things went down the predictable path. Tristan began to disappear little by little. Each day, he was a bit more absent.

‘Where are you going?’

‘Don’t worry, I’ll be back soon… You shouldn’t panic.’

But she knew something was up.

He had begun to spend nights away from home, and she didn’t dare call him out on it. She would have only driven him further away, if she had. He would probably have suggested that they break up. She popped Xanax to be able to find some peace and rest. She could only sleep naturally in his arms. If she had to spend the night alone, she had anxiety fits or insomnia. She had begun to drink almost daily, although she didn’t even like alcohol and became tipsy after the first glass…

***

Irène learned to fight for love, she learned to keep him in check, to make him live under the impression that she was detached, that she had other prospects, she learned to obtain what made her happy and brought him into his state of levitation, namely his desire… If she proved short-spoken, he would begin to fear that he was losing her, it was a concern that brought his desire to the brink of incandescence. “We’ll only see each other if you can’t bear not to, otherwise we won’t”… and she pretended she could bear it.

In reality, Irène didn’t learn anything, Irène only imagines she has learned, she hopes she knows how to keep him in check, but he is toying with her, he gives her the illusion that she controls things from the shadows, but he knows very well the state of tension she is in for the two weeks during which she disappears… and he pretends to be worried by her anxiety.

He undresses her with swift and slightly aggressive gestures, two buttons burst from their tags, the silk of the blouse rips loudly. He holds her wrists in his hands and looks at her relentlessly. He only touches her after a while, running the tip of his tongue over her burning skin. He knows how to intensify her sensations. That’s what he did to all women: he found their weak spots and insisted on them, making them the prisoners of relishes that he could induce and control as he pleased.

‘And all of them dreamt of stopping him from his mad rush towards who knows what. Maybe except Beth, who was more excited by the applause,’ Norman warned her.

***

‘Irène, let it go!’

Irène looks despondently at Norman. She chokes on her words, opens her mouth trying to utter a phrase, but only disarticulated sounds emerge to the surface.

She was obsessed by a movie in which the characters are accidentally trapped on a giant spaceship that takes them further and further away in time and space from the planet that the center of their world is in. They have no control over it. On the day Irène was born, they were both in the center of the world, Tristan was feeling like a perfectly tuned instrument and ready to overcome the noise of the world, and the great adventure was beginning for her. Irène thinks about how they are both driven by a dark force further and further away from the initial moment, when they were at the center of the world. Then, all paths were possible, for each of them. Tristan could have gone down another path then. Or not?

‘Admit it, Norman, you love him too,’ she barely uttered. ‘We have the same problem, you and me.’

‘I have children, Irène, I have a family. A wife that I adore. We don’t have the same problem.’

***

Even Tristan’s mother called her, to confirm what Norman had said:

‘You’re a fool. You think that I didn’t try? That other women didn’t love him? That you are the only one?’

fragments from the novel The Black Box

Midsummer desert dream

Midsummer desert dream
(poem)

 

The only man who ever said to me “You’re beautiful”

saw me as a slut with unexplored potential.

I went with him of course; even ugly women

yearn to be told they are beautiful,

even as they pretend to struggle for truth, justice & other Gods.

 

He saw a genuine slut in me, good for instruction

he asked me with much tact and grace: May I hurt you?

I said Yes

You’re so beautiful with all of these bruises!

May I cut a finger from your right hand?

I told myself: a finger is not a big deal, I will quickly learn to manage with only four

I agreed, and he exclaimed: you’re unbelievably beautiful with this generosity of yours

and he cut my finger

I thanked him with a gnash
May I chop your hips? Of course

The pain, he said, made me more and more beautiful and attractive

May I take out one of your eyes?

I hesitated a bit, I was not concerned about my eyesight, but I feared that the mutilation would make me ugly
but what are two superb eyes, two perfect hands, the most sensual carnation, the finest skin good for

in a world wherein nobody sees you and tells you: you’re beautiful?
He saw me

I could have listened to him breathing even with a single ear

I could have caressed his tensed temples with only one hand

I could have sniffed his smell of animal in heat with a single nostril

 

He was determined to take his trophy out of me

I consented to everything

I let him haggle my tights, my womb, my arms

while doing these he never ceased telling me how beautiful I was

The blood fits you so well, my slut!

May I cut your heart in two pieces?

He asked me this with the smoothest and warmest voice like a true gentleman

I said yes

Without any shade of regret

He went away

And I remained with only one half of my heart

With a life split in two pieces

But this is not the worst
What I hoped for was that he would have killed me

That’s the truth

I don’t care about the wounds

They will heal
The worst thing is that I should return to a place

Filled up with wonderful, well behaved men,

Who think only in the highest respect about me

Men that would never hurt me, not even with a gun pointed at their heads

Men descended from contemporary fairy tales

That never told me and will never tell me

You are beautiful

I’m kidding

 

I’m against marriage, against any amorous commitment, and I act in intimacy according to the principles that form a rock band and keep it alive: as long as the chemistry works and it’s well seasoned, with applause, lots of humor, some stimulants and fans, everything is cool; as soon as the chemistry starts to show signs of alteration, I give up. It’s much too complicated to try to maintain a relationship after the attraction and the chemistry die down. I have an infantile behavior, of course, typical for a superficial Westerner, raised upon libertine values, with no sense of responsibility and brakes with regard to the cultivation of pleasure, the mentality of a person who doesn’t know the value or the price of freedom, and whose sole purpose in life is to burn daylight like he is twenty, even in the geriatrics clinic.

I’m kidding.

I had a man who mistreated me and abused me so much that I’ve got a phobia against any type of intimate commitment. I lived confined in an unbearable climate for years. You know how it goes: you show up young and beautiful at the City Hall, with your friends, your relatives, the entire lot, you say “yes”, you sign the document, while a tear trickles down your mother’s cheek, and you wake up from a nightmare, 10 years later, you look in the mirror and you don’t recognize your mug anymore. You see a dull face, with dark and ghastly eyes, with some queer wrinkles around the mouth, and you wonder: who is this creature?

I’m kidding.

I’m a failed idealist, the classical case. When I realized that there is no love and passion and devotion, I gave up on it, what was I to do? I adapted, I stopped hoping for the impossible, I adjusted my expectations to the real offer. People have common interests and needs, that’s what consolidates most couples and guarantees their longevity, whereas I dreamt of a game with a higher stake; in fact, what am I saying? Not a game, that’s just it: I yearned for the great art of the Eros.

I’m kidding.

In reality, it’s much simpler than that: none of the men I craved ever loved me. None of the ones I could have been happy with wanted me, and I ended up in relations with fellows that didn’t really interest me. And after a certain age, when you see that history keeps repeating itself, you draw a line and say: that’s it, no more. Change of scenery and of desires. I’m kidding. Who the hell can defeat his own heart’s impulses just because he wants to?

Of course I’m kidding.

So you’ve understood: I’m a nymphomaniac. I can’t settle down. I must have absolutely every man that crosses my path, otherwise I feel terribly frustrated and I am capable of doing unexplainable things, such as using a lighter to burn the dress of my second storey neighbor, if I catch the door to the drying room open and the dress hanging on the clothes line.

I’m kidding.

I’m ashamed to tell the truth: the truth is I’m a good girl. I’ve always been a good girl, and attractive boys have run away from me like great entrepreneurs run from the IRS, and I was only looked upon with interest by those guys who could barely put two words together at a party and tripped themselves when they asked you to dance. The tragic part is that I’ve always liked a type of man who only wants runway models and vamps, and I understand why. It’s natural. If I were him, I’d prefer a hyper-sensual woman who rubs her thighs together lasciviously when she fidgets in her chair and caresses the restaurant table’s leg with her high heel, over one who is so modest that, after trying on every form-fitting dress in her wardrobe, eventually chooses to go out on a date with a loose sweater, so that the man she passionately wants won’t think that she’s trying to sexually incite him, God forbid! It’s obvious that, if I were a man, I’d be the kind who trips himself until he loses his balance and falls over his partner, and when he tries to pick her up, after the accident, he makes a joke about the polish on the floor. Only with such a man could I afford a marriage, which is what actually happened. Do you understand? It’s difficult for me to value the matter.

I’m kidding.

I was only sixteen years old… The typical situation: a group of teenagers, a summer evening, in the park, we smoked some weed, we played the guitar, we laughed. I had been invited by the cousin of a classmate. While we were making merry in a group, he behaved as decent as possible, he kept touching me from time to time, discretely, he ran his hand through my hair a few times. Then, after everyone left for home, he offered to take me home and I accepted. He had a car. When he took a wrong turn, I warned him, innocently, that he should go back, but he continued to drive forward. Whatever. The fact is, no matter how gentle and patient a man is with me, I still don’t trust him, none of them. The only people who don’t raise my fear or my suspicion are those who have a slightly imbecile air when they smile at you, who don’t know what to do with their hands when they are intimidated and who can talk to you about anything on the tone with which the people on the radio read the levels of the Danube. We all know it, these men are truly harmless, and they seem to beg to be wife-ridden, but they are as bland in bed as delicacies for kidney patients. If you are a normal woman, you don’t really feel like keeping a no-salt diet, do you? I would only risk getting married with one such fellow.

I’m kidding.

In fact, nothing I’ve said up to this point is true. I just have a great imagination. I’m an artist. You know how artists are.

I’m kidding.

I’m religious. Yes. I know, in our times, a religious woman has a hard time finding a partner. I cannot even fathom accepting a libertine or a degenerate, a rascal or a skirt chaser, someone who is not a God-fearing person.

I’m kidding. I’m really funny, aren’t I?

I didn’t have the good fortune of other people, to be born with parents that could afford to send me to university. My mother raised me by herself. My father knocked her up and left with another woman, blonder and younger than her. I’ve had to work ever since I was 18. I’ve had all possible jobs, I was even a chicken separator on a farm. I had to take the chickens and separate them according to their gender. This might be the only species in which females are somewhat more valuable than males. When my time came, I too got married, just like all my friends did. I wasn’t going to be called the neighborhood whore, although I swear it would have been better than what followed. My husband is a day laborer and spends his time in front of the Super-Bet at the corner, he drinks everything he earns… and after he drinks… Some women are luckier than other, that’s just life, that’s the destiny I was dealt. I can’t exactly praise marriage, it’s logical, isn’t it?

I’m kidding.

It’s clear to you that only an intellectual can talk like this, of course I have an academic education. I also have a PhD. I’m the head of a laboratory in a multinational company. And I’m not going to abandon my career for God knows what whimper to ask me to support him or worse, some retard to send me to the kitchen to make him some food. If a man asked me to make his some soup, I’d smack him. What century do you reckon you’re living in, you bastard? Grab the damn phone and order some sushi or get a mistress to make you soup and leave me alone, I have assignments to turn in and conferences to attend and great responsibilities on my shoulders! Besides, I can have any man I want, a strong woman isn’t denied anything. Money and fame can buy anything, including true love. I guess you all know that.

I’m kidding.

In fact, I’ve always been a simple girl, with small demands. I only wanted a good boy that I could count on, a shoulder to lean on and rest my head upon. I wanted a capable and modest man, who knew his place. And I only had hypocrites and sentimental crooks, even punks who played me like a thimblerig. With time, I realized that even my small demands were too big and I’m not expecting anything anymore, I only have casual relations, everyone who wants to can enter and leave my life and my bed… I myself have become a train station and I’ve grown accustomed to the rumble of the trains. The sirens don’t even startle me anymore.

I’m kidding.

The truth is I don’t even know how the existence of some couples is possible. Maybe they are just travesties. Who knows what the unseen side of the iceberg is hiding? I’ve always had whatever one can humanly wish for, except love. I’ve received every award possible, I’ve won all the contests, I’ve been a chess champion, I’ve had the best friends in the world, the ideal job and the fanciest apartment in the center of the city. But I didn’t want any of these, not really. They just happened. On the other hand, ever since I was 5 years old, I’ve wanted a boy to love and to love me. I’ve been having the same dream for a few good decades now. To be honest, some slight modifications appear from time to time: when I was five, we played ball together on the waste ground at the corner of the street; in high school, we climbed mountains and went hiking together, or we rode our bicycles through the parks and secretly kissed in the attic of my grandmother’s house; at 20, I dreamt that we made a splash by holding hands at jazz concerts and everyone said: oh my, they look so handsome together, and in that dream, we both had long hair that we kept untied and flowed in waves over our shoulders; I imagine that in my fantasies from when I’m 60, we will both be bald, and I will be wearing a head kerchief and will barely dare to touch his fingers with mine as we walk along the street together, so that children won’t point and laugh at us. That’s about what love is. It’s in a different dimension. And I’m in no mood for an earthly relationship. It would be a curse. To deal with a man you don’t love. I’d rather die a spinster.

I’m kidding.

Of course a guy who isn’t all that appealing and with whom you don’t exactly share the deepest connection of the soul will do too, in the absence of something better. You know what they say: “make it until you fake it.” Or was it the other way around?

I don’t even have to mention again that I’m kidding.

In reality, I’m an ordinary person, I have a partner. When you are cheated on, you get angry, you invoke the old promises, the truth, honesty and virtue. When you cheat on someone, it doesn’t seem as serious. I’m not a supporter of flaunting contracts and promises. Promises and contracts are for employees and labor people, for business partners. On a professional and social level, they are the guarantee of the well functioning of things; on a romantic level, they are the guarantee of failure: all they do is falsify relations, intoxicate them or keep them alive artificially. A relationship is maintained through effort and struggle. In your professional life, the contract doesn’t spare you of the need to efficient, but in your personal life, most partners claim the guarantee of convenience, comfort and satisfaction, on the basis of the contract. As soon as they get married, they begin to sit around watching TV, gossiping about politics, killing time on Facebook and nagging the person to whom they’ve vowed eternal faith for the wrong position of the dish towel or the strainer, to give some examples… Idling around in front of the TV as a couple is, most often, a direct consequence of agreeing to the contract. It’s not normal to sit around and expand your belly or your bottom in front of the TV and demand to be loved only because you have a contract, that’s what I’m saying. And you complain that your lousy partner is cheating on you, if he is not very caught up in the snares of convenience. Routine is sometimes worse than the cruelty of separation, than the cruelty of having your love refused (in case you fall in love like an ox), it’s a serious illness, maybe the worst couple’s chronic illness.

I’m kidding.

In reality, I’m the ox who falls in love. I mean the cow, although “ox” sounds more clement. Even in the allegories from the genre of fables, we can still glimpse a trace of misogyny. I won’t get married because I’m addicted to love and sex… The current diagnosis manuals admit it as such, the addiction to love and sex is an illness. Those like me are addicted to the phenomenon known in folk terms as “falling in love”, just as some diabetics are addicted to insulin, some criminals are addicted to forbidden substances, and some compatriots are addicted to pickles. In our area, I’d say that pickle addicts are the most numerous and most warped, because they seem harmless, but they’re not. When they have no more pickles, they become irritable, they are even capable of giving you a lecture about the frightening truths encoded in the Marxist theories about capital and concealed by the authorities, and, what’s worse, they don’t even realize that the lack of pickles if the source of the conspiring fears that put their judgment to great trials. When you believe you are doing fine and you seem to have settled into a relationship, that you have your own “quelque chose” that suits you, wham!, you fall in love. And everything blows up. You can’t get married when you know you have such a handicap. It’s like being short-sighted and insisting on getting behind the wheel and taking someone else in the car with you.

I’m kidding.

I’m a lesbian, obviously, you’ve surely noticed. Of course not, lesbians don’t talk about men obsessively. They don’t talk about them at all. In fact, I’m an ordinary woman who is bored to death in a relationship in which the most exciting moment is when he kisses her passionately, after the national football team scores a goal.

I’m kidding.

I’m sad. I tell myself jokes, so that I will not think about what’s bothering me. I’m in a situation in which I suffer like a dog and there are no guilty parties for the fact that I’m suffering like a dog. Especially when you consider yourself a cat, the fact that you end up suffering like a dog is humiliating and unfair… And you’d like to have someone to blow off steam with. I’ve already scraped my fist on a wall. All the joints in my fingers hurt when I write. I’m a masochist. That’s it. No. There has to be a bad fate, mine. There has to be a fate, so that I can rebel against something.

I’m not kidding.

I’m a poetess. I hate numbers. I love summer, bright colors, warm temperatures, I want to feel my heart boiling over. No. I want quietness, I want silence, there’s too much noise in love, too much waste, too much swarming through parallel worlds. I can’t stand poetry. All I want is an intense moment of reality, one that I can be sure we didn’t live together, inside my head, that the lips which touch mine touch with the same ardor or sadness, that we meet on the same wave of temptation, of candor or of the absurd. A single moment of reality in two. Certain. Shared. So that I can die in peace. It doesn’t matter if it lasts five minutes or a lifetime. It just has to be. You know it was. From this point of view, we are all the same. This is what we all want. And this is the tragic and romantic side of things. The cynical side is that there is no wound created by a futile dream that reality cannot bandage.

I’m kidding.

Or I’m not kidding.

As you wish.

Reeducation / The intruder

Reeducation

No, ma’am, I didn’t do anything wrong
this must be a mistake,
I’m sure there was some misunderstanding
I was the best of all good Samaritans
I faithfully served both gods and humans
I don’t belong in the reeducation ward
please check the registry books
it must be a mistake
I haven’t shed one drop of blood from anyone
all I did was clean wounds, wash the shadows of the floors as I was told to do
I haven’t committed any errors
I’ve guarded the windows against the invasions of migratory birds
I’ve timed the heartbeats of soldiers and dreamers, following superiors’ indications
I’ve done my duty
I haven’t cheated, I haven’t missed one challenge
I’ve climbed all one thousand steps I had to climb
I didn’t even dare yearn after the great illusions
freedom, truth or love
please believe me

everyone says the same, the she-devil snapped at me,
you all act the innocent
I’m sure that at least once you thought that you could break the rules
I’m sure it crossed your mind that you could open the window and let the flock of birds run wild
I’m sure you cheated when counting the stairs
I’m sure you’ve abandoned a shadow on a wall somewhere
or at least thought about it.

The intruder

An animal of an archaic species has turned my body into its den,
You know the type of invisible animal that only appears dressed as a human
At first I thought it was harmless
I even found it nice, since it used to hum in the evenings, before going to bed
exalted songs that resembled German marches
When I went out it would tickle me and make me laugh precisely when I needed to be serious
Or it would push me through the door, compelled by implacable necessities, precisely when a distinguished contemporary man was beginning his speech
But I didn’t mind because I liked the way it sang
After about a year of cohabitation it caught a cold and started to belt out vulgar choruses like a drunken sailor
I thought it would get over it, but each day it would sing even more out of tune and mockingly, I even believed it was doing it on purpose
When I pointed that out and told it to build a lair in another individual
As a protest, it began singing like a deportee in the Siberian wilderness
And it went on like that for a long time
It wouldn’t let me sleep until I took on all its sorrow
I started to pressure it into leaving me
I dragged it to conferences, I closed it up inside libraries, I kept it in front of the TV
Any animal would give in under such circumstances
But that animal that had taken shelter inside me held on, it bore through everything singing romances, which drove me crazy,
Until one day when, exasperated, I gave up and told it
You can do whatever you want with this body, it’s yours, I’m giving it to you
And then, overjoyed for getting rid of me,
It began singing in my very own voice,
A divine music, nothing less than Schubert.

 

A lesson in oblivion

I never liked the highways and the main roads
The crowded places
I never walked the straight line
When others had goals and objectives, I mucked about in twilight zones
I’ve always been like a clock that either gained time or lagged behind
I’ve wanted to play the violin
and I’ve wanted to forget you,
to pass through you as through a time tunnel,
and find myself on the other side
in a state of clemency,                                                                                                                                     in which I couldn’t care less if I’m alive,                                                                                                  if I’m only subsisting,                                                                                                                                     if I’m drawing my last breath in a cage

When I was 30, I used the money for the fridge to buy a violin
it wasn’t very clear to me by then that I would never learn to play it
Don’t be sorry for me
it’s alright
every desire I had was not to think of you

I danced through trenches,
I walked around naked among circus arenas,
I dug deep holes in the Promised Land
I crept through keyholes
I lived inside the skin of the stranger
I played the village fool
I was a guinea pig and survived
I fought both sin and virtue
just so that I wouldn’t think of you

I set absurd laws on reality and reality followed them
I fought with almost everyone for almost nothing

I dug my claws into the flesh of idols
I washed my bleeding hands in the stale waters of the city
I banged my head against every wall I could
I howled like a starving beast while the others were sitting quietly in their places
I run through basements and darkness
I fought both nature and spirit
I pleaded for the rights of crows
I even was a prize winner

I answered with laughter to poor people
I made the masters of silence sneeze
I messed up the truth of glorious men
I militated against the time’s flow
I  found things to do
I worked

I ripped apart all of my skins, faces, names,
trying to forget you

But I keep hurting myself in your beauty
with the same fervor as in the first day
actually, with even more conviction
now, that I’ve got tired of both lust and stillness,
and of the thousand lying mirrors
through which I’ve walked my solitude
as if it were a dog

Orgasm

 

I wrote that you were willing to get beaten up for the hounded
that you were never a coward
you cannot figure out
the pleasure I felt
by lying

you’ve always been on the side of the forlorn
you’ve never jumped at the throat of a meek
you’ve never been promiscuous
you’ve never bitten your tongue while sniffing out opportunities
you fought like a gladiator against all the vanities and cruelties that skulked around you
that’s what I wrote
you cannot imagine the intensity of the orgasms that I had by reinventing you

I wrote that you were only ever courted by goddesses
that you were never a cabotin,
that only flames burst out of you

I told everyone that you were raving beautiful, that you incited cravings in hermits
this time it was actually the truth

The more I persevered in lie
the more I bled at the contact surface with reality
see? everyone has a dose of masochism

What was I supposed to do or say, what was I expected to write about?
the way you were defeated from the very first steps, or the way you lamented hysterically?
the way you learned how to spit?
or about the moment of grace when you began to cheat?
was I supposed to mention the indulgences you gave yourself lavishly?
the talents that greedily ate up your talent?
or the way one can build a career on a mountain of shit?

A long time ago, your smile could even cure the flu
Should I have written about the way you learned how to grin?

I had an orgasm when lying about you.
That’s about all I wanted to say.

And I also want you to know that at the end of the world lies my young heart waiting for you to return from the dead.

good manners

To be always reliable, to fall on your feet, to be generous but modest and, meanwhile, to be aware of your strengths and special qualities, to be always sincere, to never let yourself humiliated, but to never offend another with your pride, not to lose your temper, to be honest in all circumstances, to be in charge but never patronizing, to talk moderately, to make yourself clear in essential matters without expecting the other to acknowledge what you find essential, but to treasure your values and, meantime to consider them relative, to love with devotion and dedication without neglecting your own person, to have courage, to never lie to yourself, to be inspired, to dream big, but to be always realist and well grounded, to never betray anything of what and who you are as if you would perfectly know who you are and who you’re meant to be forever and ever, in other words not to change, to be consequent, but to keep evolving, to never contradict yourself, to be responsible and enthusiast in everything you enterprise, to fully enjoy life, to take it seriously, but without losing your sense of humour, to tell only the truth, without exposing yourself, to be cautious and very mature, all these atrocious imbecilities and precious contradictory advices are stuffed on our throat with the hose, with the funnel, are sowed in our heads with the trumpet, are stuck in our brains with the hammer since we are little children; we are fed with this junk-mental-food continuously and everywhere: in schools, in public reunions, in conferences, in churches, in social groups, at every corner of the street; this kind of stinky “wisdom” is the elixir we are injected with from the birth of our consciousness, we can recognize its stench in the kind advice of the old virgins, in the deadly boring conversations with the neighbours, in the discourses of the television gurus, in the best sold magazines, in the priests’ jabber, amen.

Bad heredity

We’ve been born with a bad heredity
with a past heavier than uranium
and with no future at all

we’ve been born to wave flags and to sing patriotic songs
to wash boots and dishes for old or new masters
we’ve been born with a huge grin on our face and without a drop of humour

parcul2b

we’ve been purposeless from the beginning, always useless
in the bargain
a dull and trifling crowd of nobody knows who
losers, from the early ages

doped with vanities, fed with cynicism
walking hand in hand with lie
through the basements of a reality even uglier than a harpy

Picture8.a

we’ve been born to carry, each one, on his back
his own weight in shadows
to parade through the world with exhausted arms
accompanying an inert body like half-mast flags
in the blow of autumnal winds

we’ve been born to stare from afar at those trains that never stop in front of our cages
to be pioneers and nerds and working men and old inmates
to fill the waiting rooms of happiness with cigarette butts

we’ve been born to march
to enroll in institutions
to revolt in a civilized manner
to show our fist gracefully in front of the cameras

we’ve been born to learn how to spell, clearly
with conviction
with a true smile, hanging on our lips:
re-sig-nation
re-sig-nation
re-sig-nation