Chicken: A Short Story

EncounterThe auburn shoes don’t match, they just don’t, and that was the first hitch of the day. His father did say something about the shoes while he was trying them on. It wasn’t the color according to father. And yet he can’t recall exactly what it was. There was something wrong with the way they were made, the whole thing. But he did not confront father and that was always the case because father was never clear about things. Father would mumble as if he was afraid to take responsibility for the things that came out of his mouth. He hated that, the indecisiveness, not knowing how to react, not knowing what to do in such circumstances, and secretly, as if ashamed by the thought, he hoped he would not turn out to be like his father.

Now he is completely aware of it, of the shoes that is, and that gruesome auburn that seems like a splotch on the whole outfit. They seemed so much nicer while he was trying them on. And it’s not just that. What he’s most angry at is the fact that he fell for it. He fell for all that capitalist shopping-aura related bag full of crap that pushed people into buying things they didn’t particularly like. Now he has to deal with the side effects, with the sorrow that comes with realizing that it was a mistake, with understanding that the shoes don’t match and it all boils down to wasted money, money that his parents can’t spare. And now, as he is waiting in line for his fried chicken he has the uncanny feeling that he is being watched by people who disagree with his choice of shoes. Everyone seems to be staring at the shoes and all he can think of is just going home and switching the damned shoes with the old and worn-out navy blue pair.

Even the guy standing in line next to him seems to be staring at his shoes and he feels like saying something to him, telling him that it was the shopping craze, and shops made him nervous. Most of all, he wanted to tell the guy that in the shop the color seemed like a gesture of rebellion, a rule-breaking statement that would disrupt the tediousness of life. But that would be weird and so he doesn’t say anything. People don’t just talk about shoes like that while waiting for their fried chicken.

Instead he pretends to be looking through the menu, and the words don’t make sense because people can’t possibly want roasted nails, they don’t exist, and it’s the shoes again, and all he wants is to get his fried chicken and get out, but the chubby guy at the counter who is supposed to deliver his order is too busy talking and joking around. Italians, the thought furiously takes shape, they like that, talking as if talking were an occupation of some sort. Or smoking. It must have been Wilde, he thinks, a man should always have an occupation of some kind. He’s sure of it. It must have been Wilde, just the right amount of sarcasm. He plays with the phrase in his mind. Italians should have an occupation of some kind. Talking, that is, delicious idleness. Does he talk that much? In the end, he, too, is Italian. Studying all those foreign languages at the university can’t change the fact that he is still one of them.

The guy next to him, he must be Italian, too. His vaguely dark skin and the dark hair, both seem to confirm his Italian origins. He feels a sort of pride in it, in being able to guess the nationality of someone just by the color of his or her skin. It must be because he is Italian too, and he knows. It’s just too easy and too arrogant in a way. He dismisses the thought immediately. The guy seems to have moved closer and as he turns for an instant to look out of the windows of the takeaway he has a clear glimpse of the guy’s underwear just beneath the shirt sloppily hanging over the belt. He turns quickly back to the menu blood rushing to his cheeks. The guy must have seen it, he is almost sure of it; the curious and almost indecent look as that of a child caught red handed in the cookie jar. And yet the image hangs in there as if it were the embodiment of a promise, of something reachable, almost like an invitation, and he can’t get rid of it. He wants to get rid of it as quickly as possible because he feels the guy’s cold and alien stare on the back of his head. Where is that chicken? He tries to make his impatience visible by moving his feet nervously because that’s all he could think of to make the image go away and with it his shame. But somehow the images squeezes itself back and again it turns into a promise. He must be wearing boxer briefs, grey, with a blue waistband.

“Let’s just hope the chicken won’t be too fried”, the guy says moving closer. He smiles and then laughs, a nervous laugh that seems fake even to himself. And there’s that cheap perfume, he can’t remember the name, notorious and with no personality.


“It’s so much more difficult in your case”, Gareth says, “when a guy sees a girl he likes, he can only hope she likes him back”. He nods. He and Gareth took the same course in American literature a few years back. They have been friends since then, and if he closes his eyes he can still see Gareth standing outside the building waiting for the class to start. Even now, as he tries to recall the moment, he can still feel the remains of that almost secret wish to become Gareth’s friend. A clandestine craving for his skin, almost sexual, that grew to obsessive proportions while they were still unknown to each other, but then had to be denied because of the inappropriateness of it. There was something about him, about the way in which he looked around him as if terrified by the prospect of an unexpected encounter. Gareth somewhat looked like a harmless deer while feeding, its eyes alert, muscles tightened, ready to leap at the slightest movement in the bushes. He later found out that Gareth was part of a famous band and he inferred that unexpected encounters must have always been on the agenda. Gareth denied that on several occasions and will continue to deny it until nobody will care anymore. Now they’re on the train, heading back home, their friendship strengthened by the many talks they’ve had over the years.

“You see a guy you like”, Gareth continues, “and you have to be very careful because the distinction is not very clear”. Gareth repeats the pronoun as if for emphasis. There it is again, he thinks, the revelatory use of pronouns to make a point, to divide things. Moses, too, might have used a pronoun to part the waters. We’re on this side and you’re on the other, there’s no mistake about that. He always resented and treasured that, the way English pronouns left room for interpretation. Once, while he was still in college, he thought of writing an ode to the omnipotent and oblique you, its superb and almost tasteful indifference toward gender and other distinctions of that kind. The very notion of otherness seemed obliterated by this indifference, thrown into stupor by a language so responsive to the needs of its users that it even reacted to his need for coded language.

“You never know how he’s going to react”, he replies, “he might even punch you in the face or something. You just secretly wish he’s like you“. It rarely happens, it’s a mistake that they do, think that all men are like them, or secretly wish they were like them, and then act according to that false conviction. All men are curious, one of his friends used to say. You can never be sure and you look for hidden signs. A look, or maybe a smile, a timid touch on the shoulder and bodies responding to it lavishly as if that touch is the answer that they’ve been waiting for a very long time. We’re so obsessed with our coded language that we start seeing hidden meanings even in the most innocent exchanges.

Gareth goes on telling him that he met a guy once, a musician, who told him that he would hit on practically every guy because he could never be sure about it. The word stays hidden like an ugly child. There are other people around them and they could hear and jump to conclusions. There’s a self-absorbed teenager sitting on the opposite row of seats. But a game, finally, you pull the lever and three red cherries might pop up. He wants to say that there is always a triple standard, three little boxes that you need to tick before moving in. All three need to be ticked otherwise it doesn’t work. All those fears and the longing that never goes away eventually boil down to that, to three little squares: I like him, he’s like me, and he likes me too. And that’s that, three saintly likes sitting in a tree k-i-s-s-i-n-g. He’s almost furious, because of the unfairness of the whole situation. Then he realizes that he’s missing something else, something that he won’t be able to tell Gareth because then Gareth will end up knowing too much about him. Even now, as the train rushes out of the underground tunnel and into the blinding light, he resents the whole discussion. And then that mouth, miss congeniality. There’s another box that needs to be ticked before doing anything. It’s not a question of swimming or playing tennis. You need to know who’s who. A trivial thing, but still vital: unless one wants to waste a relationship by acting as if one was living in a nunnery, and nobody wants that. He could try to explain it to Gareth and Gareth would smile and maybe say oh and that would be the end of it and the starting point of a friendship lived in awkwardness. And for a moment, Gareth resembles an exhausted friend turned enemy.


They are both laughing now and he’d like to reach out, see how flesh responds to that other flesh. Epithelium, graspable but still capable of osmosis, people can’t be that, at least, they can’t be like that, as always the body stands in the way. He wants to say move closer, or move over, there are strings tied to his ankles as he moves. The rest of the world is the true density, the air with all its noble gases, that’s it, the body is variation, impure, and still it wants to extend its arms outward. A revelation that comes too late to change anything. A commotion and a plastic bag a voice addressing him. Your chicken, it says, and for a moment he has the eerie feeling that the voice is telling him something else as if in a dream. He cannot tell what it is. It’s too late now because a hand is extended, a palm and on it veins swollen, the outline of a tree, so tempting that he wants to feel it on his face. He takes a step back to make some space. The chubby guy at the counter stops for a moment, mouth open, plastic bag in midair, as if to say something. The plastic bag goes over the counter slowly and the extended palm takes it, some money and niceties exchanged, and that’s it. One final glimpse of the loose shirt and the underwear beneath, and that’s it. He moves, heavily, and then looks at the menu. Those damned shoes.

Letter to an absent friend (July 27)

Childhood_under_the_Sun Dear friend,

I apologize for my late reply, your letters never seem to arrive these days, I guess they just get lost on the way. Yet, I know you write to me every day, I just know it, I refuse to think that you have forgotten me. I refuse to believe I now linger at the back of your mind like one of those memories you refuse to acknowledge.

I would like to write to you about happiness, this imaginary friend that we all look for at one point and in whose company we feel like nothing could go wrong. But things can go wrong, sadly, and happiness is always greatest the minute before you realize something has gone terribly wrong. You’ll think I’m selfish, but selfishness, in my case, is like a declaration of love to you, dear friend. Only I know how many declarations of love I’ve written praising you and your beauty. Your beauty, the one that feels like the innocent cruelty of the sun.

I’ve been places lately, places I cannot even name because in the geography that we humans have created for ourselves they do not yet exist. Our friendship is a place. Despair is a place. Solitude is a place too. This very letter is a place. That is why I’m writing about happiness. I want this letter to be a happy place, its walls filled with pictures of happy people under the sun, smiling, loving people, the people that we both long to become. They are all happy, I swear to you, and because they are happy we must be happy too. I’d like to tell you about how the happiness of the others is really the happiness that we should live for, that I should live for. Think how, really, the kind of happiness that you experience every day is nothing compared to the happiness that we share like the jagged wheels of a huge mechanism powered by those who hold hands, and kiss, and can tell these things to each other while having breakfast. This might sound idealistically grand to you, but I swear, it is the most selfish thing that I could ever fathom. I am happy for you, really, because I know that when you are happy at least one tenth of that happiness descends, like the tentacles of a drug, into my own bloodstream, until I become like a sponge feeding on the remnants of that feast we call happiness. Like the prodigal son I return to you begging for forgiveness. Forgiveness is a kind of happiness too. The kind of happiness that I desire. Will you offer me that?



Until we are lessened

I’ve seen how the flesh gets scared of me, only at the thought of me. I’ve witnessed it in one of my invented memories. I touched this man’s hand, and I could feel the flesh, the warmth, and the hand withdrew, quickly, like a snake, like the body of a snail does, hiding slowly under its protective shell. I got scared myself because in that indeterminate movement I’ve seen myself through the eyes of that man, and I appeared monstrous and alone, like a child who fears being abandoned. I’ve seen that frightening look that for a second made me seem invisible or made me want to think that I’m invisible or that I should be invisible just for that pair of eyes. I am the child and the child-molester, the victim and the perpetrator. How could I not be when every time I touch you I can feel the flesh that has grown into something that only your mind could fathom? Is it the same flesh, that of the child, that has grown dark, day by day, and thought by thought? Aren’t you still that little boy you were years ago that still smells of breast milk? It is the same skin, the same glorious architecture.

The mind has made you furiously dark, laid one by one the brushstrokes of dementia, adulthood, over the scribbled smiling face of your innocence.

The mind grows too fast. The body has to keep up.

I try to understand where this guilty pleasure of yours comes from, derive its driving principles, and in the process understand myself, your lover. To find the spot where the mind refused the spectral image of an angel replacing it with that of an androgynous figure, relaxed and seemingly superficial, yet full of sexual frenzy.

There is no change, no crossing point, that’s why there is no turning back.

I can’t find your number, it seems to have disappeared and for a second I panic thinking that you might have been indeed a figment of my imagination. I finally find it under the letter M. It’s that other name that I have given you this week. Hey, I can hear your voice at the other end of the line, trembling, filled with expectation. I’m just going to get my luggage and I’ll be there in about 15 minutes. You know how these things work, I tell him, but I only do that to fill the air that is suddenly too much for my lungs. I have taken my best shirt, even my best boxer shorts, my best socks, you know, just to make a first good impression on you. We’ll see about the other impressions. The first one is the most important at this point. I’ll be waiting, he says, and as he said that I suddenly felt that 15 minutes is going to take forever. I tell myself that patience is the key aspect now. I’ve been waiting for this for so many months.

I’m still waiting for it.

I finally take the luggage and I put my sunglasses on. I have a terrible headache, I tell him through the phone. We’ll take care of that he says, you’re on the other side of the wall. I could actually hear him.

Was it a flicker? A second there has just passed, consumed itself.

The doors open automatically. I could hear the mechanism working inside.

I step outside. The connection seems lost and I can’t hear you anymore. I stop and look for your number again. There is no letter M in the alphabet. I look through the rest of my contact list, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents, unknown people. There is no letter M in the alphabet. One pearl is missing from the string. But I’ve just seen it.

There is no alphabet.

You’re probably waiting at the car.

There is a young man waiting next to a colorless car. I have never told you the color of my car. Once I told you I had dreamed of you, or rather forced myself to dream of you and you were voiceless. Back then I didn’t know the sound of your voice. Now I’ve become so familiar with it.

You’re not under the letter M.

I wonder what name I have given you today.

Under the letter G there is the word ghost. For a second you looked like a ghost. That ghost which comes at night, intent, and full of meaning, full of lust. We kill the lust that grows between your bodies. We strangle it with our bare hands until it breathes no more. The lust that comes to life when our bodies occupy the same space, at the same time, a slight distance required to make things work, the distance and the time that at one point will seem to extend towards infinity.

You are under the letter L, for lust, blocked into a category, my category.

There is the unnamable celestial body, of unknown descent living in a completely white inodorous land, no houses except words. There is the center of consciousness, diverse, totally different color. The body is stained, recorded in black and white, saturated. The body becomes a hypodermic syringe, youth itself, in the flesh. The body is the prerecorded obsession, the sound, no sound of any kind. There’s no specificity there. There is the completely inodorous white land. There are hundreds of inhabitants led by a man who fell in love in the mirror, made love in the mirror until he was trapped inside. They all turned purple and then orange due to the light reflected by the mirror. The skin turned hard, like a crust, perfectly stretched, flawlessly attached.

The body is an open wound, a cut in the air made with a word.

The flesh is the presence of lust.

The body is a curve between two points, the longest way between one point and the other, the longest way between A and B. The ultimate measure of the body is loss. The earth plates are on the move and we’re caught in between, innocent as we come, by nature. Time runs slower in this center of consciousness.

I wouldn’t want to wake up because waking up means facing the inodorous white desert. I can’t find you in that desert. There’s a land of lines put together, laws attached and meanings, and you stop being human, there is only what you’ve become, an entity. There are the repetitive words said every morning, cut obliquely they are empty of meaning though desired to be full of meaning. Good morning, how are you, did you have a good night. The answer is always yes, though by saying yes, I intend to say so much more. Yes means yes and no. The people living in this inodorous white land will understand you, they know.

Human waste, with every touch we go to waste. One step taken towards love is one step taken towards becoming human waste.

We stood hand in hand, our feet into the sand, watching fascinated how the waves came and went. My father knows, he says, he knows that we’re together. Did you tell him? Yes, I told him, and it’s not the first time I did that, he seems to forget a lot.

I’m not afraid of that, I’m not afraid of your father, he’ll eventually understand, what I’m afraid of though is what will come out of that understanding. Next time we’ll meet and we’ll have to shake hands and he’ll have to look into my eyes. I don’t know how I’m going to do that.

We’ll just have to avoid that, he says, be silent, pretend, shake hands like normal people do, wear the armor of common courtesy. In that world we’ll be invincible, in this world we’ll tend to our fragile souls in need of each other.

I try to imagine what his father is thinking about this, I’m the guy who’s fucking his son, three years older than him, taller, with long sideburns. Some may say I’m taking advantage of the situation I’m in. I fear the mercy that he might feel for me; I wouldn’t want to have that.

Your skin, the sun has given it this dark hue, the sun is telling me to look somewhere else. His father told me to look somewhere else, told me his son is not for me that I don’t deserve to have him. His mother smiled and said nothing. I looked down and told them I’m in love with their son. They said nothing, so I said it again. His father laughed but said nothing and I wanted to hold him, right there, hold him in my arms. The world was telling me to look somewhere else. There was this lump in my throat, I felt like throwing up.

I took him by the hand when we went out of the house. I looked back and the house was completely white, painful white. The windows were completely white, the trees framing the house were completely white, the sidewalk was white, everything was of a perfect white as if the house, his parents, time itself were mere drawings on a white sheet of paper. His eyes were completely white, perfectly white, inodorous white, tasteless white, a desert of whiteness at my feet. And in that whiteness I felt so alone and I felt like running away as fast as I could. Something held me, with a strong hand, something held me close.

At one point you come to terms with yourself, with who you are, or at least try to. I did the same, or at least tried to do the same. The whiteness was on to obliterate us, both of us, reduce us to mere drawings on a white sheet of paper.

You were wearing this dark blue sweater and that pair of jeans you always said they were your favorite though at times I disliked them deeply. And you had had your new haircut which seemed desperate the first time I saw it, but I was in love with you so it was the most beautiful haircut in the whole wide world. And there was a smile on your face, like that of a child that for a moment has forgotten about everything. We were in the backyard of your father’s house and you had found this rubber ball, and you were playing with it trying to imitate famous footballers. There was also that friend of yours, I don’t remember her name, something with K, I guess. Look under the letter K, there might be something there. But there isn’t of course, there is no letter K in the alphabet.

You were laughing and I fell in love with you again.

It was autumn. And the trees were not yet white, inodorous white, devoid of color. Back then the whiteness was yet lurking behind us never having the courage to attack us. It was the joy in your eyes that kept the whiteness away.

Or that time in the shopping mall when I could only think of you while watching all those men unpacking merchandise moving swiftly along the aisles as if there was something waiting for them when they got home. Is there anyone for them, at home, waiting for them to come back? A girlfriend, a boyfriend, a wife thinking of them, and I could see them doing things so that they could forget the absence. I went to the cashier and put the things I intended to buy on the conveyor and the woman looked at me and said something about a loyalty card and I said no. But everything happened just like that, without me actually acknowledging it. My replies were already there, prepared, ready to be delivered. And I was still thinking of you and nothing could distract me from doing that. We were in the car speeding on a highway leading nowhere the whiteness surrounding us like it was winter though it wasn’t winter, it was summer, it was supposed to be summer, and there was a white sun ahead of us neither smiling nor frowning at us, just like that, one of those emotionless suns, nothing special. But we weren’t running away from the whiteness, by that time we were accustomed with that, it had become our daily routine to live submerged into this sea of whiteness. We were going to that place called home, though in fact it wasn’t a home; it was the only place left in the world where the whiteness hadn’t reached yet, the place where we weren’t afraid to be ourselves. We were in the car speeding on a highway leading nowhere and you said you have to tell me something. Should I stop then, I asked you, and you said yes, I should stop, and I pulled over. It wasn’t the place or the time to say it, you said while other cars went by us and the sound was at times too strong to bear. And you said you love me and I took your hand in my hands and kissed it passionately and I saw you smiling, and I said I love you too.

There is no whiteness here because the room is too dark and the house is hidden away from view. Nobody can see us here, not even ourselves.

For miles there is no house in sight, just the occasional illusions that lure us into believing we are not alone in this white desert. There are no lights, and the weeds have outgrown the path, outgrown those who might venture around the house. The house resembles a fortress, painted in scarlet, painful to the eye, and to those who look at it from the outside it will appear deformed. Not to us, those who live inside have seldom fallen in love with the asymmetrical walls, windows turned away from the sun, doors too small to enter, some of the locked from the outside. Actually, all of them are locked from the outside except one which is in the attic so that if somebody wants to get out he or she will have to commit suicide, every time, several times during one’s lifetime. So we are very reluctant about going out. One morning I woke up with the feeling that we were the last two human beings on earth. No one yet ventured in these parts; the weeds have outgrown the adventurer.

Your beautiful abomination

Don’t stop this movement, let it consume itself smoothly as it should, slowly, let it flow beautifully like the glorious flight of a bird, don’t let it fade, because if it fades then everything will be lost, including you, my love, and I don’t want to lose you, I don’t even want to imagine that, I don’t want to experience it even if it’s for the sake of experience, let me stay here with you, five more minutes, five more minutes and I’ll go, I’ll leave my thoughts with you, I’ll leave my love with you, let this presence of mine linger a bit more around you. The car speeds down the highway, I hold my hand on you thigh, trying to feel the fullness of it, the things that make it the thigh of a human being. You’re there, and I want to make sure of that, I want to make sure that this is not just my lust gone mad, a hallucination which has occupied my mind for so long that I started to perceive it as a real thing. You’re squeezing too hard, you say, it hurts. I’m sorry, I say, and try to relax my fingers, make you feel comfortable with me around you. I’ve missed you so much, I say, even though we haven’t seen each other before this. You smile, I could feel the hesitation in you though I know it is a false hesitation, you’ve told me. Yes, you say, this is really strange, how can you miss something you haven’t seen before?
That’s true, how is that possible, since that which you miss has not occupied any space in your life then how can you even notice its disappearance?
But that does not matter now, I tell him, just give me a quick kiss. I lean over the chair and feel his wet lips on mine. That was so good, I tell him, could I have another one? Just be careful, he says, these kind of things can be dangerous while driving. Trust me, I tell him and lean over the chair again, this time with a smile, my eyes locked on the road. You reach out, your hand still timid, still the hand of a boy who’s too afraid to touch somebody other than himself, your flesh prepared to draw back suddenly like a scared animal. I can feel the warmth of your skin on my thigh, then the tightness, the pressure of your palm. A wave of tremors goes through my muscles. I take your hand in mine and kiss it as softly as I could then place it back gently on my thigh.
Don’t stop this flight, the emptiness, the great pleasure of finding you beside me, available, there, in that place, the closest place on Earth in this distance that stands between our two bodies, here, inside, there is nothing outside. Let me hold you. And you let me hold you, smiling, finally acknowledging my presence. I’m here to stay, I tell him. I know, he says.
Among these few lines there is a mistake, a word you thought of as something insignificant. It’s not. You’ll try to find it but it’s not there. My love, in this dialogue of ours we are both losing, it’s a lost bet since this love of ours is just the glorious architecture of my mind. Observe the lack of details, observe how everything has been reduced to the essential, how there is nothing else outside, how there are no other people, how it never rains, how it is never sunny, how everything seems like a limbo. There are no other human beings except what goes through my mind, except who goes through my mind, except you. And I’m so afraid, my love, afraid that we won’t be able to hold this world together by ourselves. I’m afraid that I won’t be strong enough to do it.
Could we at least try it, he says.
Yes, we can try it. Tell me what I have to do, and I’ll do it, even if it’s the most difficult thing in the world.
First, he says, act as if you love me.
I don’t need to act in order to do that, I tell him, I’ll just be myself, that will be enough.
No, he says, do as I tell you, act as if you love me, because then afterwards we’ll try something else.
What do I need to do in order to complete this request of yours, I ask him.
You have to take me out, buy me presents, take showers with me, and bubble baths, wear my shirts as you go to sleep and when I’ll ask why you’re doing that you’ll tell me that you like to feel my scent during the night when you suddenly wake up out of a heavy dream. Hug me and kiss me when my friends are around, make sure I’m sitting comfortably when we’re out, make space for me if I need more space, order for me, pay for me, keep your knee close to mine when we’re sitting close to each other, hold my hand, try to keep physical contact with me whenever you have the chance, smile every time you look at me and use that sweet face of yours, hold my jacket, kiss me on the lips whenever we say goodbye, act as if you’re the man when my father or my mother is present, protect me, let me fall asleep on your shoulder, let me cry on your shoulder every time I feel like it, take me wherever I want to go. Demonstrate that you love me by acting as if you love me.
I did all of these. Then went back to him on my knees.
What should I do now, I asked him.
You’ll have to do everything else, he told me, don’t take me out, don’t buy me presents, don’t take showers with me, don’t wear my shirts, don’t hug me and don’t kiss me when my friends are around, don’t make sure I’m sitting comfortably, don’t make space for me, don’t order for me, don’t pay for me, don’t keep your knee close to mine, don’t hold my hand. Can you still love me? Do you still love me?
Of course I do. But how will you know?
I’ll now. Even in their absence, I’ll know that you love me. You see, in this love of ours you have to get used to this, you have to get used to presence and absence, to lying and telling the truth, to hiding it and showing it.
How will I be able to do that?
It’s not without difficulty, he says, but you’ll be able to do it, because you’ll know, you’ll know that presence is as good as absence, and absence is as good as presence, that lying is as truthful as telling the truth, and that hiding it from the others is as good as showing it. This love of ours plays a double game. We’ll need to invent our own language, play with words, call things by other names, and in the meantime rage will grow furiously like poisonous herbs do, rage against everything else and everyone else, and in this rage you’ll find yourself so alone that you’ll get used to it, consider it natural, a thing for you to keep and nurture. You’ll find it funny, adorable, and in this rage you’ll wake up every morning.
Call me Rage, in case you need a name for me. Call me Fear, call me yours.
I am my own Rage, I am my own Fear.
Rage has a thing for you, my love, Fear has a thing for both of us.
There’s the fear of being caught, the fear of being blamed for this love of ours, the fear that there have been things unknown to us, refused to us just because of this love of ours, the fear of dying alone, the fear of waking up alone and realizing this has been only a dream, the fear that dreams may never come, the fear that a dream is just a dream and nothing more, the fear that you have found somebody else, the fear of the other body, the other man, the other woman, the fear of confusion, the fear of not having a clue, the fear that the war is already lost to both of us.
My name is Rage. Boiling Rage. My name is Rage Against Everything Else That Is Not You. My Rage is directed against those things which try to keep me away from you. My Rage is directed against the thoughts that make you appear putrid and lost, my rage is directed against those nights in which I have to go to bed alone, those mornings in which I find myself alone in bed, those mornings in which I have to drink my coffee alone. My Rage is directed against the bitterness of solitude.
My love, he says, rage is everywhere, Rage is here with me. I am Fear. Love me.
Rage and Fear got together and made love to each other. Unfortunately, neither Fear, nor Rage could have children, and so they were left alone with themselves. Their child could have been an abomination, and I myself would be lost for words trying to describe that child, just because my words couldn’t measure the beauty of that child, the fairness, and the happiness that the child brought to both Rage and Fear. It was the most beautiful Abomination because it was born out of love and other stories, which you surely know by now, they say that everything that comes out of love is beautiful, or at least should be considered beautiful.
My name is Abomination. I have taken up many forms up until now except this form: that of a child born out of love. I was born out of Rage and out of Fear. Love me. Try to love me. Act as if you could love me. Be silent, pretend. Because if you act as if you love me then I’ll know that deep down there is at least the desire to accept me for who I truly am, your beautiful Abomination.

Two worlds, me and you

She said to me, would you like that, would you like to be like all the others, would you like to have that? I thought, my love, I haven’t been blessed like you did, with beauty and looks, and all the rest, I haven’t been blessed with an exceptional ear for the music that sets the world into rhythm, I haven’t been blessed with the hand of a genius writer. She said you still don’t know what you have. You’ll probably realize it later. I knew she said that because somehow she felt the growing distance between us. It was like saying that I will surely realize it later but she won’t be around to see that. And she wasn’t around. I knew she won’t be. And then we said goodbye because there was somebody else waiting for her at the entrance. She said we’ll keep in touch, and we did, yet I was the only one trying to reach her. Anyways, she was too good to be true. She found loving arms somewhere else, and then somewhere else, and she never came back. She once told me she will always love me. Maybe she still loves me. She disappeared, just like that, to wake up in another man’s warm bed. Why are beds warm? Today my bed is cold. The world is filled with cold beds, one sided beds, undisturbed on the other side, huge windows and closed doors. Today my bed resembles my cold, one-sided heart.

We haven’t been blessed, my love, not like that. We have been blessed with fear.

Have you met him before? Have you seen him before? Father was furious now. No, I said, I had not seen him before, yet I felt like I knew him for ages. Don’t you find that strange? Don’t you think there had been a connection between the two of you? How come you saw him and instantly fell in love with him? The mind forgets but the heart never forgets.

The world is not as you thought of it, Father. There is no happiness among us unless we do what we want and our will is to find that happiness and consume it as soon as possible. Life does not follow intricate plots with mysterious people watching us, their eyes glistening in the dark on badly lit streets. There are no faceless people unless we pathologically fall in love with them. We do not travel to foreign cities to have intricate relationships with strangers. Here, angels appear unless we want them to appear. The instant we hold between the fingers is as elusive as light.

Still, there is no reason for you to find love and affection into the arms of another man, that is against everything we have fought for, everything we believe in. The future will be empty because of you. Father kept talking saying that it is a vice against family values but as he talked this shadow crept over his shoulders covering him.

I don’t need you, Father. And he fell silent.

I have come this far, I won’t go back.

Dear friend

Thank you, I’d say, for your last letter. I’m really glad for you and the things you have achieved. From your tone I understand that you are happy with everything at the moment, your new apartment, your new friend, she seems nice from what you’ve told me. I’ve been looking at that picture again, for hours on end; it’s the one on the white boat, with your sister and your mother, and the bluest ocean I have ever set my eyes on. I do miss the old times. Do you remember those grapes? We used to eat them in the evening, when the sun was just good. I know you’ll keep telling yourself that this can’t be, that this is just a text, and it has nothing to do with real life. Well, if you are reading this then know that I do love you, that this text is me, forced, shriveled into words as I am right now, but this is really me, trying to fit this page just like I try to fit a category others have made for me. So this letter must have a degree of immediacy so that when you read it you’ll feel like I’m standing right beside you and you’re trying to keep up with my hand, or I’m trying to keep up with your moving eyes. So that we’ll meet in this fatigue of language that gets me every time I try to write something for you. Really, you’re the only person I’m writing for. Sometimes I fear there’s nobody else out there and that I need to make you up out of the experiences I never had. Then I’ll have to make you out of the cup of coffee I had in the morning, and the short chats I have with my hairdresser, and those faces of those students and those people I see drowned into their thoughts, books, cups, hands held together. You’ll turn out to be many things when you’re actually one and you wear your cape with dignity. You know, that cape made out of the night and a garbage can, and the no-smoking sign. You look like a pineapple in it.
You’ve asked me about the angels and the saints. They’re really beautiful; otherwise I wouldn’t consider them angels and saints. One of them has these white wings, and (s)he sells flowers. I see him/her almost every morning. Then there’s the saint I don’t really know because I haven’t really seen him/her, only his/her shoes lined up, drying in the sun.
Things are good here, I’m happy, but you probably know that. I’m searching for new ways of telling you that I’m actually happy. So you need to be happy too. You must be. I refuse to think otherwise. You must be patient, you must love, and care, and do, and pray, because people will want you and you’ll live out of that want, and you’ll want them. You are born out of others’ wishes like you were born out of mine.

the poetry of the long lasting fever

when the lines are broken and the words recall different meanings in the same situations, all one does is whine about the muteness of hands held together. what is there to understand than two hands tied with muteness. I suddenly want us to be silent, will my hand fuse on your belly. shall I melt away from the heat of your body. become one with your rough skin. because I can feel the pores and the sense of despair. all hope is lost or absent. come on, howl, I want to see drama, let that despair materialize, contrast with the secrecy of our hidden love. two bodies like this should not be together, not in this life. you know sometimes, when I’m asleep, I fear that a pair of black wings shall pierce through the skin of my back and push you away because my gods would offer me those wings just to push you away. so tie me with the sheets, let my ugly grin contrast with the nothingness you hold into your empty womb like a cursed mother. I’m afraid it is too late, you say. my gods have already denied this love. they said you shall crawl with a deserted womb until you repent.

so I write a letter, my gods, and ask them why this cut, and they say, because if you look ahead, little by little, the world shall commit suicide. we leave you with the empty wombs. and I wonder when this wrath of bones will stop growing. the fruitless womb grows bones but no flesh. we’ll have to use our own flesh to fill in the blanks. connect the dots and this love shall be complete.

I cross my palms over you belly and my hands seem displaced. and you are scared. what shall we do, you ask. shh, nothing, I say. keep this displacement silent. they need a life. we don’t. I won’t melt away from the heat of your body. black wings won’t grow from the blades of my back and push you away. love is not as inhumane as we think it is. shh, they need a life. we don’t.

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