I am thrilled to have my piece Who Am I? published by Shabd Aaweg – A Quarterly Review of Literary Fiction, Politics, and Philosophy, Issue VIII
Here are some teasers:
“…floats above the water as innocent as the breast of a young girl… Soon the sun will try to catch her naked and burn her skin … Pigeons will carry her across…
… I can see no relationship between my destiny and that which I do. I am …
At noon, the sun kneads the waters with rapture … the movement of the water on my skin. Its cyclical quality sends me in a state of ecstasy. No, it is not the ecstasy of Saint Teresa of Ávila. It is something similar to a soporific trance. I am dead and I am alive at the same time. I come from the sea. I return to the sea.
In the afternoon, my rational self awakes… I get preoccupied with verbs. I set one triangle in the normal position and I invert the other one. I bind them together….. You are the goddess of vines, the mother earth, the chalice, the blood, the fertility of the womb. I mull over these desperate….
..I feed my iguana with cookies soaked in champagne… One kiss and you borrow my tears. One touch and I borrow your pain. A passage rite. I keep a coffin adorned with lilies in my bedroom. I sleep besides death like Sarah Bernhardt. Did you hear that noise? A rosary…”
I suspect I suffer from an acute crisis of half-bloomed neurosis. My past emotions do not fully interfere with my current experiences. The converse is true too. No sophistry added. How boring.
I jump in the water dressed in black lingerie made from Calais laces and Lyon silks. I can feel the waves pounding my body while my mind drowns in the ambiguity of the French Nouveau Roman standing mid-way between modernism and post-modernism like a drunken sunset that cannot distinguish between yellow and orange.
The foliage of the sea turns burgundy. Your fingers contour my face.
I forget that my favorite poet is Arthur Rimbaud with his “A thousand Dreams within me softly burn” and “I shed more tears than God could ever have required.” All I remember is that once I wrote: “I’ve never existed outside of your obsession with me and my interpretations of you.”
There is something about these interpretations that make you burst in cascades of laughter and art your love for me with lust.
One morning, left by my pillow I found your reply written on a large index card: “I had to bury your existence inside my obsessions. If not, your love could have not been fully stabilized. You above anyone else know that an absolute correspondence in love does not exist. Love is mathematical singularity.”
A wet little bird shivers in my palms. The foliage of the sea turns darker.
Between the bed and the window, in that space that smells roses and rien que pour toi, the morning let’s her hair down. She is so close that I can reach her skin with the tip of my fingers.
I know, his book and the fame it brought him. The book in which he made me — the me that he imagined — the main character.
He was fascinated by the purple of my makeup and the yellows of my cobra who used to erect the upper portion of her body to greet him every time he visited.
I do not know what demons he tried to exorcise. In the heat of those summer afternoons, he used to sip his sangria and attempt to find almost religious justifications for what he called my ecstatic existence; an existence populated with the richness and succulence of the Mediterranean literature and void of bullet points.
His acute shyness and his need to overcome the incapacity to love beyond nightly adventures used to ring in my ears like some unhinged marimba lamenting the loss of a pipe.
The dress that I wear in page twenty-seven. That dress and the heart-shaped red stone pierced with a hole for suspension I used to wrap around my neck. I found that stone in a church yard. I was too young. Perhaps an older version of me would have made him a better writer. Do not laugh. You are too handsome when you laugh.
In the end he managed to do something special. He invented the name of a perfume and made me wear it in every page of his book: rien que pour toi.
I hid his book somewhere in the library. Yet, every morning, in the space between the bed and the window, it still smells rien que pour toi.
Excerpt from my new manuscript of love poems and short prose.
Included in my poetry collection Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings.
perhaps I was bewitched by the North Star or by a ballad as dateless as my blood geography of feelings populates unwanted interludes my eyes, the nests of dewy grass and leaves emerald eyelashes flaunt black taffeta chirps between my fingers like piano keys inside my soul your kisses soar soft lilac tones like prayers of the youngest nun perhaps because I read your poetry last night and cut my soul between a stanza and a strife perhaps a child played with a kite a kingdom for a sup maybe it was the wind that woke me up
I do not like women’s writings. They talk too much about their bodies.
Notice the negative connotation attributed to the relationship body/femininity construed as an obstacle to the evolution of the spirit?
This man’s feeble mind confined women to lands of sensuality, magic, swamps, and mud: in short, to categories related to the carnal. Women can only be aware of tumultuous feelings that erupt inside their bodies. Nothing else. There was an implicit juxtaposition between body/femininity and spirit/masculinity, the latter understood as superior.
I navigated the incredible writings of women like Virginia Woolf, George Sand, Marguerite Yourcenar, and many others.
I became a mirror. I produce images of the spirit and of the body.
I play with them. I absorb them. I devour them.
I am the same with the richness of the intellect and the opulence of feelings.
My body is the alphabet of a language spoken at the exact hour when the sunset rains its cherry blossoms over the laughter of children.
I love the frenzy of the 1920s. Oh, les années folles!
I am the quintessence of that which you will always desire.
I am a woman.
I am not made in your image.
You are made in mine.
Happy New Year to all my followers. May 2021 bring you happiness and success. May you be forever loved. Gabriela
love strikes like the Mistral in Saint-Tropez winds, hallucinations of pianos, decide to howl in D major enigmas move inside the wombs incubations murmur under the phases of the moon bewitched, allegories of love raise odes to exasperated nudes a prophet gazes at a virgin sybil whose liquid eyes foretold our love in gold reflections, lava of our souls, a mirror hangs itself onto the wall in the red room a phoenix rises our bodies drown into the liquid time of the Mediterranean amor, amore, mon amour the splendid flesh of a gestating poem washes our singular and frenzied souls
amore colpisce come il maestrale nei venti di Saint-Tropez, allucinazioni di pianoforti decidono di ululare in re, enigmi maggiori muovono dentro l’intimo: mormorio, incubazioni sotto le fasi della luna stregate allegorie d’amore sollevano ondine a nudi esasperati un profeta guarda una vergine sibilla i cui occhi liquidi predissero il nostro amore nei riflessi dorati, lava delle nostre anime, uno specchio appeso al muro nella stanza rossa una fenice solleva i nostri corpi affogati nel tempo liquido del mediterraneo amor, amore, mon amour la splendida carne di un poema in gestazione lava le nostre anime singolari e frenetiche
I love how you dress for weddings: the repetitive movements of your fingers when you knot your bow-tie and that splendid nakedness of the white rose on your lapel, a true nuditas virtualis that makes me dream of the birth of a god in the zodiacal sign of Virgo.
I miss the glow of your face in the candlelight, the vibration of the wine glass’ crystal stem between your fingers, the memorable tunes of the waltz coiling around your senses.
It is dark. I lay on the sofa and the smell of pain killers and sedatives dwells in my nostrils. I can hear the noise of the withered leaves coming from outside. It frightens me. The sweetness of the nuditas virtualis fades away. I think of Emma Bovary, the so-called narcissistic self-deluded character, the adulterous woman, the daydreamer, the nuditas criminalis par excellence.
How pathetic and enslaved by time our judgments are. If Emma were a man, she would have had the masculine license to thirst for the feminine. No judgements would have been passed. There is no masculine equivalent of Emma Bovary in literature. Profoundly telling, don’t you think?
Emma committed the mortal sin of having affairs. She killed herself as self-punishment, we are told. How ignorant people who think so are. Turn the page and think of Emma as the woman who pitied the birth of her own daughter. Have you ever stopped to think why she would do that?
Those winds and the frightening noise of the withered leaves.
Where are you?
You do not visit anymore. You forgot your white rose on the head on my sofa. I need to tell you again. I love how you dress for weddings.
My poetry is neither the chronicle of my sufferings nor the chronicle of my loves as many seem to believe. It does not contain the description of my marital status nor that of my accomplishments. It does not record my joys or my passions with the precision of a timeclock. It does not dwell in my sadness. Sadness is the place where I dwell when I write the word sea and I cannot understand its meaning the way Elytis understood it. I was not born in Hellada. I can use that as an excuse for my poetic inadequacies.
My poetry is that which comes from the realm of the unfulfilled. It is the echo of the waves that you can guess but cannot see because they are not born yet. It is the voice of the blood that dries on the feet of the prophets. It is the dream of my cheeks that you will never touch. My poetry is the body of a Sunday that forgot to put walnuts and cinnamon in its baklava. It is the promise of tomorrow.
Three years ago I bought a silver icon at an auction. The icon belonged to the M. family. They used to be one of the most preeminent families on the island of Crete. Hellada was tattooed in my non-Hellenistic soul by the will of my parents, not by mine. You cannot stage a coup against your own baptism when you are four months old.
I was in love in Hellada. So much for “Let’s fall in love in Spain.” Every time the church bells tolled, he, the one who loved me, used to bring me daffodils. One daffodil for each bell toll. When the church bells stopped tolling I had so many daffodils that I could not carry them anymore. I had to let them fall on the ground.
I ran and I took the first ship out of Piraeus.
Until this day he – the one who loves me – still waits for the girl that will keep his daffodils and marry him.
Of course, he does. There is always the promise of tomorrow. There is always my poetry and there is always one more night of passion.