Just One Stuffed Dog

with gratitude to Mr. Hemingway’s Fiesta


Here’s a taxidermist’s. Want to buy anything? Nice stuffed dog?”

Oh, it would do you worlds of good. I’m sure you don’t see it now, chagrined as you are with me, but I promise, darling. I promise.  All will be nice and soft and you will sleep. If only you can bring yourself to buy one.

“Just one stuffed dog. I can take ’em or leave ’em alone. But listen, Jake. Just one stuffed dog.”

Something you can own forever and ever. Something of no expectations. Something that doesn’t mind. Anything. Do you understand me, darling? Do you see the exquisiteness of my plan? And all you need to do is reach out for the wallet.

“Simple exchange of values. You give them money. They give you a stuffed dog.”

To watch you as your life carries on. God, how I hated the fact you wear the same socks for days. But I digress, my loveliest. The nice stuffed dog. Is all that matters.


“All right. Have it your own way. Road to hell paved with unbought stuffed dogs. Not my fault.”


Mother Polishes the Silverware

And regular time is suddenly torn like a bride’s lingerie.

I’ve witnessed this before, in this city and another, the smell of Hungarian polishing cream poignant to my little nose. My grandmother has done it, while she was still alive and well and I will grow older and more classical and do it too. This thread of house mistress brings us together. And the silver tray shines gravely, silently. Once it had chocolates for ladies playing rummy, in fabulous dresses with one shoulder.

The lady with the fabulous dress is not playing rummy anymore, she is dead. I randomly remember how she grew more fragile and faint, stopping in the middle of conversation to grab my arm, her brittle nails sinking painfully into my flesh, as she slipped into dizziness like Cinderella into a crystal shoe.

How all this takes a polite bite of my heart, as I sip some more resignation.

Rrose Sélavy Has Veins of Brilliant Metal

I’ve turned as surreal as an umbrella.


We’ve come a long way from Emily Dickinson to wearing a milliner’s interpretation of a bird deathbed.  Come kiss me, Vanessa’s changelings. I issue myself as scent from the painstaking enfleurage of all my history.  Grenouille would have kept my hair in fat, if I were still a virgin.

Veins of Brilliant Metal

A woman can be an assemblage that looks as light as lumps of sugar and feels as heavy as marble. The difference can only be noted  if you intend to serve tea at 5 o’clock.Perfume


Eros-Rose, c’est la vie. Would I be a statue or a cello in a rayograph?


fragments & references – Man Ray/Rrose Sélavy, Michael Cunningham – The Hours, Phillip Glass – Vanessa and the Changelings, Patrick Suskind – The Perfume.


Cycle, progress, alternatives. Acting a life in the midst of probability. Practising free will.

Like rings, like spirals, like time-space curving to itself. It is not always the right time, the right place or the right alignment of development levels.

Some people you meet at the wrong time either for you or for them. There are lessons to be learned in taking distance and in the harmonic or disharmonic geometries of human identity versus another human and versus the universe.

Some people choose other things over you. Sometimes you choose other things over some other people. Whatever you do, make sure you are at peace with your mirror.

 Some people are just not in your league and you cannot be everyone’s guide, nor everyone’s apprentice.

None of this means you can’t find happiness. The world is larger than you right here right now.

Timid Doppelganger

“My dear doctor,

I shall make you a confession … I have been struggling with the question of why I have never, in all these years, made an effort to meet you … I think I have avoided you out of a kind of fear of finding my own double . . . When I read one of your beautiful works I seem to encounter again and again, behind the poetic fiction, the very presumptions, interests and conclusions so well known to me from my own thoughts . . . Your ability to be deeply moved by the truths of the unconscious, the recurrence of your thoughts to the polarity of love and death—all of this had for me an uncanny familiarity . . . Forgive me for straying into analysis—that is, after all, all I know. ” – letter from Freud to Arthur Schnitzler

You must stay there and be wonderful, any kind of closeness will ruin me. I shall lose identity and fragrant pillows over you, tigress of my soul, epidemics of my fabric.

A Time of Cardigans

To open a closet of grey clothes, seeking option. I haven’t worn you for such a long time, my dears, my treasure and everyone else’s trash.

What is quite horrible in this circumstance is knowing they wrap meaning around your feelings for them and you are in fact blank. They circle your ankles like dogs with tumours, hoping in that salty human way that their words still cause a reaction in you. You only wish it would all stop, mouth full of mercy and unsweetened tea.

If only we could all be happy at the same time.

Wheelchair Ballet

He flashed into my existence yesterday evening, in some village, somewhere on the map, as the car passed him by.

In the wheelchair, he was dark and wore white and his limbs were thin like disjointed matchsticks against his body. Muscles that never had a chance to form. Words never learned. Perception strangled.

His arms were extended high, towards the red setting sun imposed on the summer sky, as beautiful as any Dali painting.  There was such divine rapture on his face, such grace in his posture that no Giselle in frail dress could ever match. To no audience and with little means, he expressed himself.

My healthy right side of the brain will never understand that particular happiness, but it seemed ballet and revelation all in one. A perfect moment to witness and widen the boundaries of my heart.

House of Gills

Follow the sound of footsteps into my house

….skeletal undulating ceramic wrought iron algae seashell ossein….

This house is ribbed. It has the coolness of a hollow whale and even in scorching summer, I stay aware. The house might be dead now, but it was alive before, if you sense the difference.

Everyone else is dead. I swim upwards through degrees of blue with my breakfast of marmalade and crackers.

Through the house’s gills, I can feel your breath in all rooms, hotter than the sun, calling me for lust or prayer.

Days go by. I wonder why it is that you chose me, half Spanish half English spinster, to live with. Do all suns come to die in apartments, hiding their supernova terror from the world?

No matter how many doors I open, you’re never there. Attentive reptile, you crawl away before I can reach you, so I drag my old feet from room to room, with a shaking tea cup in my hand. Chamomile. I imagine you are a blonde god. I would’ve liked a blonde son, I think, fruit of kisses and sheets. Oh well.

pictures of Casa Batllo in Barcelona

Smaller than the Other Boys

-a Freudian amusement-

He first noticed it at the showers, tens of young schoolboys running around with towels that slipped away so easily as they shouted and shoved each other.

The furtive glances. The comparisons, the run of stellar distances measured in his mind, the transformation functions, impressions of rulers and length of fingers, doubt clutching his heart like ice, like steel. Then the concrete wave of certainty. Irrevocable. The simultaneous faces of future women trying to hide their dissapointment as he dared undress himself.

From then on, this explained everything he did. Those unaware of it attributed so many other things to his behaviour. Yet the cruel simplicity of truth found out measuring himself with other boys, that afternoon in the showers, was the real engine of his acts. He reminded me of this Flemish teckel that was once brought to my care, an assertive male the size of my cubitus bone, barking at the lovely golden retriever ladies. How he hopped around them, mad with love, never to be noticed by the tall goddesses, until one hop too high, when Cybele’s annoyed growl sent him palpitating into a wall.

It was all either very comic or very heartbreaking, one can never tell. So the dog returned to his chewtoy, quiet victim to his size and teeth.

Is there comfort in this story? Maybe that there’s a chewtoy for everyone, maybe I have forgotten it. In any case, I have a Spam folder selling hundreds of miracles for him.


On my father’s side, I am of the long flat plains around Bucharest. Plains running endlessly against the horizon and so much sky above them, drowning our little forms.

Plains burnt by summer sun, plains of yellow and white little flowers, as unassuming as some part of my heart is.

And every once in a while poppies like mouths.

“Je n’ai pas peur de la route
Faudrait voir, faut qu’on y goûte
Des méandres au creux des reins
Et tout ira bien là
Le vent nous portera”
Noir Desir, Le Vent Nous Portera lyrics

We used to ride the car to the country side as children, through hot plains and poor towns, my thighs sticking to the plastic covers of the car seats. Ducking each time we passed by the police because we were too many in the car. Our silly little communist clothes of touching aesthetics.

People of the plains are poorer and darker; they eat lighter things and have tongues dipped in satire, unlike the people of the mountains. I was the child of Germanic Slavic features that ate fruit and played in the dust covering the village in the plains.

And thick happiness like honey, like sun, filling every whole of my being until I was full.

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