One Single Act of Love

I sold a rock opus to the best Black rock band on the planet. A band that lost its capacity to dream. Formulaic guarantees skewed their imagination for platinum discs. The male coward covered their lifework, literally. My story reminded them of what ‘rushing’ felt like, how complete, how deep blushing could be obvious. And they bought it, and produced it. And it was good — it was better than good. It was thought provoking and it was an African-American affirmation of our realities and our fantasies — no matter how unrealistic.

Suddenly, they were very significant and the world truly believed, that rock music is black music and black music is everything. Power is aesthetic. Aesthetics is politics and being black is philosophical and our philosophy is phenomenology and being black, is being real.

No Hip Hop could say as much as this rock opus did, ever — no matter how many stories they sampled. So, this black rock band were crowned kings and were exulted, and revered; incandescent icons, the envy of friends, the consumption of man, the image of immortality — like the stained-glass heaven you summon before you close. And they loved me. I was the wick in their candlestick and without me, there was no burning flame. I was the source of their energy. I, was the unstained virgin encamped.

Sooner than anyone imagined, there was nothing more important, than our collaboration. The media was our medium. They stopped referring to me as a writer, and started calling me, a Love Supreme…..

 

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

 

Aristotle Michelangelo and Louis Picasso’s Parallel Discussions

Aristotle Michelangelo and Louis Picasso’s

Parallel Discussions (In Medias Res) 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?”

Aristotle Michelangelo:  I think it would be dope to channel Kerouac’s apology for automatic writing.

“He 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!” Dystopia, Explode 2015 2.0

So, here goes… They called her Marnie — behind her back. I was torn. I played with variations of Marnie. Black Marnie. Brown Marnie, Tortilla Marnie. It’s the language of found art. Bansky, Kehinde, Jazz, Hip Hop… They teased each other.  Hitchcock’s Margaret, Mary, Marnie, teases Mark, so she could get the combination, to his company safe, and steal the money. She was a Kleptomaniac, a compulsive thief. A killer. She disappears. On the run! He tracks her like an animal, and finds her at a Lodge, riding her horse to the stables. He orders her off the horse, tells her she’ll walk — he’ll ride. He interrogates her. She tells him a bullshit story she can’t keep straight. He calls it, manure! Tells her to start over from the beginning, and this time — tell the truth. Back at the Lodge – he tells her to freshen up, change her clothes so he might take her to the police – she thinks. She does not know… It’s Tippi Hedren in RL!  The white woman of a black man’s dreams – when he dreams about white women. Blonde, pearly white teeth and skin — Barbie! Beckie!  He tells her, they will return to ‘the house’ and announce they are engaged, would to be married within the week and then cruise around the world. Of course, she thinks he’s “Out of his mind!” He told her, it was either marriage or the police, old girl. Black Marnie. Who would play her?

They get married. Eventually he takes her virginity. She tries to commit suicide. I don’t think I want to go there… Suicide. Who should play Mark? [#nomoreslavestories.]  Does he catch her?

Louis Picasso:  I remember that story.  He said,  I caught a real animal this time. I had to train her… to trust me.*

Aristotle Michelangelo:  Pussy Riot danced in the cathedral — goes to jail, and the artist nailed his scrotum to the Red Square.  She’s a prisoner of love. That kind of love makes me uncomfortable, racked, and anguished like a pet must be around possessive people. The energy is ignitable like the choice between blowing up and letting go. I don’t want to belong to anyone. But, what do I know about love?

Louis Picasso:   Black people don’t like black people. That’s why we’re in this — hole… barrel, bucket, duck it, fuck it… We know it’s true.  Listen to the tonal center of this beat!

Aristotle Michelangelo:  In sixty revolutions a minute, if it’s not organic, I can’t get with it. Hate is not organic. Hate is a social construct. I want to live the life I swam to the egg for… A social construct is like zoon pushed to the egg, by stronger swimmers behind it. It’s still goal niggaz. I want an organic experience on this gridiron. A certain freedom, mere man can’t give, conceive or contrive. I want freedom Divine.  You want to be free — you have to fuggin’ work for it.  Zufi?

Aristotle Michelangelo:  You need money, software and rigs in the virtual world. Bombs are obsolete. Race and gender is a pastiche — game challenges for points.

Louis Picasso:  Beauty and power is iconography and homely stamps are hiccups – and brick and mortar is a path to experience the destruction of daredevils and matadors — in coliseums of pestilence and poverty – empirically.

Aristotle Michelangelo:   Why go there? When, life is a perfect dream in a virtual world.

Louis Picasso:  IJS. Get on board with — evolution. Evolution is not physical space. It’s the diamond life in our heads on a loop. Its VR not the moon…

Aristotle Michelangelo:  I love wearing the mask! You can’t see my countenance — in La La Land, my eyes may smile.  My lip may curl up or down… I’m an introvert; an INTJ — is that Caprino?

Louis Picasso:  Now that Juneteenth is a federal holiday, it will be impossible to ignore slavery in America… Why are some Black Americans worrying about slavery in America being taught in schools? The horse is out of the barn! Instead of embracing Juneteenth and all that it implies… Black Americans are WHINING and using the language of slaves, “they won’t, let us, allow us, give us and get…” Instead black Americans are still looking the other way when a black man drags a black woman by her hair [DC], and black people are murdered by black people in Chicago – for giggles. June 19, 2021 marks the day, that Black America must acknowledge that ‘we’ are no longer slaves and assume responsibility — that’s what freedom is.

Copyright 2016, 2018, 2020 E Maria Shelton Speller.  All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast  rewritten or redistributed without permission.

*Alfred Hitchcock, Marnie

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 off 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 it was time for lunch.

     ‘Ogle yemegi.’ I said to them. And not sesame-sprinkled bread either, I said to myself!

     I couldn’t walk fast enough to get away from the stink of 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, supporting the floating bridge, and 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 of her caftan. My friend, Ishmir, served us. He handed me the menu, but he was a very good Maître d. Ishmir stood directly across from her and suggested we start with hors d ‘oeuvres.

     They ordered Red Caviar in Mayonnaise. I ordered Stuffed Vine Leaves. Of course, when Ishmir suggested fish, 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 was 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 her other palm, she 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 shadows 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 was removed, and then pomaded with henna to prevent perspiration, after it was massaged and scrubbed by slave women too old to be favored, because the Sultan put his handkerchief on the concubine’s shoulder which she brought to his bed at midnight.”

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

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

     Simon didn’t return her volley. He reached into 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 can 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, in this threshold of bliss, the arched eyebrows of ravaging old men who 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. With a kiss curl on her cheek she continued, “Whores, whose husbands dreamed about the Imperial Harem, and could never recognize their disguised wives in that garden of paradise.”

     I pursed my cigarette between my lips, looked down the bridge toward 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, a white impression remained. His head moved like the pugilist you shadow box, the prized peacock that halts to seduce you. “Is my nose bleeding, goalkeeper?”

     Her hands moved across the table towards him. She took one of his hands in hers tenderly. She spread his fingers, used her own to stroke the back of his hand with hers, turned his palm over and held it up as though light would pass through it like alabaster. She talked into it, as if her words would penetrate like sound.

     She said, “I saw a man in Seoul, on 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.”

     Simon’s bottom lip grew accustomed to his teeth again. He tilted his head far enough to see his reflection in her eyes, and then 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 Imperial Gate, 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 the miasma of death that surrounded the palace: the dark tiny cells, marbled rooms, and iron barred windows belonging to black eunuchs, and the eerie, 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.

   Despite all of 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 Simon’s cock between her thighs.

     Beneath the delicate balconies were three hundred tiny rooms, and four hundred 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. I saw her leap into 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 existentialism. It 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, 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 Simon and the woman 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.”

     Over the lullaby of the synthesizer, the Tower buzzed with a chorus of “Muchas gracias” from the last Spanish-speaking Jewish community. When that same synthesizer switched to hot salsa and the Jews were oddballs again, the woman’s body arched, the small of her back was in the palms of Simon’s 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,Affedersiniz, Ingilizee bilen bir kimse merede?”

     I swiveled on the stool, and he turned to see what I saw. My fare, without trying, drawing attention like the dominant table in a crowded restaurant. Without turning away, Ishmir searched for his stool. With his hand on the seat, he slowly 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, Ishmir 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 bowed by his fists, he struck a perfect anatomical pose, a picture of pride among men.

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

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

     “In the back of the dolmus.”

     “How?”

     “With an overhand knot around her neck-“

     “You always lie!” Ishmir cut me off. “I’m not interested in your vivid imagination! What did he do, how did he do it?”

     “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…”  Ishmir shook his head and looked into 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?” he asked.

     “Why what?”

     “Why was she willing?”

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

     “Isn’t it obvious?”

     “Nothing’s obvious,” he snapped back. “Did she cry out loud?”

     “Yes . . . in ecstasy.”

     Ishmir swallowed loudly. He motioned for another refill, and looked in the mirror again. Simon and the French Vanilla 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 set his glass on the bar. With the same hand, he scratched the back of his neck, looked at me, and said, “She’s a whore.

…. They were loaded. Simon’s arm draped over her shoulders drew her close. They strolled to the bar. She was his center of gravity, until he slung his arms around mine and Ishmir’s necks. He left her like a shallow boat floating behind him. Simon proclaimed in English that he would buy more to drink if we answered a riddle.

     “What motivates a woman more than love or pride, country or power, glory or God?” I shifted my eyes from Simon’s to meet Ishmir’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. I looked over my shoulder. The truth was never more obvious than the pure expression of vulnerability and betrayal in her eyes; because, I thought, I had betrayed her confidence. I snooped. I peeked. Yes, I stuck my dick in her pie and felt a pang of regret.

     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 had 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 uneven 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 between his teeth, his arms embraced her and his face disappeared.

     She thought he was Simon. She moaned when Ishmir’s hands slipped down 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 the way a little girl screams at the sight of an earthworm. When Ishmir backed off, a wet spot clung to his leg. She bolted out of the dolmus like a mandrill and leapt on him. She was in a violent rage! The skin of his face tore 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 parried with the other. That didn’t work! He started choking her and pushed her back inside the dolmus. 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’s return, 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 returned, and shoved Ishmir to the floor while she kept screaming, “He, he, he . . .”  and pointing at Ishmir’s bloody head. She was hysterical! Instead of shaking or slapping her, Simon hid her face in the crook of his neck.

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

     “What happened?” he whispered between clenched 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 lunged and punched me fast and hard in the face. I stumbled, my arms slamming on top of the dolmus. I braced myself against a fall on the curb I hurled on. I thought he broke my bloody 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 to fend off his accusations, shaking my head in denial.

…..I pointed at Ishmir.  “He forgot that she’s an American!” Then I turned and pointed at her, “And she forgot that she’s in a foreign country!”

…..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, not country, not pride.

     “Please excuse me. Ogle yemegi.”

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

 

 

Copyright © 2004-2021 E Maria Shelton Speller All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Thanks to David Halbertam’s, The Amateurs for the literary buoyancy of the narrative.

 

Istanbul’s Muse Board