[Reserved][Reserved] — An Invitation to Dine

Dear Poet,

I’ve toyed with a conundrum, for too long. [Reserved][Reserved] functions like a digital art installation in Woodstock! (WIP (x Bars)).  I could render [Reserved][Reserved] a mechanism – to catch That Yoni’s beat in perpetuity.  I could close the brackets with bars that fills your loins with blood.  I could leave redundant emptiness here — like tautology or romanticized art, or structural language — in this bifurcated space, like stars.

I could invite Poets to fill [Reserved][Reserved] with dope poesy and select a date for submission. However, if I receive 160K couplings, so committed and crazy for you, I would read them…  but frankly, why not do, all of the above.

The empty brackets function like missing endings now — lacking only your bylines, pseudonyms, and ghosts — in translatable bars that work in Woodstock! (WIP (x Bars)).

Poets make this space immersive.  Explode – The Writer’s Environment is an interactive environment — and this is the first foray for interactivity in this community!

Starting August 15, 2017 — let’s finish this poem with the best bars — curated for Woodstock! (WIP (x Bars)) here...  Bon appétit.

The Chelsea Hotel, Manhattan  — No Spam

Copyright, 2017 E Maria Shelton Speller



Tagging Dystopia


McKay shouts and then nearly whispers to Ellison, ‘It takes more than creative androgyny to “embody” the opposite sex. The storytelling responsibility of all writers, whether female or male is to fill the void. When a woman creates a man, she must imagine the sensation of “owning” a penis. When a man creates a woman, he must imagine the sensation of “owning” a vagina. It is a void, not a vacuum. A vacuum would imply the all-consuming black hole — the feminization of sex. It is not trained comprehension or chromosomes — it takes pure imagination to get the story straight…’



Copyright 2017 E Maria Shelton Speller  All rights reserved.

Girl Band of STEMs

my eyes


Girl Band of STEMs, is a lark about a writer, who comments on her own stories. It is metafiction in a digital world. This I would argue. The author writes a story about herself, writing a story about her Band, and the Band knows they’re in the story, about a story that interacts with you.  She writes a story, where her audience is her muse – may demand she change the ending, in an installation we build in space — for dreams, on a loop…

The Band asked me to write tags for my poems. Tags!  But, opportunities are sexy too. Opportunity is gold — the Muse is insatiable — and I’m going to make it work! Poets know that tick, when everything becomes art – you looked twice. Woodstock, was absolute freestyle in a digital world. I worked on it for weeks… and wrote it Live one Saturday afternoon – 500 revisions — at least. Poets know that tick. I changed commas to periods and back again  – metaphors to imagery, slowed it down, sped it up. Reminisced. If you were there on that Saturday afternoon, Woodstock was a maze. I’m sure.  I wrote the hook on the 7th Street Bridge. I could not wait to get home. I installed [Reserved][Reserved] when I lost my way. Found the beat, marked the spot, and then it looked like a digital art installation, in spite of the implications — for structural functionalism in space. But, my Muse is pissed…

Copyright 2017 E Maria Shelton Speller  All rights reserved.

Escapades and Props (WIP)

Its Manhattan...



Istanbul’s Muse Board

June 2, 2017

Explode — The Writers Environment Experiential Network Project — has a girl band of STEMs!  Stand by for updates.

May 19, 2017

You never appreciate home

As much as when you come home

Where God lives… with you

May 11, 2017

Haiku #13

Name baby something

Something easy to retrieve

Then share Me with friends

About a Prisoner of Love (Props to Christopher Logue’s War Music)

Look at the smile on my face. I knew you were selfish. Abandoned, you left me on the side of the road. Gone. Put yourself in my place. Left, on the side of the road. Naked. I knew you would own me — broken and falling to pieces — in halcyon swirls, dark storms, and faints. I would let you stand me on my head, spin me like a top, a dreidel — and catch me, before I fell. Then, you said you would sleep with her because, “Why not?  It’s not a competition — though you might win. Its not about… us.” That’s balls. CUT!

April 9, 2017

Notes on Manhattan: This is not a Warhol ~ Basquiat Installation.  I curated the Opening and a still – not the fucking gorgeous film.  While it is lovely — I did not curate Manhattan.  Not my composition — not my triptych.  This space is for art — for the sake of art — unaltered.  It’s Explode: The Writer’s Environment!

To curate content in this space, please contact me.

April 25, 2017

Thanks Halo Music!

April 29, 2017

Last night, a friend and I

took the Kimye Tour

in Cuba

I was a voyeur

A friend took him there and there and there

Unbeknown to him

I asked him if he knew where Kimye went

in Cuba

We roared and stumbled on together

Please please paint a picture…

Funny, you asked!

Copyright 2017 by E Maria Shelton Speller.  All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Update #2: Super News! Explode – The Writer’s Environment is a Summer, Fall and Winter Experiential Network (XN) Project Sponsor — for Northeastern University!

The XN project for Explode is conducting a poll to gather feedback on your experience and expectations for Explode – This Writer’s Environment. The poll should take no more than 4-5 minutes. Be assured all answers you provide will be kept in the strictest confidentiality.

With much gratitude and appreciation, please take this opportunity to participate in this XN project poll for Explode – This Writer’s Environment. Your voices are a critical component for the successful launch of the writer’s environment! Thanks!

The poll is located here:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScsGtw6V4ituIBM33Hw_EcITxxOXo3wcEbZ9IF  BZvsJICRvhg/viewform?embedded=true

Comments Off on Update #2: Super News! Explode – The Writer’s Environment is a Summer, Fall and Winter Experiential Network (XN) Project Sponsor — for Northeastern University! Posted in Digital Media, Metafiction, Motifs, Postmodern, sci-fi, VR

Woodstock! (WIP (x Bars))

Overture:  Woodstock is an ensemble.  There are two voices and the beat in this WIP… the Narrator’s voice, Hitchcock’s, and “That Yoni”.  See Side Bar by JuseBeats!  


In a walk through Whole Foods like Hitchcock

In his magnum opus

about a world… full of extras

in architectonic loops and links, alliteration and reverie, force, ballast, fancy partitions, linear renderings, systems of reckoning and more — of her…

He wants

Beddo, Caprini, Dolce Sardo

Zufi, the Saperavi

He nods

I’m  thinking

Disappointed… in us!

[There’s no other way to say it — I can’t dress it up]

Caught between a slumbering scream and Vertigo

Cruising isles and isles of sweet and sour

People who think they are special

People who know they are not

People who wish they were


He wants

Beddo, Caprini, Dolce Sardo

Zufi, the Saperavi

Whispers prologue

Guess what we did?

A Springboard!

A party of twenty

Three couples played before

winking and willing

shills playing in the round

Lovely trips on the Hill

in augmented VR

I’m thinking…

Baby boomers had their turn Woodstock!

Barefoot bell bottomed hippies

Denim sweeping the ground



Revolutionary hair —  fists in the air

Dragging us back in the mud

Blunt antiquity

Move on Woodstock!

Take your shades, caps, change and loose articles

Bombs in black holes!

[Where did you go?]

We should be sunning in the Bahamas

chilling on hemp swings and

chairs swiveling in immersive environments

Higher than kite fights

A soaring for points experience

Get off the ride Woodstock!

You had your turn — at freedom

Thank you

Exit signs are easy to find — look

The dragon is in the window

Freedom is accessible

Wonder is a trip

with walk through assistants

Dreams of power and prizes


Fall out and Jack into

a walk through Whole Foods like Hitchcock

in his magnum opus

about a world… full of extra

architectonic loops and links, alliteration and reverie, force, ballast, fancy partitions, linear renderings, systems of reckoning — and more — of her… virtually surreal

He wants

Beddo, Caprini, Dolce Sardo

Zufi, the Saperavi

Whispers song

We don’t want to feel we’re high…

We just want to think we’re high

in Dubai

We don’t want to feel we’re high…

We just want to think we’re high

in Dubai

Copyright 2016 E Maria Shelton Speller

“It is said that what is called “the spirit of an age” is something to which one cannot return. That this spirit gradually dissipates is due to the world’s coming to an end. For this reason, although one would like to change today’s world back to the spirit of one hundred years or more ago, it cannot be done. Thus it is important to make the best out of every generation.” ― Tsunetomo Yamamoto

and this

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” Albert Einstein

Cheers! I would also like to thank 40K poets at heart (like us) on FB et al, who like and love, and laugh, and mislike this WIP!  Please pardon the broken link… We’re working on it.  However, this glitch is an opportunity to say thank you for being in this Writer’s Environment with me.  Happy Holidays and have a wonderful New Year!

Aristotle Michelangelo and Louis Picasso’s Parallel Discussions

Aristotle Michelangelo and Louis Picasso’s

Parallel Discussions (In Medias Res) and Overtaken by Events


Behind Pushkin’s Coffeehouse, Aristotle Michelangelo and Louis Picasso sat on the remnants of a barge, trading barbs in Ibiza… swinging high top leather sock hip hop sneakers, and creeper boots in blue green virtual water, with Rick Owens’ reflection in the pool, burning fat ones – away from the beautiful ones — in a Period Piece. The Darlings of today’s literati — visionaries during the Harlem Renaissance, play themselves in a satirical throwback in VR.

Louis Picasso: “In RL, it’s 6 P.M. You just got home from work or you work from home in your virtual office. You decide to spend the evening in space! You scan Balmain for your Avatar – dope fashion — with as much audacity as Hype Williams’ black lacquered Keisha in Belly — wearing Versace!

You decide to download your brand new Porsche designed by Porsche and Atari for Microsoft, on the Pacific Coast Highway — Malibu on the left, Pepperdine University on the right, you’re on your way to virtual LA in the fast lane — your thighs are burning. Other avatars and their cars share the PCH too — driving Vipers, Corvettes, the white BMW X6 and you are speeding at 100 MIPS, streaming Coltrane.

Aristotle Michelangelo interjects: “Then you decide to go to BET’s virtual Nuyorican Café in Gotham City for the Open Mike – Saul Williams and Jessica Care Moore are featured (as themselves) tonight. You hand the keys to the valet — pay at the door with your password, sit front row center no matter what time you arrive, sign up to read your poem — because you can start over from the beginning or resume.  Gender! Lame. Race is unimaginative in Space. Ethnicity is a brand — at best.  The Open Mike is over at 10 P.M. but there is still time to go to Bar Pitti. You walk in and Claude McKay is at the bar in a heated debate with Ralph Ellison about literary ownership — by Netflix.

McKay shouts and then nearly whispers to Ellison, ‘It takes more than creative androgyny to “embody” the opposite sex. The storytelling responsibility of all writers, whether female or male is to fill the void. When a woman creates a man, she must imagine the sensation of “owning” a penis. When a man creates a woman, he must imagine the sensation of “owning” a vagina. It is a void, not a vacuum. A vacuum would imply the all-consuming black hole — the feminization of sex. It is not trained comprehension or chromosomes — it takes pure imagination to get the story straight…’

Louis Picasso:  “Then, at Midnight, you blow kisses and wuggles to your friends, and log off. You stand and stretch your back, and your bladder is bursting because you forgot about your biological realities. The television is off; it has been off for weeks. Why watch television when you can be your own audience? Randall Walser said it best, “The filmmaker says, ‘Look, I’ll show you.’ The space maker says, ‘Here, I’ll help you discover.’ We will be our own creators functioning like actors in high culture — tools of the taste public!  We will create our own universes — our own planets.   We can superimpose our images circa 6 BC – AD 30, and follow Jesus to the Promised Land, witness the crucifixion – and how we feel and what we think is utterly private and without commercials! Because, global messages with common appeal will forever change with today’s technology, the challenge is to make communication visual, images symbolic, and still sell product… I want to propose arcane ideas…”

Aristotle Michelangelo interjects: “I want to develop, manage, and direct vision. My goal is to be where imagination and business are indistinguishable, because imagination without business, and business without imagination is as incongruous as capitalism without consumers…   I found a dope quote dog!”

“When, she was still in her teens, well before she met Caesar, Cleopatra already had slept with Antony… though Caesar was fifty-three and she but twenty-three or so she proved ready enough to bed her third Roman. It is said that Cleopatra was a woman of lively turn and enticing talents. She also had a keen sense of the political. That this Roman [Caesar] conqueror had the power to secure the Egyptian throne for her must have added to the attraction she felt for him…Caesar established her in a sumptuous villa across the Tiber, from which she held court, while political leaders, financiers, and men of letters, including the renowned Cicero, danced in attendance.” Michael Parenti

Louis Picasso: I’m reading the same book, and I have a better one!

In a prologue to Caesar and Cleopatra [George Bernard Shaw] that is almost never performed, the god Ra tells the audience how Rome discovered that ‘the road to riches and greatness is through robbery of the poor and slaughter of the weak.’ In conformity with that dictum, the Romans ‘robbed their own poor until they became great masters of that art, and knew by what laws it could be made to appear seemly and honest.’ And after squeezing their own people dry, they stripped the poor throughout the many other lands they conquered.” Michael Parenti

Aristotle Michelangelo:  Shrugged his shoulders unconsciously, “Chez Bricktop in Paris?”

Louis Picasso:  Not now. I am having a violent reaction to prescription drugs!  My body is like, ‘Don’t put that shit down here again!’  They gave me all this medication for Acute Caesarion whatever — and I took it! Of course, you don’t exhaust the shit. You’re not an idiot. But, what the fuck? Where the weed at?”

Copyright 2016, E Maria Shelton Speller.  All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Continue reading

Dada — Lost and Found — Triptych


Doing nothing

and falling

down the same rabbit hole

I would be nosey

like numbers on analytics

Floating lollipops and gummy bears


Copyright 2016 E Maria Shelton Speller.  All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

On the 48th year since the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — this mash-up is for the revolutionary icon!

Happy Holidays Poets! Played Like a Diptych — A Triptych…


She gets played like a Diptych – in a Triptych…

Happy Holidays Poets!

by E Maria Shelton Speller

It happened at a Springboard Party…  She barely glanced at me.  Looked at my woman like…   Her locs were in a ponytail — they have to be down her fucking back… when our friends shouted at the screen, “The Screening Room.  The furthest found.”

Copyright 2015, 2016 by E Maria Shelton Speller.  All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



Luda’s Second Soliloquy — Miles Language II

If I could write language

that speaks and points….

At trumpets

when the moon is tone

and the sun is sfumato


See… the chiaroscuro Supreme

[dream in hue]

magenta, chrome, cherry-white

[mixed with blue fugue]

Put-the-night to sleep!


See Sisyphus scorn

at amber headlights

in Paris dew


Skin seeking skin

and birds seeking

[the flutter of feathers]

ink… that runs like blood

on paper… that does not bleed


Contrapposto poets

succumbing to peaches


Dogs… suspended

like meat in Seoul


[In the dawn]

She comes home

the moon is a beat

the sun is trill…


Dada responds

to Surrealism

Hip Hop responds

to R&B


[The trumpet responds]

to me

bebop bebop bebop bebop blam!

Fa Falala…


Copyright 2004, 2015 by E Maria Shelton Speller.  All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Inspired by Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew and Zurich Dadaist Hugo Ball who according to Arnason’s thesis on Ball’s conventional language,  “had no more place in poetry than the outworn human image in painting, produced a chant of more or less melodic syllables without meaning:  ‘zimzim urallala zimzim zanzibar zimlalla zam.’ “



Genre: Comedy

9 actors

Duration: 10 mins


Cece – Art Curator, Poet

Tess – Communicator

Lena – Data Scientist

Wife – Analyst

Wife — Homemaker

Said – Data Scientist

Etan – Consultant

Luda – Data Scientist and aspiring Poet

Kent – Data Scientist

ACT 1 — Installation Art (Sit next to me)

The scene takes place in a private home theater under a Proscenium arch. Stage right is a door to the dining area. Stage left is a door to the great room. Upstage is a grand screen.

It is Tess and Said’s turn to host the Football Sunday dinner party for three married couples – their closest friends. Tess’ single BFF, CeCe with the gratuitous beauty, on everyone’s dream team (and it is rude to stare) is visiting from the city – and having so much more to offer, as usual she is flying too close to the sun and upsetting the social balance.

CECE: I have a story to tell! I promise you — you’re going to love it! You simply must experience it. The absolute audacity of the writer is stunning. She’s THAT motherfucker. (Giggle) That bitch. Tricky — Romanticist.  Epic like the Iliad…



We’re watching the game… in a minute.

CECE:  But, wait…




SAID:  Of course you have data.  Do you know how to use it? Give me data.  I’ll give you algorithms… synced with the principles of Six Sigma.  It’s over.

TESS:  I said, If you don’t knock on my door, someone else will.


ETAN:  Evidently, you’re attracted to me, and I applaud you for knowing who you want.  I’m flattered.  But, I don’t sway that way.

WIFE:  What did he say?

ETAN:  “It doesn’t matter.”


ETAN: Define funny.

WIFE: Funny is funny.

ETAN: What’s funny to you, may not be funny to me.

WIFE:  Are we going to go back and forth on what is funny? I want to talk about something else. I want to talk about Project #99 (GAFFAW)  Again.  You pushed me… But, it was good. It’s true.  Where was I? I’m crazy! Yeah. No doubt… (LOOKS AWAY) But, I love you.


WIFE: I’m kickstarting my project this week. (THROWS HEAD BACK DEFIANTLY)


ETAN: “Sex packets …”

WIFE: (SUDDENLY) You said, I would be your wife, not your slave.


LENA: So, what if it’s all true? Does that give you the right to kick my ass and keep it moving? You’re a mutation. It does not sound like we’re the lazy ones.  We will survive. You will not… and if that’s true why would I compete with you, when you are doing all the work? You cannot survive without us. We’re going with. Wouldn’t you?

LUDA: Human DNA enlarges mouse brains.




HOMEMAKER:  Look babe, it’s tulle and mesh — and if I bend over just right…

KENT:  I am not going to kiss your ass (Chuckles)

HOMEMAKER:  Why not?  You’ve been kissing it.

KENT:  Don’t try to goad me into an argument to justify your own.

HOMEMAKER:  I’m just saying… if it’s in our heads, it’s pure fantasy.  Don’t float what you imagine out here in the void, like what you think is really real.  If it’s not real… like your hands on me — it’s fiction.  You cannot possibly know what I think, how I feel, how I will respond to your bullshit… or even how you will respond to mine.  I thought?  When was the last time you imagined a confrontation?  Of course, it never happens like the movies in our heads.  Not even close!  But, to be content to covet the same dreams, is so… unimaginative.  Is that the best we can do?  To be part of a crowd?   Look at me.  (VOGUES) I am the fastest swimmer in a sea of zoon!

KENT:  (Chuckles) Who the fuck are you reading lately?

HOMEMAKER:  (Playfully) We have to spend more time together!  I do have a wonderful quote… “I have a lesson for you.  Do you want it?”

KENT:  “I have a lesson for you.  Do you want it?”  Who said that?

HOMEMAKER:  My mother… in so many words.

KENT:  He called me Money.


KENT:  (CONTINUES) He said, I want a boy who gets what he came for. A boy who knows he’s the strongest swimmer in a sea of zoon. It’s true, a boy could have been pushed by stronger swimmers behind him. Like Mad Max. I want a boy who would survive the hood. A boy that knows changing direction is nothing. The trick is to breathe again. That’s the boy I want. Do you think you could be that boy? I would sit up straight, tip my head, and say, Yes Sir. I’m that boy.

HOMEMAKER:  Every time you tell that story I’d forget to mention, it feels like he’s looming over you. What were you sitting on?

KENT:  My potty chair… I thought you knew?

HOMEMAKER:  Oh no. He didn’t! (GIGGLES) Your father is bananas.


KENT:  Jules Winfield reciting Ezekiel.

HOMEMAKER:  That’s why you’re so ambitious. I love that about you, Honey. Look at us! We’re a Stupid Power Couple.

KENT:  (CHUCKLES)  The first time we met, I wondered… how does THAT work? (LAUGHS)


KENT:  You said, “I’m not looking for a husband.”


HOMEMAKER:  You want to play with me?  Are you sure? Are you sure?  Are you sure?



ETAN:  Conscious decisions are all that I can respect.  Don’t cling to insanity, or criminal passion, or peer pressure, or social expectations.  Don’t talk to me about losing control — momentarily.  Or, the poverty and violence of pain heaped upon more pain because you’re black.  This is not a gang-rape.  This is not Dionysia all over again, where women and children are sacrificed, and blood is beer.  If I change my language, the outcome will still be the same…  (STOP)


ETAN:  Jack Kerouac… likened writing to dreaming and fantasizing, as a substitute for life. So, he wrote The Subterraneans, in three days and nights of speed typing energized by Benzedrine — to imitate the rhythm of Bebop like free energy flow and unrestrained association to reveal the unconscious…  because he wanted to flow from inside out in spontaneous prose!  Am I going to read that trippy book again, with absolutely no punctuation period, when I can imagine my very own Mardou Fox?




KENT:  A black man is charged with burning black Churches in St. Louis Missouri…


KENT:  Unbelieveable.

HOMEMAKER:  I’m gonna’ need to pinch him.


HOMEMAKER:  Wake up, blue pill.


HOMEMAKER:  It’s the Age of STEM.  With VRs for your fancies, imagining aggressions you never lose. Where are we going? Who are we doing? How shall we dress for the joie de vivre?  I want to meet the best Black Rock Band on the planet and their Muse; to be the woman in the Dolmus, the Driver, Simon… I want to hear Luda deliver his soliloquies in a courtyard enclosed by trees, with stapled bark once covered with flyers — for missing pets, and outworn, archaic, and unimaginative campaigns and trade for sale or giveaway. I want to be where someone says, I have a story to tell, and those who’ve heard the story reply, we’re watching the game in a minute…  I know how the story ends.


HOMEMAKER:  (TAGGING) I am sorry, but, honestly, the 21st Century is so… contrived.  (STOPS SHORT OF LAUGHTER) Let’s move along.


CECE:  We have plenty of time!  Indulge me.  I’m going to read it.


CECE: Come on! It’s my birthday! Okay, it’s not my birthday….Listen! This is a quote from Interview magazine. I think it’s poetic.  “I use pot for depression, and I am depressed often.  When I am high, I am very creative, and because my word is work in progress, I have no regrets. Self actualization is anticlimactic…  I am the hopeless writer.  I spent most of my life being angry that I, didn’t have an audience that would pay for my work.  Girls, gotta’ make a living.  It’s amazing what turns people on.  It’s not at all what I imagined. I spent too much time trying to create a persona, when I am one.   I suppose it’s okay to spend your life chasing a dream.  You have to have one or two to live for.”  She’s extra… Did I mention Ovid?

If you don’t like it (PAUSE) I’ll blow every cock in the room.


Whoa! What? Fuck? Really?


Shut up! Girl! Bitch! Are you crazy?

Continue reading

Bars and Verses for the South Side (Inspired by Kendrick Lamar’s The Blacker the Berry)


You are here

In front of the Mona Lisa

Provoking six million gags a year

Dismissing she’s da Vinci in drag


You are here

So valuable she can’t be insured

Sfumato eyes and slanted smile

Dangle like sneakers…. on a pole


I can hear you thinking

You are here

You are here

You are here

You are here


Bored with near misses and boors

And the fealty of Jim Crow fifty years ago

Riding a labyrinth carousel in the wilderness

You are here…  before the fiery furnace


Freedom not long actually happened

While you were sleeping unaccountable

Transfixed on transitions a half-century ago

Don’t pretend you know what’s going on


We are here beyond the status quo

Beyond owning cable movies until 2024

Beyond the fear of dread before joy

Where do we go from here?


I know, they know, he knows, she knows

Like assumptions on the street is folly

Free your children what can you do for them?

Who are we?


Where conceptions… are constructions

Subject to… demystifications

Like symbols are… adroit for points

Take your children… Over there!


Over there

Away from you

Away from me

Away from them

Away from he

Away from she

Who are we?



You are here


Over there

Away from you

Away from me

Away from them

Away from he

Away from she

Who are we?

Free them!


There are non-profit-tax-exempt boarding schools

For girls and boys who would die on the fourth of July

Because snitches get stitches and fathers disappear

It was an easy sale – – – –


Wooed scholars thinkers and Morehouse men

With paeans and promises for the liberal emergence of altruism

With curriculums and schools of thought designed by them

It was an easier sale – – – –


Bernanke, Chomsky, Aslan, Witten

Micheaux, Baldwin, Davis, Marsalis

Thompson, Sir Timothy, Nash – – – –

Gates, Plato, Picasso, and Sowell


Over there where students create Kickstarter projects

Before the class trip to Paris, France in the fall

Parents watch their children dance under the balustrade

On the sunken floor after the Science Fair on Saturday morn


Where conceptions… are constructions

Subject to… demystifications

Like symbols are… adroit for points

Take your children… Over there!


Over there

Away from you

Away from me

Away from them

Away from he

Away from she

Who are we?



You are here


Over there

Away from you

Away from me

Away from them

Away from he

Away from she

Who are we?

Free them!


Cunning like military brats have to be

Wearing class A red cardigans and purity rings

Watching Venus north of the crescent moon in the dome

Reengineering the next generation


I called myself a Ghost writer

I never claimed to be one

But Talking heads and Rhodes Scholars

Join the flute girls at the grog bowl serving sharp edges and chum


This life is a bizarro disinvestment

But, before you head home by GPS

Where the last honest man is on video

Here’s a bar and verse… for the road


Our Father who art in heaven – – – – 

Hallowed be your name

Thy kingdom come

Thy will be done

On earth

As it is in heaven – – – –


Where God given gifts are never squandered

You are here in the foyer with problem and solution

Where common sense is not enough

Where who and what is forever kitschy

Affirmation is a function of negation and vice versa*

Social constructs are under siege and should be

Where talking heads shut the fuck up!


Free them!


You’re welcome to stay for Church

Or join Yogi… Temple


Copyright 2015 by E Maria Shelton Speller. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

*Octavio Paz




Draped over flesh folding,

Overlapping, lapping, titties like water


Coursing over plantations

landing on designer gods


She’s the Queen of make believe

dross, lace, and fancies

the strumpet of style and envy

supply and demand

framing references

of fragmentation and icons

the whore of big business

luxury and privilege

Capital Supreme


She gives it to you every time

the same kiss same trade

whispering buy me

while you sit splayed still

eating her conditions

wanting more between



An electric whore transfixed on fiction

screaming paeans of promises

in fleeting imagery faster than you can think


Candle eyes revealing

nothing and something equally

commercial bitch

coca cola coochie


The queen of white hot dreams and fantasies

Dreaming the business of culture

for recycled cyclical people

in suspended disbelief


Chronos’ eating children again

consuming – regurgitating

the piss Ellison smelled in the hallway

the blood he saw at the top of the stairs

of the worn unfresh and rotted

postmodern prostitute

circumscribing your will to dream

someone you


White voodoo yahoo

looping tricks for

fifteen pimps


Coliseum dreamers

in concert muffle

the scream


Hegemony is a bore!

Capitalism is a whore!

Patriarchy is a sham!

Subjugation is complete!

You can’t dream for me…


Children of the light!

dreaming in strophe

what she dreams

what she thinks

what she wants you to need

what she wants you to buy

when to laugh


what to eat and how often

who to love


how to suffer

on her terms


Dreamers of the light!

dancing for the gods

in collective nothingness

tweaked to think vapid

celebrated center-folds

of flagrancy at your expense

dare to dream

alone in dark energy


Turn off the lights

of the Queen of white hot fantasies

in unsuspended disbelief


Let’s make believe!

The Sirens’ in the room

and you applaud

on your knees

Give props to the Queen

of postmodern dreams

of white white-white hot trips

on Lilly fields designed

for you to dance

for the gods

pimping their dreams of her… and them

on wide screen… for you


Kill your TV!


Copyright 2004, 2015 by  E Maria Shelton Speller.  All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


A Valentine for Angela (for Angela Davis and George Jackson)

When you see Angela

Give her… this Valentine


Tell her

No code of morals

Or pastoral sermons of redemption

in bastions of struggle

nor private language

Or puritanical divinity

from the tyrannical gatekeepers

of black consciousness

in Baptist Churches

Where the house of God

like the people are falling

and bibles are missing

countenances are broken

and carriages are bent

on Grandfathers

huddled like old horses

in Chapel basements

can keep her locks from draping

my thrilled skin


I felt the linguistics of freedom

without right-wing caveats

and the sophistical footnotes

of kept intellectuals

when Black Power waxed

the center of my tower

and the bottom of your well

farther than this cell

and closer than holding you

in my arms now



I found the status quo

on endless streets with names

and no names

we neglect or accommodate


In a sound dream

on spots

we smother

or straddle

we are a sexual coterie


I wanted to indict you for voluntary servitude

buying part and parcel of our own existence

like exploitation bought and exploitation sold

back to the exploitable…


With a shameless display

of unnecessary needs and haughty miens

napping, unconscious, and folded


Like Black parents

who cannot recognize their children

Hiding inside androgynous clothing

Reciting the lines of criminal poets

perverting language that appeals to them


Black Panthers in proletariat-drag

When Heidegger said

The dreadful has already happened!


Tell her…



is an effete dilettante

living life inside a penthouse

longing to be outside in the cracker box

raping after he was free

Down with the masses!

Up with the bourgeoisie!



came to the Party shouting

“I am a rapist!”

“I [am] a patriarch!”

Power was not concept

abstract or privilege for Eldridge


His last contribution

will be the design

of cock pants


And Bobby

is a politician

with idealistic intentions

running for the Mayor of Oakland

loyal to the Patriarchs

that bound and gagged him

in the courtroom



Elaine Brown

confused pussy with power

will deny

Huey beat her down

and ran her out of town

in her red Mercedes Benz…


Hide your guns from Jonathan

My brother is poised for Fatalism

Suicidal ideations are necessary considerations

when voluntary death is a blow against

excessive regulations


The gun…

is justification

for the enigma

of an absurd existence

when God is dead

like Nietzsche and Sartre said…

and heaven is empty


When you see Angela

Give her… this Valentine


Your status in the ballroom

on that intellectual runway

does not resemble

the place we found


Bring me back from Limbo…

Your breath is shallow

Your pulse is faint

The ring is dark

The tower is steep

The well is deep…

Are you coming too?


I am waiting

in this din

pacing the floor in my 9 x 4

in absolute solitude


you, you, you,



Copyright 2004, 2015 E Maria Shelton Speller.  All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Foreword to Insomnia

Like all writers, I rewrite, combine, borrow, loot, recreate, change my own work, and play with metafictional devices and the relationship between what is real and what is imagined.  I combined “TP’s Muse Board” with “The Foreword to Insomnia.”  Perhaps it will be a triptych, or perhaps three panels of an octaptych,  a short story, novella, or perhaps a novel.  It’s a WIP.

The Foreword to Insomnia


“All our crimes are the crimes of a phantom:  God.”  Octavio Paz



Is the girl necessary?  Can you abandon her?  Yes and no.    She’s the curtain-lifter and the scout!  Always.  I cannot forget her.  I was there, talking to myself, as if I were someone else.  Like now.

She’s as necessary as the galoshes on her feet, paused in a puddle, with her binary reflection obscured by polka-dots, vector and speckled umbrellas billowing from ordinary windows like parachutes, or the multi-colored aureoles in the virtual vertigo — of an art installation.

She is as necessary as umbrellas on a rainy afternoon under golden arches and digital displays of saucer eyed anime faces in Tokyo during rush-hours, or the dark city around the corner with a hole in the ground — over rainy subway stairs she lost a galosh on.


When she was nine, and her sister seven, they shared a bedroom in the attic of an old Victorian house, in New England.  They loved that pink triangular room, and the imaginary line that equally divided that sanctum, and it was not lost on them, that they were far removed from their extended paternal family, parents and the Irish triplets who shared a room of their own — downstairs.

It was not just the physical detachment, but on the heels of “making believe,” they began to transport each other to fictional realities at bedtime that began with a question, followed by an answer and finally a bidding, “What are you doing?”  “I’m thinking.”  “What are you thinking about?”

Her stories would often begin with something truly extraordinary.  Diana Ross had ten kids in 1964!  She was twenty years old and married to Jorge — the Ebony Fashion Fair model who was the most beautiful man she had ever seen, and one of Diana’s children was her fourth grade classmate — a Puerto Rican named, Sorah Sanchez.  He told his classmates to call him Willie.  He was so cute!

Theirs was the perfect family!  Jorge wore gray suede shoes and cardigans advertised in Jet and Ebony magazines, and the children wore clothing from Alden and Spiegel catalogs!   Images were accessible and appropriated. The stories epic and uninterrupted — unless clarification was necessary, like “What time do the kids have to go to bed?”

She loved The Supremes!  In the Sixties, Diana Ross was a delicate and beautiful remix, of freedom from ugly restraint.   She could scan a page for “Diana Ross” and find her like code.  Ditty Bop!  She could imitate her voice, her tone, inflection, her vibrato, choreography and her mannerisms!

In the Summer of 1965, she sang A cappella, “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Stop in the Name of Love,” and “Come See About Me,” on a makeshift stage in her back yard, and became an accidental star with a teenaged fan base; but, she just wanted to be left alone to adore Diana Ross — the beautiful one!  Those oral narratives in the dark — were contiguous, on a continuum, interconnected — in medias res.


At seventeen she hadn’t seen her Father in four or five years.  Her mother and six children took the last bus to a safe haven twelve hundred miles from Boston.  But, when father walked into her home, the house her mother managed to “negotiate” by “befriending” the most unattractive man she had ever seen… and barely past the threshold, he said, “I know, I know, I know, and I know.”

It was the most honest response she’d ever heard.  It made sense.  No apologies.  No explanations.  What else could he say?  Last year, she wondered why she and her sister screamed their hearts out of their mouths, eyes, and ears crouched in a closet — as if screaming would make a difference — as if screams would stop unmeasured and random assaults on her Mother in a Commonwealth where the Rule of Thumb allowed husbands to beat their wives as long as the stick was no thicker than his thumb!

In that house, little girls might not stop screams with their own.  Who could scream the loudest?  Who could silence the noise?  Eventually, she realized the house was on Rockledge Street before pre-K, so they were one and three, or two and four years old, perhaps.  In a one mile radius, the same thing happened on Cedar and Alpine Streets. On Hartford Street, her Father cut her Mother up with a meat cleaver.

She can still summon the smell of Sugar Smacks decayed and stinking in bowls of spoiled milk abandoned on the kitchen table like so much blood and flesh on the floors, doors, the papered walls, and ceiling where on her Sister’s 9th birthday, “the accident” happened.

The blood of donors rushed from other jurisdictions, the white sheet that hid her mother’s head from her children, the paddy wagon where her mother was slung like a criminal, the crowd outside the window oohing and awing, jeering, and cheering her Father, who changed into a brown silk leisure suit, brown suede shoes, cocked a fedora on his head and walked tall, proud, and un-cuffed to the Police car.  The footnote in the Boston Globe, “Negro Man Attacks Wife with Meat Cleaver.”  The rise and fall of orphan’s tears, swollen eyes, praying hands and bargains with God in zombie disbelief.

But, I don’t feel sorry for that little girl.  Tall and proud.  She could have been a psycho killer — and I would be her muse, a tiny detail, a paper doll from an Alden’s catalog — paused in a puddle for the amusement of children.


I am the one who cannot sleep.  Aside from occasional drifts from the pollen consumption of moths, to the dignity of a ski-lift nose…


Copyright 2004, 2013 E Maria Shelton Speller. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


The Foreword to Insomnia’s Istanbul (The Voice of an Unreliable Narrator, in Medias Res)

Now and then, I am restless….

When I dropped them at the restaurant, Simon asked me to join them for lunch. I parked the dolmus near the Sirkeci Railway.  Potential fares watched me curiously. I felt compelled to announce that it was time for lunch.

“Ogle yemegi.”  is what I said to them, and not sesame-sprinkled bread either — to myself!

I couldn’t walk fast enough to get away from the stink of the smelted metal, and I find the putrid aroma of leather nauseating. What you smell on Galata Bridge depends on where you stand.  Looking over at the fishermen bobbing on the ‘horn’ next to the bridge, but still managing to grill a pan-full of mackerel, I almost walked over and bought a snack from my brethren.

When I arrived, Simon and the woman were drinking Tuborg bira. I don’t know what inspired her, but she was wearing the hood on her caftan.  My friend, Ishmir, served us.  He handed me the menu, but he was very good.  Ishmir stood directly across from her and suggested we start with hor d ‘Oeuvres.

They ordered Red Caviar in Mayonnaise.  I ordered Stuffed Vine Leaves. Of course, Ishmir suggested fish, and she ordered Roe. I ordered Anchovy. But Simon ordered Roast Lamb with onions, Yuk!  Ishmir smiled a lot, but he was a cad, a supreme waiter and a notorious rogue.

For vegetables, she ordered Spinach Tomato. Simon ordered Squash Potatoes, and I ordered cabbage.  They wanted Strawberries for fruit, and I ordered Figs.  For dessert, she ordered Yogurt and Egg Pudding.  Simon, a Lady’s Navel, a donut soaked in honey — and me Rice Pudding.

Then we had vodka.  She tipped the glass as if it were empty like her vanity.  Simon told Ishmir to give it some color. So, Ishmir put a peach on the rim. Suddenly everything was right. She rested her elbow on the table, her chin in the palm of her hand, cradling the vodka in the other, and started at the “bottom” of her wish list.

“I want to go to Topkapi Palace.”

Simon smiled the way a jinni would when “his” wish comes true. “What do you expect to find there?”

“The shadow of God — I don’t know.  I just want to go.”  She dropped her eyes, and then raised them again.

Simon said, “You want to see the shadow of God?  Perhaps we should go to the Sancta Sophia instead, but of course we can go to the Imperial Harem in Topkapi and feel the shadow of black emasculated men who controlled the Harem — eunuchs who resembled modern day pimps without penises. Or the captured, bought or sold foreign and often Christian concubines whose body hair is removed, and then pomaded with henna to prevent perspiration, after it is massaged and scrubbed by slave women (too old to be favored), because the Sultan put his handkerchief on the concubine’s shoulder that she brings to his bed at midnight.”

He leaned into a whisper, “A world of bored lesbians or platonic affairs with castrated page-boys.  And afterwards, we could dive the Bosphorus,” He pointed toward Asia. “In search of those weighted sacks that Sultan Ibrahim had 280 concubines sewn in.  They’ll be upright and easy to find at the bottom of the channel.”

“You know…” she lowered the hand that held her chin, on the table and dug her nails in the palm of her hand.  She sipped her vodka before she continued with, “A goalkeeper can catch ‘and’ throw the ball.”

He didn’t return her volley.  He reached in his pocket for cigarettes.

“Meaning?”  He offered her one, but her eyes faded and she shook her head, balancing the rim of the glass on her tongue.  She sipped her vodka again.  When she spoke, her blue eyes were flambé.

“You can relate the melodrama of emasculated slave drivers; expose the gauze of white bondage in a pleasure dome.  You can casually lean into homophobia and then sink into regret.  You hear voices from the bottom of the channel and you can suggest that we dive like dreadful Arabs; but you don’t mention that in this center of civilization, this threshold of bliss, the arched eyebrows of ravaging old men think it is right and necessary to punish one man for his impudence with the lives of a thousand boys, and a thousand girls, a thousand mothers, and a thousand fathers.”

When she said “a thousand,” her eyes closed, and her lips barely moved.  I could hear her heart weep.  She leaned across the table into prose.

“Muslims never mention a time when neglected and lascivious Turkish women stole around looking for new loves, shrouded in these habiliments — now celebrated as some sort of Islamic affirmation.”

She snatched the hood from her head.  “Whores, whose husbands dreamed about the Imperial Harem, and could never recognize their disguised wives in this garden of paradise.”

I pursed my cigarette between my lips, looked across the Horn at the Galata Tower, and thought, “Please!  Fuck her in the ass!”

Simon’s bottom lip collapsed between his teeth, and when he released it to speak, they left a white impression.  His head moved like the pugilist you shadow box, the prize, the peacock that halts to seduce you.

“Is my nose bleeding, goalkeeper?”

Her hands moved across the table for his.  She took his hand in hers tenderly.  She spread his fingers, and stroked the back of his hand with hers, and turned his palm over and held it up as if light would pass through it like alabaster, and she talked into it, as if words would penetrate like sound.

She said, “I saw a man in Seoul once.  It was a gray day.  My girlfriend and I had just hailed a taxi.  He was with business associates, I guess, I don’t know.  They carried armored briefcases and he was wearing a plush black topcoat.  A town car pulled in front of his party when his eyes, the color of the day, watched me, watching him.  It was a magnetic moment, with magnetic potential, but I felt my body moving like Niagara toward the opened door of the taxi, and fall inside reluctantly.  I left a phantom standing.”

His bottom lip grew accustomed to his teeth again.  He tilted his head far enough to see his reflection in her eyes, and her hands disappeared between his.  White horses straddled the hull, and Ishmir smiled at me, when a glass of tea shifted on his tray.

I followed them through the Gate of the Majestic One, even though I’d been there before.   They were easy to trail.  After we paid half price for nylons from a street vendor, Simon bought some French vanilla because she liked the decanter.  It resembled a flask.  But French vanilla didn’t mix with a miasma of death:  the dark tiny cells, marbled rooms and iron barred windows of black eunuchs, and the eerie and evil battle-axes and scimitars of the conquered.  Or, the surrealism of giant emeralds on the crown of the Topkapi Dagger like a roman candle — carried through the Gate of Felicity by Madonna.

In spite of all that, and the barbaric flower patterns on the walls, and so much gold and diamonds they resembled copper and glass, I smelled French vanilla in this stained-glass heaven, and heard tocks in a room full of clocks like waterfalls, but what I wanted most of all, was to see his cock between her thighs.

Beneath delicate balconies, 300 tiny rooms and 400 years of a ravaged Harem bridged by staircases, little courtyards, and pavilions; at the end of the cul-de-sac, I saw the lustrous eyes of the gazelle.  While my thoughts shifted from ugly destruction to whet wildflowers in this horribly airy place, she looked satisfied.  Then the lights went out!

All you could hear was the hushed noise of silence.  The familiar yelps of babies paused for the unfamiliar, but the proverbial blackout would arouse the dead before they wiped sleep from their eyes, and magnified the click of her heels rising from clay, when I saw her leap in his arms in lackluster headlights, and her bosom brushed his face — infrared in taillights.

Toward my voice of gentle direction, a friendly gauge to the door I opened, in a dark stagger they fell to obscurity, like me.  But, I prefer to be forgotten, and left to eavesdrop on transitory affairs.

They were two people, interacting on each other.  One, to conquer like the Arab in the desert.  The other to submit, like the Turkish nomad.  Unfortunately, it was black in the back of the dolmus, like the city, and I was only privy to the promise of pleasure, the sound of pain, the smell of conduction, and the rhythm of breathing.

Unlike the neighbors next door, who desperately moan for us all, in the back of a dolmus — sex is existentialismIt is earnest copulation, a period of decline in a carriage drawn by a wild-eyed spooked horse — and I hoped she felt the sharp turn, at the corner of the Soup Kitchen of Lady Nilufer, in her throat.

We skipped the Sancta Sophia and the Blue Mosque.  We circled Istanbul University. When I crossed the Galata Bridge and so many pilgrims dancing in the dark, at once the electric power line that lay victim to steel-belted radials in the middle of the street, swung carefully without resistance — to expose the nightclub in the Galata Tower!

I watched them from a bar stool dance the Fandango.  A Jew with a batch of dark curly hair in rings around his head was dented at the crown by a yarmulke.  He ordered double shots of Absolut Vodka with the regularity of a dehydrated Arab and shook his head in time to Ruben Blades’ El Padre Antonio.

Above the lullaby of the synthesizer, the tower buzzed with “muchas gracias” from the last Spanish-speaking Jewish community.  When that same synthesizer switched to hot salsa and the Jews were oddballs again, her body arched, the small of her back in the palms of his hands.  Her hair hung like strings of yellow ribbon suspended from a merry-go-round.  Fixed at the center, she rode the stallion.

Then I felt an annoying finger poke me on the shoulder blade.  Of course when I turned the offender moved to the other side.  I hate that!  It was Ishmir.  Immediately, he excused himself and sardonically asked, “Where is someone who knows English?”

“Affedersiniz, Ingilizee bilen bir kimse merede?”

I swerved round on the stool, and he saw what I saw.  My fare, without trying, drawing attention, like the dominant table in a crowded restaurant.  Without turning away he searched for his stool.  His hand on the seat, he gradually sat down.

“Guzel…”  He called her beautiful before his mouth closed and his eyes narrowed.  I ordered two shots of viski.  I was above lust in a crowd.  Instead, I encouraged the love Simon consumed and Ishmir conserved — like any valid voyeur.

In this motley assembly of American infidels, young Turks, Jews and effendis, he clearly wanted her.  He had no shame.  I watched Ishmir once stand in the center of the howling, his erection discovered, and affectionately held up for ridicule, Ishmir dropped his pants and revealed a deep-rooted trunk. With his back swayed by his fists on his hips he struck a perfect anatomical pose, a picture of pride among men.

Now, he watched her through narrow schizophrenic eyes, with his nose pressed against the windowpane, the man who has nothing, and no one adored her, like the man, Luther Vandross and Martha Wash sung about, and my fare danced.  Kirk Whalum’s sax charmed the snake.  Ishmir wanted to be the one.

Suddenly, he swerved round and watched them in the mirror behind the bar.  He swigged the viski and then he asked in a melodic yet unromantic tone, “Did he nail her?”

“In the back of the dolmus.”


“With an overhand knot around her neck…”

“You always lie!”  He cut me off.

“I’m not interested in your vivid imagination! What did he do, how did he do it?”  he demanded.

“I’m telling you what I know!  If you don’t believe me, ask him!”

“What of her wrists?”

“A surgeon’s knot.”

“Bullshit!  That’s too much kinetic energy.  She would have to be willing!”

“She was.”

“I don’t believe you!  I don’t believe you…”  He repeated, shaking his head and looking in his empty glass on the bar.  I gestured to the bartender for refills.  We were silent.  Ishmir was disappointed.  He swigged the viski again, and slammed the empty glass on the bar.


“Why what?”

“Why was she willing?”

I watched him.  He was a desperate, impatient predator who didn’t know how to take down his prey.

“Isn’t it obvious?”

“Nothing’s obvious,”  he shot back.

“Did she cry out loud?”

“Yes…in ecstasy.”

Ishmir swallowed saliva.  He gestured to the bartender for refills, and looked in the mirror again. They were sitting at a table for two.  Simon’s arm was draped across the back of her chair.  She used his thigh to rest her arm, her hand between his knees, her head on his shoulder. He fed her the olive he fished from her drink, and sucked the salt from her lips.  Ishmir swigged the viski again.

He sat his glass on the bar and with the same hand, he scratched the back of his neck, looked at me, and resolved, “She’s a whore.

They were loaded.  Simon draped his arms around mine and Ishmir’s neck and in an English proclamation offered to buy more to drink, if we answered this riddle.

“What motivates a woman more than love, pride, country, power, glory, or God?”  Our eyes shifted from his to each other’s.  It was a trick question.  I thought of the sphinx for our reward.  Then, in an aria of proper English, Ishmir and I replied, “Man, of course.”

We laughed in perfect harmony.  The truth was never more obvious than the pure expression of vulnerability and betrayal in her eyes; because I thought, I betrayed her confidence.  I snooped.  I peeked.  Yes, I stuck my dick in her pie, and felt a pang of regret.

She resembled an Alsatian bitch with that one three, two four stride, and when we got to the dolmus, she literally crawled inside on all fours.  Ishmir saw the fresh pears before Simon closed the door.

I watched Simon curiously.  Surely he wasn’t finished with her yet!  He wouldn’t send her home in a ‘taxi’…!

“We forgot her caftan.”  He lit a cigarette, cupping the flame from the breeze, as he walked away.

“I’ll do it!”  I thumbed myself repeatedly in the chest I was afraid to be left alone with her.

Ishmir nudged me and showed me his empty hands, and before I could fill them with my fists, he opened the door and filled them with her ass.  Two fresh pears in his hands.  He bit one gently, his tongue cushioned his teeth, his arms embraced them and his face disappeared.

She thought it was Simon.  She moaned when Ishmir’s hands went round and touched the core of her sex.  I knew he’d gone too far when I was erect.  I reached for the scruff of his neck and missed when he fell inside and covered her on the seat.  He started…humping her, like lesbians hump virgin lesbians.  It was fucking coitus!

They were slender bodies of revolution.  Then she screamed like a little girl screams at the sight of an earthworm.When Ishmir backed off, the wet spot clung to his leg.  She bolted out of the dolmus like a Mandrill and clung to him.  She was in a violent rage!  The skin of his face was under her nails.  She was like the sticky pulp of Oedipus hurled in Jocasta’s face.

She slapped him hard, and harder again before Ishmir grabbed her by the neck with one hand, and fenced with the other.  That didn’t work!  He started choking her and pushed her back inside.  They smelled like leather.  I needed to throw up.   Then I realized we were in the leather district of the bridge!

Out of nowhere, while I stood there praying for fresh air and Simon, she stabbed Ishmir repeatedly in the head with the heel of her shoe!  He fell on top of her in a convulsive fit.  Blood pulsed with every spasm, and zigzagged in a darker red all over my velvet roof and all over her yellow hair — dripping red.  I threw up on the curb.

Simon finally, shoved him to the floor and she kept screaming, “He, he, he….” and pointing at the bloody head.  She was hysterical!  Instead of shaking or slapping her, Simon hugged her and smothered her face in the pit of his arm.

“Shh, shh!”  he said anxiously, until she simply trembled violently in his arms, her cries inverted.

“What happened?”  he whispered between clinched teeth.  I hesitated, trying desperately to separate saliva from acid.

“Talk to me, and speak English!”

I pointed at Ishmir’s head, “He violated her…” I choked.

“You ‘watched’ him violate her?”

My hands wouldn’t speak, “I…I…I”  Simon leaned and punched me, fast and hard in the face.  I stumbled, my arms falling on top of the dolmus.  I braced myself against a fall on the curb I threw up on.  I thought he broke my nose.

“You stupid fuck!”  He’s ‘your’ friend, how could you let this happen?”  He pointed his angry finger.

I raised the palms of my hands, fending off his accusations, shaking my head in denial.

“He forgot that she’s an American!”  I pointed at Ishmir.

“And she forgot that she’s in a foreign country!”  I pointed at her.

I tell you all this because I can’t tell anyone else.  You see, I helped them excavate an Ottoman gravestone.  We tied Ishmir supine around it in square nylon knots and threw him in the Golden Horn.  What is life in Istanbul anyway?  A world of felicity — Ishmir is in the other.

I see the French vanilla on the cover of magazines.  She has an odd fixed look in her eyes.  The kind of look every man sees when a woman is between his legs on her knees; because, indeed nothing propels a woman like man, not God, country, or pride.

“Please excuse me.  Ogle yemegi.”

The mackerel has never tasted better.  There must be something in the water.

Copyright 2004, 2013 E Maria Shelton Speller  All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Istanbul’s Muse Board