This Thursday am one of the featured performers at Vienna’s True Story Nights! Presale tickets are going fast so get yours now, a limited number will be available at the door.
Thursday, June 23rd, 19:30 at Shebeen
This Thursday am one of the featured performers at Vienna’s True Story Nights! Presale tickets are going fast so get yours now, a limited number will be available at the door.
Thursday, June 23rd, 19:30 at Shebeen
“You know in some cultures, all I have to do is hang my hammock next to yours, and we’d be married.”
“In our culture, we are already legally married”
“I’m just saying, I would hang my hammock next to yours”
“That is the cutest thing ever, until we both clumsily fall out of our hammocks”
“Then we would love each other from the ground up.”
Madame Chairwoman Alessandra presiding, let’s commence the meeting.
First-order of business:
Why isn’t he texting me?
Any thoughts from the committee?
Second-order of business:
For the love of God, someone hold me.
Third-order of business:
I might need to get laid.
The full “strawberry moon” is tomorrow, but someone in a group I am in said to go see it tonight. So I got out of bed and walked to the park to see it, it was too low in the sky for a view at first so I tried at a hotel I know here, which has a rooftop balcony in the restaurant. The night concierge said his colleague had just left, and he would have unlocked the balcony for me but he was alone at the desk.
So I returned to the park and I caught her just before the clouds obscured her.
Probably a bit reckless to be out in a park alone at night, but, I will survive. Or I won’t, in which case, the last thing I saw was beautiful.
I will have to find a better spot to go tomorrow night to see the full moon. Somewhere with less light pollution and, presumably, an even greater risk of murder. On Sunday I spent the day by the Alte Donau, my favorite spot to be these days. I have been trying to break a record for how many days in a row I can be there, swimming. So far the record is 4.
A friend brought some handpicked strawberries. They weren’t the sweetest strawberries I’ve ever had, but they were special, and I was happy to eat them. A few were surprisingly delightful though. Sneaky, juicy, the red running down my palms. That’s summer to me, to be by the water among my friends, eating fruit and getting my hands sticky, to be in the water washing my makeup away and trust the people around me to see me bare. For all my frustration and longing it has to be said, I smiled more often this week. It’s because of all the swimming.
On Sunday I used the word “strawberry” as a verb, perhaps an abuse of poetic license but I think it’s allowed under the umbrella of my multiple food safety licenses.
But, we were offered the last strawberries and I said,
“I think I am a bit strawberried out”
I stained my journal with strawberry juice, the ink was already pink on the opening pages, so I leaned into the stain, smacking a pink thumb print into the upper corner of the page, so they knew I was there. As if the writing therein wasn’t enough.
So, if I get murdered under the strawberry moon, tell them they can identity my body by the thumbprint on page 5 of my new journal.
Tell them I went down enjoying the sweetness life has to offer, but that I deserved more.
Tell them I was still hungry
I never touched a cigarette tonight
but I smell like smoke and other women.
How am I going to get you to kiss me tomorrow?
How am I going to wash the scent of other men and women from my hair?
How will I wash away the bruises of a being pushed against the bar, against the wall, against a thigh? Against everything but you.
Everyone in Vienna kissed me today,
You seem so shy, that I refuse to make the first move.
So, lay one on me, or fuck off.
“Lay one on me” is American slang for: kiss me passionately.
It’s American slang for saying,
“Alessandra, can I kiss you?”
and then running your hands through my hair,
and pulling my face towards yours, and kissing me.
Is American angry-keyboard-gravity-stomping-dialect for:
“Why haven’t you kissed me already?!”
So, what I am saying is:
Why haven’t you kissed me already?
Rather, it is a dark and stormy night in Wien, and what better time to break in my new Marilyn pen and a new journal that’s been sitting on my bookshelf, looking for a reason to be of use. What better way to do so than by candlelight, in the midst of a June thunderstorm, with a glass of wine perched on the windowsill and the window open to the elements, carrying in the occasional rebellious raindrop who refuses to be forced to the cobblestones of the courtyard. I am grateful to be in the company of such determined, feisty raindrops, we all refuse to be pushed down.
I did not get kissed in the rain today.
Then again, she wasn’t with me when it rained.
Both F. and I had exciting dates or some-such-similar outings this weekend, and we knew the weather forecast was troublesome, so we agreed: we would both go out and get kissed in the rain. We both seem to have failed in our goal. So after today, after another message where I said,
“Maybe she didn’t kiss you because it didn’t rain.”
“Yes, she looked at me and thought ‘This is a woman who deserves to be kissed in the rain””
But tonight, when the rain started to fall in F.’s neighborhood, when I was all alone and finishing up dinner he sent me an urgent voice message:
“Well, it’s started to rain, call her. Call her now.”
I told F. I would go walk home in the rain and text her to say I was doing so.
“Send her a picture of you being wet”
I joked that I would dump a bottle of water on my head if it’s what it took.
“I will stand on a chair over you and dump the bucket of water and then tell her to come closer”
“You are a true friend and wingman”
“I know right?”
“Yes precisely, just shout ‘HERE PRETTY GIRL, SHE IS READY FOR YOU!”
“I am standing and waiting for the rain, it’s a plot point now.”
I watched the thunderstorms from the Albertina platform, overlooking the opera house and the Instagrammers. The photographers got rained out, and I remained to watch the lightning.
I heard from a few friends that it was raining some series of cliches in their neck of the woods: cats and dogs, buckets, a flood, etc.
I stood in the drizzle watching the lightning and sweating in the ever-building humidity, thinking about her, getting hot in the German sense of the word. I had a paper bag in my hand with a wine bottle inside, and the wine bottle had a label with an umbrella, but I didn’t have an umbrella myself. So, I stood in the drizzle and gambled that after all this time I still love the rain.
After all this time, I still love the rain. Even if I am not getting kissed in it.
So, I turned and descended the stairs just as the rain started, and I reached the bottom of the steps and stood on the large stretch of the sidewalk while everyone still left on the street ran for cover, and I put the paper bag down by my feet, and I tucked my phone away safely in my purse, and I looked at the sky, closed my eyes, and waited.
I got soaked.
I was laughing between mouthfuls of rainwater. In the mere moments I stood there with the blissful cool of the water on my shoulders, seeping through my red sweater, the bag holding my wine bottle became so drenched it threatened to give way when I lifted it back up.
I walked home, barely a block away, but I was already drenched. Every thread of hair and fabric saturated. I went past a series of people sheltering under the awnings of art galleries, and one lesbian couple looked at me and said “Poor you” and I yelled at them and the others crowded under the archways,
“Live a little!”
then I leaned my head back to take a drink of the rain, and to laugh, and I think I convinced at least one woman, who stepped out into the rain, gently. I don’t know if she stayed there.
I continued on my way home, sopping and delirious.
I stopped in the entryway to take a photo, and I sent it to her, hoping she would say-
I wish I was with you
I am already on the subway heading toward you.
I should have kissed you already but I was waiting for it to rain.
Because you look like a woman who deserves to be kissed in the rain.
So, it rained today and I didn’t get kissed but I did get soaked, and I did sit at home by my open window, drinking umbrella-label wine, and writing by candlelight, wrapped in a towel and stripped of my clothes, and at some point, I let the towel drop, then I let the pen drop, and I rolled the chilled bulb of the wine glass back and forth across my breasts and thought of how cold her hands are, and how warm the June air is, and how maybe it was excuse enough to call her and say:
“It rained at last, and you weren’t there to kiss me.“
This Thursday, June 2nd, I will be one of the featured performers for a pride month reading of poetry and storytelling at Vinzi Rast. The event is hosted by Hint. Wien and will have readings in English, German, and Hungarian
Doors open at 18, the event is free, drinks are available on a pay-what-you-can basis.
Info for the event and how to access the entrance can be found here:
Life is as ever full of adventure and affection and the adamant hearts of men who it seems would chase me all the way from Antwerp.
You can tell a man likes you when he sends you a photo of the window view from his train.
I saw the horizon and thought of you.
I am going somewhere,
And I want to take you with me.
I visited Zurich last week and found myself accidentally in love, with an old home. With its garden, actually. With the bench there, where I plan to spend the rest of my days sitting, writing.
Sure, to be fair, the home, the castle, it’s in disrepair. The garden is overgrown, the basement full of ghosts and antiques, of mold and precious wet cardboard and chandeliers missing crystals and so much rusted metal, so much cracked paint. But, the steps- the glorious steps- which led to nowhere but a better view of the sunset over the lake, and the trees are almost blue from way up here
and the world is so quiet.
The limbs of the weeping willow hang so carefully over the entrance to the garden that it’s clear from the first moment: you are safe here. I don’t know why, with my absolute lack of a green-thumb, with my hatred of dirt and uphill climbs and cracked paint, this house called to me so. But, it’s as haunting to me as the overturned wooden rocking horse I spied through the cobwebbed window. This decrepit box of junk has stolen my heart.
It would be so much more simple if it were a man, or if it were about a man. The man who took me there had no intention of showing me the house, but I fell for it from afar, at first sight, I was entranced by the willow tree and already singing Camelot show-tunes in my head. Follow me, follow me, follow me…
Perhaps, in the end, I just miss my mother. I just know that she would have trespassed into the garden the same way. She’d say how you could stand on the steps and sing, how you could descend the stairs into nothing but a pile of overgrowth.
She left me to sit in the weeds, to be overgrown. I don’t know how to love anyone that clings to me with anything less than the determination of ivy.
This home, this castle, the back corner has stone once so overrun with ivy it ate into into the cement, scratching it away. I was raised surrounded by love so lush, so green, so gorgeous, that it hid its mark.
I am a building, bitten by weeds, gnawed at by beautiful green things. I am covered in scars that reveal I was once desired, once clung to. I am still standing. I am a bit crumbled, a bit painted over. I am full of meaningless junk and chipped paint and my mind is nothing but a stone staircase which descends into nowhere, but it offers a better view of the sunset.
I found my own reflection it the house, it seems. In the wishing well in the backyard, covered by a dirty green tarp. I long for it to be loved. Who knew I could be so tall? Who knew I could weep so beautifully? That I could build a fence so ornate it’s both inviting and terrifying?
My god, what an object in disrepair it seems I have been.
My god, what a gorgeous lush thing the warm weather has invited me to become.
I don’t know if you will read this, but on the chance you do, here’s my phone number:
You’re cute. Sorry I had to leave so suddenly.
I would have liked a chance to decide if I loved you outside of an emergency,
But everything got pushed forward,
The calendar came for us, bearing its claws,
With sudden weddings and far more sudden funerals.
With visa expiration dates and,
I knew when I met you that your father was dying,
But we were both under the impression he had a little more time-
That we had a little more time.
I had hoped, time enough,
To figure it out.
I knew from the beginning I could be yours.
I just needed a minute to figure it out.
I stopped wearing my watch when you left,
I couldn’t take the notifications about my heart.
I would have liked to evaluate the quality of this whole thing
Outside of the fact that you know what I look like in a gown,
That I know what you look like in a black suit,
Or that I know your taste in engagement rings.
I would like to have, for once,
Loved a bit slower,
Been a bit lazy about it,
Seen you once or twice a week,
Kept you on the back burner deep into summer.
I would like to have kept more secrets, to have spent evenings
With men, ignoring them
In favor of thinking about you,
And have told you nothing of it.
I would like to have spent these
Unexpectedly warm May evenings with you,
Overdressed and sweating into the sheets,
Complaining about the heat.
I’d have liked you to have seen me
In such exaggerated misery,
Begging for an air conditioner,
Being an absolute nightmare.
I always liked how you said you woke up hot,
Thinking about me.
I’d have liked to have let your affection for me cool slowly,
Grow a moss of resentment,
For you to have learned firsthand
All the things about me
But I gave you the best of me,
And you said you loved me,
Or, specifically, you said,
“I have something I want to say to you, but I am worried it will scare you away”
Then you said,
“But it starts with ‘I’ and ends with ‘you'”
And I said,
“I know what you’re saying, just don’t say it yet, but I can see it too, I can see the horizon from here. I am falling for you.”
So, you said
And you left anyway.
I would have liked to have ended things better,
Perhaps with our clothes on,
Perhaps before sex.
I am glad you fucked up so royally in the end,
After treating me like a princess.
It makes it a bit easier.
I would have liked this to be easy.
Liking you was simple.
Resenting you is tricky.
I wish I could hate you, that I could scowl at you and say,
I have something to say to you
It starts with “I” and ends with “you”
I wish I could wish you anything but well.
Perhaps it would be fitting to start with “Once upon a time…” seeing as, for the moment, I feel an awful lot like a goddamn princess. It’s hard to trust anything these days, and only time will tell, but for now I am smitten. I keep fearing the rug will be pulled out from under me, but in this case it’s a red carpet.
I spent last week in quarantine and amused myself by chatting with men on dating apps. Of those conversations, one materialized into an actual date. He is an absolute sweetheart, a gentleman, and a short king. He’s actually only a few inches taller than me. He lives outside the city in a suburb I love, but makes no issue of traveling the 47 minute commute to come see me, even if only for a few hours. We spent a lot of time chatting from my quarantine jail, and I had a good feeling about him, but I was delighted to have it confirmed once we actually met.
We had a lovely time, walking through the city and talking and he didn’t blink once when I clumsily knocked over my drink more than once while telling a story and talking with my hands. He actually does this little blink eye twitch thing when he is excited, like he scrunches his eyes up for a moment. It’s adorable. I though when we were sitting by the water, with our legs hanging over the edge, that he would kiss me. Because he gave me the little eye scrunch. I could see that he wanted to kiss me, but he didn’t yet.
Eventually we found seats at a bar nearby. During our quarantine courtship he had learned just how much I like to dress up. He told me he had an idea for a date where I could dress up, but he wanted to wait to meet me in person, see how it went, before telling me. At the bar he excitedly interrupted me and said,
“Oh, my date idea! Do you want to hear it or do you want to be surprised?”
I asked him to tell me and he said
“There is a ball in Baden on Friday, do you want to go?”
Do I want to go to a ball? Me? Queen of overdressing?
“Oh my god, yes!”
I honestly lost my mind and before I said anything incredibly stupid, I just smashed my face into his face and kissed him.
So, yeah, I am going to a BALL.
I don’t know man, this guy is amazing. He’s so together, and he has flawless Ritz Carlton energy, and I think we’re both just crazy for each other. I know we’re both crazy for each other.
“Do you always take girls to balls on the second date?”
“No, never, but I knew you were special.”
You know that moment, on a date, where you’re both hot and bothered and dying to embrace the other? After some polite kissing by the water, and some slightly less polite kissing, we took a long route toward his train station, through the narrow, warmly lit back alleys of Vienna. We were making polite conversation, about…something? For the life of me I couldn’t tell you what, because my inner monologue was mostly running variations of “Would it be weird to start making out with him here, in front of all these bar patrons?” or “Can I just pull him into this doorway- ah fuck someone is going into the building”.
We turn around a half dozen romantic corners, only to find an uncomfortable smattering of people, out enjoying the moonlight. There’s an anonymity provided by a large crowd, but a small group of people makes for an uncomfortable audience in these situations. So we kept walking, past gin bars and shuttered jewelry shops, and at last we rounded a corner to a narrow street, lit by the wall sconces of the restaurant there, with only one man walking down the street towards us. I decided I would let that man go around the corner, at which point I was going to attack my date. But, it seems we shared the same inner monologue, because the stranger was only two paces past us when my date turned to me, reached his hand to the side of my face, ran his fingers through my hair, kissed me, and pressed me against the wall behind me. We kissed furiously, soliciting a scolding cry from a passing taxi cab, and ignoring it. He exhaled into my mouth and moaned “God, I want you.”
But I dropped him at his subway stop, gave him a kiss goodbye, and when he walked away I noticed he had been standing on a penny. A lucky penny, it seems, so I pocketed it to give to him the following day.
We spent the next two days seeing each other whenever we could. I saw on the morning after the date that he had deactivated his OKC account. I asked him about it, because I am not ready to be exclusive yet, and he just said “That was my choice, not yours, you are the only one I want to see.”
He talks like a guy who has already been to therapy.
So, it’s only been a short time but I am overwhelmingly optimistic, and I feel like a princess. He literally calls me his queen. I just, I can’t stop thanking the universe.
I saw him again last night, and as he was leaving my apartment I decided to kiss him goodbye while we waited for the elevator. Instead, he pushed me back into the apartment and said “I will catch the next train”, threw his bag on ti the floor, unzipped his coat, picked me up and carried me into the bedroom. This is not some hulking strong man, so it was a bit like when an adrenaline rush gives someone the strength to lift a car for a moment.
So, this past week has been magical, and on Friday night I get to have my Hallmark princess moment and go to a ball. I got an amazing gown, if I say so myself. If the man hasn’t fallen for me by then, when he sees me in this dress he is absolutely going to.
WordPress told me someone in Ireland read my blog. Whoever you are, I would like to know:
Do you have an Irish accent?
Are you cute?
Would you like a girlfriend?
Would you like that girlfriend to be me?
Happy St. Patrick’s day to only me and this reader.
I have been carrying a lot of ghosts around with me today, some friendlier than others. Chris, as every year, is called to mind in January when blood oranges are in season.
I have a test day on Wednesday at what I hope will be my new workplace- I made blood orange macarons for the interview and they came out perfectly, like biting into a fresh orange. Like an escape from the winter to someplace warm. Topped with a sparkling slice of candied orange, died blood red. What a sparkling haunting. What promise seems to hang in the January air. The wind has been so strong recently, and everyone’s cheeks are bitten red.
I am filled with hope, and anxiety, and sugar. I am bundled up in scarves and sweaters.
Chris was not the first person I lost to suicide, nor was he the last. We’ve all seen too much death.
We’ve all been bitten by the cold.
Crisis Hotline Austria: 142
National Suicide Hotline USA: 1-800-273-8255
Every time I go to crop a selfie it offers me the prompt to “straighten” the photo, and it always makes me laugh. Because I can edit all I want, but this bisexual disaster is always going to slant a little bit queer.
I don’t want to eat,
I want to sit around being fragile
And subsist on sparkling water
I want there to be something left in my day
I want to turn the internet off, open the windows,
And listen to yesterday’s thunderstorm.
I want the rain to wash the sidewalks away with the hours,
To return me to the twilight of yesterday, before we…
I want to do yesterday over again:
To do nothing. To do more, to do less,
To speak up when I was hurting.
When you were hurting me.
I want to have never started, or to have lingered
In the moment, after the first time I asked you to stop
Before I said “Where is the dominant guy who threw me over the desk?”
I want to have stayed there- in your surprisingly gentle arms,
To have fallen asleep.
I want to be the worst kind of hypocrite, I want a cigarette.
After your tobacco breath and all my complaints-
I want to hang my head out the window and blow the smoke into the January air,
Watch it curl toward the cobblestones on the courtyard
Like a woman descending spiral stairs.
The French have a word for this. Usually, it’s the Germans,
Coming in with vocabulary lacking in English.
But today it’s the French:
L’espirit de l’escalier
The ghost of the things we should have said.
I have so much left to say to you.
I want our story to keep going, too.
An addition to the poem:
I remembered tonight that my ultimate dream vacation
A trip aboard the Orient Express,
Runs from Istanbul
Maybe one day we will go.
Maybe one day I will look back and realize I was always heading toward you.
This blog is slowly becoming a love letter to anxiety, as anxiety is slowly becoming a long-lost-lover of mine.
Look at me, chubby and smiling and feeling absolutely gorgeous.
Look at me, dare I say it, relaxing.
I’ve been listening to love songs as ever, but for the first time in forever there’s no longing. Just the comfortable exhale of a woman who trusts that he is going to call her.
I trust this one, he’s got me glowing.
You make me want to wait.
You make me want to erase
every man before you.
You make me want
to be a good woman.
You make me want to be holy.
Evidently, if you play your cards right, the locals in Austria waltz at midnight. So I spent the first minutes of 2022 gasping from laughter, swept off my feet in the emerald green silk gown I chose to wear.
I waltzed my way into midnight.
2021 was a trash fire, and I am standing beside it basking in the glow, but 2022 is looking awfully good from here.
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The moon was awfully bright tonight, and it reminded me of missing you. Which is not to say I miss you.
But the fact is, you’re so far away.
Some impossibly expensive plane ticket away.
I wish you would call me.
We were always best like this, at a distance, exhausted, a candle burnt at both ends. It was hard to sleep without you, maybe it’s harder to sleep without you in the same city.
This is just a series of hardships, slowly decreasing in severity.
Which is to say. I don’t miss you like I used to.
But the moon makes me feel like I should be.
I’ve been saying,
We’re only still married by fault of a piece of paper,
a pair of names on the mailbox,
And another set on the doorbell.
They took our names off the doorbell.
I am burnt out, yet electric. I’m not sure what happened in the last week to set this strange collision off. Perhaps I just had a reason to be creative (the interview), perhaps I had a multitude of anxieties (the interview), perhaps my young lover…(redacted, for decency).
Perhaps I am just here to brag.
To smile, to tuck a yellow rose behind my ear.
The sexiest thing I’ve seen recently?
A screenshot of an email from the Handsome Devil
about the little trip we planned,
showing he had already arranged gluten-free meals for me.
If you’re looking for the sexy part of that sentence, it’s: “he had already“.
If you’re looking for the sexy part of that sentence, you’re probably a guy.
The involuntary gasps from my friends when I showed them said it all:
We love a competent man.
As I’ve said before, the bar for men is so low it’s a tavern in hell.
But we love a competent man.
As I’ve said before, I’ve been sitting at the oak-and-leather bar of the Tavern in Hell,
drinking watered down gin and pretending to have a good time.
He makes it so easy to show him off. I love a planner.
Perhaps that’s the issue: I keep showing him off.
A picture is worth a thousand words,
and the expression I make when I text him is worth at least twice as much.
“Ooooh, what’s Alessandra doing? Her face says it all.”
Everyone who loves me wants to see the queen of puppy-love in another love story.
Maybe, after the last year, everyone is rooting for the underdog.
I may be the underdog,
but I am also the Ladybug of the Christmas Market.
After all the input from my friends, I considered it.
Considered him. Considered if he was worth dating.
I hate to disappoint, but this is not a love story.
It’s a leaflet of smut, tucked beneath a mattress.
It’s not love, but it’s glorious.
“I just want to keep things like they are.”
Absolutely, Sir. Zero complaints.
Keep things as they are: without obligation.
I’m not his, he’s not mine.
I have conned my way into a gloriously good time.
So I’m still sitting at the bar, in the Tavern in Hell,
But I’ve upgraded to sherry cask whiskey.
I’m seated next to the Handsome Devil.
His hand is subtly grazing my knee.
The music on the jukebox changed, and I’m tapping my toe to the beat.
I’m sitting at the bar of the Tavern in Hell,
Still waiting for the right guy to ask me to dance.
Christmas in Love
Nick, evil CEO, is in town to buy out Ellie’s Christmas Kringle factory. He’s exchanged his Big-City-Italian-Suit for an appropriate uniform, complete with shoe covers, hair net, and gloves. Ellie, on the other hand, is in full Christmas glam- her long blonde hair free-flowing into those Christmas Kringles. Yummy. Evidently, her homespun charm exempts her from stringent health codes followed by everyone else at the factory. Oh, and those adorable Christmas baubles hanging over the mixer won’t be quite so cute crushed up in a pastry, but this is small-town America, and we like our food authentic, and absolutely riddled with adulterants.
Big City Health Inspection Grade: C, for Christmas
A Gingerbread Romance
Chef Annabelle Renard, the supposed villain of this story, is the only character who gives a damn about her clients’ health. She is also the only person in this movie capable of pulling her hair back. Meanwhile, architect Taylor and single dad/hunky baker Adam have teamed up to build a giant gingerbread house. Do they utilize child labor to do so? Yes. Do they even once don a pair of gloves? No. Does everyone get the promotion they dreamed of? You bet.
Big City Health Inspection Grade: P, for Promotion.
Ice Sculpture Christmas
Callie, an aspiring chef and future poisoner, has been unwittingly entered into an ice carving contest against her boss and his villainous sous chef. How do we know the sous chef is a villain? Her hair is pulled back. What do you think this is, a big city? We don’t believe in hair elastics around here. What we do believe is that every single room should contain at least four fully decorated Christmas trees.
Big City Health Inspection Grade: J, for Jingle.
Murder She Baked: A Plum Pudding Mystery
Hannah Swensen, baker and unlicensed gumshoe, has found herself in a caper. Well, to start off, her sous chef plates croissants for service without wearing gloves. Oh, and THERE IS A DEAD BODY. She VISITS A CRIME SCENE and then returns to the bakery, without washing her hands. Eat your heart out, Ignaz Semmelweis. Despite all this, upon entering her kitchen, Hannah actually pulls her hair back into a ponytail.
Big City Health Inspection Grade: M, for Murder.
I went Christmas shopping with my friend D. today, in search of stocking stuffers and an escape from the confines of our respective apartments. We found ourselves in front of the Tom Ford counter, and she gave me the eye.
“Didn’t the guy wear…?”
“Yeah. He did. But I am not thinking about him. Definitely not thinking about him.”
I say, staring at the bottle of his cologne.
“Yeah, sure. Which one was it?”
“That one, the tobacco vanilla one. It’s like fucking catnip for me. When he put it on I basically just wanted to lick him.”
“And did you?”
“Actually, no. He was a little hot-and-cold in that department.”
The saleswoman grabs the bottle, and goes to spray it on a tester, but I shake my head at her and reach out my arm, pulling back my glove to reveal my wrist.
D. says, “They have it at the commissary for like half price.”
My nose is pressed to my wrist, and I mumble at her from behind my palm,
“Yeah, mmhhmm, half price of way-too-fucking-much. But, I might need you to buy me a bottle. I don’t need the guy- I can just buy the damn perfume.”
“Or you could just keep fucking him knowing you’ll go home smelling like it.”
“Yeah, that’s super practical, completely logical. No, it’s not happening. I’m through with him.”
“Yeah, uh-huh, you seem really through with him.”
“Shut up. Ugh, I can’t escape him- he said it himself. His name showed up on the Bee yesterday. That word game I play.”
“I can set you up with my investment manager, I bet he smells nice.”
“I told you, I don’t care if the guy has money- is he a good person? Not a “nice guy”- a good person.”
“Well, he seems very laid back for having such a large trust fund.”
“I really don’t think you’re hearing me: not-interested-in-rich-dudes. Just buy me the damn perfume.”
God, I am a bit of a mess today. Actually, I’m not, I’m perfect, I’m exceeding expectations. My life is pretty neatly managed at the moment, I’ve got my shit together. I worked incredibly hard, it paid off. I also just want to cry a little- but I can’t, because my makeup looks flawless. I am having a fantastic day, excuse me while I…sob?
To be fair, I did bonk my head on a drawer while I was grabbing the laundry. But it was a sort of charming, movie-quality clumsy. I’m having a delightful day, really.
I think I am just nervous about the interview tomorrow. And, you know, nervous about the gaping maw of the unplanned future.
This year has been an exercise in learning that plans, no matter how secure they may seem, are prone to change. So I will have to settle for dreams, goals, and god forbid, hope.
Now I want to cry and vomit. Lovely.
You’re not possessive, at least not so far, but when I set a risqué post to draft- I realized I was curating my smut. That perhaps we have something going that I don’t want to risk fucking up.
This cursed blog has always been a corner for unedited musings, reckless abandon, and the heart-on-my-sleeve ramblings that befit me. A junkyard of brutal honesty. I am a foghorn of a woman, calling men to shore with a warning. The most off-key singer of any siren, the most asthmatic mermaid. I’ve been on the beach, waiting.
Hey Sailor, come home to me.
Best of luck to any man I go quiet on. Your girl is not a gambler. Your girl.
There’s this old movie, this old broadway show, really. Funny Girl. Fanny Brice falls for Nicky Arnstein, prince charming and poker player, he shows up wearing a starched collar and he brings her yellow roses. She follows him across an ocean, wilted roses in hand. He gambles her fortune into oblivion. She bets everything on him, and loses.
I’m pretty good at asking for exactly what I want- until I really want something. Until it’s a thing I am afraid to lose. I am not a gambler. Never take a bet from me.
But, I realized tonight that maybe, just maybe, I should shut up for once. Maybe, you are a man I am afraid to lose.
Perhaps that’s a compliment, perhaps you complement me.
Perhaps I’ll publish the risqué post anyway.
Perhaps I don’t have to be silent for you to chase me. To choose me.
Maybe we should be adults, should talk it out, maybe I should extend this metaphor beyond its grasp- put my cards on the table, and such. Is this an ocean or a poker table? It’s both- it’s Funny Girl. The metaphor makes more sense if you’ve seen the film.
Maybe, if you want me to be your girl, you should tell me before I get anxious and fuck everything up.
if I want to be your girl, I should just do it.
I dreamt of my mother last night. I had foster children and she was helping me move them into the house. It was wonderful, she was a great help. I bounced a boy on my hip. Maybe it’s because I wrapped the gifts for my godchildren before bed? Who knows. But mom was there, we made pleasant chit-chat, she laughed at my jokes.
Of course I miss her laugh, this is the thing everyone misses about their dead mother.
Anyways, it’s been a long time since she died, and for years after I waited to dream of her- and when I finally did we were always fighting, screaming at each other. Then years later she would appear, but I would remember she was dead, and awake in a panic, hyperventilating, having tried to warn her.
I know a lot of people who lost their mothers, some more recently than others. When mine died, my boss told me “You’ll have the dreams, you know, and sometimes it hurts in the dream and other times when you wake up- just try and enjoy it.”
So, to my friends who are in the same position, I want you to know: You’ll have the dreams, you’ll see her, enjoy the visit.
Who has two thumbs, spent too much money on his Christmas gift, and totally-doesn’t-have-feelings-for-him? This liar.
EURYDICE IS BLOOMING!
Okay, perhaps she isn’t blooming, but this little troublemaker is growing flower buds! She’s budding! In mid-December! A Christmas miracle!
My little minx, joyful and abundant despite the cold. I am so fucking proud of her. I am so proud of myself. I have never kept a plant alive let alone coaxed one out of hibernation. Oh, sweet Eurydice, I am your Orpheus, my dear, or perhaps I am your Hades, either way- I brought you back from the dead. I am, with not a hint of exaggeration, ecstatic.
My god, what a delight! This little lady, always such a metaphor for my life.
Today, I went for a walk with the man who bought her for me. When I ended things with him, all her flowers fell off. I had to look at her every day and think of him. Now I see only her, all her determination, I see myself. What a thing it is, to be a flower blooming in winter, blushing from the cold.
I walked with him, through parks and past multiple accordion players, the romance determined follow us, but I am immune now. I was there for polite conversation, and I had a pleasant time. He’s a fine friend, it’s been long enough.
Towards the end of our walk, my phone was vibrating a bit wildly. “Sorry my phone is blowing up let me check it.” I peeked at the screen, and the overwhelming smile on my face gave me away. He just laughed,
“Ah wow, your smile! Well, I will let you get back to…whatever that is about..um, yeah, you sort of make it clear, your face does…”
“Haha, yes, um…I am seeing someone, and he’s very good to me. He makes me really happy.”
“I can see!”
We parted ways, polite hugs goodbye, Then I went home to find Eurydice, looking just as radiant as I.
What a good omen.
I can’t wait to see just what she’s foretelling.
Come over here and love me already.
I think you kind of do.
I don’t know if I am lovable anymore, I’m so ready for it, it’s unbecoming.
I am un-becoming, coming undone,
My skin aches for human touch
Yet Saturday I had a gorgeous girl in my bed and
She was begging to stay,
And I could only tell her to leave.
I forgot how to trust anything.
Sleep around less.
Have left his place.
Maybe not have posted about our crazy sex.
Stop thinking about exes.
Not delude myself into thinking
That a man who
Ignored me for days on end
Would have stuck around if
I only kept my mouth shut about
Not keeping my
I should let you love me.
“If you want to kiss me you have to stop smiling so much.”
We’re back at my place, we escaped from the cold weather and the heated protests. First date, lockdown style. We walked through the center and bought some Punsch, and encountered a woman holding a flaming torch.
“So…do you want to go back to my place? This feels like a bad time to be on a lesbian date. All they’re missing is the pitchforks..”
So we went home, and sat on the couch calling each other beautiful for 7 hours.
“You have a century smile”
“What does that mean?”
“I don’t know, I just made it up, but you do. I love your smile when you kiss me, you have so much love in your eyes. I can see that you have a lot of love to give. Do you have a camera? I want to photograph you.”
“I know what you mean. I want to paint you, but I can’t paint portraits. I want to paint on you, blue flowers cascading down your neck.”
“Let me take your picture.”
Look at this little vixen, just THRIVING.
I cut off the dead weight and since then she has been growing so fast it’s like she’s in therapy. Look at this gorgeous troublemaker. She’s living off ice cubes, radiator heat, winter sunlight, and the carbon dioxide of my complaints.
Look at her new stem, cuddling the sunlight.
Eurydice, ever the metaphor for my life. For once, one I am excited about.
Yesterday I got glutened, despite my best efforts at due diligence. It’s the most gluten I have consumed since my diagnosis, and I was upset. I had been having a lovely day, and when I found a gluten-free cake pop I was just about nuclear with joy. But, after eating it, I realized it was too good to be true, and called the bakery to find out I was right. Oops.
I miss New York sometimes, but especially when I find myself crying in public. When a perfectly delightful treat has ruined what was about to be a perfectly lovely weekend. I miss being able to cry on public transit, without so much as a glance in my direction. Or, on the opposite end of the New-York-subway-manners-spectrum: a crumpled tissue and hug from a complete stranger,
“That’s right honey, you just cry it out.”
New York is a great place for mad public sobbing, everything there is both open and shut. The subway is a living room and a locked closet. Public and private, a woman applying her make-up, the mascara wand hovers in her hand while she waits for the train to stop.
I’ve done my fair share of sobbing in Vienna. It’s a cleaner sidewalk to crumble on, I’ll give it that.
On Saturday morning, I languished in bed with a new lover, discussing, as one does these days, the current plague,
“Yeah I had it last year, I got it in the hospital.”
“Wow, you just have everything, asthma, and your knees don’t bend. You’re a wreck.”
It’s not like I had a choice in the matter? I don’t know, it’s fine, it was just an aside. I am just annoyed he was right.
Well, I left Mr. Honesty’s place and made my way to a market in search of new artwork for my apartment. I took down the wedding photos, a long while ago, but there are still hooks hanging on the wall, like the empty frames in the Gardner Museum. Evidence of a robbery. I pushed the thoughts away, about the wreck of my body, and bounced about the market, enjoying my newfound health. And a delightful lunch: french fries in a dedicated fryer! Then a fucking cake pop proved to be my Achilles heel.
I’ve dated rather ferociously the past few months, as evidenced here in my various posts of Sunday night sex poetry. I keep a few handsome playthings in rotation for when my wreck of a body wants to be warm for an evening. They all have their nicknames: The Hunk, the Kid, The Chef. I rarely keep someone around long enough to warrant my friends learning their names. That’s not true, I rarely let someone close enough for my friends to learn their name.
I was furious at the bakery that told me the cake pop was gluten-free, and I posted about it on Instagram. How glamorous, how sexy, to announce to the world news of my poisoning. I am sure that anyone reading it could connect the dots of precisely how my evening turned out, and it’s not exactly glamorous. My stomach was so bloated, the boudoir shoot I planned for Monday would have looked more like a maternity shoot. Welcome to the world, baby Gluten
But, I was surprised by the outpouring of support I got. All the men I have dated who saw the post reached out to me with kind messages, Really kind. Even the ones I don’t talk to anymore, the Professor and such. What a delightful thing, to be surprised by a man’s compassion. Of course, my friends all sent me messages as well. The bar for men’s behavior is so low it’s a tavern in hell.
After what happened a few weeks ago with A., and the IUD, I was jarred. Hurt. It stopped feeling like fun. I tried to laugh it off, but I was furious and scared. I deeply questioned my taste in men. My doctor counseled me that the IUD isn’t 100% effective and I could still be pregnant. “Don’t worry, I’m one of those liberal Boston girls who get abortions” I had told him. It’s not true, and it’s a decision I am grateful I didn’t have to make.
When I was recovering from the procedure, everyone reached out to me, except him. God, what a fucking Saturday that was. Kind messages from my ex-husband and not a whisper from A. Then he dumped me over text on Sunday, with nary an “I hope you’re doing okay” or, I don’t know, “Let me know if you’re pregnant”. I would have settled for “I hope your okay”, a grammatical error befitting him: a mistake.
But, for now, it feels like A. was more an exception than a rule. Even if none of the nicknames has turned into a love story, perhaps my taste in men isn’t quite as terrible as I imagined. They all passed the “basic human decency” test with flying colors. Even Mr. H managed the feat, texting to say he was sorry. I admit it made me smile. I should know better by now. Here I am, seated at the Tavern in hell, drinking watered-down gin, convincing myself I am having a good time.
I won’t wait around long, sustained on bread crumbs. Your girl is hungry.
Perhaps I am unfair to these men, sometimes. Perhaps. It seems a fair exchange though, come over and use my body, and I will use your body: I’ll make you hang Christmas lights. I have somehow accrued a harem of giants. I should buy more high heels.
I know I should have stopped calling F. “The Kid'” a while ago, but when I do it makes me feel a bit like Humphrey Bogart. Say what I will about the Kid, who is unreliable for a rendezvous, he is the most reliably sweet thing to me. Always greeting the day with a “how are you?”, and such. Always rooting for me to find the right one.
“What are you doing tomorrow morning?”
Coffee with Mr. H, it seems. Followed by a mild poisoning.
“You should have come over, I’m certified Gluten-Free.”
I am anxious today, editing the final piece for my writing class and it’s tricky: vulnerable. The critique is more specific, and all the feedback I’ve been given is conflicting. Of course, the editing process itself is tricky, confronting demons and details and all that. A graveyard of darlings and the teacher prodding me for more honesty. More. More. More.
At last, the Christmas lights in Vienna are up. The city turned snowglobe and god, it’s a romantic misery of cold.
The covid numbers are daunting, and I am not sure what to expect. Winter arrived in full form today, announcing that the era of my leather jacket has come to an end. I will miss it, for it gave me power and pockets.
I’m feeling awfully vulnerable these days, but happy sometimes. I’m not short on company, friendly or otherwise, I have a bit too much time on my hands this week, it won’t last long- I should enjoy it. I should let myself enjoy things. I should let myself enjoy you. I have my guard up, it seems.
I am rambling, I am not sure who this post is for, it’s just thought spillover. If you’re still reading, my apologies.
The class focuses quite a bit on the great paradox: “Specific is the best in general”
I think I need to be held. I think I need a walk. I think I want to be held, but need to go for a walk.
I want you to hold me. I want you to spoon me and pull me close, and when I say “I should head home”, I want you to pull me closer and gently wrestle my underwear off as I try to put it back on. I want you to kiss my neck and leave a mark, so I can text you about it and pretend I am annoyed, smiling all the while.
Yes, on an island off the coast of Italy there grows a mythical olive tree. Countless men have died trying to reach it. Journey there, in the port, you will meet a raven-haired woman with a one-eyed dog. To the dog, you must feed a piece of your own flesh. To the woman, you must reveal your deepest secret. If you do so, she will provide you a map to the island. It’s a two-day sail from the harbor, past schools of sirens. The tree itself is atop a mountain, climb it, and find the tree. In the tree nests a silver dove, with her baby chicks. Each of the three chicks will ask you a riddle. Answer the riddles correctly, and the dove will allow you a cutting from the tree. Bring me the topmost branch.
Or, just bring me flowers, yellow roses are my favorite.
A year ago I was in the hospital, so sick I was sure I would die. So sick, I wrote a will and an informal goodbye.
A year later, and I had a lot to say on the matter, I wrote myself a long letter, but I don’t know how much of it is worth sharing here.
Most of all, I want the Alessandra of one year ago to know: you are still here.
It was a crisp October day and the wind kicked the leaves up to the second-floor window of 221B Baker Street. My companion Sherlock Holmes rose from his chair and gazed down at the entryway to spy a woman pacing back and forth. Within a few minutes, she was inside, and up the stairs. Sherlock looked unamused, almost annoyed, but, taking a glance at the woman’s somber visage, his own face softened ever so slightly, his tight jaw relaxed, and he beckoned her in.
“Madame, kindly take a seat. I won’t have you here long, I can already see that yours is a problem you won’t solve here.”
“But… how?” She asked
“Allow me to explain. It’s simple enough-, there are innumerous details about you that even my soft-minded companion, dear Watson, could see. You’re left-handed, of course, as shown by the watch on your right wrist and the ink stain on the side of your left palm”
I chipped in, “Indeed Holmes, I caught on to that detail about our guest, but if I know you, you have quite a deal more to say.”
“Well, Madame, the details of your situation is perspicuous in innumerable fashions visible from here, I required but a few of them to determine that I am unable to offer you my services. You are anxious about your impending divorce, and you have taken a young lover in the meantime. The anxiety is evidenced threefold- the raw cuticles on your right thumb, the blemish on your chin, and of course the status of your shoes.
The marriage ended sometime well before summer. There’s no ring tan on your hand, yet there is a visible tan line from your fitness watch- its face is new and unscratched, but you recently exchanged the original band for a thinner, more elegant gold band. Your skin is of a tone that is reticent to tan easily, so it seems you spent a good deal of the summer outdoors, wearing your new fitness watch all the while.”
“But what does my watch tell you about my marriage?”
My dear, you have a rather obvious giveaway- you keep pawing at your ring finger, feeling for a phantom band.
You aren’t divorced yet, but you have a court date set sometime soon. The anxiety is eating at you, as manifest it your battered cuticles. As I mentioned before, there’s the blemish on your chin. No need to cover it, my dear, your make-up has done a suitable job for the average eye, correct, Watson?”
“Yes, Madame, I would never have noticed.” I assured her, and she dropped her demure hand from her face back into her lap, gathering her finger together.
Holmes was already inhaling to continue his monologue when she tried to pipe in-
“But what does my blemish mean-“
“You are seeing someone new. He’s younger. He works in a job without much customer interaction, something low profile. Perhaps an office job. He’s taller than you. You’ve been seeing him for a few weeks now.”
“How could you know that?”
“Again, Madame- the blemish on your chin. The young man has a job of a nature that requires him to shave, yet he need not be too diligent about the matter. The stubble from his beard irritated your skin when you were kissing him, rather passionately it seems. You’ve picked at the blemish: again, a sign of your anxiety. The blemish itself is a few weeks old now, there is evidence of it healing and being picked at again.”
“But how can you know he is tall?”
“I have already told you all I required: it’s the status of your shoes. The shoes are new, with a modest heel. You are, as you know, of a diminutive nature, but you still haven’t gotten the hang of walking in the heels, and your left ankle is a bit swollen. The man in question is much taller than you, there is a crease in the toe of the leather, where you have extended yourself onto your toes past the height provided by the heels.”
“It’s true. I am much shorter than him- but how did you know his age?”
“Madame, forgive my impropriety, but there is a hickey on your neck. A marking most definitely the work of a younger man, somewhere in his twenties? Again, as I said at the beginning of our meeting- you won’t find your answers here. It seems that the divorce was a good decision, your jacket hangs loose, and your watch shows your commitment to your health, and despite the small scratch below your lip, your skin is radiant. More so than that, the new shoes are meant for dancing, and it seems from their scuffs that you have indeed taken them dancing. These are all signs of a woman restored to happiness, or perhaps on her way there.”
“How do you know why I came here?”
“I know that you don’t know why you came here. If it was looking for a good man, you’ve certainly come to the wrong address. If you wanted answers as to why your anxiety has surged suddenly- it’s likely the dread of the paperwork and legal troubles you expect to encounter soon. You are not as lost as you may feel, Madame. I cannot provide you answers to matters of the heart, but we can provide you with three small favors which will get you back in form. Watson can surely provide you a salve for the blemish, and a bandage for the ankle. If I am not mistaken, Miss Hudson has some of her famous scones ready, and she is bringing them up the stairs now. Combined, they ought to do the trick,”
“How are you today?”
“I think if I drink another coffee I can emit a pulse which annihilates every straight cis man in Vienna.”
“That good, huh?”
“But you were nice to me yesterday, so this is your warning that the Reckoning is coming some time this afternoon, after I meet this deadline. I suggest you move beyond the city limits, swiftly.”
I just need to get through mid-term exams, announce to the world that indeed I am getting a divorce, and indeed I am staying in Vienna (or doing my best to stay). Then I need to disappear into the abyss for a few days, turn off my phone, run the ink dry on a pen, or three.
Hey Gorgeous, do you want to come with me?
It’s a strange thing, to invite you in,
To ask you to stay.
To let you hear me snore-
To let my breath escape.
You know you yell in your sleep? A sort of half-scream. It’s scary.
I keep telling you to relax.
I’m a hypocrite on multiple counts,
A mugshot of smeared lipstick and a half-finished glass.
I’m not trying to get you drunk, I’m just trying to get to know you.
I think you’re cute, but I’m not trying to get you pregnant yet.
You’re not particularly nice to me. Evidently that’s my thing.
Men who are scruffy and vaguely mean.
Maybe it’s my kink?
Nah, my kink is people that hold me.
My kink is men who make me feel safe.
I don’t want to fall asleep yet, but we should cool down.
I am apprehensive, and hungry.
I am many things.
I am weird, you keep reminding me.
You did all the right things, but
Succumbing to coming is particularly intimate,
It’s a rare feat, for me, on the first time.
The rumors of my small death have been greatly exaggerated.
But the pleasure was real.
The lie was ethical-
A half-truth, I was overcome with bliss but not quite reaching a precipice.
There was behavior worth reinforcing.
In particular, that thing you do with your tongue-
Do exactly that, but just-
Do it when I trust you.
Eurydice and I have learned to understand each other. I appreciate the ability an orchid has to communicate: its roots bare to the world. Heart on her sleeve, it seems.
She takes after me.
Spoiled as ever. Her blooms continue to dry out, but her stem is green. She gets a steam bath in front of the humidifier whenever she loses her perk, and she responds quickly.
After too much googling, I learned less about orchids and far more about orchid people. Orchid gardeners are second only to mommy-bloggers when it comes to anxiety and judging. They are one step above vinyl record collectors when it comes to snobbery. But, after some waffling back and forth on the best watering methods, I have indeed fallen for the ice trick, and Eurydice seems to love it. It’s counterintuitive, but it seems to be working. It’s a technique which requires restraint, and patience. Eurydice and I are both learning patience.
I had to attend to a funeral this week, a former coworker’s suicide. In lieu of flowers donations were made to the local animal shelter. The only flowers were rose petals, we each tossed a handful of them into her open grave, over her urn, white and glittering. They buried her ashes by a young tree, which will be there for at least 400 years. Tree number 9. The deceased was 31. I am 32. Sometimes, when you cannot stop crying, it helps to focus on something else: numbers, letters, the names on the gravestones. A phalaenopsis orchid has a blooming cycle 2-3 months long, and many people throw them away after that. But they can live 10-15 years with proper care. Some have lived to be over 100 years old..
I watered Eurydice when I got home, with ice. I reminded her that she needs to live.
So do you, she said.
How dare you be such an amazing kisser.
How dare you make me think I‘ve met my match.
I am the 2 tram. Excuse me, Bim zwei, but I prefer you call me the 2 tram. I know what you’re thinking, you’d be surprised to know, English is actually my native language! No German (or Austrian) efficiency here!
My mother was American, an oil painter, she loved watching paint dry. My father was an Italian post office worker. Union man, spent his weeks behind the counter, lording quietly over absolute chaos. In his spare time he tended to his lawn. He liked to watch the grass grow. It’s actually how they met! One summer in the 60’s she painted a picture of it, his lawn, growing in real time: a canvas slowly overcome by green. They spent their first date watching a pot of water boil. Long story short, now you have me. Come aboard, girl.
I am the 2 tram, and I’m always a bit discombobulated. I don’t get the rush all the other trams are in. I prefer to take my time, really consider my options. Especially when I am one stop away from your destination. That’s the best time to take a good long rest, and ponder, where am I really going?
Where are you really going, girl?
If the guy you are off to see is so mediocre in bed, is it worth the tooth-grinding crawl of a trip with me? I see you, texting your friends about him, yawning. Do you really want to see him again? Has he ever made you come? Just saying, you can get off here, or not get off at his place. Either way, you’re going to end the evening frustrated.
I am the 2 tram and I know you still miss him. Not the mediocre guy you’re off to see, the one before. I see you staring at his picture. Girl, I know you. I know you hate subway poems, but you still love train metaphors. Actually, you love subway poems, even though they’re so tired. You’re so tired, girl. Stay a while. It will be a while.
But as for trains, and subways, and metaphors, I am somewhere in between. I am lacking in both romance and speed. I am a literal slow train to nowhere. I am a metaphor for settling. I am preposterously packed with baby carriages and…Tibetan monks? There’s a lot happening here girl, and you’re missing all of it!
There, you did it again, you dazed off, looked out the window, and started thinking about him again. The guy in the picture, who lives off the U-Bahn, a cozy 15 minutes from your door to his. I can’t offer you that, but I can offer you a stunning view of all the cars speeding by, and a permeating sense of existential dread.
Hey, girl, pay attention to me, or I will stop suddenly and slide you off your seat! You know what, I am going to do it anyway.
I am the 2 tram and I am taking you home. It’s almost midnight. I’m empty, save for a smattering of ombré blondes. I am a staccato song. My mind wanders. Oh right- I was supposed to stop there. Oops.
I am the 2 tram and I want you more than any man ever will. Stay with me, girl. Let’s linger here a while. Let me hold you. When was the last time you were held? When was the last time you slowed down?
I am the 2 tram and I am arriving in 47 seconds, and then not again for 15 years.
Girl, You better run.
How dare you give me something to love.
You forgot what I’m capable of.
I’ll treat this little minx the way I should myself.
Give her the world, and anything else.
I blocked you, call it self-care.
I’m unfed, but I’m caffeinated.
Plied with rice milk and coffee.
You’re anxious, over-educated,
And unbearably pretty.
Scenes from a sunlit bachelor pad:
A corner bed-frame, comic books
Dry soap, a broken shower head,
Scraggy towels, a single hook.
You’re as broken as the rest,
But you get away with it.
I’ll leave in a minute, gorgeous,
Let me look at you for a bit.
Regale me with tales of your crises,
Lay all your despair on me.
Just, sit here a while. Let’s see
If you convince me to stay.
“It is a nice jacket, very cool, Sandra Dee.”
“Yeah, I’ve got chills, they’re multiplying. I kept it on while I was waiting for you, just to show it off. It has so many pockets, I don’t even need a purse! It makes me feel mad with power- not to be weighed down by a bag. I realized on Saturday: this is why society won’t give women pockets- it makes it harder for us to run.”
“Yeah, I’m cold, wouldn’t it be nice if only I had my blue Cardigan…but someone stole it.”
“I’m not giving it back. It’s mine now. Well, it’s still yours, but I’m keeping it, permanently. I told you, I get it in the divorce.”
“Fine. Well, where did we get it? I will have to buy another one.”
“I think C&A? Not sure. I am sort of accumulating a collection of men’s sweaters at this point.”
“Well, not quite, it’s just two at the moment, but it was three for while. I mean, I was good, I gave one of them back. The other guy hasn’t realized I still have his cashmere sweater. I forgot a belt at the nice one’s place, not sure what that means.”
“So, it’s, like, your thing.”
“Yeah, it’s like a tax, or whatever. The VAT. Not that anyone is paying for the arrangement, but, like, I guess that’s the catch…you come into my apartment, you must sacrifice an article of cashmere to me.”
“Yeah it’s a trade off- you don’t have to hold me, but you need to keep me warm.”
I walked myself home from the date, alone.
Past the silhouettes of a couple breaking up
beneath the metal staircase at the construction site.
Backlit by the street-lamps on the square,
Snippets of her exasperation reverberating against the steel.
Cold air and echoes of argument.
I’ve done the whole flustered-but-adoring-academic routine before.
Perfected the art.
I could write a thesis on it.
I’m not interested in kissing a smoker.
I’m am somewhat interested in kissing you.
You seem awfully charming after a few cocktails,
And so on.
And ho! Barkeep!
A salve, good sir, for the anxious polyglot!
Shaking like an over-caffeinated leaflet.
Today Academia informed me that someone in Rome cited me, or cited someone by my name.
My long Italian name which I am, it turns out, mispronouncing. Sure, I could be reasonable and assume it’s just a shared name. But it’s not so unreasonable that at last, one if the many PhD candidates I have nursed through their dissertations, went ahead and gave me some credit where it’s due.
Sunday, 12:59 p.m.
I think I can see it, the end.
There exists an illusion we face towards the exit, wherein the tunnel seems longer for a moment,
Stretching out towards the light.
Where we can slow down, hold our breath, and decide.
I say this every Sunday. The I’m done mantra.
But, it’s usually a ritual reserved for the evening, and it’s barely the afternoon.
My patience is creeping in, cutting off your time.
Monday, 6:13 a.m.
You make me pray for awful things, for the will to stop loving.
I won’t let you sap all compassion from me.
What a lazy and romantic poisoning.
You’re a grumpy patch of weeds.
“Have a nice week. Have a nice life, I guess. Be good.”
I will, respectively,
Do precisely that,
Do my absolute best,
And do no such thing.
God, I must be so convenient for you.
I want to be careful.
No,- I want to be adored.
I am absolutely incapable of being careful, and relentlessly capable of care.
You son of a bitch, you brought me a flower.
Not some thing I can appreciate and let shrivel up by Wednesday
Like ten bucks of affection gone dry.
You fucking asshole
Brought me a beautiful thing which I will surely destroy.
I was raised by a borderline wood nymph, and yet
Inherited nothing close to a green thumb,
I am reckless with plants
I am preposterously incapable.
Give me a man at his lowest depths and lord
Can I resurrect him with my tongue alone.
But give me a plant and watch it be
Smothered, drowned by my keen attention.
I am nothing if not
an affectionate thunderstorm.
And God, this poor blossom,
This orchid, doomed,
I’ve named her Eurydice.
For I, as Orpheus, shall do my best to keep her from death.
I do nothing but kill things.
God save her from me.
My friend warned me that she will shed her petals in the coming weeks
As the city turns cold and retreats.
Well, I will say, “here is Eurydice, my stick who imagines she is a flower.”
My friend warns me, further,
that the stem will also die,
but there will be leaves, and promises
A hefty requirement of patience
A relentless necessity of due diligence.
Eurydice, soon stumped and longing for sun
Perched at a north-facing window
On the corner of my dining room table
Not dead yet.
Some thing I must nurse back in to existence,
A thing I must watch die
And be reborn
And not once acknowledge as an analogy for anything in my life.
Last week at a swing dance event, I cuddled the wall and chatted up N., the DJ.
“This song is about where I am from.”
“Yeah, the Boston area.”
“Oh wow, now I will think of you every time I play it.”
“I should be so lucky, to be occupying your thoughts.”
My shoulders smell like your sweat.
I should soap up,
Should wash you out.
I’m sacred enough
I’m decently dirty.
Latex and lubricant scented everything,
All my corners, how you’ve kissed them clean.
What a thing to bend to,
Each joint angled toward a lustful embrace with your mouth.
I don’t even know you,
And you know so little of the world or the ways of women,
Skilled, some natural talent,
Gorgeous and you don’t know it yet.
“This is like a second g-spot for you, your lower back”
(I showed you how to hold me like he does. You learned well.)
You lift me into your arms,
Precisely, like some tiny, precious thing.
Press me me against the wall, a flower betwixt pages in a bible.
My moans escape into the courtyard and echo throughout the evening,
My everything captive to you for so long as you please.
I could have used you,
Back when I had to hang the curtains.
I could use you.
Should I keep you?
“Beautiful. You. You’re beautiful.”
It would seem that I’m an insatiable minx,
“Did I give you that scratch?”
Just a bit of sweat
Between acquaintances. A bit
of latex, and
to the imagination
I’m having a delightful time,
Save for the occasional sore throat.
Though, perhaps I should practice
Lest my reputation precede me.
She makes a grand entrance,
Rumor has it,
The girl goes down easy.
I’ve nothing to apologize for,
He tells me I’m a good girl,
Tells me he wants more.
“Bless me father, for I have sinned. It has been innumerable years since my last confession. “
“May the lord help you to confess your sins, my child”
“Father, I have lied, but I have done so oft in the name of love, or companionship, but these lies have begun to weigh on me, and I feel I must speak my truth.”
“Yes, my child, tell me how you have lied.”
“I can no longer pretend to like Davids, father. I have lied about my favor for so many Davids.”
“Davids? Do you speak of Shepherds?”
“No father, I speak of artists. David…ack, I can barely say it aloud father.
“Tell me my child, who is this David?”
“Lynch, father, I can not longer pretend to enjoy and care for the work of filmmaker and personality David Lynch. I fear that by speaking this truth I will be ostracized by my friends and loved ones, but it has to stop.”
“Ahh, my child, of course there’s some disagreement about season two of Twin Peaks, and where his real vision came in to play, but season one seems in like with your interests, no?”
“Indeed father, whimsy, and murder mysteries, and Kyle Machlachlan are things I adore. But, I just don’t care for it.”
“Even Blue Velvet?”
“Even Blue Velvet, father.”
“That is indeed a burden to bear. I will keep you in my prayers in this trying time.”
“And Father, there’s more…”
“My child, do not tell me you speak of the other, the most sacred of Davids…”
“Bowie?! Absolutely not, father! I would never dare besmirch his honor. But, in truth, there is another David who I can no longer suffer to feign enthusiasm for. It’s David Byrne, father.”
“A yes, and you may find yourself, in a catholic confessional booth, and you may ask yourself, how did I get here?”
“Good one. A real dad-joke, or a real father-joke. Indeed, I enjoy that song when it comes on the radio. I nod my head when acquaintances, cousins, young teacher’s assistants, and even lovers espouse the “genius” of David Byrne. But I do not feel the same admiration in my heart, and it fills me with shame.”
“My child, these are grave deviances from what we have declared good. For your penance, you must learn the lyrics of an obscure talking heads song, and practice your poker face in the mirror 50 times. And 50 Hail Marys.”
“Tell me child, are there more?”
“Not quite. I mean I always preferred the intro to A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, but that’s allowed, yes?”
“Ah yes, brother Eggers, indeed, we make room for those who love the intro as well as the memoir itself. Our flock is open to all.”
“Thank you, father.”
“Yes my child, I leave you with your penance to make at home, but before we leave let us say the lord’s prayer together. And may God give you strength to find your way back to the flock.”
“I am ready, father”
“You remind me of the babe…”
“The babe with the power?”
“The power of voodoo..”
“Remind me of the babe!”
There is, quite honestly, no where I’d rather be than on a train. Waiting in the car, at the station, early enough to have found a good seat, by the window, and next to a person whose arm I can gather affectionately across my lap, my fingers tracing lazy spirals on their forearm, their thumb tracing purposeful, flirtatious arches across my knee. And perhaps a kiss on the shoulder, it wouldn’t be so greedy or untoward to wish for one, in this, a description of a perfect moment.
There is nowhere I would rather be than situated in the blissful beginning of a good time: past the anxiety, the which platform and where to sit, the where is your ticket and it said I had to print it but I am sure they will accept it from the phone. And where to let go of the baggage, emotional or otherwise? And should we pack a lunch?
The bit after that:
In that blissful moment, the quiet, when I (when we) can exhale amidst the shuffling of footsteps, and look out a window toward something. When I know I am going somewhere.
Well, everyone that was telling me to move on has to eat their words, because I bent myself backwards to do it.
I am going to hate myself when I wake up, so I am avoiding going to sleep. Avoiding the inevitable.
He didn’t ask for much in way of approval. The blissful ignorance of a handsome and preposterously well-endowed man, to ask nothing and try everything.
NO. (Don’t put your hand on my throat. )
At least he listened to that.
I proved…something? What a mediocre victory.
I am going to go shower forever.
I spent some time last night chatting with a smoker. They aren’t rare here, or disregarded. Despite the protected status of the nicotine-smitten citizens of the city, things have changed. Indeed, even Vienna, time capsule that it is, has modernized slightly since I moved here, and I no longer must suffer through the winter with my coat reeking of stale tobacco if I dare set foot in a bar for even a flutter of a moment.
The issue was, she was smoking the cigarettes I used to smoke. She had quite a few of of them, but kept insisting that each new cigarette was her second. There were 3 or 4 “second” cigarettes. It was entertaining, she’s a funny girl, and she looks cute when she smokes. That was the lethal thing back then, being told I looked good when I smoked.
And the whole time I was watching her look cute and forlorn through a cloud, my mouth was watering.
I cannot start smoking again. Absolutely not.
And yet today, I am reading, and still thinking about it. About how nice it would be to stop thinking about everything that plagues me and pick up a cigarette. To watch the smoke curl about the corners of the page like a cat in need of a cuddle. Wouldn’t it be romantic to have something else to occupy my mind than all this knowledge, and nonsense, and (god forbid) all these fucking emotions.
I’m asthmatic. We’re in the midst of a lung disease epidemic. I am far too logical for this.
But, wouldn’t one more bad habit solve everything?
If I am going to pick up smoking I will have to give up starting sentences with capital-A “and”. And I would rather die.
“I see that, too. Everyone here is broken. All these women I meet and they want love but they just can’t. You just look at them and you see, they can’t. I don’t know what it is about this city, if we all come here because we’re broken, or if the city makes us that way.”
“I always say, ‘Vienna is a city built on Roman ruins and heartbreak.”
But, I want to stay. At least for a little while.
I’m going to set roots, and grow like a weed from the cement.
I’m here to officially revoke my membership to the Broken Hearts Society.
Give me the form to fill out, the hotline to call. Go ahead, charge me an extortionate cancellation fee.