I am really excited to have a guest share words on How Anxious. She is one of my favorite poets, with her words that wield the power of her emotions and wondrous imagination and observation. She is also an editor of the recently launched e-zine, The Tophat Raven. And if you want a fresh perspective to your view of things, then her photographs are a feast for your eyes. Many of you must know of her already. She is Oloriel Moonshadow of Color me in cyanide and cherry.
Without further ado, I’d like to give the writing space to Oloriel, whereby she shares an exquisite poem and her inspiration and story behind her composition.
© Oloriel Moonshadow
I fiddle through counting my footsteps,
through how many I will dissolve
and deny the photosynthesis,
become a single digit
on a monument for hours lost
from switching back and forth
between tiny Mesozoic lives
measured with fire
and with white.
I am that stranger,
the guest in your house
that prefers to keep his shoes on
and will rummage through your drawers
desperately seeking signs of life.
Here I have a duchy and an orchard,
one step and I am granite,
as the boulevard of twisted hope
competes in marketplace with purgatory.
Each of my conquerors
erected towers here,
and I am as tall as the blood of their war,
as uselessly strong
as their statues
that spar outstretching their stone limbs from the facades.
The child fishes for our wishes
entombed in rust,
with a piece of a string
tied to a collarbone,
I can play the pocket harmonica
with the decade old lunatics
and convince you they’re historians.
But here I am both young and old,
both a whore and a virgin;
a goddess of spray-paint and the neon hobo,
with my stomach pulsing the arrhythmia
dressed in vomit, wrapped in lomo,
photographs of where the cordon used to be.
you have to understand
that I have been dead for so long;
this is my concrete coffin,
this is where I smoke
and breathe out whatever else remains,
this is where you get to know me,
this is where you fall in love with me
and ask my hand,
this is where Snowhite makes pizzas on the corner
and I look at windows,
screaming for Juliet
on very bad Italian,
who behind those walls is playing Mozart
by pulling the bow across their pubic hair
while angels weep and snort cocaine
and leave me always
a little bit of winter
in the air,
the thin horizon line between the flesh and bone.
This is where you’d walk beside me,
but I’m not really there;
I’m breathing in decimals
because it hurts too much to care;
it hurts to accept the solitude
when you are dry.
I am just another idiot
in the headless fish parade
and this goddamn musician
knows my favorite songs
and he keeps strumming,
his voice keeps bleeding
the soundtrack for the starving artists
painting black and red
one thousand obituaries
for Marilyn Monroe,
with spared change for beer and popcorn
cause their portraits
hit too close to home.
for anyone to buy them.
Here, you are alone,
the frozen orphan in time
that trades his voice for legs,
and bows his head
behind the bookstore shelf
as he rummages through chapters
hoping to find himself
in a past life.
at 165, 27 meters above sea level
is a glass door
draped in headlines
and behind it a staircase
165, 27 meters above the risk of drowning
adorned in the only honest confessions
posing as graffiti
is where I’d have a studio
full of blank canvases.
I’d rediscover coitus there
with my lover,
I’d stand on the balcony
sweaty and heaving
and my heart rubbed on my hair
and leaking from my breasts
and people would look at me
and call for my god,
flirt with my demons,
pray, persuade, stutter out
for a pinch of my dust,
knowing nothing of it is mine,
except the kiss that passed
and can’t fit into bags
and that I can’t take this damned street
But I have been dead for so long
and I have been here for so long
that I am afraid I’ll die as someone else
wherever else I go.
I am to talk about my inspiration now, for this piece.
It might sound selfish, but I write a lot about myself. My childhood, my surroundings, my bad choice of people to put trust in has shaped me into a person that has an excess need to care, nurture and love, but an honest lack of partners for it. So I have turned my love towards things. Each building, pencil, a pair of sneakers, the computer and the keyboard on which I am harboring these words – they are all alive for me, and being alive, they are my companions, brothers, loves, my children and my grandparents. I see their facades as addictive cryptic messages.
This poem is dedicated to one of the most famous and visited streets in Belgrade called Knez Mihajlova street, but selfishly, it is as well dedicated to me. In a cliche way or not, as it was intended by the builders, conquerors and city planners, this street was my refuge. Looking strangely alike a microscopic view of alveoli in a lung – it branches out around the heart of the city and believe me when I tell you, if you would to set your foot there, a part of that street would snatch you forever. If you walk it from the start to end, through the central path – it changes you.
The many bookstores, caffè and bars have been my refuge throughout the years. It is the safe spot which knows you that you keep returning to whenever your soul seems to be dazed and blind and insecure. I have spent a lot of time in this street. When I was denied education and carrier choice by my parents and forced to go to school which was not of my choosing, this street would see me – alone, forlorn and desolate, in a jacket that was warm but too big and with a backpack full of school books, I would wander it at 7 am, often, completely alone. It was winter and it was freezing cold and nothing was open except McDonalds and bookstores, and I would float from isle to isle, read from cover to cover, and wonder do the clerks and librarians know that I am an outcast.
When I have denied Christianity and first time placed a pentagram pendant around my neck, I have been looked at with disgust, I was young and unwelcome in society. Not in this street. The artists and musicians that play and paint here will often ask to draw you and wont charge you a damn dime. They are bearded and they often look dirty and some of them are entirely crazy man that yell at air, some of them, damn it, are even children. But they hum like a hive and nobody cares if you are Roma or not, if you are from Scandinavia, rich or poor, or pagan. These faces are here for years. They have painted me, my father and some of them,even my grandparents. Same old soul traders, faithful and chained to the granite blocks that make this street, just as much as all of us. There is a guitar player there, and I do not know if he knows I am coming,but in 99% of cases as soon as I step foot on the first block of this street, in the distance I can hear him start to play that song that bloody breaks me apart!Dare and tell me that ain’t magic!Snowhite is the name of one of my favorite caffè in the street and I sit there, eat pizza and listen to this song.
As you approach the street end, a plethora of restaurants emerges on the central path. They are always packed full in good weather. My favorite bookstore is there. A little further, everyone I ever knew lost their battle against drugs, at least once. My best man lived in an apartment above it all, and he is a violinist that abandoned his craft and now mourns forever. I was always in front of that door, the only one clean, waiting for my relatives and for my friends to stagger out, bloodshot eyes, so I can take them home. Always in this street, that’s where they would start and then shimmer of for renewed doses somewhere else. I would stay, alone, eat a hot dog. I was a different kind of dry. I hope you never get to meet that moment when you lost everything, buried it and wept for it a thousand years, that moment where everything that people tell you sounds like a static from a radio, when it changes you beyond your control.I would walk the street up and down at these times a lot.I kept hoping that when I reach the end and I cross the street to Kalemegdan fort, I will suddenly be in a different life.
This was my drug. I tried to kill myself emotionally, and become what everyone else wanted to me be – a shallow minded dipshit backstabber. But even the thought of it would make me want to puke. I was lost and I did my best , but I couldn’t stop caring. So I would bring the people who wanted to shape into cocaine induced mirages to this street. I’d walk with them, hand in hand, from start to end and then I would let go. Forever, because I could not bare to hurt them by showing them how big of a shit I can be on purpose. I wanted to be who I am, the honest girl and the amorous girl that this street knew.
You might ask yourself, why all the desperation?
Well, I can finally grab the chances denied to me and continue my education. I can finally become a chef. In Australia.
Don’t get me wrong its a beautiful country, but Sydney is not Belgrade. I cant take this street with me. I have this feeling people will still treat me and dislike me the same, but what if buildings too?Now, each walk down Knew Mihajlova is a goodbye with a sick person on its deathbed, you kneel and you pray to whoever listens for just another hour, while all the balconies look like the one from which Juliet gave herself to Romeo. Its a suicide love story, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. And there is a building I must come back to, because I dream of having an artists studio there. It hurts because I don’t want to be the one that leaves the ones she loves. If its bloody, keep moving. If your legs get cut off, keep crawling. I am not a quitter. So this studio will one day be mine. And I will go out to the balcony and show to people how I am this street, which is also them, and thus we are the same. And it wont hurt me anymore that they never let me in.
Wasn’t that spectacular? I am always left amazed by the riveting and emotive nature of her verse and to know of her inspiration behind her creation… what could have been better!? Thank you so much, Oloriel, for sharing words with us. And let us all wish her the very best of the times ahead and good luck for all her endeavors.
If you would like to share words on How Anxious, don’t be shy and drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.