Yossi Faybish - hobbies - greeneyeslittlegreenmenandspinach
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Dialogue With Entity

    It snowed all night. The late inefficient autumn left most of the trees leaf laden, so the damn snow had what to hang on. And it hung with insistent ice claws till the branches keeled under and broke. Damn, I thought, seeing the debacle in my garden, and started working my way through the few hundred pounds (and more) heavy branches cluttering the passages.

    My sweat poured abundantly, soaking into my undergarments, freezing into my collar, on my eyelashes. My ungloved fingers went numb and the slipping saw blade kept ripping off dredges of skin and flesh. All I could see was blood pouring, I did not feel any pain.

    “Hi,” he said, sitting on a branch I did not yet attack, the biggest.

    “Hi,” I answered, eyeing him at length. He was blond, blue eyed, wearing a knee long thin night gown, or at least this was what it looked like, and nothing else. He was barefoot, no cap, no scarf, smoking a cigarette and puffing it slowly and expertly into dissipating rings. I did not see or hear him coming, he either fell from the clouds or grew right there on the branch. Neither was plausible but one was fact.

    I sat next to him, my steaming breath competing with his smoke rings. I was shivering with cold, not with apprehension. Long ago I had decided that whatever I may encounter, real or imaginary, I would not be frightened. I was not. Maybe it was my time? we would see. He did not shiver, just kept smiling and puffing, until he got to the end of the cigarette and flicked it away.

    “Hi, human,” he repeated, extending his greeting and defining our relevant positions on the evolution scale, at the same time looking straight at me. Boring into me was more like it.

    “Hi, god or vision or demon or alien or whatever...” I answered, not offering my hand. He did not seem to expect it anyway. Maybe he was contagious, I smirked to myself, or maybe the other way around. “Are you any of these denominations?” I asked further.

    “Probably I am. One or all, depends on who you ask. Everybody has a different name for us, we don’t care.”

    “We? Are there more of you?”

    “No, but we is the right way of calling us. You can name us whichever name you wish, it is irrelevant.”

    “And do all of you, or whatever, look like us humans? Down to smoking?” Against my better judgment I chuckled openly. He did not seem to mind.

    “Depends on our mood, your mood, your beliefs or none. Sometimes a bush, sometimes a cloud, sometimes a man, occasionally a woman.”

    “Occasionally?” this ruffled a bit my equalitarian feathers.

    “Yes. Humans have a tendency to prefer men in these roles.”

    “If so, then it is your fault, you created us,” I answered, aware of my tone picking up. His indifference was imperturbable.

    “You will not understand therefore I will not explain. It is though clear to you that I am not human. I am glad you accept it so easily. You may call me God if you find it appropriate. For me, I wouldn’t mind if you called me Betty Bop if you feel like it. Names are irrelevant,” he repeated. He kept staring at me, and for all of his haughty nonchalance there was certain intensity in his regard, as if waiting for me to take the initiative and ask. I had nothing to lose or gain, so I asked.

    “Why are you here?”

    I almost expected him to pick another cigarette out of nowhere and light it before answering, or at least show off with some lightning and thunder show at close quarters, or at least frogs. None of it. It seemed he was satisfied with my reaction the way it was, and did not feel the need to add any additional drama to it.

    “We are running a study on humanity. We chose you as a representative specimen...”

    I interrupted.

    “Study? You mean something like a questionnaire where I have to mark yes or no against the question do you believe god is goat misspelled?” This time I did not just expect, I knew for certain I would be hit by lightning, or at least back-ache. Nothing of the kind. Actually he smiled again.

    “No, nothing of the kind. You see, we as gods are as imperfect as gods are expected to be, and would like to have some additional insight into our creation. Don’t ask why, it won’t be answered. Will you be willing to answer my questions?”

    “Why the hell, sorry, but why the hell do you have to ask at all? As God, you know already the answer.”

    “True. However, as God I chose not to ask the question yet so there is no answer yet. Only after.”

    “But after, you will know, I don’t have to talk, do I?”

    “After, you are given the choice. It is your choice.”

    “You mean choice, like free will, exists?”

    “If we decide.”

    “And you decided?...” I asked, waiting symbolically for him to answer. But he was God, God does whatever he wants. He decided to ask instead. His first question... “Wait...” I interjected, “...will it hurt?”

    “We don’t know hurt,” he answered, and I could swear he looked baffled. “Human’s hurt. We don’t know it.”

    “Just a moment, you created human, didn’t you?”

    “We created human, we don’t know human. We are still learning.”

    “With all your powers and you don’t know hurt, you don’t know human? Funny God you are.”

    “Funny, but the only ones.” He was going to ask his question, I couldn’t stop it anymore, I did not intend to anymore.

    “Okay, ask.”

    I closed my eyes, thinking that if I recorded all this Kafkaic dialogue I could have easily and surely gotten confirmed for the next Oprah show. Or certified for the next available opening in whatever cuckoo’s nest was closest to us, whichever came first. I smiled.

    “Tell me human, if I offered you to heal all of world’s pains, and ills, and wars and starvation, and human folly and darkness of heart, and old people fears and children’s tears, and all I would ask you to pay was the momentary hell of immolating your body by your own hand, would you have taken my offer?”

    I opened my eyes to watch him, a strange connection creating itself between my human mind and his whatever depth, a moment of trust, a link of belief.

    “If God you are, and capable you be, and my answer you won’t know, just hand me over the match...”

    I did not eschew the gaze challenge, the renewed boring of those penetrating eyes that saw beyond make up, and flesh, and thought.

    “Tell me human, if I made it so much more simple for you, and I would prevent from you the hurt of burning flesh and squirming bones and bursting entrails. If all I would ask of you for the same prize to be given, that you give up on... her. Would you take my offer?”

    I hesitated, and I knew at that moment that God must have had limits or really abstain from knowing the answer in advance because I read in those eyes so much misinterpretation of my hesitation...

    “You know, I really believe that you do not know human, and you do not know hurt. And you are just learning it now.”

    “Your answer?” he repeated.

    I did not hesitate, I did not want to keep him and his study waiting.

    “Give me the match,” I said.


    I wrote her a long love letter that evening. Repeating things I always said, trying to find variants to trite expressions, prosaic statements, run of the mill declarations. I didn’t know if I succeeded. I kept trying. Always ending with the worn out - I love you. I wondered, I really wondered and will keep on wondering, did she really know how much?



Just A Shortie

    “Your handwriting is terrible,” she said sipping on her drink and holding the sheet upside down.

    “It’s in Hebrew,” I answered, and next thing I was covered with a thin layer of sticky aromatic droplets as a mouthful of iced tea left her nose at a speed of about one mach, ending its journey on the upper part of my body.

    She jumped up laughing, coughing, hiccupping and stumbled rather than rushed to the ladies room, leaving behind a trail of blush molecules. I mopped my face and shirt with the paper napkin, licking my lips clean and smiling. Then squirted an ash-tray full of liquid from the mottled paper and resigned to waiting. Not bad for a first face to face meeting I cheered internally, waiting for her to return. It took her about five minutes to get back through the revolving door. Half way through her mouth started twitching remindful of an actively distorting chewing gum and finally she rushed back through the same door into that feminine adytum. I heard a few shrieks, thumps, another five minutes and she emerged again, still working hard at it.

    “Don’t do it again,” she threatened, hesitating before the next sip. I was as careful as I could be, having meanwhile set the sheet of paper the right way up in front of her, not that it mattered.

    “Your tea is too sweet,” I ventured, licking the last drops of spray from my lips, just as I was getting the glass of beer within range of my mouth. It was the same scenario all over again – the spraying, the mopping, the hiccupping, the ladies room, the shrieks and thumps... It took longer this time, so I had time to empty the ash-tray before it overflowed with the squirted tea. My beer was now a mix of tastes, and I did not mind it as long as it was still cold. Once upon a time I thought I liked her, the woman not the beer, much before we met. Now I was discovering I... did like her, much more than I expected.

    I saw her re-emerging, walking towards me with determination – it could end either with a slap or with a kiss. She pulled me up by my lapels, and... well... you could call it “kissed me”. It was more like skinning me alive and then pouring salt all over me... oh my goodness...

    It was only five nights later that she allowed me to take her to my hotel room. It had clearly nothing to do with shyness or prissiness. But she was not going to have the decision made for her, she was going to make her own decision and when and if ready - to let me know. She made her decision, she was ready, she let me know.


    The room had been tidied already by the cleaning personnel, so there was not much to apologize about. I picked her coat and hung it in the closet, next to my shirts, superficially imagining this as a permanent arrangement. It may have been superficially, but certain humidity nevertheless invaded my eyes proving me somehow wrong. I returned to her side and kissed her neck as she was fumbling with the remote control of the TV.

    “Was it a movie you had in mind?” I asked mischievously, turning her to face me and kissing her aggressively. It seemed she was more concentrated on finding a station than on kissing me, since I kept hearing clicks and the channels changing behind my back.

    “Yeah, an erotic one. I need some stimulation. Damn, this TV of yours seems to have only mushy oldies at this time of the day. You should ask for another set, shall I call reception?...” She was paying me back for my mischief and impatience, and she finally settled on MTV, adding apologetically... not that she meant it... “There might be a need to mask some of the noise created in this room. Do you mind RAP music?”

    I picked the control from her hand and threw it under the bed, trying to kick it away. But it was she who threw me on the bed, keeping me imprisoned inside her mouth, and within minutes I could understand the reason behind her choice of TV station. Actually, she should have raised the volume a bit higher...

    “Have you never made love before?” she asked later, and I was aware of the half serious half mischief leftovers inside her tone. I knew what she meant, I was embarrassed enough to answer truthfully.

    “No, I guess not. I had sex. Never made love before.” My head was on her belly enjoying its softness and the music playing inside, her hands chasing the rows of goosebumps on my back. She bent down to pick the control and I exploited the opportunity to move my head to a more advantageous position.

    “You’re a flesh imperialist...” She changed stations till she settled on a Donald cartoon, then dropped the control back underneath. “I like Disney cartoons, never outgrew them.”

    “Neither did I,” I answered, saying the thing she knew. “Neither will I ever outgrow you,” I added, saying the thing she expected. The thing I knew. She slid from underneath me moving in one fluid motion atop of me and bit my lip savagely.

    “Love me, before I devour you and there is nothing left to love me back.” She meant it, there was something beyond passion in those naked breasts, so much more, and I knew what it was. It was frightening. Love.

    We never stopped that night, except for eating a delivery pizza in bed. She insisted to bite each piece and feed it into my mouth, till all of it was gone. I was in love.


    I imagined the scene many times before. I never imagined the pain. Somehow I concentrated on the visuals, leaving the intangibles out of the picture. Now they were there, tangible, and taking over.

    “I will return,” I told her, the check-in steward, and myself.

    “All the bad guys in all the cheap movies say it,” she beamed at me through tears, and I could have sworn there were rainbows hanging there at the corners of her eyes.

    “Am I the bad guy in the cheap movie?”

    “Are you a good guy in a Hallmark production?”

    “I am the guy in love in your life’s production.”

    I hugged her, making sure she got no air into her lungs for the next ten minutes. Somehow she survived, maybe those oxygen saturated tears ending between our joined mouths was what kept us both alive.

    “You are crying,” she suddenly laughed, dragging my head down and kissing one of my eyes. I was not aware of it, not until she told me. She picked a tissue and dabbed carefully at my face, then folded it and put it in her pocket. “Now I know you will return,” she beamed once more, this time the rainbows descended to her mouth and stayed there.

    “I did not leave any guitar here,” I responded, making allusion to Goodbye Girl which we watched together the previous night. “How come you know all of a sudden?”

    “You leave much more here,” she answered, tapping lightly the pocket with the tissue. “You leave here your heart.”

    I did not wake up from that kiss anymore. Never will.



Desert Flower

    “Are you thirsty?” she asked, sitting cross legged in front of me, her skin a tapestry of flowers in uncountable colors. It looked like somebody designed an extremely intricate tattoo covering every exposed piece of skin, down to the soles of her feet and up to the tips of her nipples, and then suffused each molecule with a different blaze of colors. I strained to watch the white of her eyes and I had the impression I saw the pattern even there. She was as naked as a desert snake. And as lithe, once she rolled sideways making a full tour around me, ending in the same position she started at. Was she as beautiful? No, her beauty was indescribable.

    “Are you human?” I asked her, hearing my dry throat make just a few croaking sounds before it gave up any further communication efforts.

    “I am a desert flower.” She picked a handful of sand and poured it into her mouth gulping it down avidly. She sighed with satisfaction, going through a second round of the same and before returning her attention to me.

    “I am dying,” I managed to say, or thought to have managed.

    “I know.” She was able to understand me somehow, thus I could keep concentrating on dying faster than nature was inclined to bless me with, rather than getting meaningless sounds out of my mouth. The stains rolling across my eyes did not seem induced by dehydration but rather by somebody’s hunger.

    “Are these real buzzards up there?”

    “These are real buzzards up there. They are staying up there as long as I stay down here. Then I go.”

    “Then they come.”

    “Then you die.”

    “How long?”

    “Until I finished learning.” She cocked her head to one side, studying my facial features, then running her eyes and her hand over the tattered leftovers of my body. I did not feel much of her touch, it was like a shadow passing over me leaving behind just a tingling sensation of coolness, a chilly breeze, a cold beer down my throat. “You are the first one, you know?”

    “The first one what?”

    “The first human to see me. Maybe also the last one. I don’t know, depends...” Her head cocked the other way around, streaks of blinding light plaited with long strands of red-hot hair falling upon her left breast. I wondered if the hair carried as well that colorful intricate design as the rest of her body. “You are handsome,” she added some time later, waking me pitilessly from the blissful lethargy that started descending on me.

    “You probably tell it to all the other guys dying around here,” I heard myself trying to joke with the few ounces of energy which, somehow, seemed to still pounce inside my arteries. “I am certainly not the first handsome traveler who lost his way in this desert and whom you visited. Even if they did not see you.”

    “No, you are the first one I tell it to.”

    “Why, if I may ask?”

    “You may, and you don’t have to be so polite here. There is nobody to hear you talk for many dunes around.”

    “You mean miles around... or maybe you talk in kilometers?”

    “What is a mile... or kilometer? I count distance in leaps.”

    She got to her feet, joined her ankles together and leapt a few times. If I was hesitating until now and blaming my bad eyesight, it was confirmed - she was completely naked, a jointless piece of water, if water could be called a piece, alive in the death of the desert inside a world of beauty undefined yet. Maybe even indefinable. My artist’s heart made a weak attempt to regain some consciousness and try several definitions.

    “You leap like a frog,” I said.

    “What is a frog,” she asked, jumping backwards and falling next to me like a wide sheet of silk settling down in a dying wind. “Is a frog beautiful?”

    “Yes, a frog is the most beautiful of creatures if it is you.” I knew it was a sentence making no sense, yet I had to use it. Something was stirring in my belly, or was it my heart or mind, this leaping creature was bringing back into my dwindling leftovers of reason a certain pleasure which I could not even begin to identify. “You are as beautiful as a child,” I added, mindlessly. “You are a child.”

    She finished settling down and fixed her eyes on the canyon size cracks cutting through my lips.

    “I am a woman. I am as beautiful as a woman.”

    “Do you know what as beautiful as a woman means?”

    “I can read it in your mind.” She wiggled closer to me, and I started sensing her, a fragrance I did not notice before, a mix of roses, and jasmine, and lilac, and white lily... “You did not repeat the question you asked earlier on,” she whispered close to my face, and a new fragrance, a strange one of... femininity emanating from her mouth, added itself to the others.

    “You can read it in my mind, anyway.”

    “Please ask it, anyway.”

    I doubted if or how it was possible, but I started moving from my lying position first to my side, then succeeded to work my body all the way up to being on all fours, and finally I found myself sitting half sunk in fine sand just in front of her. Legs crossed, arms on thighs, I think I was still breathing.

    “Okay, I will. Why am I the first one ever you decided to let see you, talk to you, sense you? So many men, so many great poets, have died under this white sun, why this specific choice?”

    She obviously liked the sense you since she made a move as if to touch me. But then she pulled her hand back, swiftly. The flowers on her face got a slight scarlet tinge overlaying them.

    “They were all thirsty...”

    “... and so am I...”

    “...for water...”

    “...and I?...”

    Her eyes, till then fixed on my lips, moved up to my eyes. Yes, definitely flowers imprinted upon the snow whiteness surrounding the flower fields of her irises.

    “You never once asked for water.”

    “So what?” I asked, tense for no reason, or maybe for good reason.

    “You were thirsty for something called... I hope to pronounce it correctly... love?”

    “You mean you never heard of love?”

    “Of course I did. But not the way you pronounce it.”

    “And how do I pronounce it? I am sure the others pronounced it the same way.”

    She made again as if to touch my lips with her fingers, then pulled her hand back.

    “You pronounce it the way others invoke... God.”

    “Do you know God?”

    “Of course, God created me.”

    The sun was nearing the horizon, thankfully hiding behind her back giving me a slight reprieve from the infernal torment. Peeling skin hung down from my forehead partially disturbing my sight. I reached up and pulled it impatiently off. There was no fluidity left in my blood to release even a few drops. Probably my last day ever. I felt rather than saw the buzzards still rotating patiently high above, knowing I was going nowhere. In the desert one must have patience. Or die.

    “You cannot,” I said.

    “I am falling in love with you,” she said.

    “You cannot,” I repeated myself trying to sound imperial yet sounding like old disintegrating flesh. “You cannot, not in such short time.”

    “I must, you don’t have much time left.”

    “This is what I was saying. And it could have been a compliment if it was not for the word must. It matters not, anyway. My tomorrow does not lie beyond this setting sun.”

    “I must, I don’t have much time left.” She picked up a piece of glazed sand and touched it to her wrist. Thin silky sand started streaming out slowly, hesitatingly.

    Then she touched my lip.

    The fire of a sun’s flare poured for an indefinitely short moment into my flesh, my nostrils filling with the forgotten pungent smells of civilization’s soot, and ozone, and sulphur... and then it happened. Civilization disappeared back into its blessed void and the flowers on her skin, eyes, lips, breasts started pushing out daring petals, first a few uncurling plies, then an unending motion of waking up, yawning, stretching myriads of colorful leaves fighting for the right to be seen, felt, smelt... oh, the colors, oh, the softness, oh, the perfumes... the red drops from her wrist slowly dripping and sizzling upon the incandescent sand.

    “What did you do? Why did you do it?” I managed to make my voice heard, my ears deafened by the depth of the bellow escaping whatever was left of my lips.

    “Did you read The Little Prince?”

    “Of course I read The Little Prince.”

    “I never read it, there are no books in the desert. I just read it in your mind. There are no books in the desert, just heart, but no books.”

    “Books are beauty...” I tried to answer logically, though all logic escaped my mind by now.

    “Someone wrote a book about The Little Prince. No one will ever write a book about me. No one will ever read the book that will never be written about me. Books are beauty, I want to be beautiful.”

    Insanity... oh, insanity...

    “You are wrong, oh, so wrong... I will. I started already...” ...golden fish suddenly jumping out of the green lakes of her eyes, butterflies... where in the desert can butterflies come from?... suddenly roaming the flower fields of her skin... smile, oh, the skylit beauty of that smile on her drying lips... “...your lips, your lips are drying...”

    “A book? About me?...” ...dew forming upon the petals covering her cheeks...

    “Yes, of poems.”

    “What is a poem?”

    “You know what a poem is.”

    “I know what a poem is. What is a poem?”

    I started telling her, afraid the sun would set before I finished telling but somehow it refused to join the horizon, waiting, same as the buzzards rolling above, having descended lower yet still waiting. Even death seemed to have decided for once to wait.

    I told her about words, thirst for words, for the music of rhyme, I told her about heart fragments falling in between stanzas and shredding to thin pieces before reaching the bottom depth of the last line, told her about bottomless poems, those where hearts kept falling forever aching for that last line, told her about the colors of corn fields ripe for reaping, the trill of forests waking to summer, the mountains aiming for stars unreachable... told her about the flowers covering her body, each and every one of them and its story, its color, its fragrance, its life of beauty before the unavoidable desert of death takes over, always taking over...

    “My desert is beautiful...” she said.

    “Because of you...” I said.

    “Did you write all this? About me?”

    “I did. I still do. I cannot finish. Tomorrow I die and I have no pen, no paper here to finish what I started.”

    Cracks started showing on her lips, the variegated richness of the flower fields wrapping her body becoming deeper, softer, irresistible, her smile the size of the horizon hiding behind her back.

    “But you have the biggest canvas in the whole world...” she said, covering in one slow motion the desert expanse sky end to sky end, “... and the best pen...” she continued taking my right hand’s index finger in her small fist, “...and the only ink your love...” and I’ve never heard it pronounced so beautifully before... “...should write with.” She led my fingertip to her wrist’s wound and let one drop of red touch it.

    I forced my creaking various appendices to change position until I was standing on my fours again, pain shooting from every splitting skin spot straight into my brains, my heart serene, cheerful, calm. Finally, calm. She stood up and peeled the last tatters off my body. Then poured herself on my back clinging to every piece of exposed skin, of raw flesh, of breaking nail, like sticky fly paper holding onto the wings of careless butterflies...

    And then I started moving, backwards, careful not to erase any traces as my red inked finger started pouring its fluttering dreams of ecstasy into the smooth desert’s endless canvas, the words dancing, the sentences flowing, love... pouring...


    The sun set, darkness reluctantly repeating its ages old ceremony - dragging a dome of glittering pearls into place. Two floating, circling shapes finally saw their patience rewarded as they silently descended upon a motionless mound, covered with layers upon layers of brittle, drying flowers. And the desert kept its breath for one single sunrise, afraid to disturb the absolute ephemeral beauty of a love story written with so much pain into its eternally crumbling skin.



Lotsa Parentheses And Feathers

    I looked at the pillow, envying it big way. Haven’t seen yet a pillow (here I made the sign of the cross even though I was Jewish, sprayed some eau de cologne called Holly Bliss – two bucks a dozen, and made sure I had nearby a wooden chopstick and some freshly peeled garlic)... as I was saying – haven’t seen yet a pillow coming alive, stretching itself and contorting itself with its feathers crawling like worms (sorry, bad analogy... hey, no need to get violent, said I’m sorry) and calling Mommy, Mommy... and molding itself to your body till every piece of skin, hair, nail, mole and even the inside of that bleeding wound I left last night on your lip were in its oppressing grip. Luckily you kept your mouth shut (and other... ahmm... places too) else it would have conquered these as well. The only thing left out was your nose and I wondered (aloud) why, till I heard you snorting (you were trying to laugh) and then a nasal voice escaped one of the nostrils – because I need to breathe, you nerd.

    Sure, made sense. Help me! This time both nostrils flared at me and for a moment I thought “hey, like a monkey”, before shutting up (mentally, that is) as a thin trail of smoke wafted out through a tiny smoldering hole (no, it wasn’t there earlier on) and before I remembered that you actually could read my thoughts. Gulp... Oops... Sorry love.

    Forget sorry, get me out, you butt heat!

    Did you say you or use? I wasn’t really sure, so being devoted, despaired and docile (hey again, alliteration, haha, or is it?) I rummaged for several hours the internet, a few dictionaries and a recent Polish edition of “War and Peace”. Didn’t find butt head anywhere so I gave up after downloading a nice recipe for a novel vodka cocktail, and some other cocktails. Meanwhile her soft snoring told me she was probably asleep and I couldn’t expect any more advice from her side.

    I was desperate (said it already, used despaired, wonder which is better). I started crying. That f... sorry, have to keep it PG, that Fu King (that’s a Chinese restaurant) pillow wasting my time, stealing my love, and probably enjoying it as well. I was mad.

    The chopsticks didn’t achieve any results. Neither did the cross (tried also a Star of David), the garlic (even though I cut it thin and mixed it with black pepper and olive oil), and the eau de cologne just made her sneeze. And my desperation just grew stronger as I saw her drooling through the small orifice which was earlier smoking... my God, she was enjoying it... Who should I call? (ghostbusters... yelled a musical voice in my head). Well, police would certainly shoot me to kingdom go, paramedics would certify me to bars, the fire department (for a moment I thought of pouring fuel and burning it, but I remembered in time that I did not pay the insurance) would just chop me down with their axes... In my angst I started screaming to me – chicken shit! chicken shit!... and then... it downed on me. The solution, the idea, the genius.

    I rushed to the nearest Wal Mart and bought a cheap rubber chicken, rushed to the nearest witchcraft supplies store and bought a pound of bubbling tar (the lady insisted on reading my future included in the price, but when she started telling me about the color of her undies I guessed she was just hitting on me), rushed back home and placed the chicken on the table, smeared a thick layer of tar on it, hid behind it and started cackling. It was a fair imitation, even if it is I who says so. You should have seen those feathers fly, tearing the linen to pieces, ripping it apart and swarming incoherently towards my chicken, screaming in drunken agony... Mommy... Mommy... I did not give them a chance to regret their act, the moment the last one exited your body (the bastard, it was trying to enter... you know... ok, won’t detail for fear of teens misunderstanding...) I poured the rest of the tar on them, drove to the Panama canal, and dropped it all in the deepest part of it. I didn’t even mind the five bucks pollution fine I had to pay. I rushed back, and three days later (you were still in bed, this time you used a soulless foam pillow, thank God for female intuition) I jumped to your side kissing you like a mad gone puppy.

    Yet, I saw that look in your eyes, recognized it, identified it (though all I saw originally was only your nose as you remember)... may I, please?... your voice soft, your eyes shining.

    Of course you may... I answered, my own nose running with the excitement, my body soft (yeap, surprised?), my breath (after getting rid of the garlic) smelling like a lilacs rich garden. I lay on my back, and you lay on top of me, your back to my chest, and I felt you slowly sinking in, deeper, and deeper and deeper, until finally the only thing still protruding out from my skin was your nose. I love your nose, I said, tickling it. I felt you kicking my sheens internally but it didn’t matter. Now I knew why the pillow did it, now I knew why I envied it, now I was certain you were not going to rush away for a round a laundry because you were asleep, happy, content, dreaming...

    Dreaming of what?... I asked, of me?

    Of you, and doing your laundry... was your answer. I always knew you had a sarcastic sense of humor, and I loved it. I love you, I whispered back, and sank into a wonderful dream myself just as a news flash bulletin on the CNN started reporting about some plastic chick and feathers and things hitch-hiking its way back to the states. Ha, those reporters and their bull stories.



Poetic La(muse)ments

    You tiptoe long the sunlit aisle
    Those downcast eyes above your smile
    Allowing stars dive earthbound’s street
    To crush beneath your dancing feet.

    You tried to keep your balance, walking along the fallen trunk, arms to your sides, grimacing.

    “A bit trite, isn’t it? ...sunlit aisle... though I like the aisle-smile pairing, not overly used, is it? And I looove earthbound’s street... And I looove the double rhyme in your last line.”

    I could easily hear the threesome ooo inside the looove’s, just as you slipped and landed heavily on the trunk. I rushed to your side forcing you to stand up and pulling unceremoniously your trousers down to inspect the damage. It was quite a deep scratch, slightly bleeding. I licked the wound several times, making sure the bleeding slowed down.

    “What are you doing?” you squirmed, trying to pull up your trousers, “people will be staring. And you will be giving me an infection.”

    I looked around, miles of nothingness except for an unending citrus grove all around us.

    “The last vestiges of human civilization have blessedly sunk beneath a faraway horizon of oranges in bloom. And I don’t remember giving you an infection with these other wounds I inflicted upon you...” I grinned maliciously inspecting several of them... “not to mention licking...” ...you smacked me on the head sending me rolling and pulled your trousers firmly back up.

    “Yes, trite, don’t you try to change the subject but rather the verse.” And this said she bounced (exaggeratedly, of course) away.

    “Love...” I called after you, “are you sure your bum is ok?”

    “You can call it ass, mind you. The last vestiges of human civilization have blessedly sunk beneath a faraway horizon of oranges in bloom.” Touché.

    You glide along the marbled floor
    Your lashes lap the greendust shore
    As tiny crabs glean crystal dew
    And sparks pursue your dancing shoe.

    The doe did not mind you kneeling on the other side of the pond and drinking from the same clear water.

    “A doe in a citrus grove?”

    “In my story I can bring even an elephant if so I wish.”

    “And tiny crabs?... what gave you that wheeew idea?...” again those triplet vowels of speech... “though I find it kind of poetically intriguing.”

    “You don’t mind me using marbled rather than marble?”

    “No, I guess this sounds less common... and, oh, yes, I looove the greendust shore.”

    Of course you looove the greendust shore I chuckled internally, it was meant for you to looove...

    “What are you chuckling about there?” I guess my internal chuckling led to external manifestations so I regained immediate control of my facial muscles. “And now you look like a turtle that swallowed an opened bible book.” Both you and the doe exploded in uncontrolled laughter, spraying each other through spewing nostrils. Well, as I said, this is myyy story...

    “At which chapter?...” I asked, and I meant it seriously. You rolled into the pond, kicking, and the doe rammed me with its antlerless head then rushed away. Where the hell did I pick this idea from?

    You preferred to dry your clothes in my arms, until both of us lay down, soaking wet. It was warm, and you were pleasantly licking my ear.

    “I see you kept the double rhyming in the last line, and you kept the dancing as well. Any special reason?”

    “No, just my present mood. Do I need a reason?”

    “Maybe, just to please me?...”

    “Good, because I love you? Good enough?”


    “Because I looove you? Better?”

    “Perfect.” The smile lighted a nearby bush. Luckily we were near the pond so we could extinguish it immediately. “You, know, this story does not make much sense. But I kind of like it. Are you in love?”

    “I am.”

    “With whom?”

    After I finished spanking you to sounds of appreciative moans I fell asleep in your lap. I did not really want to wake up but there was this enraged woman that kept shaking me and caressing me and searching inside my... ahmm... pockets.

    “What now?” I asked morosely.

    “Do you kind of think you could kind of say it in a third version kind of kind?...”

    You float inside a flowers bath
    Till one-horned foals besiege your path
    And crave your touch to brand a hide
    Then die inside your dancing stride.

    “Are you always so careful with your compositions, rhyme, one timely words...”

    “You mean one-horned foals?”

    “Uhuh,” meaning no.

    “You mean the double rhyme in the last line?”

    “Uhuh,” still meaning no.

    “You mean, crabs, and does, and licking wounds and...”

    “I mean all.”

    I did not really understand your question. But I knew the answer to it.

    “Not always, just for as long as I love you.”

    “You mean looove you.”

    “I mean respect you.”

    “You mean looove you.”

    “I mean forever.”

    “The same.” Then you did the most astounding of things. You sat on the trunk, forced me to sit on your lap, and started singing to the few does, one or two elephants and dozens of rabbits who cared less for the singing and more for not being trampled down by the elephants.

    You tiptoe long the sunlit aisle
    Those downcast eyes above your smile
    Allowing stars dive earthbound’s street
    To crush beneath your dancing feet.

    You glide along the marbled floor
    Your lashes lap the greendust shore
    As tiny crabs glean crystal dew
    And sparks pursue your dancing shoe.

    You float inside a flowers bath
    Till one-horned foals besiege your path
    And crave your touch to brand a hide
    Then die inside your dancing stride.

    “Weird story,” you said.

    “Love story,” I said.



A Penny’s Worth, Philosophies Of Love

    One drop of rain
    Following a scenario written uncountable trillions of years ago,
    before years, before time,
    Tracing the sequentially unbroken solid thread of events
    through the upheavals of time explosion
    and space creation
    and matter condensation
    and dinosaurs and glacial era and Michelangelo
    and industrial revolution and you,
    Its single solitary moment of glory
    swiftly flashing by on its one-way road
    as finally, swollen to unbearable obesity
    with hydrogen and oxygen and dust and pride
    it takes the cosmically infinitesimal plunge of the few miserable miles
    from the edge of the cloud
    all the way down to the hollow underneath my left eye
    just as the wind rips away the umbrella from my hand.

    Surprised... it sizzles and blows away in a mist of boiling vapors...


    She looked at me, listening, uncertain if to smile or to awe, sipping on her eternal ice tea easy on ice.

    “That’s a hundred, one foot thick volumes on the philosophy of fatality squeezed into an x number of words, I still have to count the x...” She regarded me, strangely. “There is a bit of incongruence though, in your recount. Not necessarily disproving your theory.” Again that strange, questioning regard. “What am I doing there with the upheavals and Michelangelo and the industrial revolution?”

    I looked at her, transposing myself for a moment to the mind of the waiter approaching for a refill and gawking impertinently at her cleavage... I’ve seen prettier, shapelier, greeneyedier... ignorant, I thought, pulling away in disgust from his mind and leaving there a sneeze which followed him all the way back to the kitchen. I looked at her again, uncaring if she was able to see the burning pits down my eyes...

    None prettier, shapelier, greeneyedier,...” I quoted, re-phrasing the words a bit, rubescence conquering her cheeks, “...unique. Some of the great moments of the universe’s history are absolute.”

    “And I am one of them?” she smiled coyly.

    “And you are one of them.” I did not smile. I knew.

    I embarrassed her, I could not help it. The same universal laws applied to me as well.

    “Tell me” she said looking attentively into my eyes, I think I saw flickering reflections of sparks in the thin humidity caressing hers. “Do you believe in angel?”

    “I know devil.”

    “Do you believe angel could fall in love with me?”

    “I know devil would spit in hell for you.”

    “Would it be part of the same universal evolution theory?”

    “It would not.”

    “You are contradicting yourself.”

    “If there would be no exception there would be no rule.”

    I waited. For the exception. She hesitated. Then she touched my hand. It was soft, so human. I felt the fires deep inside my eyes slowly extinguishing as they spilled into my veins, bones, skin... the chilling touch of sweat invading my opening pores and its salty tang as it slid along my eye, to my mouth, cooling the tips of her fingers moments before they would start blistering.

    “You look... different, somehow,” she said, the touch changing to gentle fingers squeeze. Then she laughed loudly, beautifully... “You look as if you are about to spit or something...” and her laughter rolled on.

    “I just did,” I answered, daring to touch her hand in my turn.


    A second drop of rain followed the first one,
    Testing its luck... will I boil away as well?...
    It touched the hollow underneath my eye, waited defiantly one full second
    then rolled on to my mouth, chin, down to earth.
    The scenario could pick up there where it was interrupted,
    no one ever to know.
    Except for me.



Biased, Two

    or Biased, the short sequel

    It took six husky, full battle-dressed carabinieri to pull me down kicking (could not scream, bad case of laryngitis) from the top of the ladder underneath the Capella Sistina ceiling. I was just preparing to move my examination to the sixth chubby lady there when they burst in, dogs and all, and threw me in the barred van after breaking my magnifying glass. The same louse whom I bribed into bringing in the five segmented professional giant ladder, now sold me for some additional bucks to the cops. Treacherous bastard.

    I looked back as I was floating between two of the carabinieri. He was climbing the ladder, careful not to trip over his priestly robes, and started gluing back in place the big cardboard fig leaves that the Vatican had decided lately should appropriately cover the various divinities’ private parts. With Italy now soccer world champion and most of Rome’s fountains clogged with floating undies, I guessed anything went. I snorted in disgust and stopped fighting.

    The giudice or magistrato or whatever they are called in Italy, dressed in his ridiculous red robe and white wig (did I mix it with my English souvenirs?...) looked down at me with a mix of contempt, pity, and curiosity. He was severe looking, short of stature and big of eyeglasses, focusing his attention less on me and more on the half-inch-nailed floozy acting as a one fingered court stenographer. He asked her to hurry up. She changed her typing finger.

    “Can you repeat, per favor?” he asked me. Well, they were nice and let me be judged by someone who knew some English at least. The floozy - she was borrowed from our own embassy.

    “How do you spell per favor?” she asked between two bubble gum explosions. He disregarded her valid question entirely and moved one of his eyes back to me.

    “One hundred times, if needed,” I echoed myself. “The whole of the Capella Sistina ceiling is a sham, a fraud, a counterfeit, it was not painted by Michelangelo and there is no chance ever it might have been painted by Michelangelo. This is a shameless tourist trap put in place by the conniving accountants of the Vatican in the sixteenth century, and never disowned because of the high profitability of the enterprise.”

    I think half of my words did either not register in his mind or simply bounced back because he did not understand them. Floozy decided to put on a show of her own and crossed and re-crossed her legs in typical Basic Instinct fashion. She was a brunette, this time I did not have to guess if she wore undies or not. The judge sputtered a bit, coughed a bit, and then surprised me with a very pertinent question.

    “And how, signor...” he looked down at the papers in front of him... “ahmm... Mimi, how can and do you substantiate...” wow, he did know some big words... “this preposterous...” another biggie... I smirked “accusation?”

    Now I was on familiar grounds, now I knew what I was doing, now truth shallt be heard. I sang out loud the first four lines of Star-Spangled Banner and moved my penetrating regard from the fading final curves of those shapely legs straight into his eyes. He had both of them on me now, tense, expectant...

    “All,” I said, then emphasized it again, “ALL of the angels painted on the Capella Sistina are smooth skinned. Michelangelo knew better. Angels are freckled.”


    There was a debate if they should intern me with the dangerously insane or just with the mild and allowed two visits a month. Finally, with the embassy’s intervention and (I heard about it later) a copious dinner accompanied by a few cases of the best Californian wine, I was charged only with indecent examination of indecently exposed private parts of various (undefined) deities. Then I was extradited to Albania. One of those small Italian procedural imbroglios, and my guess was it was orchestrated by the giudice slash magistrato himself because of Floozy’s extra attention and openness to me. I was mad, but kept my sanity... oommm... yes...

    Actually it was a short educational interlude into cultural diversity. The family I ended up with was very nice. They agreed to marry their eldest daughter to me provided I converted to Islam, re-circumcised (they checked and claimed it was insufficient), and gave up my present occupation in order to work in the family butcher shop. Did not matter I didn’t ask any of these and didn’t even know if they had an eldest daughter. I was thankful to the commando unit that sneaked me out of there without one shot fired, and left behind me a thanks letter and a promise to send them a brand new electric meat cutting machine, made in Japan.

    I thought my worries were over when I landed back home, kissed the asphalt and blessed our country and our president singing this time the full unabridged version of Star-Spangled Banner. Until I faced the customs officer. The previously encountered immigration officer was for once nice, and bid me a good day.

    “What is this?” asked the suspicious gentleman in dark blue picking up from the bottom of my back pack a tri-dimensional fig-shaped compressed-cardboard piece.

    “It is Adam’s” I exploded hysterically in a relieving laughter, imagining them still looking for it back there, and having to go through rechecking the hundred odd fig leaves already on the ceiling and trying to figure out what went wrong. The blue uniformed man didn’t find it funny at all. Did he think I was laughing at him? I swear I wasn’t. Even told him so.

    Well, he turned all my suitcases inside out, then all my pockets, then some intimate places in my body which I do my best to forget and fail to (the search, not the places). He called in for help two colleagues, three Beagle sniffers and an explosives expert from MIB (and I always thought this was just a movie), looking supposedly for pornographic material, then failing that looking for subversive material, and they were just going for smuggling North Korean cigarettes into the country when a higher supervisor arrived and saved my ass, literally. It was a nice motherly lady, apologizing profusely for the over-zealousness of that particular customs officer (his wife beat him last night, she confided into me) and compensating me with a photo-copied effigy of president Bush and Dick (Cheney) in a beautiful plastic frame made in China. What the hell is wrong with made in America today? (I didn’t say, just thought) and took a cab home.


    You were asleep, the fire snakes writhing and playing around the head decorating my pillow like an adolescent Medusa queen’s fleeting ribbons of sun entrails. I uncovered you down to your waist and examined your breasts closely. Why, even close to your nipples there were some freckles.

    “You sleep on my pillow,” I said.

    You moaned, pushed my investigating hand away and turned over on your belly. I picked up the brush from your side of dresser and started brushing with long strokes the morning knots out of your feathers’ soft vane.




    It started around the fingernail ends. It was weird at the beginning, the greenish haze visible only in full darkness, I was certain I got contaminated by some phosphorescent paint used for alarm clocks though I couldn’t recall getting in touch with such matter. I started worrying when the haze became visible also during daylight, though you had to make an effort to be able to discern it. But since I was aware of it, I saw it.

    I went to my family doctor and she looked at it from close by, then from further away, then she used a times twenty magnifying glass. Finally she shook her head giving up trying and sent me to a dermatologist, a skin doctor. Since doctors know best I went to the dermatologist. I don’t think this one appreciated her (yes, again a she) colleague’s laudable intentions of providing her with some extra income, and after some hee’ing and hoo’ing and so on, followed by some UV light (maybe a fungus?) and some smearing (maybe some allergy?) and some scratching (maybe she didn’t know what she was doing?) she sent me to an urologist.

    “An urologist?” I screamed, or think I did, panicking and having survived by now three sessions with her I was reluctant to keep expanding on my experience, “I don’t have any peeing problems, doctor, I actually may not have a problem at all...” though the last words sounded less convincing. By then the haze started descending along my fingers and my toe nails started picking up as well. I think she was thinking in terms of some strange venereal disease, and was eager to get rid of me and my money and probably incinerated all the clothes she wore for the last two weeks. On the way to the urologist she sent me to have a load of blood tests, pee tests, pregnancy tests (ha, the nerve of the woman...)...

    Thank God the urologist was a he. He started by filling in a fifty one pages questionnaire about my sex history, my eating habits, my daily... ahmm... routines, the make of my car and its mileage... what the hell?... Finally he started peeking and poking and I won’t go into any detail, just rest assured it was nothing I would include in my autobiography to come. Of course he didn’t find anything... my car mileage... ha... the idiot...

    He filled two more and shorter questionnaires, one about my TV viewing habits, and an even shorter one about my opinion on various ice cream flavors, which I did not really mind. I think it was when he finally sent me to the orthopedist that I started getting this uneasy feeling in my stomach that maybe they were as lost as I was, and trying to make a buck on our common way to nowhere. No, the x-ray did not find anything wrong with my bones and ligaments and pelvic area, and when he (another he ha) sent me on to the obstetrician(ist?) I said NO!... that’s enough, be it male or female. I went home and got drunk.


    It was getting unbearable. Every portion of my skin was covered by now with the greenish haze visible even under direct sunlight, I developed some kind of halo around the top of my crane, people started finger pointing at me, avoiding me. Some kids threw a few empty coke cans at me shouting Hulk... Hulk... and the cop who happened along and tried to kick their ass, started running away together with them when I said “boo”. I was a freak. Even my pee was radiating.

    I took a couple of weeks unpaid leave at work (they would have paid me even extra money just to see me go) and spent the days elaborating various disguises and creams so that I could at least go and do some grocery shopping. It was during such a trip that I met her.

    Her. I think she was a her and not a him, though my recollection of the period is quite hazy. No, nothing to do with the other hazy. So let’s stick to her. She was probably not more than four feet tall, not less than two hundred pounds heavy, and as creased as the most creased tree in my garden and then some. It was as if there were a few yards of extra skin available around her head and all of it got squeezed and crammed and jammed into the few square inches of face she had. When she asked me how old I thought she was and I told her three hundred earth years she sounded pissed off and asked “how did you know?”.

    How did I meet her? Well, she was about to be run over by a bus. I pulled her back to pedestrian safety knowing for sure the same bus was going to run over me, then she flashed two rows of teeth whiter than a white cat’s tail dipped in yoghurt and pulled me out of harm’s way as if I was a feather. Then she gave me a silver dollar. First time I saw one. I was about to refuse but she took my hand in what I assume were a pair of steel tongs covered with some skin camouflage, forced my fingers closed over the coin, and rubbed off some of the cream from the back of my hand.

    “Beautiful, oh, beautiful, never seen such beautiful since I don’t remember when and I remember quite some before my time to remember was...” which didn’t make even nonsense to me, but as hard as I tried I could not unlock my hand from her hold. “Wait till I tell the sisters in my coven, none of us believed it was possible, wow me...” Then she went on babbling in some language which meant absolutely nothing to me, and finally hissed (I swear she did) – “...don’t you want to know what caused this shimmer surrounding you?”

    Suddenly there was quiet in my mind. No stinking busses, no church bells, no yapping dogs, just that undefined face and undefined hold and well defined indefinable being filling my field of vision as if there was nothing else in the world. I excused myself for a second and she released my hand, I crumbled the bread I bought and threw it over to the birds hovering above us, opened the cans of preserved food and spread it around to sounds of appreciating howls and meows from a strange parade of dogs and cats which kept circling around us, took her by the hand and got us seated on a nearby bench.

    “Tell me,” I said, calmly, knowing I would know and caring not if it meant I was dead or dying or about to be elected cop’s best friend for the year.

    “What do you remember?” she asked, and all those creases on her face were each a smiling mouth, not necessarily horizontal.

    “Nothing,” I said, “absolutely nothing.”

    “What do you remember?” she asked again, snatching a crumb of bread from an overly pugnacious pigeon and chewing on it.

    “Nothing,” I said, “I remember there was a phone message.”

    “What do you remember?” she asked a third time, patient, still chewing. The pigeon pecked her hand but she didn’t seem to mind.

    “Nothing,” I said, “it was a short message saying I love you.” It hit me with the proverbial ton of bricks. The message in the morning and the same evening... I started glowing?

    She was small and rotund and heavy and she kept rolling around the bench shrieking with laughter and hitting every tree in the area with the dogs and cats and birds jumping all over her and all around her, probably insane same as I was or even more. Finally she got back on her stubby feet, brushed herself with some leftovers of dignity and pushed a second silver dollar in my other hand.

    “We heard about it, never saw it, never read about it, never believed it. Now I do. People in love... strangest things happen to them. Oh Goddess, wait till I tell them back home, they will split to pieces with envy.”

    She got up, clearly ready to leave.

    “Hey, lady, wait, can you cure me?”

    It was the first time I saw all of her creases tightening up, straightening, stiff, unmoving. I guessed that meant it was the first time she did not smile.

    “Hey, laddie, do you want to be cured?”

    Then she left. Or was gone. Or what?

    No, I did not want to be cured, it was easy to find out that once the two silver coins touched each other I stopped “radiating”. And once they were separated I glowed again.

    I kept them together, taped to each other, in a locked box, in a steel safe, deep in a bank’s impenetrable cellar. I knew when I was going to separate them again. When I meet her. She will know as I will open the box and break the tape and throw one in the Mississippi and the other in the Hudson. She will know. Well, she brought it upon me, let her share now the consequences.




    I was eleven, maybe twelve year old. Close to Christmas. No “Christmas” in communist Romania, New Year it was called and all I knew about it was the big decorated pine tree in the central garden, the pretty globes, the red star at the top of the tree and the presents of course. A small version in my home as well, even though we were Jewish. I decorated it with broken leftover baubles my father took home from the state managed shop he was working in. After all, it was pretty and it had nothing to do with Hristos, had it?

    Oh, I also knew that the goyim were eating pig in the family for the New Year. We were stuck with the habitual chicken soup, in my home. No celebration, just the food.

    It was still school day, it wasn’t snowing but the snow was high and I arrived earlier than usual to the school to have time to play in the snow. There were a few of us there already when suddenly I heard a terrible squeal.

    “Bade Ghitza is slaughtering the pig for New Year,” one of the kids chuckled and kept playing. Bade Ghitza was the school’s handyman, living with his family on the school grounds, a rough, rude, unkempt man. I remembered seeing the pig on a few earlier occasions, tied to a rope and slurping noisily with its head stuck in a deep tin pan. Big, rosy, round. Never thought of it as food.

    The squeal repeated itself. I saw remotely the bent back of Bade Ghitza and his hand making stabbing motions and some movement at his feet. Another long wailing squeal, then another, then another... I suddenly felt like throwing up, running away, hiding someplace where I would not hear the squeals anymore, there was no getting away from it, covering my ears with my hands did not do anything to that horrible sound. Squealing, squealing, squealing... stop it, stop it, I wanted to scream but knew that it was in vain, this was the way things were to be, who cared? It did not wish to end, it took long, long, carrying into class time... finish it I screamed inside, feeling like dying, finish it... while the teacher was teaching and the kids were doing their class work.

    It ended, finally, quiet. School ended and I ran all the way home, getting in bed and refusing to eat, to talk, to watch our beautifully decorated tree. I didn’t think my parents understood what was happening, at least they did not force me to tell.

    That poor squealing pig, that terrible squeal, a nightmare following me to this day, so long now past my midlife’s term.


    My love, my only,

    You are leaving me today.

    Remember, when I told you about the squeal of that pig in my childhood, still chasing me, still resounding so horribly in my head, mind, nightmares? The sound of slowly being slaughtered alive in unending, excruciating pain?

    Finally, you can hear it too, my love. Close your eyes and you can hear that pig squeal. Certainly, it is I who squeals so pitifully, my love, yet there is no difference. This horrible, terrified sound is mine. There, till death ends it. God only knows for how long.

    I love you.



The Living Exhibits Museum

    The students filed in, chatting noisily, pointing with their fingers. It was the restricted part of the museum, only those about to graduate and a few special applicants were allowed in and given the possibility to talk to the exhibits, analyze, read whatever writes were presented. Funny to use the word “exhibits” to human beings who decided to accept the safety and mainly the isolation of the place in exchange for their active participation in the experiment. Human beings? Only by race affinity, because except for that it was scum, junkies, wretches, paranoids, the dregs of society. None of them violent, all of them dead playing a game of being alive.

    I was curious to meet him again, the “quiet” one as I named him, rarely looking me in the eyes and just to tell me every time the same – you are beautiful, she is more. One of the very few who did not mind crying openly. Come to think of it, the only one. Last time I saw him was three months back, and at that time, same as all the previous times, he recited the same poem. He was presented to my students as the “poet” even though I knew he was something in sciences earlier in life, sharp minded as the point of a needle, subdued as a wet rag. But poetry was what seemed to keep him alive, and a certain secret that no one has been able to penetrate, clearly to do with a woman. And it was invariably the same poem he recited to all my classes, even though he allowed some, only female students as a rule, to rummage through the rest of his poetry. They could take notes, no pictures, no taking out of the museum. Just notes.

    We reached his cubicle, the large door for the public open for our visit and the small team who was interested in him, myself included, seated themselves on the few chairs spread around. There was never much interest in “poetry dregs” and there were always a few empty chairs left around. I was surprised that this time actually all places were taken and a few students were taking even the standing places. Maybe because most of them this year were female students? He left the desk where he was writing – he was always writing something, where the blazes did he get all this inspiration, being locked like an animal in this cage all of this time? – and sat on a chair in front of us, looking through a sheaf of papers. The same ceremony every time, the same words, yet... always something thrilling in them, a pain flowing as dense as honey.

    He looked in my general direction, expecting me to be there, and said same as always – you are beautiful, she is more.

    “Is or was?” I found myself suddenly asking and I blushed, surprised at my own audacity at breaking the routine and scared as well that he might just get up, close the door and disappear from the session. It happened once before when a male student snorted at one of his readings.

    He stopped arranging the papers in his hands, looked up at me fixing my regard directly for the first time since I started visiting the museum, placed carefully the sheaf on the floor and added with no trace of animosity to his voice.

    “She snorts when she laughs, you know, the sound of nightingales drunken with morning’s drops of wine served in tiny white lilac cups.” He did not blink, further fixing me for at least one minute. “Is,” he added. “Was,” he added further on, still fixing me with a regard questing my understanding. I knew of his meaning, somehow. I nodded and he smiled, another first ever, thanking me.

    I sensed, shivering for whatever reason at the thought, that we were getting into something different this time, something unique, one timely maybe, when for the first time in all the sessions I came to, he did not pick up a paper to read from, but just closed his eyes, clenched his fists, and started reciting. Not his permanent “show” poem, not his usual style, something strange about it, unclear.

    She had a treasures box
    The lid decorated with small images of butterflies,
    roses, daisies, glittering sand...
    So many treasures there,
    An airport parking receipt
    from the first time she waited for me, at the airport,
    A wine bottle cork opened at a friend’s
    followed by curling together under a quilt, hugging,
    A FooFoo berry soda pop,
    shared, parting far away, sadness.

    She loved me
    With the intensity of a million stars,
    With the innocence of a newborn child
    With the gravity of elephants
    With the power of a solar flare,
    With harmony, tenderness, depth
    In life...
    In death...
    She did.

    I know.

    She wanted to be my Helen, my Echo, my Annabel Lee.
    She was my Helen, my Echo, my Annabel Lee.
    She was my wife.

    Many many many moments passing,
    many many many moments passed,
    and one day she found those indescribable eyes,
    and smiles and auras and rough hands
    and I looked around and found they were not mine.
    And then I looked around and found I was a thorn in a valley of thorns
    and a nettle in a valley of nettles
    and a burr in a valley of burrs
    and she flew barefoot to the sky and I fell sobbing to the ground
    and I knew it was the time to die.

    He stopped talking, the figures around mesmerized, waiting for continuation. None came.

    “But you are not dead,” a timid voice dared break the silence.

    He opened his eyes staring straight ahead, clearly seeing something we did not.

    “Never trust your senses,” he answered, and it sounded like the most enigmatic statement I had ever heard in my life, for all of its pompous banality. “This is not my poem,” he added, “this is my life.” He scribbled something on a piece of paper, came surprisingly over to me and handed it over. “You are beautiful. She is more. None more.” He turned around, entered his cubicle and closed the door behind him.


    I sat in front of my laptop looking at the text written on the piece of paper, clearly a code of some kind, a call from that impenetrable beyond whence a voice was reaching out to me wishing to tell me something. Was it going to be simple or complicated? I will know once I try, I decided courageously, took a deep breath and keyed the sentence in: that dare to balance on dental floss thin truths. It is a unique sentence, so I either find it right away or at the end of one year of searching, personally I prefer option one of course, I thought, and pushed the return button once. The computer did not hesitate even the part of a second. Of course, it had to be, a poetry book.

    I ordered it and two days later it arrived, nicely packed, smelling of fresh, I love the smell of freshly printed books. I purchased also the electronic version to make it easier for me to search for words, phrases. Then I opened my recorder and played back his last poem, looking for key phrases, expressions.

    I was not surprised that almost all, with slight variations, were taken from poems or stories in the book. Not many of the titles were used, very few actually, why specifically those I asked myself, taking notes. The author was unknown to me, female by name. I stand a much better chance to penetrate this human riddle by reading the entire book, I further told myself, filled up a thermos with hot coffee, huddled in the corner of the sofa and started reading.

    It was five in the morning when I closed it, red and bleary eyed, having read it cover to cover and some portions more than once, nailed to my pillows with rare excitement. Was it because of it being written by a woman redefined now in my mind from no one to extraordinary? Was it because the mystery of the link has gotten suddenly so thick that I simply could not give up? Or was it the wild fragrance emanating from these pages, a mix of pride, beauty, violence, and eroticism which at times got me to wriggling discomfortably on my place. Certainly worthy of much more than its present obscure place in the book charts, I took a mental note to do something about it, and started reading it again from the start.

    I woke up around ten in the morning, the book fallen from my hand, my body sticky with the aftershock of pouring sweat and a rough dreamless sleep. I knew without having to think about it that my next research project would be around “my” poet and this book, and that there was a mystery here worth uncovering. Even if only to satisfy my suddenly bounding curiosity. The handwritten note was on the floor next to the book, and as I picked it up I noticed that the other side carried some text obviously written by the same hand, probably during whatever previous time.

    I tried to decipher it, not very successfully, though I could distinguish some of the words – one of them was clearly beautiful, another was eternal or eternity or something similar, and the last legible word was something like... green? though I was not absolutely sure of that. Funny, my eyes are green I thought completely irrelevantly, swallowing a small lump in my throat and starting to dress.




    She was waiting for me at the airport, first I saw the flames. Then I followed these with my eyes till I found the rest of her underneath, in her hand a small bouquet of out of season flowers, the symbol of her impatience... let there be season... and as no one was paying attention she just went and bought a piece of it.

    Beautiful. As elegant as the Duchess of York, minus the title. Plus the beauty. Beautiful.

    It was a two hundred and fifty bucks worth of clothing that she wore, all newly bought, and this exclusive of cab fares. Those bureaucrats at Washington revoked her driving license having decided that BelLaDonna looked too similar to BenLaDen (looking at it, now I start getting some doubts myself) and thus revoked her license. Now she was at skirmish with them... no, we cannot call it at war... and they were going to win anyway having all those Gucci dressed lawyers at their side. All she had at her side was justice. And my sympathy for whatever it weighed in Athena’s balance.

    I remember the first time I called her BelLaDonna she said she liked my accent.

    “Are you Italian?”

    “No, but I like spaghetti.” She told me later on that she laughed so hard at my answer that she lost a contact lens. And even more later on I found she did not wear contact lenses, she only broke one glass of her eyeglasses, but she found ‘contact lens’ more romantic.

    I inhaled her in slowly, like opium. Her black nylon stocking had a golden thread running through and I could clearly read Yves monogrammed close to her ankle, probably the full monogram reading Yves Saint Laurent all around “...not pantyhose, real garters...” she wanted to show and I had to rush to her side stopping her and looking embarrassed around.

    I could not identify her skirt, looked expensive though, but I could easily identify the shirt she wore from the label on the pocket – Prada, and in very small letters underneath it Made in China. Everything was made in China these days, even breast implants. The three rows of beads around her neck were beautiful polished plastic “...this is a matter of principle...” she once told me, and underneath them there was a funny shaped pendant carrying some illegible incantation engraved into it, I made a mental note to ask her later about it.

    No scarf. Only drug lords could afford a Hermes these days and anyway it was too hot for a scarf, though I was surprised to see her wear elbow long, white silk gloves. This I would not have expected, wondering what journal had brought that to her mind. And she did splash Chanel 5 behind her ears, and not because she liked it. Because I did. And the glossy purple varnish on her lips smelled like jasmine, and not because she liked it. Because we did.

    I was not surprised at all to see her wearing pink sneakers, Nikey’s, something no Duchess of York would ever have worn. She did. “...like in the movies...” she chimed, forgetting which ‘movies’ it was.

    I rented the car and drove to the hotel, closed the door behind us. I was soon going to discover if her underwear was Victoria’s Secret, most probably yes.

    “Close your eyes, wait here,” I commanded and she obeyed, ha, obeyed, if there ever was a wrong word... When I returned fifteen minutes later, I found her exactly as I left her, wondering if she was pulling my leg or she really... obeyed.

    “I love you,” I said, not expecting and not waiting for an answer.

    Then I kneeled in front of her, picked the scissors I have just bought, and carefully cut the front ends of the sneakers on both legs. I pulled slightly on the stocking ends and cut these too, leaving her big toe and a bit of the toe next to it bare. Next I pulled the stockings stretching across the knees and cut a hole there as well, one for each leg. The tips of the gloves covering each finger followed, I was surprised at the quiet, she did not even ask why.

    I stood up... well, expensive but still... Made in China, I cut a wide rectangle off the front of her shirt and then pulled her bra cups... I was right, Victoria’s Secret... and cut those off liberating her small breasts to the room’s cool air. I was a bit embarrassed to see the nipples react and stiffen, a bit of a blush in her cheeks was all she reacted to it.

    I wet my index finger in my mouth and wiped very gently the lipstick from her lips, removed her Ray Ban... finally, American... framed eyeglasses (at a closer look seeing Made in Mexico)... I was ready.

    I dropped the scissors, and undressed completely.


    Transposed, transfixed, transcended... which is the right word?

    I neared my feet to yours
    till big toes touched... almost... were these just the fingernails
    or really the outer layers of epidermis making contact,
    the first sensations I absorbed
    before feeling your kneecaps against mine
    a solid, hammering contact then I moved back a bit... to just one point,
    one single cell touching on single cell on your knee,
    glued, solid,
    one single drop of sweat surrounding it as if a sun’s liquid corona
    while all of my muscles and bones juggled
    the way a circus master acrobat does
    just to keep the existing points of contact alive as I moved on...
    you gasped, I lost the contact of one toe and I readjusted rapidly...
    is it now ok?
    you breathed out, it was ok again...
    to fingertips...

    This time you gasped when my right little finger touched your left,
    waiting, feeling the pores hesitate before settling,
    fingerprint hills trying to fit fingerprint valleys, never perfectly,
    trying it again with our left hands, a bit better,
    thumbs followed
    the rest of the fingers following in a sequence of left-right pairs
    ten smoldering single points of contact
    blackened by short lived fire sparks... two perfect steeples...
    a work of art, a work of love, us, one...

    You knew I was waiting for you to move
    when you started bowing slightly forward
    your back arching slightly, breasts jutting forward,
    stiff nipples just a few millimeters from my chest
    then less than one millimeter, touching the black curls
    the sound and smell and agony of sizzling hair
    falling prey to the advanced onslaught of scorching tips of flesh
    sickening, sweet, maddening, demanding...
    no! not faster!... I wanted to shout
    and you heard me without opening my mouth
    slowing down the advance of flesh,
    inclining your head till lip distance reached the thickness of one breath,
    then touched, then stayed.

    All extremities... touching... we are one...

    The skin started melting welding the spots,
    little globes of sweat trying to alleviate the burn... impossible
    as nerve ends and vein ends and bone ends started reaching across
    between our bodies,
    first visitors, then warriors, then conquerors
    storming through corridors cutting under skin
    and tunnels digging inside flesh,
    an invading gale gripping hearts and lungs and brains
    the battle screams in our minds raging under one common flag...
    what is happening?... you wanted to shout
    and I heard you without opening your mouth
    as the welding spots became welded surfaces
    shins joining, thighs joining, loins, navels, chests, mouths
    parts sinking into mires growling with thirst
    and fires running insane inside and outside skin’s crinkling surface
    one skin surrounding us
    your cloth leftovers turning a monumental pyre
    ascending to all ashes’ hell
    taking with them our sanity, our humanity, our selves...
    we became one temple of love rolling over walls and ceilings
    our bodies disintegrating this side of the world
    and reintegrating this side of the world
    passing through belching mountain mouths and grim shattering rocks
    and combusting old tree trunks and yawning indifferent skies
    and heaven was but a memory as we woke up on the floor
    and refused to disentangle our mouths, legs, loins, passions...

    “I love you,” I said, not expecting and not waiting for an answer.


    I lay curled into a ball as she kept licking me clean, wolverine growls escaping a scorched throat each time I tried to move and disturbed her instincts and needs. Then she curled around me like an empty shell, swallowing me inside her in my entirety and together we fell into an exhausted sleep.

    “I cannot go out like that,” she complained, not about her sneakers or discarded stockings, but about her blouse. I had to admit, she looked ridiculous with her breasts hanging out through that square hole in her Prada.

    “Wait, I will give you one of my t-shirts,” I offered, and she dropped her garment to the floor donning one of my white t-shirts.

    “I cannot go out like that neither,” she wiggled the snub she called nose, “my nipples are showing.” She was right, her breasts in an élan of sudden independence decided to put up a show and her nipples were quite obviously showing darkly and insolently through.

    I got up, hugged her from behind and shoved my hands under the shirt covering her breasts with my palms.

    “Now they don’t show,” I declared proudly.

    “Yes, but neither can I go out like that, we’ll be arrested for indecent inexposure,” she refused my compromise, suddenly tearing away from me and pulling the t-shirt over her head followed by the rest of her scanty attire. One mighty shove and I was on my back again, luckily hitting the bed and not the floor, and she crawled atop of me.

    “Choose,” she said.

    I chose. Poetry, was all that came to my mind...






















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