mathilde, prose

THE TALE OF HJALMAR, Sleeping Mathilde, First Letter

In the Year of Our Lord 1099, Jerusalem

 

THE TALE OF HJALMAR

 

I, Hjalmar Siegfried, write this letter, in the name of Our Lord, to my fated brother Alfhild von Amerongen, prince of Svaland, conqueror of Finn woods, with love and admiration…

I still remember sitting in front of the anvil, in a sheep wool gown, legs agape, wearing felt trousers and linen shirt adorned with ceramic pearls, and pounding the red hot iron with a hammer while sweat dripped down my sleeves.

It was a sword forged in dishonorable vengeance, meat of the observable world, forged flaming gust of wind. I snatched it with both hands, swung it around, all until the very last thoughts of my origins that haunt me disappeared in the fog of forged hate.

My fated brother Aflhild.

 

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First letter

 

I go through the flashes of fire, listen to the revving of worn-out horses as I squeeze tiredly the heavy, red-hot helmet bathed in my blood.

I hide behind the shield and load my crossbow. The marksman has a yew long bow. Leather quivers are on his belt where he carefully selects goose-feathered arrows. He tightens the hemp string, holds it that way, but does not fire. Birch arrow bottoms stick out of his quivers.

I hold the string tightened. The gear rotates. I tighten the crossbow with the winder and fire the bolt by pulling the trigger upwards. The steel tip of the bolt tears through the air and I can all but hear the squeal of the pierced wind in the hissing and the clash of light and shadow.

– Utterly unnecessary – the marksman shakes his head and puts his arrow back in the quiver. I sharpen the tip of the short spear and light it up. Tears go down my cheek. I look at the summit of Zion, which lords over the heavens as if it turns and rotates, like a beamer placed diagonally.

The marksman and the shield-bearer, pale and tense, were staring at my forehead, tightening their crossbows. I dug my face into my hands and pulled my forehead harder still in the shadow of the sweat overtaking me. I wanted to keep sinking into the darkness, to hide the ghosts of my fancy which did not appear before the marksman and the shield-bearer.

– I came to liberate you.

– You’re raving again, Hjalmar, – the marksman shot him a smile, drumming his fingers on the chainmail. – Let’s go! – He went ahead of me, calm and ready like a ballista rope, stomping the ground as if he wanted to root himself up right then and there. The soil was plowed by heavy armor boots, it was as dark as the vacant, bony face of the Saracen nearby. Oh, those dreaded faces, as if they were coming up from the grave, they swing like flames in the wind, like a deathly fire that singes the bones!

I once felt such a pain, when a Saracen arrow dug into my shoulder. Steel in burning flesh, smoke coming from the wound, and I was all black and hot, like a huge chimney.

I was staring at the marksman’s back while he was walking upright, a bit tense, as his legs, heavily armored with asymmetrically cut sheet metal, shone specked with mud, and his cut shirt quivered beneath his armor. He wore chainmail, with sleeves up to his elbows and a skirt reaching half of his toned thighs . His mail was cut so that it does not hinder his movement. A huge helmet with stripped cross-like reinforcements and eye slits partially hid his face. Shield was adorning his back, the so-called heater shield, with a flat top. A crossbow was in his right hand. A sleeveless surkot was over his mail, belt tightening it around his waist, with lions on it, the ancient symbol of the house of Agnus, Olof’s father. Olofs were Vikings by blood.

– Take some – he pulled out a sheep hide wineskin. The marksman is a friend, I thought looking at him through the eye slits while I voraciously gulped mouthfuls of sweet molasses. A true friend. I was staring at the liquid quivering somewhere in the grotto of the small wineskin. A tiny stream of water, honey and yeast, mead, spiced with lavender whose smell intoxicated me and very slowly closed the crack which, during the days devoid of spiced wine, split open on my crooked back under the weight of memory, piercing through it with a lead spike that tears through skin with ease. Heavy memories pierce like a sharp Saracen spear, they beat like a holy mace forged in hatred.

Intoxicated thusly, Olof and I were looking at the pile of shiny metal, in the faces colored the same as the charcoal earth beneath them. We could see the approaching of some strange shades through the sad hue of darkness, like a black Saracen army which, under this heat exuding from within their armors like heavy fire, appeared as if it were expanding and increasing, ominously emerging from their capes which circled around them like vultures.

The sun cast its last rays onto the city walls in the distance engulfed in smoke. This idyllic picture was to be crushed, its treasures taken, its holy relics soiled in hatred, polluted by the black Seljuk noses. The smell of the Fatimid was the smell of rottenness.

Thusly enchanted, I was staring at the pile of shining metal, into the charcoal faces. I felt nothing but smoke, iron, burning and blue lips chapped from marching for miles and miles.

– Raymond is here – Olof the marksman said.

The shades retreated into the spellbound silence.

Count Raymond was a lank man. His hands were as white as Västmanland snow, calm, clutching the reins. I could see blue eyes under the huge helmet, and the cowl absorbed all of the sweat, so his face was all but dry. He was hot, and he gave this away with certain head twitches and shooing of invisible flies.

– Fiends, you sure did give us a hard time in this hour of proving the love of a Son to a Father. I anm the son of Christ, cast down into the fog of this desert wonder, amid flowers that bloom under  the scorching sun. Blessed be Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God!

His chainmail bent under his white pelerine as if the Holy Spirit got under his gown of the holy profiteer. There was a sweet taste in the air, and the count sunk ever deeper in liquid bronze, his metal gaze flying over the desert yearning for water over which towered stone ramparts. They appeared to be swaying. The sun was scorching with deadly force engulfing the ramparts in its merciless rays as if they were the hands of a poltergeist, melting them while the air flickered above the towers. Near and around the seven hills, over which the city was opening up on the gigantic palm of Hephaestus, stubborn shrubbery swallowed  the dry, barren rocks and yielded under the dust which aided with the scorching wind buried them deeper into the many layers of sand.

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interview, proza

Leila Samarrai: A good author is he who isn’t afraid to speak his mind

Leila Samarrai: A good author is he who isn’t afraid to speak his mind

Interviewed by Tamara Lujak for the online magazine Afirmator.

My interview for the online magazine Afirmator (in Serbian)

A master of the short story form, Leila Samarrai is a published award-winning author. She loves writing, stating that literature is her life, she dreams of having her own manager, like American authors do. Inspired by the Pythons, Charlie Chaplin, as well as everyday events in Serbia, she writes brief, jocular, satirical short stories, filled with anger and bitterness of relief. Delve for a moment into this world of hers.

 

What is the author’s mission?

LS: His mission is to be a good writer and that’s about it. I think this was the main thesis of Joseph Brodsky.

 

Why do you write?

LS: I write out of pleasure, and because I think I have something to say.

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Where do you get your ideas from?

LS: It’s simple, I bang my hand against the table, a genie appears from the magic lamp, bows and says “What’ll ya have, oh Magistra Ludi?!” I then make a wish that gets instantly fulfilled.

 

What makes good poetry or art and how would you define the craft of the poets?

LS: Art is a game. Poetry as well. At the end of the day, you either know how to play it or not…

 

What, according to you, is a good author?

LS: A good author is he who isn’t afraid to speak his mind; he who dictates the art of the verse. A scribbler who merely keeps quiet and enjoys being lauded is nothing but a reader with nothing of importance to do. He whose written word trickles from his wounds into the world and onto paper is not afraid to both praise and criticize, this is what he strives towards.

 

What is literature and the purpose of art to you?

LS: Survival of the human species.

 

How did you come to the idea of publishing Boris K. (Everest Media, Belgrade, 2013)?

LS: In the age of absurd events in Serbia, which clash common sense, it wasn’t all that difficult to be inspired, to write an absurd satire in the manner of Monty Python, or even Chaplin or a science fiction space-time traveler, which would reflect reality in the mirror of old woman Valentine. Pythonesque burlesques interspersed with a Kafkaesque atmosphere reflected in the name of the titular hero are merely some of the references that build up the overall feel of the novel. Why Kafkaesque? Because Boris K. is, even with all of his Johnny Bravo capabilities, merely a regular, tiny man in a sophisticated cog of the system which makes mincemeat of the sophisticated, but grinds it well. The Johnny Bravo effect, the muscles of the superhero are but a part of this comedy of the absurd, because the hyperboles I like utilizing, sometimes to their upper limits in order to strengthen the absurd and highlight it in the process, are but one piece of the comedy and that comedy, so to speak, gets more comical.

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At International Belgrade Book Fair, with Zoran Stefanovic, the reviewer of my book “The Adventures Of Boris K”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoran_Stefanovi%C4%87

How did Boris K. come about?

LS: First of all, if we don’t take into account the scientific theories of existence of parallel universes, in the present day Serbia as it is, unfortunately, we can notice that in order to merely survive the people need to live in some sort of personal universe, to be ‘deluded’, as the British would say. Those with more creativity can craft up to five-six roles… Don’t many of the Munchausens find refuge in their own lies? Still, Boris K. moves through worlds of alternative history and his fate is resolved in a satirical science fiction novel which is in the process of creation, and all of this close to the encounter with the aliens of civilization number 5. But more on this some other time…

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Can we expect a sequel to Boris K.’s adventures?

LS: As someone who feels at home with long form writing, I admit that would be rather easy work were it not extremely difficult to someone whom struggles with rationality, mathematical focus and dramatic precision, but let’s say it takes time for the plot to come together, the answer is as follows: you can, the ideas are everywhere (I agree with Plato on this one), maybe not as soon as I would want them to. Boris K. is not just a short story, he is an omnipresent avatar and a portrait of an undisciplined, yet witty cosmopolitan man. And he demands only the best of plots, a beginning, plot points, my favorite peripety and a witty resolution with hints of bitter irony aimed at the society around us.

 

What are you working on at the moment?

LS: Like a sculptor I chisel away at a novel made of tangled tales waging wars for each individual sentence. This work does not demand precision in the sense of a well-rounded plot, it is fantasy in and of itself, a fantasy where the awoken sleepwalk. The novel fits my narrative sensibilities which focus both on the plot and the character nuances and has the attributes of magical realism, therefore I’m good at it and enjoy working on it. I hope to leave a footstep in the snow with it somewhere in the distant north, where the plot is happening…for the future storytellers of the same genre (magical fantasy).  Officially this genre does not exist, or rather is not named as such. There is magical realism, but this is a work of magical fantasy.

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Any advice for upcoming authors?

LS: Don’t walk the same track as others. Break patterns and remember that Kafka was extremely insecure. He considered himself a bad author, which he masked with hysterical laughter (a sort of compensation for shame) whenever his friends were talking him into reading his works aloud. Also, he wrote them late at night. This is not the type of advice you should heed if you’re an early bird.

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prose

Boris K. the Buddhist

A decade of day-to-day agony was behind Boris K. , of traumas, anxiety, grosses of emptied liqueur bottles and millions of diazepam cases downed. Boris K. decided to burn all of his bridges, to retire from the grotto, get a new job, a new vocation, new surroundings, in his quest for a bright sunny day, and not a raise nor severance pay, he followed his heart and made way straight to Tibet. After he had met the Lama on his way to the Multicolor Monkey Temple, he decided to become a Buddhist.

First he started his pilgrimage. He made his way towards the Buddha’s Ropes region, the gate of Himalayas, where, dead center in the rainforest, was the Temple of Positive Serpents. At the top of this magnificent building’s stairs, he spotted a Tibetan monk clad in dead leaves-hued garb reciting the Kama Sutra. It all happened in an instant. He himself didn’t even know how.

Suddenly Boris K.s initiation started, along with rooting, prayers and spiritual music. Boris K. finally thought that he had found his life’s purpose, when Dalai Lama suddenly said:

‘Let’s just carve out the third eye on your forehead, so that you can become psychic.’

Boris K. started sweating profusely. Completely astonished and terrified, he grabbed the first available canoo and went jungleward. Breaking through the thick foliage, he found the sacred monkeys. They saluted him by extending fingers on both hands. As they hung from the trees, chanting sutras, down came Hasan from the tree, a monk initiate and Dalai Lama’s personal bodyguard – he was sent to get Boris K. back to the temple.

‘Fear not ,Boris, they will not prod you with a switchblade’, the monk said, and briefly explained the Buddhist meditative techniques of opening the Third eye.

‘It is, in fact, a seat of universal wisdom.’

‘Alright, if all I have to do is sing,’ Boris valored up.

For a while they travelled across the mountain chains, along what seemed to be endless space. In the distance one could hear Tibetan sutras saluting the newly-born Sun.

As Boris K. went down the cold, marble hallway, so did the monks, with their characteristic muffs on their heads, welcome him.

‘Boris K., you’ve reached the very end.’

Then they chanted. This is where Boris K. felt something cracking on his forehead and opening…

‘Ouch!’ Boris cried, and the world went murky before his eyes… In an instant he viewed the past and the future of all monks. One monk, for instance, he saw, will utilize the money taken as charity for his personal benefit – building a cottage in the Swiss Alps – and that he will, as punishment for this, be reincarnated in his next life as bindweed on the fence of that selfsame cottage. He also saw himself, how he will, should he participate in this fraud, become roof moss. In a different instance he saw how people, seeing him begging for food clad as a monk, gave him meat – which he accepted in accordance to Buddha’s teachings – but also how he will, in the next life, be eaten as a bull because of this. In the third image he saw himself how, while mowing the lawn in the Lumbini garden at the border of India and Nepal, he kills an earthworm – due to which he will himself, in his next life, become an earthworm cut in half. At long last he realized how he didn’t need the all-seeing eye. He decided to put some ointment on it and gave up on the monastic life.

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prose, Uncategorized

Boris K, the cosmopolitan protagonist

‘The Adventures of Boris K.’ was already published in Serbia, but I’ve decided upon the expanded Kindle edition to have the cosmopolitan protagonist live through cosmopolitan fate, to have him read and loved not only in the isolated space of the Balkans, but also among the aboriginal tribes whom he, often, breaks bread with on his travels.

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prose

Flash Fiction + Biography Of a Misfit

2011

Won three awards on the story competition “3-5-7” as a part of the “Helly Cherry” competition

 

  1. (…) 
One day he merely ended it, period. Underlined it, too.

2. Departing the star from the Magellanic Clouds. 
And there was supernova.
***
Leila Samarrai, a misfit among authors, managed to host her misfitting poetic nature in genres spanning 5 to 100.000 words. A poet of Himalayan seclusion, she was born in Belgrade in 1976
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Ljubodrag Stojanović, author, A review of the short story ‘The Bitch’

Ljubodrag Stojanović, author, http://www.alma.rs/autori/lj-stojanovic.html

A review of the short story ‘The Bitch’
THE POETRY Leila Samarrai is an exceptional poetess. Hence why the lyricism is so excellent in her works. Consciously or not, whatever the case might be, ultimately it is irrelevant, the verses flow from her sleeves, fingertips, quill, making up a powerful waterfall of verses which floods us readers, therefore we, occasionally, while disappearing into the colors and verses of Samarrai, get the impression that we are reading a poem, a poem that akin to sound (of whistling) gets stuck in one’s throat.
THE PLAYS I have had the honor of reading Samarrai’s plays. Perhaps some would call me subjective on this, but her plays are equally as good as her poetry. What’s more, Samarrai’s poetry and plays often are intertwined, making up an antique literary fatherland. Samarrai’s erudition mixed with imagination creates and destroys worlds and universes, leading us through epochs and vast spaces as if in a dream, or rather, in a moment. Is ‘The Bitch’ a type of play? Very much so. This story yearns for an adaptation, and it might happen if an open and ingenious enough person reads it and feels its bark or voice as an invitation for casting of a role of roles.
THE FARCE Speaking of playwrights, farce is the one thing that must not be avoided in Samarrai’s works. However you identify with her protagonists of either sex, with their realistic – and in a way our own, too – basic and easily recognizable problems, we are left with the other side of Janus’ face, partly smiling, partly grim. It is enjoyable to wander around the light and darkness of Leila Samarrai. Her humor can also be quite vocal, with many a hahaha within, and it can also, in the blink of an eye, turn itself into a very sharp and even shredding satire of human and less-so characters. Samarrai is what Branislav Nušić could have been had he ever wanted to dabble in horror.
THE ABSURDITY Mentioning Samarrai’s works, and glossing over the absurdist tinge of it, would religiously speaking be blasphemous. Even though it seems easy to write of absurdist literature or to write absurdist literature itself, I would disagree that everyone can do it with a little bit of imagination packed into the zeitgeist. Samarrai’s absurdist tendencies are not there for absurdity’s sake, nor does it adorn itself with it, spraying it all over the letters, nor amateurishly summon it like the Dodolas summon the rain. The absurdity is there, it materializes on its own, popping out of the situation, has a face and form of engaged literature, it is strong and loud, it chides and accuses, it awakens and sobers…
COURAGE Leila Samarrai is without a doubt a courageous person. I will not go into the minutiae nor explain why I think so. It will be enough for you to take one of her works, read it from start to finish, and it will all be clear. Without literary courage, there is no literary quality, or rather, it remains unfinished and silent, which in literature is a death worse than death.
METEMPSYCHOSES AND METAMORPHOSES IN ‘THE BITCH’ All of these characters might in a Borgesian, Alephian way, all be one. Peter is Ana and is Pipi and Fifi, and…The whole work itself. And not just him, but each of them separately. Dismantling, rearranging and transforming of characters is in particular a great treat of this all-encompassing work. For instance, Pipi is 2×3.14! An amazing solution out of which Pipi becomes Lazarus who is raised back from the dead. Also, the amazing ‘woof woof’ ending, with its greeting or saying goodbye, stultifies any character division to humans and animals, men and women, protagonists and antagonists. A top notch work of fiction alongside which you grow and learn.
https://www.limundo.com/…/I-lud-i-zbunjen-aforizmi…/54762727

http://www.alma.rs/autori/lj-stojanovic.html

LJUBODRAG STOJANOVIC WAS BORN IN GNJILANE ON APRIL 22ND, 1972, WHERE HE HAD LIVED UNTIL JUNE 1999. HE WRITES APHORISMS, POEMS, ROCK LYRICS, PLAYS, SHORT STORIES, AND NOVELS.

HE IS CURRENTLY LIVING IN NIS.

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY: ‘THE SERBIAN STORY’ (2002), COLLECTION OF APHORISTIC PROSE ‘BOTH INSANE AND CONFUSED’ (2009).

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Uncategorized

Review, Nataša Mačukat, professor of German language and literature ‘Upon reading ‘The Adventures of Boris K.’ …

Review, Nataša Mačukat, professor of German language and literature
Upon reading ‘The Adventures of Boris K.’ my first impression was – a novel came out fit for its time of publication, in an ocean of new well-renowned works of fiction, completely anachronistic, more often than not imitating the romantic form and expression. A novel that discovered new in a completely natural manner, without the forced and assembly-line experimenting, in an age where ‘nobody believes in the virginal literatures anymore’, it simply materialized itself out of the spirit of the 21st century.
Other than alluding to Kafka in its very title, ‘The Adventures of Boris K.’ can remind the reader of E.T.A. Hoffmann , the German romantic author who was at least two centuries ahead of his time, with its elements of fantasy and the bizarre, or of Gustav Meyrink with its specific type of horror. In a broader thematic context the novel takes place in a setting where literature has long stopped being Arcadian due to being overladen with historicity and had also long and in the widest range possible started to deal with the relationship of the individual with society – in Central Europe.
The subject matter of the novel is Serbia in her transitional age, without mentioning this specifically, but can be understood in a far broader context. Obviously a work of satire, but avoiding that which satire has become today – institutionalized, watered down, overly present, and cynically and arrogantly used by those whom it should by definition be targeting, because they cannot be touched, and it creates the illusion of democracy.
Boris K. is represented best as a video game character – without much character he goes to different ‘missions.’ With his facelessness, one moment overly and nigh-drunkenly involved and another barely mildly so, adding the bizarre nature of the missions, he describes all of us people of today – forced to adapt to various roles with the purpose of maintaining an existence, most assuredly losing our way and accepting worthless roles and habits, we lose our essential self.

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prose, samarrai, short story

THE KAFKIAN LEVITICUS (The Book of the Kafkaesque Law), CONTINUITAS

https://leilasamarrai.wordpress.com/2017/03/26/authors-note/

https://leilasamarrai.wordpress.com/2017/03/25/the-kafkian-leviticus-the-book-of-the-kafkaesque-law/

*** Continuitas***
23.
The Forefather is a Scourge since Attila is the Scourge of God. The Forefather is, therefore, Attila who later in life decided to take monastic vows and become Saint Attila.
FOR IT IS WRITTEN:
Respect thy Father and thy Mother by having them whip you
QUIT YER BITCHIN’ FOR HERE COMES WHIP TWITCHIN’!
 
1. Whipping is to be executed exclusively with a sterilized whip, dipped in a hydrogen solution. 
2. Whipping is sponsored by tanner shops and salt factories.
3. Salt is a necessary element to be rubbed into the post-whipping wounds.
4. WHIPPING IS THE SAME AS WHIPKRIEG AND IS NOT TO BE PERFORMED WITHOUT THE BLESSINGS OF THE CHURCH.
5. THE CHURCH IS OBLIGED TO BLESS BOTH THE CONVICT AND THE WHIP WITH HOLY WATER BEFORE THE EXECUTION IS TO TAKE PLACE.
6. Whipping in BDSM establishments is forbidden.
7. Whipping must not be performed with an old Avarian quirt.
8. The whip must not be manufactured from horse skin, which would work for nomads.
 
SLANDER/LIBEL:
1. The libelous person accused of libel is to be set free for honor is defended by dueling.
2. Duels are forbidden.
3. SHOULD BOTH DUELISTS DIE – DUELS ARE PERMITTED.
4. Citizens are not to be arrested nor killed at night but during the day, mid-day, in the open.
24.
Plagiarism is protected philosophically: according to Plato, all of art is imitation, and an incompetent one at that, especially the theater and poetry. Hence, when someone plagiarizes both he who plagiarizes a piece and the one who wrote the plagiarized piece are to be exhiled because both are imitating reality.
25.
Men are, at the core, evil. Hence why being faithful to someone is forbidden – be they faithful politically or sexually – for longer than five years. Adultery or backstabbing is a natural occurrence because it is natural to be at war with everyone. Those who remain faithful to others shall be hung under the suspicion that they want an organized, conspiratorial takedown of the government.
26.
Priests who are objectors to conscience and do not want to bless the weapons of paramilitary formations are to be employed in gay brothels as punishment.
Only corrupt coalitions are allowed in politics – see 3.
27.
Who does not know of other man’s secrets and does not deal with cancellations and blackmail is lazy because he isn’t trying to work 25 hours per day but thinks it’s enough to come to work at 8 and return home at 5. As punishment he is to wear the same diaper for three days, without changing it. A cloth one, at that.
***The-Kafkian-Monkey-Adelaide-Fringe-2017-The-Clothesline
*Persequendum est! *This thing must be continued!
*Kafka’s writing has inspired the term “Kafkaesque”, used to describe concepts and situations reminiscent of his work, particularly Der Process (The Trial) and “Die Verwandlung” (The Metamorphosis). Examples include instances in which bureaucracies overpower people, often in a surreal, nightmarish milieu which evokes feelings of senselessness, disorientation, and helplessness. Characters in a Kafkaesque setting often lack a clear course of action to escape a labyrinthine situation. Kafkaesque elements often appear in existential works, but the term has transcended the literary realm to apply to real-life occurrences and situations that are incomprehensibly complex, bizarre, or illogical. (source:Wikipedia)
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Uncategorized

You love me in this dress

You love me in this dress
and you don’t see my full lips nor a shirt wherein my breasts seem safer
neither eyes but a moment before succumbing
you love me in this dress
and you don’t see my bleary-eyed and yellow gaunt face
neither pieces of broken statue or pieces of paper scattered around…
you are not wonder – struck with my scream nor with my attempt to get you to escape

I am taking it off tieing it around my waist
my movements are alternately feminine and rough
I love being a woman because my body moves to the beat of music more easily
but my boyish view that you don’t see slaps the spirits of the past
frozen on the other side…
still immersed in the coloring of the unfinished image

You would do anything for me when I’m in this dress, don’t you?
don’t you see I’m naked, pursued and burned?
don’t you see my old clothes
in the blemished closet loaded with garments as barrel shotguns
a talking picture has turned into a point..
in the background was a poorly dressed wake-up call.

You love me in this dress
perhaps I could remember and arrange any piece for you.
Maybe cabaret.
Maybe to play it in a new dress?

dress

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