bones, candy wrappers, a winnowing basket

It came it came!  A letter via staghorn post from Henriette!  (read about Henriette here)

Dear Odalisque,

Everyone I know, used to know, is trashed and wavering in filthy board-rooms, louche galleries, swanky trashheaps.   I hear their twinkling laughter, drunken howls and outrageous tweets even here, in my climate-controlled basement.  I know they mean no harm.  They are indifferent to me.

Thank you for writing.  It is true I still have my coat, moth-eaten but sustainable, in this old trunk Matisse sketched for me.  It is true I have few visitors–but few is more than I’m used to, having desired only solitude, like you.  I with the company of bones.

Oh the bones, Odalisque.  Lacunae of exquisite topology, elaborate curvatures, like dessicated ovaries flowering against a shockingly blue sky.  Fractal erections.  Antlers.  Femurs.  Knucklebones.

We are not growing young.  It is only with labor, much much labor, that our extinguishment is not a snuffing out, but an ecstatic obliteration in light.

A guard is coming.  He will peer closely at me to assure himself I haven’t disintegrated into an obvious fake.

Write soon.

Your friend,

Henriette

On my very first scrapbook page I wrote these words:  “I will write no more of love.  Is anyone ever satisfied?”  Henriette and I both experienced a disillusionment with “love”, whatever “love” is when you’re an odalisque who everyone wants to look at.   At some point, bathed in gazes, thoughtful odalisques react to submersion in viscous adoration with the apparently outrageous question “What am I?”

Lovers come, lovers go, the retreat of street-shoes across elaborate carpets upon which we, barefoot, barely concealed by shimmering drapery, lie.  What does an odalisque feel?  Who is there, not feeling, not known?  I felt trapped inside my own desirability.   Inches beneath my skin I felt a barricade between all-but-my-surface and everything else: an unknown quantity <– my skin–> the world.  The “real” world.  I could see it, as if through chinks of  mounded rubble.   But what or who was in there looking out, so fiercely protected from invasion or intimacy?  I felt a faint wind.  I could see nothing, and the sound was a soft emptiness, a downiness into which too much had collapsed and suffocated.

The options available to Henriette & I ?  Jaded hedonism, vengeful vampishness, feverish tragedy, or domestication, a settling down, settling in.  We considered our options and cried “fuck this!”  We meant these words metaphorically, not literally, and that, that delineated something raw and fibrous  that we resolved to call “I”.  We grabbed our coats and ran.

We were never afraid of living our lives alone.

I WAS afraid of becoming brittle and sopped, trash spit out of the ocean that crumbles at a touch–corroded aluminum, brittle cellophane, the shattered foil wrapper of something toxic and sweet.  Better to be a seashell, empty and clean, or a beat-up piece of glass.  Better to be a crab scuttling away from the encroaching foam, or even the dry rasp of the dune grass, if not the dunes,  if not the collapsed lungs of the sea creatures upon the sand, if not the moon’s liquidity on the ocean’s trembling musculature, or the moon itself.  No, not the moon.  The winnowing basket woven across the sky by its mensual arcs.

That yes that.

Dear Henriette,

Did you ever figure out how to LOVE someone?

The birds all say hi.

Your friend,

The Odalisque

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About The Odalisque

I am the odalisque who lives in an oblelisk. I converse with birds.

converse. carrier pigeon post.

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