by Alina Noir


Marion #01 “Soon after I became the satellite of her daily universe”


Just as a medieval scientist could not draw up the chronicle of a solar eclipse without abusing mathematical data and astronomical foreseeing, I myself cannot write about Marion differently than in the awkwardness and the imperfections of my memories of her: for example, I remember for sure that, when I first saw her, my blood flourished and covered the world.

She appeared from nowhere, without the normal echoes of remoteness in her steps: she was so small that, rolled up, she could have fit in one of my eye orbits. She made her way, apologetic, through the hushed clients of that obscure railway station cafe with panelled walls and heavy furniture, in which, for the last few hours, I had waited for my train to take me further.

She sat at my table without asking anything,

monstrously beautiful and smelling of perfumed soap,

with phosphorescent glitter in her hair and a drop of honey on her lower lip,

with gracious neck and icy hands,

stubborn and rebel,

fertile and with humid womb,

with lilaceous skin and eyes solemn as a funeral convoy,

with bones delicate as a baby bird’s and mysterious deep scars on her left arm, as if only some hours before she had taken off the numerous heavy lead bracelets which she had worn since early childhood,

a poor teenager, indecent in her lasting loneliness,

who looked at me deeply,

erased with her finger the mark of the red lipstick on my cup

and told me, alarmed and without any introduction, as if it was an alchemical mystery, this story:

“Once there was a swamp in the centre of the city, surrounded by thick reeds, in which wild ducks and herons made their nests. People cut the reeds and drained the swamp, and then they put gravel on the ground and built houses and roads. Every summer, wild ducks and herons fly madly over the city, looking, though the fog, for their lost nests.”

I diminished and trembled and petrified and looked for refuge in the warm comfort of common sense, and then shook my head and answered:

“Who told you all this nonsense? As far as I know, there was never a swamp in this city, or even in the entire region. The soil here is calcareous.”

Marion looked surprised; she did not expect to be contradicted, as she had put a lot of nostalgia and maturity in her dishonest story; I caressed her cheek with the back of my hand and I added:

“I’m sorry, I didn’t want to offend you. I’ve been in this city for two days only, I’m an architect, I just happen to know a thing or two about soils, that’s all...”

Strange thoughts were already flowing between our eyes, like sand in an hourglass, to and fro.

Of course, afterwards I put together many versions and myths of our first meeting, and what I just wrote might be untrue, fabricated by my mind.

“Very soon this place will be full of a strange fauna, drunkards and hookers, she said, let’s better go to my place, you’ll like it there, it’s not that far.”

We stood up and walked along the labyrinth streets, spying together on the unpredictable silhouette of our beginning.

We stopped in front of a sombre building with high windows, on top of Rue de la Cathédrale.

“I live here, on the top floor.”

We climbed the spiral staircase, to her flat. She opened the big blue door and let me in.

I smiled. All of a sudden, we had nothing to say to each other. In the dark, I kissed her eyelids.

After some hours I entered in ecstatic trance and saw Marion on the seashore, surrounded by warm fog. From the other shore came a diffuse voice, calling:

“Take fire wings and come to me!”

At the end, Marion caressed my hair, turned on a coloured lamp and went to the kitchen to make a tea, or a coffee, I can’t remember.

Soon after I became the satellite of her daily universe, and stayed in that apartment for a certain amount of unlimited time, though every day I would promise to myself “This has to stop, this will not happen again.”


Marion #02 „The goddess of perfume was watching us through her half-open eyelids


It was a cold, bright morning. The spring equinox was approaching, with its invasion of foreign insects. We were drinking peppermint tea, with lots of sugar, and we were kissing, surrounded by transparent curtains and cushions wrapped in luxurious fabric.  On the radio, the weather forecast for the following days was announcing wind and rain. Marion tattooed on her lungs our zodiac signs.

“I want to be beautiful for you, just for you”, she said. 

“I don’t believe you. I saw you yesterday looking with envy at the strolling dancers passing on the street with their music and happy noise.”

Marion looked down and covered her pubis with her palms.

“Forgive me.”

I made a sublime and wide gesture of disgust, but I happened to hit an oriental porcelain ashtray, which fell on the floor and broke. Marion got furious, as it was a souvenir from a trip she had made several years before she met me.

“How many times did I ask you to take care of this ashtray? How many times did I tell you you’re going to break it?”

To show her how sorry I was, I took off my shoes and walked on the shards.

Marion washed the blood on my feet and nurtured my skin with soft cream of perfumed essential oils.

“I almost killed you, she whispered to me in her mind, but, as I do not believe in humans’ justice, I clustered myself in my own prison, and I only feed myself old bread and stale water...”

“Don’t be afraid, I answered, and I don’t question your deeds, just tell me what you think is good for me to know...”

During all this time, the goddess of perfume was watching us through her half-open eyelids, immobile on her marble pedestal.


Marion #03 “The goddess of circus never let us down.”


I went with Marion to the bank, to open a deposit account. The financial counsellor gave us a charming secretarial speech and Marion grew an interest in him.

After a while she ran away from me, leaving me alone and furious like that warrior without arms whom I once saw in an old Japanese print depicting an incomprehensible war scene.

I sent a famous artist a recent photo of her, as well as a detailed description of her body. After some days I received by post a long a heavy parcel. Inside there was a wax doll with porcelain eyes and human hair, which looked exactly like Marion. I sat the doll on the couch, I dressed her in a vaporous cape made from the old silken wallpaper I had torn down from the walls of the apartment, and I notched on its forehead’s arch some mysterious signs. Then I kissed it and humiliated it.

Then I left as well. I was sitting in expectation at the margins of life, reading the matrimonial ads in the old newspapers I found in the garbage bins. I was spending my days on the stone steps of the cathedral in the centre of the city, my elbows leaning on my knees, looking, with inflamed eyes, at the passers-by. The sun was moving in straight arches above me, aging prematurely my already ugly cheeks.

One day, Marion sat next to me and rested her head on my left shoulder until my fear and uncertainty mummified. She arranged with her palms her skirt’s folds, took me by the hand and brought me back home, where she pulled the curtains together. In the living room, the nightfall light became viscous.

I waited for her on the couch, smoking with my eyes closed and caressing the wax doll’s knee. Marion opened the door and emerged from the penumbra, a frozen smile on her lips, wearing an old imperial dress of mouldy lace and decayed ribbons, her hair adorned with feathers of rare exotic birds and small wooden fish.

I put out my cigarette on the doll’s wax flesh, I unbuttoned my shirt and laid on the couch. Marion took my shoes off and kissed the scarred wounds on the soles of my feet. I took her by the shoulders, I pulled her towards me, and I unfastened her corset. We were shrouded in a dazzling mousse of veils and laces, we were two breezy twins, with paper skin, isolated at the horizon of a arid sky.

In the morning, when I woke up, I was afraid of mediocrity. Marion held me tight in her arms and comforted me, and later woke up and went to make coffee. I was looking at her legs through her transparent nightgown.

In the evening we went to the circus. A pregnant trapeze artist, dressed in a glitter dress, started her show with an easy dance in the air, because of her weightlessness I thought she was wearing a false belly. Suspended in the air, she took off with one hand her glitter panties, and executed a perfect split with her legs. Through the dark, humid hole appeared the baby’s head, who slithered smoothly and rotated in the air, hanging by the umbilical chord.

“Why is the baby not crying, Marion?”                                 

“I don’t know”, she answered, filling her mouth with caramelised popcorn.

At the end of the show, the audience applauded, intrigued. We came back every night, until the circus left the city. The goddess of circus never let us down.


Marion#04 “In her dream, she steps on dead leaves rotting in the rain”


Once a week Marion organises in our living room her now-famous cocktail parties, intimate and elegant, to which she invites erudite academics, scientists, fashion designers, artists, explorers.

She writes the invitations on delicate paper, with black ink she makes herself from the ash of the rice she burns on the terrace in the honour of the Goddess of Southerly Wind.

Our guests come one by one, climb the wooden spiral staircase, knock at our door and enter, timorous, into the living room.

Everyone is bringing Marion a timid and respectful present: freshly cut flowers, black chocolate with lavender cream, collector’s old bottles of red wine, cigars, abstract paintings (which we take out of their frames and put on top of the others in one high drawer of our wardrobe, so that they would not occupy our space), embroidered shawls, toys made of precious metal.

The guests sit on armchairs around Marion, trying to be as close to her as possible.

Our rule is as follows: each of them can talk without the others having the right to interrupt him, but if one tries to touch her, I sting his hand with a long, pointed needle, though I am always terrified of their unpredicted reactions.

Marion holds in her palms an hourglass, measuring the guests’ speeches.

Once, an erudite academic, interrupted in the middle of his diatribe by the fall of the last grain of sand, flew apart violently, trying to break the hourglass. I had to sting his palms many times, until he calmed down, and he was never again received to our cocktail parties, though for a while he kept sending us, by post, photocopies of his articles published in prestigious academic magazines, in which he was advancing audacious theories, or simple letters of threat destined to me. Nobody was mentioning his name, but his example remained deeply imprinted in the guests’ memory. His image, crushed on the floor stained by the blood flowing from his palms, horrified them all, in some cooling their sensuous impulses, and in others, on the contrary, interiorising them to the point of mad obsession. They were all living in the same geometrical delirium; we were all in love with Marion.

Sometimes Marion’s eyelashes creep out of her lids like ivy, cover themselves in vegetal flakes and become like snakes, of an elastic woodenness. Blinded by her beauty, the guests, with burned eyes, grab the ivy branches and crawl on the floor towards her pupils. They putrefy her sight, perforate with their nails the soft tissues, and take shelter in the warm substance under her crystal skull, exploding in frenetic squeals.  And then, every so often, Marion raises peacefully her velvet skirt, allowing the brainless trajectory of their gaze to rest on her narrow hips smelling like hot toast. While they grease her hips with salted butter and bite them with voracious appetite, she plays with a long necklace of black Tahitian pearls, staring in the distance at the phosphorescent cathedral.

At the end, when everybody leaves, I sweep the bread crumbs and store them on a copper vase, and then I wash the coffee cups and the traces of saliva, sperm and tears off the floor.

I raise Marion in my arms and carry her in the bedroom. She falls asleep instantaneously amidst putrid flower petals, and leaves me alone. In her dream, she steps on dead leaves rotting in the rain, through the palpable flesh of the autumn.

Marion is the guardian of the virtues of silence and of the death of words, but when she does not desire me, her body looks to me as an ugly statue, covered in purple velvet, or like a cemetery of old bicycles, enclosed in an artificial bamboo forest.

Marion stores, in a drawer of our wardrobe, dwindling livers of migrating birds, bought on the street from a thin monk with eyes gone astray like jelly-fish, who was crunching an old bread loaf and was secretly watching the denuded flesh of the women passing by.



Marion#05 “The goddess of music, ailing and torn, kissed my right temple”


At the end of summer we went on vacation, in a fishing village near the ocean, to enjoy the last days of sun. There was no hotel in that isolated place, so we rented a room in the house of an old lady who was spending her days on the veranda, sewing rubber raincoats for the fishermen. She was cooking for us three times a day, each meal consisting of the same salty molluscs and vegetable soup; that’s why our lips were always cracked, and our kisses tasted like blood and sea water.

From the only shop in the village we bought cigarettes, much cheaper than in the city, dry biscuits, coffee, peppermint candies, and makeup cleansing tissues. We would up late, have our breakfast, take our shower with cold rain water, exchange some words with the old lady, and go to the beach. We werelying for hours on the beach covered with white, oval, smooth pebbles, watching how the fishermen’s boats went on and came back from the sea. They had grown used to us and they were smiling when seeing us.

One morning, Marion took off her wristwatch and rotated quickly the hour hand, until time started screaming from all its joints and the sun hurried its trajectory on the sky, towards the zenith. We leaned on our backs, our shoulders touching. Seagulls were crossing the sky, the beach smelled of seaweed and putrid fish.

A mature woman with very long hair and velvety and receptive face features approached us. She was dressed in black and her wrists were adorned with thick copper bracelets. She started to talk to us politely, with a foreign accent. She was a Greek singer who had left years before her home country. She had come for some days in that village to collect her thoughts after the loss of a very dear female friend. She did not want to tell us more, and we respected her discretion.

She liked our company very much, and she would come every evening to visit us. We would stay in the old woman’s garden until the night was falling, drinking tea and smoking. Sometimes she was singing for us her songs resembling outlandish vocal calligraphies, which I would accompany with my guitar. In her songs, she was singing about the lost island of her childhood. Marion did not understand the words, and I could not translate them to her, because some things can only be told in the language in which they were lived.

In the language in which she was leading her unusual loneliness, the woman told me, almost singing, about the loss of her dear friend. “You know, agapi mou, that since I decided to dedicate my life to music, I have never drunk my fill from anything on this earth, not even plain water. Too many knotty roots had my soul, and each of them was tortured by countless desires. Only my friend made me feel replete. All I needed was to be with her, and maybe the ancient gods got angry. One unexpected morning the sun rose in millions of rays from her broken skull. I was petrified, my ears were still hearing the echoes of the blood exploding from her skull. Since that moment, the time’s hands are rotating too fast for me. Take care”, she told me, looking meaningfully at Marion, who was rotating her watch’s hands, half bored, half furious, half childlike.

After a long silence, during which we all listened to the waves, the goddess of music, ailing and torn, kissed my right temple, shook Marion’s hand, passed her fingers on the cords of my guitar, and left.

We smoked one more cigarette and then went to bed, without talking, because we were reconciled with ourselves and with one another.

All of a sudden, in my dream, from Marion’s broken skull rose a big artificial sun with tiresome light. I opened my eyes and, after some seconds, the light rose to the ceiling, leaving me blind and staggered. Marion, holding the lantern, glided down from me, and ran outside.

I dressed hastily and followed her on the beach, where the lifeless body of the Greek woman was resting on the sand, surrounded by silent fishermen. When they saw us arriving, they moved aside, whispering to each other. We kneeled down near our friend, smoothing down her wet clothes and sprinkling sand on her cement lips. We watched her till morning, when the police arrived.

In the last night spent in the fishing village, while caressing her toast hips, I murmured to Marion, in the language in which the singer had relieved her last thirst:

“I am your unseen prison, agapi mou, and I hide from everybody’s sight your delicate skin made of precious glass. I will cut with the razor blade your fragile wrists and you will flow slowly from your own body, in waves of red, liquid lace. In the morning the old woman will find us, she will call the fishermen, and after some hours, the ambulance’s sirens will cover the seagulls’ screams.”

In the semi-darkness, Marion stopped smiling, and answered:

“Not today, next time, tomorrow we must go to the city, we have so many things to do, we stayed for too long here...”

After some weeks, in a rainy day of late, mouldy autumn tasting of bitter nutmeg, we went out to walk on the streets covered in ashy mud of the unknown neighbourhoods.

On a platform near a half-demolished building an old dog was sleeping.

“Do you think he’s dead?” Marion asked.

Above us were flying without direction hungry seagulls and late storks.

In a garden, on the branches of a half-dead chestnut tree were sleeping cicadas, with madrigals incrusted under their shells. One century of dead leaves was lying on the ground.

Two streets away we met the keeper of the sewer pipe.

“Here lays the city’s soul”, she said, and hit three times with her foot the manhole cover.

Later we went to visit the museum of the military aviation.

“Why did you bring me here? It’s so boring.”

“That’s exactly why. I want to make love to you in a boring place, with few visitors.”

Still, the few tourists, flattered by the free show, were coming close, photographing us with their cheap cameras, and then leaving without saying a word.



Marion#06 “Our zodiac signs were hidden under pillows”


I lay on the couch and I smoke. At my feet, Marion is looking at me with half-open lips and tells me that her breasts are fragile like two soap bubbles, and that they hurt when she is thinking of me. I start to laugh and I crush the rest of the cigarette in the porcelain oriental ashtray, and then I put an old jazz record on the turntable. After the needle touches the vinyl, the song fills the living room with its filigree of twisted threads of delirious music, and Marion starts to move her hips to the mysterious rhythms.

Later, dressed in an embroidered shirt, she steps, barefoot, into the cypress forest of sleep. Behind her still linger white orchids in a jar, miniature bottles of expensive perfume, coloured metal boxes, a bottle of medicine for menstrual pains, a pearly lipstick, a corrugated skirt thrown on an armchair, a lit lamp, the silence of the summer night after the rain, our zodiac signs hidden under pillows, a used makeup cleansing tissue, an azulejo ceramic tile showing a hunting scene.

In a wall mirror framed by a garland of yellow silk roses, I see the image of a fox-witch steaming with her fetid breath the shiny surface. Its hideous and disgusting spirit tortures my evil body, because I’m being asked the most important questions in my sleep.

I undress Marion with slow movements. Afraid to be seen naked by the neighbours in the front building, she is trembling in the candle light, intimidated, adorable. I am inundated by an incredible courage, so I dip my fingers in disinfectant alcohol and take out her palpitating eye balls, which I heat in my palms as two big pearls. I keep one in my jewellery box and I push the other in her secret hiding, to explore her silky interior. Two crimson fleshy petals are closing around my finger. Sliding, milky as two snails, her screams are puncturing, persuasive, my sense of hearing, convincing me, embracing me.

In the morning I descend from her body through the fire escape. I wear around my neck a fringe scarf and, in my fist, the car keys. Above me, the sky is compact and clouded, without dimensions.


Marion#07 During the night we exchange our names”


One day we transformed our living room an elegant clockmaker’s workshop. We published an ad in the local newspaper and waited for our clients. As we had bought from the bookshop the complete clock-and-watchmaker’s manual, it was not difficult for us to repair watches. We liked this work because this way our common time, which usually screamed unused from all its joints, passed faster.

The last watch we repaired belonged to an old prince with exophtalmic eyes, syncopic gaze and a pianist’s long fingers. When he entered our flat, without any kind of false introductory dialogue, he smiled to us in a princely manner, took out of his pocket an expensive watch, and gave it to Marion. She weighted it in her palm, turned its hands, approached her ear to the hour plate, and listened.

Your Royal Highness, this watch works perfectly, it is a real jewel.”

“I know. This is why I want you to open my chest and replace my elderly heart with it. I feel like an old slave, whom nobody wants to buy, but I know that my true life has not yet started. I lost the precious years of my first youths in the midst of foreign peoples. My lips are dry and sore, because I said many lies, and I burned in myself everything was once aristocratic. Now behind my retinas I only have a desolate landscape of defeated mist. But you two can help me revive the fire in my palms: I trust you. Dog-fish with sharp teeth swim in the waters of my sleep, but with you I could sleep again. I want to lie on your bed, as on the grave of a stubborn and rebellious son, and say good bye to the limitless nights of fear and insomnia. The temple of my thoughts is built on soft foundation, but together with you I could have the courage to strengthen it”.

Marion made herself a cup of strong coffee and drank it silent and standing, while admiring herself in the baroque mirror framed by a garland of silk roses. “Sir, I don’t know how to do this. You are asking too much from me.”

The old prince, who had watched her drink her coffee with anxiety and hope, answered: “I came prepared. I wrote down everything you have to do. You only have to follow my instructions, and my reward for your charitable effort will be munificent.”

Marion accepted the deal with a reverence and washed her hands three hundred times in the kitchen sink, then asked me to do the same. She invited the prince to take his clothes off and lie on our table in the living room. As an anaesthetic she used her rose perfume. I was reading aloud the instructions, and she was doing the heart operation.

After some hours, the prince opened his eyes and told us with hoarse voice: “I feel young again. I want to make love to you.” With dresses stained by his aristocratic blood, we started to caress him.

We received a lot of money from him. With it we changed the wallpaper, we bought expensive clothes and went to the hairdresser. We decided to start a new life.

One evening, Marion took out of their covers two vinyl disks and put them on her two index fingers. “Look, my two indexes have black halos!” I laughed. “Your fingers are two depraved saints.” All of a sudden, Marion became serious. “Tell me, are you happy with me?” “Yes.” “Are you sure?” “Yes.”

With her right haloed finger, she wrote down some words in the dust on the furniture, and then deleted them. “What did you write there?” “It’s a secret.”

We could hear outside hoards of strolling dancers going towards the cathedral. Marion printed on my eyelids the trace of her lips coloured with pearly lipstick, and started to laugh. “When you close your eyes, it looks as if you had mouths instead of eyes!”

Clouds heavy like phosphorescent deer were crossing the infinite sky. Between us loitered past traumas, phrases which had once carbonised our hearing, decomposed memories. Marion was painting in front of the window a still life with a snake skeleton. The city’s fool crossed our street, laughing desolately.

I wanted to take a hot bath. In the bathtub I closed my eyes and felt my bones like wax. I was touching the necklace of rusted coins around my neck, imagining that I was an old fisherman in a wrecked ship. I drew with my finger, on the steamed tiles, a still life with a snake skeleton.

I came back in the living room wrapped in Marion’s bath gown. She was talking on the telephone. Polite, I did not want to listen to her conversation. She interrupted it abruptly and looked at me getting dressed, with her head bent on her shoulder.

Afterwards she asked me to go visit with her some old friends in a retirement home. She took from the drawer the car keys and a map of the region.

On our way we stopped in a shop on the motorway and bought for the old people sweets, soap, CDs with classical music and troubadour songs, little orthodox icons, play cards, small ivory boxes with makeup, and some bottles of anise liquor. From a big cage, parrots with shiny feathers were looking at us wisely. Marion bought one, after having bargained ferociously its price. When we went back to the car, we found under the screen wiper a fine for being parked in a forbidden place. We shrugged and put the piece of paper under another car’s wiper.

The manager of the retirement home was waiting for us at the main gate. She greeted Marion happily, and we all entered in the building. We started to give the gifts to the old pensioners, who were looking at us gratefully, trying to kiss Marion’s hands. She offered the most venerable of them the cage with the parrot, asking him kindly to feed him daily with nuts and dry fruit.

We drove back in silence. At home we found bats hanging from the exposed wooden beams on the living room’s ceiling. “Maybe we should fix the light one of these days”, I said. “You destroyed it, you should repair it.” “You always blame me for everything. I’m so sick of it.”

With her best intentions, Marion insults me, thinking that this will change my ugly personality. I slap her in the face and light a cigarette. To calm down, I imagine that I make love to a woman with delicate hands, smelling like freshly grounded coffee and expensive perfume, without feeling guilty. And then we start it all over again, of course.

During the night we exchange our names. When my name is Marion, I make love to myself or I eat with my finger rhubarb marmalade directly from the jar. During the day we interchange our vertebras and our eyelids, with a surgical precision. When I am wearing Marion’s vertebras and eyelids, I have the courage to invite my father for dinner. He comes dancing, dressed with grey suit and wearing light paper shoes, and knocks on our door with the tip of his nails. Marion opens the door gracefully and kisses him on his mouth. I kiss him on his shoulders, without looking him in his eyes. For a while I was quite afraid that Marion would eventually fall in love with his vague and dreamy personality.

From time to time my father comes accompanied by a young, silent woman wearing an old-fashioned hat. They barely step on the ceramic tiles on the floor, sit still and silent for a while, then leave. I look after them from the window. A triumphal chariot passes on the sky, from which my father is waving his hand to the unseen crowd, who honours him for his past glories. Flying pheasants, trees with floating roots, and plaster saints are following the chariot, and then darkness comes.

Once, wanting to forget my father, I wrote on a piece of paper, as an incantation, the words of a fashionable song. Without knowing what it was, Marion crumpled the paper and threw it at the garbage. I lost my temper and started to scream at her. Afterwards I felt sorry, and very much so.

Another time I watched all night old westerns. “What the hell do you like about them?” asked Marion. “The grave and threatening intensity in the actor’s eyes. I would like to be able to imitate it.” “Let’s try.” We stared at each other with our chins a little bit raised and contracted lips. After some seconds we started to laugh. “Let’s do it one more time, we almost made it.” The following morning, at the dawn of a new life, I was waked up by the galloping through the bedroom of a herd of wild horses. “Marion, how many silly things my eyes are seeing!” “What are you saying?” “Nothing, I’m sorry for waking you up.”

I could hear on Rue de la Cathédrale the florists singing and praising loudly their merchandise. I went near the window, rolled up the blinds, and watched the parade of the clean little horses pulling carts full of fresh flowers. A young florist threw me a red carnation. I caught it and smiled to her. I never saw her again, and I was sorry, because I would have liked to start a new life with her, and leave everything behind. I closed the window and went back to bed. I put the carnation in Marion’s hair, and laid my head on her belly.

In the evening we went to the opening of the exhibition of a famous artist suffering of a heart disease, whom we knew quite well. When he saw us coming, he greeted us enthusiastically. “My dear friends, my heart is now diseased and faded, a poor atrophied muscle in a sea of ill blood, but I can still love you. Thank you for coming.” His heart, like the rich prince’s, was sick, but he did not possess the same wealth, so could not shell out a new one, and we did not have the habit of doing these things for free. The artist grabbed our arms and walked us in front of his large-scale paintings representing dead hearts on silver trays. “For me, the world’s infinity is now reduced to this”, he said, bringing his hand to his chest.

After he showed us his entire exhibition, the painter apologized and went to greet other guests. We started to whisper to each other, while drinking cheap champagne and eating greasy canapés. “I hate paintings which I don’t understand.” “Yes, me too.” “I also hate books I cannot understand.” “Oh, yes, me too.” “And movies that are too pretentious and obscure. I am also quite upset when I cannot understand you, and in those moments I really hate you.”

An emaciated artist approached us, he was a quite well known fog sculptor. In his refined manner of speaking he told us that, during the damp months of autumn, he would make provision of mist, filling his studio with entire compact blocks, and that he would work incessantly for the rest of the year. Marion, insensible to his talent but genuinely curious, ordered a pair of shoes made of this famous mist of his. The artist measured the soles of her feet and after some days he sent her the shoes, in a beautiful box. Marion tried them on and went to the terrace, to root out the wild weeds growing in the ceramic pots with exotic flowers. The weeds were screaming ferociously. “Where did you take this soil from? It’s no good.” “From the cemetery.” When she finished weeding, Marion tied my foot to the charpoy with a golden chain and went to do some shopping. This was she was sure I would not run away, “my poor little darling, what would you do out there without me”. With an oval white stone I hit the chain to break it, but I did not manage, so I loosened the screws of the lock with the tip of my nail scissors.

When I finally managed to free myself, I put red lipstick on, made myself a pot of nice green tea, sat on the couch and waited for Marion, repeating in my mind my discourse. I wanted to tell her that everything would have to end one day. That our contours would dissolve and our lungs would slowly burn, melting our flesh, but we would not be reborn. I wanted to remind her that at the end our memories of each other would be wretched, that the only traces of our passage in this world will be our useless ashes of unashamed memories.

I was listening, in the light growing paler, how sick birds and frozen rain were hitting the windows. Marion was not coming back. I would have liked to turn the clock’s hands, to force time to pass faster, but I lacked inner strength, and I hated everybody.


Marion #08 “In the distance a red flame blazes out”


(The scene represents a living-room adorned with abstract drawings pinned on the yellow walls. On a short coffee table the TV without sound shows a documentary about a famous painter. On the shelves can be seen hourglasses of different sizes and boxes of coloured metal. Two twins sit one in front of the other, on couches covered with crocheted blankets. The first twin wears strident makeup. The second twin is dressed like a deity that had just created a true world, in which true adventures take place. A large window is adorned with crimson velvet curtains. All of a sudden, the rusted locks on the twins’ lips fall on the floor with a metallic noise.)

Me: Marion, I dreamed that the city burned down because of your cigarette.

Marion: You know that I love when we commit glorious antisocial acts.

Me: I could very well see the golden buildings burning, they were consumed by a thick, violet smoke. (Marion lights a cigarette)

Me: Marion, please stop smoking.

Marion: But this is my only true pleasure in life. The rest is all but a spectacular imposture.

Me: What you say is a horrible crime. And still, my love for you lingers between these walls.

Marion, blowing the smoke towards the ceiling: Our bed’s mattress is full of living thorns. The city in which we live is a splendid putrid empire, decomposing under our eyes. High stone walls conserve its decay. I can feel in my marrow and in my kidneys its future destruction.

Me, grabbing Marion’s cigarette: Don’t be afraid. Everything will dissolve around us, but we will stay together. Take this stone and hit it! (I take out of my pocket a perfectly oval white stone and put it on the table, in front of her.) Will the stone cry?

Marion, with uneasy voice: No.

Me: That’s how you will become as well, you will forget everything evil.

Marion: I have already forgotten everything. My days with you are so full, that I have to exile my memories in unknown dark places. Before you I used to have certitudes in life, but now I am left only with you. Everything can burn around me, but as long as you are with me, I am happy.

Me: Your body is so thin, Marion, that sometimes in the night, when I hug you, it feels like I am hugging myself.

(Marion smiles. I crush the cigarette stump in a painted faïence ashtray. Marion takes out of its pack a second cigarette, which I light for her with a match. During all this time we look at one another uninterruptedly. Our gestures are mechanical, many times before rehearsed.)

Me: Sometimes you lie for hours near me, without breathing, and it feels like you are a gigantic dead fish.

Marion: I know.

Me: Why do you leave me alone? Tell me.

Marion: Sometimes the light in my eyes is suddenly turned off, and I start to run away, because everything around me is threatening, even you. I never see the face of evil, but its presence makes me shiver.

Me, humming in low tone: You are like a storm, like a thunder, like a breaking of clouds.

Marion stands up, opens the crimson velvet curtains, opens the window and throws outside her lit cigarette. In the distance a red flame blazes out. The fire spreads quickly. I go near her, I put my arm around her shoulders and put my temple near her temple. We are watching, startled, how the city burns to its grounds. Around us raise the prison of the infinitesimal cerebral processes, during which the nervous cells die gradually.

Me: All the city’s inhabitants will die suffocated, in horrible pains. Don’t you feel pity for them, Marion?

Marion: No.

Me: Not even for the children, for the pregnant women, for the frail old people?

Marion: No.

Me, kissing her hair: I’m happy to hear this.


Marion #09 Marion is my sunken territory with closed frontiers, and I will not let anyone enter here.”


Sometimes an unknown woman, dressed with a green long dress, comes in our room during the night, lies on the bed between me and Marion, and breathes deeply in her undisturbed sleep. We would sometimes light a candle and watch her wounded feet with compassion, while letting her rest, but we never managed to understand the temporal mechanism of her visits. “Poor her”, Marion whispered once, and this is the only commentary she ever made about our nocturnal visitor.

One night the woman came dragging after her, by a thick chain, an old fishing boat which she left in the middle of our bedroom, as a thank you gift for our hospitality. We got up and examined it; we liked it so much, that for a while we slept inside it, hugging, covered in white cotton sheets embroidered with our initials. After a while we sold it to a collector of rare ethnographic objects.

At the end of the month we had no money left, and Marion started to cry with wax tears. “I could never live without manuka honey and good wine”, she lamented. “I am so tired of eating every morning only stale bread dipped in tea. With my mind busy with these mundane details, how would you want me to make love to you? Or to anyone? Or ever again? I feel poor, and ugly, and useless, and it is all because of you.” I gathered in my palms Marion’s wax tears, I moulded them and created tiny zoomorphic figurines, to which I painted with red nail polish intense eyes and belligerent jaws. I then aligned them on the shelf and started to pray to them daily, for protection and peace in my home.

Marion stopped crying and poured on her palms the hot wax of the decorative candles burning on the coffee table. Shortly after, we went to bed. For a while I did not move, listening to her breath. Later I squeezed her breast under the blanket. She woke up and asked me what the hell I wanted, why did I have to wake her up. “Marion, only one thing can save us now”, I told her. She turned her back to me and fell asleep again.

In the morning she told me that we should prostitute the cathedral. “What do you mean?” “Well, you saw what a relaxing effect it has on the people coming to visit us. We could invite more of them here, and, in exchange of a small financial contribution, we could serve them tea and let them gawk at the cathedral in the distance, and at how its living stone changes colours every hour. We should just wash the windows, and buy more cushions and futons, to make this place cosier.” In order to reward her for her good idea, I did the dishes for her; she would stay with her elbows leaned upon the window frame, watching for hours the passage of the firemen trucks.

The following day we started to make paper roses which we sold to our neighbours who bought them out of pity, but we didn’t care. After a while I complained to Marion that they are brutal and silent, obsessed with the games of chance, and that they attacked me in the night with white arms made of whale bones, on the narrow stairs, with too high stone steps. She asked me to stop our illegal trade, for our safety, and she stretched a calf’s skin over the entire city.

With the money gained from selling paper roses we paid our bills and bought from a flower shop a figus elastica rubber bush. We put the pot on the terrace and after some days Marion made a cut in the flexible trunk and sucked the liquid hungrily, so that her supple body would freely stretch to the clouds. Then, out of charity, she packed water plastic bottles and send them by post to fake addresses in various desert countries. In the evening she combed her hair in front of the mirror and arranged it in a bun with a metal needle. She burned strong cedar wood essential oil and invited home an erudite academic, a scientist, a fashion designer, an artist and an explorer and, for their amusement, five exotic dancers, who flattered our senses in the rhythm of the African drums. We ate goat cheese with cumin and we drank wine from the tall glasses full of secretions and melancholy. It was a long strange night, one of those one cannot forget easily. Our guests fell asleep towards the morning, hugged in the corners. In order to revenge myself on their insulting hunger for life, I cut the small toes from everyone’s right feet, so that they would never be able to dance again, but I spared Marion. I was saying to myself: “Marion is my sunken territory with closed frontiers, and I will not let anyone enter here.”

I put on a necklace of rusted coins and boiled the toes on a small twig fire, in a ghastly mixture of urine, rooster blood, almond oil and vinegary wine. I brought this magical liquid to the cemetery and poured it on Marion’s ancestors’ tombs, so that she would completely forget her life and memories before me. The soil was instantly moulding and turning into humid ash. When I returned home, I sewed her torn socks and our red curtains and thought violently about her ferocious love. We are two twins sharing the same horoscope and the same heavy gaze, but Marion is airy, while I am the imperfect sister, the counter-example, the product of the annoyed physical love. After I finished sewing clumsily, I woke Marion up, and went for a walk.

We entered secretly in a mint garden, to explore its paths and crush between our fingers its scented leaves. All of a sudden we saw between the summery grasses a naked man lying in the sun, and we left running and laughing.

We then went to the Notre-Dame market to buy a dead rabbit, with fibrous flash, and Marion hugged it closely in her arms as if it were her baby. In front of us walked a fat woman dressed in dark green trousers and a pair of phenomenal eyes the colour of water-mould, and Marion became sad all of a sudden. “I saw you looking at her breasts, you don’t have to lie. You like her, don’t you?” “You’re insane.” “I know exactly what I saw.” She stopped walking (she was dressed with a silk dress with polka dots), let the skinned rabbit fell of her arms (he started jumping up the street with equal hops) and started to hit her head on the wall of a tall medieval building, to which some contemporary owned had added dreadful metal balconies. I waited, arms crossed, for her fury to pass, and then continued walking.

In the window of a pet shop we saw some puppies dressed in carnival costumes. One of them, dressed like a marquis and wearing a miniature wig, started to lick to window. Marion kneeled in front of it and kissed the glass, on which remained the mark of her cerise lip-gloss. At the entrance door in the shop there was a little copper bell with frightening sound, which Marion, raised on her toes, tore out hastily and threw away into the river.

At home, she put her head on my knees and asked me: “Is there any part of my body which you do not like?” I took the magnifying glass and started to examine her conscientiously. “I actually like everything about you. Especially your wrists – you have the most delicate wrists in the world. I also like the pepper taste of your lips. Oh, and I love the way you puff with pleasure when you’re eating fine chocolate!” In order to prove her that I was honest, I photographed her naked, developed the pictures in the bathroom, put them in wooden frames and hanged them all around the house. She laughed, cut from old fashion magazines elegant though obsolete dresses, which she glued over her naked body in the photos, and then coloured her eyes and lips with wax pencils. When she saw herself in a badly-framed photo, she all of a sudden exclaimed: “Do I really look like this? “Yes.” “Why didn’t you tell me I was so ugly?” “You are not ugly.” “What do you mean? Just look at this tired skin, at these deep circles under my swollen eyes!” “This is because you sleep so little, I go to sleep and then you stay up till morning, reading those cheap novels.” “It doesn’t matter why. Anyway, it seems to me that you made a big mistake in choosing me!” I thought about this for some seconds. “I actually think you chose me.” “You mean you had nothing to say when it all started?” “Not really, no.” “So you could have been with anyone?” “At that moment yes, I think so.”




Marion #10 “In her eyes I could read millions of years of vegetable memories”


The wild herbs in the neighbourhood gardens were losing their colour from the drought. Marion was still sleeping. I washed my face in the kitchen sink, put on a black dress, and adorned my left ankle with a delicate chain with tiny red crystals. Standing, I ate half a spicy cake with dried fruit and almonds. I wrapped the other half in aluminium foil and put it in my backpack. I took the car keys from the drawer and left.

I was not wearing shoes and the asphalt burned my feet.

While driving I was thinking about Marion’s vaporous body, which I had left back home, covered in soft blankets.  

I stopped the car near a fig orchard. I opened the old rusty gate with an old key I found under a rock nearby. I entered the orchard and lay on the grass, between two tall fig trees. I felt the grass stinging my skin, and the earth’s coolness. After a while I felt hungry. I ate the half cake, and then I filled a small fabric pouch with humid soil. While digging with my fingers I found a blackened ancient silver coin, which I cleaned with the bottom of my dress and put in my mouth. I put both the pouch and my backpack in the car and went back to the city.

I parked the car in front of the fluorescent cathedral with lines of sculptured antique pews, immense organ and statues of saints with glass eyes. I rested my chin for a while on the steering wheel and caressed the coin with my tongue. Then I went home where Marion, dressed in an almost-invisible cashmere shirt, was sitting on the couch, drinking tea and immersed in deep thought. She did not even turn her head when I came in.

I washed her feet in a basin of warm water, and afterwards planted them in the fresh soil I had brought from the fig orchard, in a big ceramic flower-pot in which a dwarf silver fir had died a while ago.

I sat on the couch near her and sipped some tea from her cup. The time was passing slowly; history was conserving the illustrious corpses of its heroes in vinegar of noble wine.

Marion started to grow roots. Her hair was gradually turning greenish. In her eyes I could read millions of years of vegetable memories; her skin became a wooden, fragrant bark, on which I cut words and phrases.

Starting with that day, Marion became my secret diary.



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