Monthly Archives: October 2012
Sunlight slowly crawled along the ceiling, then went down on the whiteness of the wall until it caressed a head, abandoned on a pillow. A soothed but parched body welcomed that sweet nectar of heat that it was given for free. In the unconsciousness of her sleep, another little unconsciousness thrilled in her womb, throbbing with new life, still unaware to the body that feeded it for free, just because that tiny being, no bigger than a hand palm, was there, existed. Existing seems the easiest thing in the whole world. You consider yourself powerful and invincible like a sculpture built out of sand, but if you turn your look back, you may see some waves licking your unwaveringness. But now, tenderly, a dream cradled her in her drowsiness and made her feel like being back in the warm embrace of a mother’s lap.
Some knocks abruptly echoed in the silence. Sharp, frightening. That dreamlike mother’s lap disintegrated and she opened her black eyes wide with a fearful yell, having a dazed look around.
“Come on! Hurry up! It’s late!”.
She snorted: it’s just the guard. Like every single morning since a month, a graceful woman in uniform “ringed the alarm” against cells’ bars to wake up the convicts. What a good service. From the railing window she tried to look down over the courtyard, but she could only take a glimpse of her imagination carrying her beyond those walls. Slowly she took her pajamas off (she could do it because she was alone in the cell, how lucky am I!) and she put on the same clothes she wore the day before and the one before that.
She had bought some cookies at the extra food stock, so she heated up some milk she used to keep fresh into a basin full of cold water. While she was staring at the little pot and trembling flame of the ring under it, that annoying, sudden knock stroke the air again.
“Calling me by my name, instead of all this mess?”.
“O princess… don’t piss me off. Take this, comes from the doctor”. The gentlewoman passed a white envelope through the tiny window in the iron door. A writing on it said “cell 312, female department II”.
She picked it up and opened it, after switching off the ring and gas cylinder. It was her blood and urine exams result, very kindly ordered by the prison director a few weeks before, when she got degraded from “woman” to “host”.
Under the numbers column, two handwritten lines by an anonymous doctor with an incomprehensible signature: “the analysis of the hormones present in the material handed to her reports an ongoing pregnancy. Please carry out immediate inspection by ultrasound findings. Sincerely”.
Pregnancy? Me? Me pregnant? Me with a stuff in my belly? Since… o my God… since… two months?
Instinctively (and maternally) her right hand settled on her navel. And, all of a sudden, another thought: here?
When her breath became regular again, she stood up and first washed her face many times. Not to wake up from a dream, rinse out paleness from her cheeks or get used to the unbelievable surprise. Just to purify herself. To make her former life flow down the drainpipe and end it in the most suitable place ever.
She wished she was brand new for her creature. Mine? That thought increased until it included another person, its father (“father”… what a difficult term to say!), that lad who… loved her. Did he love me? The last of a long series of men, the first of a new era. “Love”, a really absent and dressed up word in her life, locked up in the most secret jail in her heart, whose cell mate was “Trust”. In that moment, when the word “father” overlooked her mind, she deeply understood that feelings’ dance, that harmonically perfect ballet which a curtain displayed every time they were together alone. She never understood it, or wanted to, because Fear held her heart’s cell’s keys and guarded its gate extremely well.
“Guard!”, she cried impulsively, “guard! Can you come here for a second?”.
“What the hell you want? Don’t you know I am plenty of stuff to do?”.
“Can you give me an application form? I would like to phone, if it’s possible. I know it’s not the right time, but I need this phone call, can you ask the director to approve it immediately? It’s a matter… of life”.
“Or death?”, the Grand Duchess in uniform ironically completed.
Her heart ran fast. She dialled the number and checked it out twice, tasting every single heartbeat which escaped quickly from her veins. The unengaged tone seemed to last forever. Than he answered. Hello.
“Don’t hold your breath, you know I would have called you sooner or later. You are the only one that’s left to me in this world”.
Her speech unexpectedly was so sweet because she gave up the fact she was in love with him. He had been hurt so much by her hidden feelings, but he himself healed his scars with his own love as a good surgeon would do. She managed to admit her loneliness in the end, for she had always been surrounded by unscrupulous people who he unsuccessfully tried to move her away from. A joy he never felt before exploded inside. His heart was beating hard in his chest, it was going up his throat and around all his body. It was crazy, but alive and free!
Words knotted up the way from her lungs to her lips. For a second she lost control and got paralyzed, as she was drunk from happiness, and both stayed silent for some time.
“I wandered if you want to marry me. I would like my child to be carried by a father with a ring on his finger”.
“Can you… repeat?”. Okay, turns of phrases did not work.
“You know what, no, who is there in my womb? Our child. Consequently, I want to be your wife”.
“How can I ask for a visit to you?”.
“But… you don’t say anything? I thought you… would be happy…”.
“I don’t have to say a word. I have to hug you!”.
Mrs Pinkerton in uniform and truncheon knocked the 312 cell’s door with usual delicacy.
“It’s time, the jeep has arrived. Hurry up”.
While getting on it with about ten other women, she held her belly as if its weight could throw her off balance and make her stumble down, even if it actually grew only few centimetres more.
What does pregnant women fancy about when they are in their cars with their partners going to the hospital for the first ultrasound exam?, she was wondering, maybe they think about what sort of pushchair they’ll buy, or brush up how to knit as their grannies taught them, or are anxious to know if it’s going to be a baby-girl or a baby-boy. All she could think of was, instead, where she would have grown up her child. She would have really liked not to make her child pay the bitter price for her own mistakes… his father already payed for that; he chose to increase his shifts at work and to look for an extra job in the weekends.
“And when are you going to visit me if you work 24 hours a day?”, she asked him laughing.
“Well, I come visit you every time I close my eyes and think about the three of us, together”.
She liked so much to be cuddled by his speeches, so truly and naturally dictated by love, and listen to his reassuring voice depicting a life she would have desired to live since she was a child. The life I want to give to my baby.
Copyright 2006 Eleonora Pizzi
Little fragments of glass were stuck in her flesh. Inside her organs, in her gullet, all over her body’s muscles, in her stomach, in her heart. They made her bleed copiously and the blood unceasingly flowed, painting her feeling’s surface a vibrant red. Hands were tightened in close fists, nails’ edges were white by the effort of pushing other splinters deeper and deeper into her skin. As on an oblique mirror, blood flowed and covered it with its intense colour, sliding on the ground. Everything was sliding away, even physical suffering. She didn’t feel any emotion. She observed the sluggish flowing of the red liquid out of her body in the same way a scientist would note a natural phenomenon. Despite this, she was feeling wonderfully better. The Evil stood no more inside her body, ferried on the floor towards death by that vermeil Charon. Better to lose that colour that mesmerises your glance as the flames of a fire lit in the darkness do, than to share life with that vicious everlasting destroyer.
Abruptly, a distant sound of a voice, low and muffled but still hearable. It was yelling as if it had a cotton pad over its mouth, “what are you doing??”. Now the arms that belonged to that voice were shaking her, male fingers were violently stroking her hair and lower and lower that saving sound was reaching her. But she didn’t want to be saved, for she alone had already arranged for it: she chased away the Evil from her body together with that red, the Evil that persecuted her, that made her feel an inhuman beast, that proded her at every day and night hour, leaving her wrecking in the sea of anguish. In that ocean there were no lifeboats or flares, only the certainty of being killed from the inside by the Evil and yet living, although her suffering.
Now the red that surrounded her had vanished. There was only white: dirt white, white of something torn by a continuous and repeated use, a tired white, sick of being there but resigned to the idea of having to stay there for a long time still. Thin transparent plastic cannulas full of that vivid red went out, or in, her arms. She tried to open her mouth but she realised that a blear colour mask was around it, steamy by her breath. She wanted to lift an arm, but any muscles did answer. In her idleness, panic burstingly infiltrated once again, in spite of the belief of having won over the Evil. Those familiar male arms had interrupted her beloved contemplation of that unique colour and her conviction of having eventually destroyed the Evil. She tried to turn her head, and she saw a woman dressed in that same weary white, her hands wrapped in transparent latex gloves, at her feet dusty drilled slippers, on her breast a tag with her name, a little black and white photo and a godforsaken writing, quoting “St James Psychiatric Hospital”. She saw the woman’s fire red lips moving and tried to focus on them, but what a difference with the vividness of blood colour! Of her blood! Other people came in, dressed in that same shabby uniform, and fussed around the cannulas and machinery. What a pain now, owning not that dazzling beautiful red, only way to get rid of sorrow! She didn’t want to give up its lack and uselessly searched for some kind of copy, a faded halo of its liveliness among all that bare white.
After some time the cannulas were removed and someone told her she could stand up and walk on her own feet, but she sensed that she couldn’t carry on just with the memory of that colour. Noboby now would have allowed her to heal, because the only possible cure was her blood, soaked with the Evil! Now, she knew, she would have been even more securely tied to the chair where the Evil used to make her suffer his terrifying abuses. Her life would have continued in the grip of his tortures, in her veins just brown and faded clots would have crept, leftovers of a more than a newborn rose’s bud intense red. Prisoner of the Evil, of her body, no way out.
Blood dried, and on the mirror of her feeling only a massive brown repulsive crust was left. Nothing she could have done to wash it away.
copyright 2007 Eleonora Pizzi
In my headphones Dave Grohl’s hoarse voice, the music, some lines:
come on, take my side, I’m fighting for you, I’m fighting for you!! / pleased to meet you, take my hand / there is no way back from here, but I don’t care / no way back from here, yeah!
In my eyes the automatic door of the railway station that opens without any effort as a curtain on a scenery made of obsessive rhythms and standard people behind a dirty glass, who wish for being anywhere but there, hearing strangers’ voices asking for “a return ticket to Milan”, or, when their imagination gets tipsy, “a season ticket to Casbeno”. And to have to answer “Do you have 10 cents?”, or to remind the absent-minded elderly or the inexperienced kid to hand the customer card over, because “I can’t give you the season ticket without it”. No “thanks”, “see you”, “please” or Cenozoic kidness like these.
Grohl, the old good Grohl, here he is, he’s asking for a return ticket to Milan, adding 10 cents for the nervous joy of the ticket clerk. Or it’s me? It’s me that, after putting that little white, black and green paper square in my jeans back pocket, raises its look and meets his? No, not Dave’s one. Dave has already fled away from my acoustic nerve. A homeless’ gaze.
Or, better, leftovers of a man’s gaze. Shady eyes, dark hair, thick beard. A wrinkled and faded puppet, with torn seams, hanging threads everywhere, black stains that penetrate far beyond its light t-shirt. A puppet that once was round and chubby, with vivid pink painted cheeks, a puppet that has been pulled at his extremities, chopped into pieces by events or people that had to take care of it, washed and spin-dried lots of times to erase the slight imperfections on its clothes and body.
He gets near bashfully, with a kind attitude. “Excuse me, can I ask you a penny? I’ve filled the bottle at the bathroom’s washbasin!”, he continues, showing a bottle in the other hand, “I’m on the streets, please!”. Which events could have forced a person with a so sweet glance to bend his dignity and pride to the ground? That “I’m on the streets” lights a powerful curiosity in me, a harmless, not morbid curiosity, a curiosity that wants to help, to listen, but can’t find the guts to go out of my lips, moulded in the shape of “what’s happened?” or “why?”. Trivial and stupid, my thought runs down in my rucksack and notices that I’ve no money left, having spent those last 4,10 euros for that ticket.
“I’m sorry, I had just the money for the ticket, I’ve nothing left…”. How much regret and shame in that moment! I was ashamed of myself…
“Oh… you bought a ticket, and then you have to take the ticket to come back, too… yes, there’s always a way back…”, he says, staring at me, and then, on that last, extreme sentence, scanning beyond the automatic door, or, maybe, it would be better to say beyond the void space in which people leave him in his despair. He seems mesmerised by that void. For a couple of seconds he stands still, lost in his thoughts. Perhaps he is terrified by the shocking meaning of that sentence too, as if another entity inside him has pronounced it with a so evident tone, like those truths we hear, repeated to us since we were children, which we take for granted for so many years that, as we realize their authentic meaning, we are dumbfounded, as the prehistoric men in front of the power of the finally dominated flames. How many times I’ve heard about Nietzsche’s “eternal return”; how many times, reading The Lord Of The Rings, as Frodo comes back to the Shire, I’ve shared with him the anguish born from “nothing will ever be like before”… yet, just in that moment, in that ticket office, I have understood the authentic meaning of RETURN. I could dominate the power of the flames of despair, distress and sorrow that surround the people who lost anything and who now burn in loneliness and bewilderment.
“I’m so sorry, please, excuse me”, a pityful effort to apologise and console him, even if the consolation this sentence can give, after being used by all mankind with ipocrisy and falseness at least once in a lifetime, is really ridiculous.
He wakes up from his thoughts storm, he looks at me and smiles, “not at all, don’t worry!”. Another poisoned arrow, arrow of purity and clearness in my heart that now would bury itself together with the rest of my body. “Thanks, hi!”, he exclaims, waving his hand. I return the gesture, another time having no courage enough to link my brain to my mouth to pronounce seven damned words, “Can I help you in another way?”. His feet, instead, obey with a listless “yes, Sir!” to his nervous system and carry him out of the ticket office, disappearing beyond the glasses of the automatic door, a door that allows the passage from a space to another one, door of the soul that is always and irretrievably sealed to our neighbour, to this man’s leftovers.
copyright 2006 Eleonora Pizzi
Song quoted from “No Way Back” by Foo Fighters, 2005, from the album “In Your Honor”, RCA records.
It was raining. Since many hours the sky had been spilling all its fury on the city streets with icy hammering raindrops. Even the wind seemed to help the raging clouds by slapping the water from the sky more violently against roofs, trees and pavements. With singular persistence, or at least she thought so, the wind raged against her skin, which she carelessly left with no adequate protection of any coats or umbrellas. She walked lowering her head, with her arms crossed to tighten the light, blue dress she was wearing, trying to prevent being wet even by the squirts of the cars that overcame her, creating little waves in the dirty water of the pools along the pavement.
In the half-light of that boulevard, she made out a figure appearing and disappearing among the rare street lights. While it was getting nearer, she recognized it: a known face, the face of a friend. She was soaked through, the blue dress got completely drenched and the wind made her shiver. In spite of this, the thought of meeting a familiar someone who could carry her home, safe from all the remaining water and cold, gave her strength to smile warmly up at him. She slowed her pace, and when the boy was close enough she stopped and tried to capture his look. He raised his umbrella for a flying instant and murmured a casual “hello” followed by a quick smile. He immediately averted his eyes towards an indefinite point in the blankness in front of him, while hiding again his face behind his umbrella and stepping down the pavement to avoid touching her. He passed fast beside her, a moment that tasted like eternity; then he went on his way.
The water flowing down her face became abruptly salted.
So she started running home, confusing rain and tear drops, shivering with cold and shaking with rage.
She shut the door open and then slammed it; she rushed to the table where she sat down, still dropping. She caught a pen and a sheet of paper, and wrote.
I hate you
no time, no mercy
nowhere to hide
I hate you on my own
I hate you, I’ll make you drown
into your blood
into your breath
into your black
Die, I grasp your life
sand in my hand
your last beat will start mine
die in red
die on me
I hate you on my own
I hate you
Make you drown
into your blood
into your breath
into your black
Her tears were dry now; only her heart was crying. She got up, took a knife from the kitchen and went out, drenched as she was.
The door opened once again, less violently. A blooded knife dropped down on the floor. A light, transparent now, blue dress slipped slowly on the carpet, where it drew a big dark patch that kept on enlarging itself. A warm and pleasant shower jet replaced it; it formed on the mirror at the opposite wall a light veil, a haze of the soul, stunning of the heart. A warm and comfortable blouse wrapped now a restored body, eventually relaxed. A couch welcomed this body as a stone fallen from a skyscraper height, dragged down by events and situations. The stereo “play” button opposed no resistance and allowed itself to be pushed, so that a thousand notes spilled on that body pulsing with peace, caressing it and rolling over that now lukewarm skin.
Sliding down the velvety slope of sleep, she seemed to hear a muffled, low and continuous ring of a siren in a far away crescendo.
Copyright May 2004 by Eleonora Pizzi
Thanks to Simone Bosisio and the whole band of Malhazard for turning this story into a “therapeutic” song, screaming rage and blackness away: Into Your Black, Malhazard, from the album “Beyond The Horizon”, 2011. Myspace and Jamendo are there for you ’cause I know you feel the urgent need to listen to it.
“Nothing to do, as you may see she doesn’t speak, raise her head or move. She’s been sat there like this since 8 o’clock this morning”.
“She’s not in the missing people list, nobody looking like her has ever been reported to us”.
“A female colleague of us has frisked the girl, yet she holds nothing but her rucksack. If she’s got some money, she keeps it in her knickers”.
“Can you leave the two of us alone with the girl, please?”. The three policemen go slowly out of the room, unwillingly. The social worker and the educator take their eyes off the door only after it has been completely shut down. They concentrate on breathing at the girl’s same rhythm, they search for a subtle link between them… maybe they’re all the same age.
“My name is Miriam, she’s Lucia, we’re two social workers of the Municipality”. Miriam omits her true profession for short, it would be useless to explain such details to a girl who of course declared to be called “Maria Rossi1” and who completed the most complicated and difficult crossword in the shabby Settimana Enigmistica2 found in her rucksack.
“You can talk to us freely and fearlessly, in the end what they care about is your real age, if you’re actually over eighteen they will let you go, you just have to state it. But if something has happened to you and we can help in any way, don’t be scared. You know we are bounded up with professional secret and what you tell us, remains among these four walls”. The easier part of the speech, the formal one, is done.
Lucia raises up one eyebrow while she stares at the silence of the girl. Blonde, pretty.
“Were you going to Mandello because you know someone around there?”.
“Yes? You meant you do?”. Lucia gives voice to the hope of being able to penetrate in the visible cracks of that wall in front of her by properly interpreting the girl’s head movement, but no other reaction can confirm. “Where did you sleep last nights? Do you have a place to lay your head tonight?”.
Miriam thinks that too many questions only cork the narrow funnel of communication of this uncanny girl more and more. So, she explores the aching topics about “teenager fled away from home”, even if this person carries any scent of adolescence at all. So different is the smell of days and nights with no bed or roof or bath that surrounds her indeed, notwithstanding the obvious cleanliness and softness of her hair.
“Your mom and dad will be worried, if it’s true that you’ve been around for a long time, as the policemen told us”.
Lucia believes that Miriam’s strategy is correct, but assumes that the topic is wrong, as the girl’s head sinks down even more and hair covers her face completely. She shrewdly pushes the provoke button.
“Getting to the point, we must consider you as deaf and dumb or something like that. If you look up at me we can communicate by gestures. Even a finger up to fuck me off is okay, whatever you like”.
Miriam and Lucia give a knowing look to each other. They get themselves in a moment as usual and decide to be silent. Fight fire with fire, Lucia thinks; why can’t I reach you?, Miriam torments herself; and together wait for seconds, minutes.
Through the sun’s golden reflections among her hair, the girl’s black eyes look up and her chin rises slightly, seeking for Lucia’s hazel eyes first, then Miriam’s brown ones. Both hold their breath: maybe now those lips would separate, producing sounds that will explain what she was doing this morning all alone and by foot on the highway, where she was going to, what she was escaping from, why she was… “So what? Has she told something?”, shouts out one of the policemen while slamming the door open. “No”, he answers to himself, feeling the meaning of the two pissed off glances that are piercing him and of the one that is now contemplating her sneakers.
“We must take her fingerprints, as she doesn’t want to say anything”, informs the colleague who came in just a few seconds later and who probably saw the door crashing at a centimetre away his nose. Not adding a single word, he gets near the girl and tries to touch her right arm to make her stand up, but the arm doesn’t allow him to reach it and the rest of the body jumps up from the chair, carrying its owner out of the room.
Miriam practically insults the policeman who entered harassing the peace of that moment.
Through the window the sunlight shines, spotlighting the dust which is now whirling around after the girl’s sudden movement. In this whirl Lucia loses her look and the sense of this morning.
You storm through my heart
To sever, to puncture
The memories that burn
Let sweep through the arteries
In sharp stabs of pain
Your talonlike fingers to kill me again
And again and again
Lyrics flow quickly from the headphones to the girl’s ears; they give evidence to a hidden truth, which doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Burning, on the contrary, inside her veins torn by those more talonlike than humanlike fingers, able to dig deep down the profound intimacy of his daughter to extract pervert pleasure, able to freeze her down and to reduce her to silence, to this silence.
Non-understandable, non-erasable truth.
Grant me a life I can live
Take me away
Take me away…
“Maria Rossi” doesn’t know whom she may yell this prayer to, but she repeats it even after turning the music player off, while she goes on unstoppably walking towards someone who could really take her away.
Copyright Eleonora Pizzi September 2009
1 “Maria” and “Rossi” are the most widespread female name and surname in Italy.
2 A very popular enigmatography magazine in Italy
Song quoted from “Lethe” by Dark Tranquillity from the album “The Gallery”, 1995, published by Osmose Production