Margot Goldbach

By Raquel Wasserman

 

How she wished he would come back
my man come back please
The sound of Motown on their stereo
Before she birthed anyone or turned 30
Just the two of them, two 1970’s renegades
She, a writer for the Voice
He, a scientist at CUNY
Dancing in their mustard yellow living room
To Jr Walker’s band
This was Alphabet City, brother
Wine everywhere, beer on the rickety sofa, scotch, bourbon
Couples in the corner
Can we have more to drink?
And her screeching over the record
Out!!  You weirdos!

Yes, she saw now, how she out-scaled Talos
In much the way a grown Alice would leave her mentor
Alice inspired Lewis Carroll’s book
Her photos now a misty black and white
Girls made life easy
And in being chosen by Lewis the girls were someone for a minute or two
Girls in the girly sense
Before he discarded them for their hips and womanhood
Never bitter and never old
Forever an artist’s art
Forever a rose petal dream 

Margot was ethereal too
Writing the river blue prose he could never find and she was paid for
And still Margot crept to Talos’s side at night after a late party
Like a deceitful t-shirted kitten
A Pretty Lady
and enfolded her paper pale arms into Talos’s perfect Greek handsomeness
Her Lewis who would never leave her (even if Talos did). 

Her looks stood somewhere in the glowing hippie vicinity of Carol King
The ache of her croaky voice, her pretty frizzy blonde brown hair
Beautiful hair
But that beak that would never be perfect, but was in its way adorable
And Talos was the perfect knockout:
strong chin, dark hair, lush caterpillar eyebrows
the male mold of handsome. 

Break me, she thought
The two of them so good looking
And she trusted with the trust of a teenager. 

The girls.
He chose them because they were choose-able
Girls all in row, near the garden hedge
A profundum of teenage girls with pigtails and starched dresses to pale rounded kneecap
Their beauty obvious
Every one nice as pie
Lewis’s ingenues 

Fitting Talos would leave her for the raven haired girl that watered their plants
Opening like the orchid for him, and he opened liked the rain.
The ache she felt like no other ache. 

It bit into Margot until she had to close the door.
She wrote one note and posted it by the lock
Goodbye, My Grand Corruptor
You selfish piece of shit
She could not hold back her fury
And wondered why the wicked witch got no words
No nothing
Not next to Snow White or Alice or Lola
Who was always perfectly beautiful
Always, just as they were.

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Love Streams

by Robert Leeming

Susannah? When did I see her last? We've been through all this. Haven't we? Outside Peter Jones. We'd been to Cadogan Hall and she'd just been offered an international tour playing second cello in a Candide revival. We've discussed this. I set it up for her. You've got to be a fixer in this life, there's nothing better to be than a problem solver, to take on other people's burdens seamlessly, confidently, because you have all the answers.

I had all the answers. I scribbled them all down in a notebook. I was one of those insufferable people who kept a notebook, a diary. Chatto and Windus published it and the book topped the New York Times bestseller list. I was a bestselling writer. I sat on the set of The Tonight Show, talking to Johnny in my Brooks Brothers suit, smoking my Lucky Strikes, talking about how Henry Miller had considerably altered my perception of life, even though I've never read him. My publisher gave me a gold watch because I'd sold so many copies, all while Susannah was playing second cello in second-rate cities across America. She must have seen my face on the television, she must have, appearing through the static on one of those motel sets as a Missouri cloudburst rattled the metal blinds in her bedroom.

She used to take me to concerts, Mahler and Bruckner and Charles Ives, even though I liked rhythm and blues and only rhythm and blues she insisted that I gave these things a try. They played Mahler's 5th Symphony and I hated it, apart from a couple of seconds, a bar I suppose, of the Adagietto, about eight minutes in when the strings made me feel like I'd stumbled into a universe full of pillows. So, tired, in other words.

We went to a Venetian coffee bar. After the concert. Did I mention we were in Venice? For her birthday. It was the Feast of the Redeemer, the Festa del Redentore, and there were fireworks exploding everywhere, coloured light licking the top of terracotta steeples and terracotta tiled domes, and it was too crowded. Oh, how I hate crowds, nothing beautiful should ever be crowded, don't you think? Well, Venice was full that weekend, people were surging through the piazzas shouting and yelling and carrying colourful streamers and all the boats out on the lagoon were blaring their horns.

I said something meaningful to her, like, 'I've never been so happy in all my life', or some such thing, but she didn't hear me. I can always say something meaningful amid a clamour, but I can never speak my mind in total silence. Strange that, isn't it?

We kissed by the Lido. There was too much noise and someone kept tugging at my sleeve trying to sell me firecrackers. We made love in The Gritti Palace. We flew home.

A year or so later her depression set in and I arranged for her to get away and the last time I saw her was after that concert. At Cadogan Hall. Outside Peter Jones, remember?

Funny, every single vestige of that night that I had on my person when we returned to London Airport is still collecting dust on my writing table. The ticket stub for the concert, the receipt from the coffee bar and a couple of matchbooks from here and there, little pieces of a night that I had little recall of and didn't even like all that much at the time. It all seemed to mean so little to me then, but means so much now.

I'm losing track of things. I can't remember where I left my cigarettes, my loose change. The love streams of my life have stopped leading anywhere in particular. People still ask me to sign that book, its purple dust jacket increasingly battered in the copies I see these days. Please tell me I haven't written something enduring, something abiding, I couldn't cope with that, no, never. Time shows up all dishonesty in the end.

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The Weaving Woman

by Joshua Greschner


                When contemplative silence settles among the wooden desks, among the aging ochre pages, thoughts tingle, thighs shuffle and silently, galaxies within the empty space of O’s swim in circles.

                Walled within 3 barren slabs of diffidence, but with her back exposed, she tilts her head at a studious angle, draped in wild hair harangued, then negotiated into X’s of bobby pins like slanted crosses. Her fingertips, drifting over waves of frozen text, have yet to callous like the Weaving Woman’s, a widow of the sea, a master of delicacy and attentiveness.

                Waves whip the coast, and tails lash at the sky. “Only strings,” mutters the Weaving Woman, embroidering details of her life: birth, mid-age and resolution against dying. What happens when the ship doesn’t fully sink, when the line snaps but stays lodged inside? The knowing don’t speculate. “It’ll wash up,” she says, assuredly, “sure as hell along with everything.”

                Within the library’s silence, my gaze lingers. She gets up, drinks from the fountain. I follow, hiding among shelves of towering ruin. She walks back intently, free from reticence, her arms dangle uncrossed, like tranquilized vines on a tree slipping out of the forest, unnoticed. She runs bare fingers through matted and ferocious hair, cuts loose the weak ties and shakes free her head. Wreckage spins and disintegrates within hurricanes forming and calming. Ancient history resuscitates, to die within moments. Bare fingers emerge from rapture like blanched pillars, uneroded. After fastening shut the ocean, she turns and looks at me.

                I, standing naked in my shameless voyeurism, droplets diving down my temple, pooling on the indifferent floor, get a sudden impulse to plunge into the water, to hide from the tempestuous stare of the shore. She recoils, gathers her things and leaves. I sit back down. My sweat dries.

                The Weaving Woman bites the final thread of a pall-thin blanket, with her remaining shards of teeth, without her cloudy eyes.

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Scales Film Project: Gminor

The first in an ongoing film project.

Scales Film Project

Mission: 

To present a coordinated study of the inspiration of limitations, the relationship between sound and image, and the process of interpretation. To encourage experimentation with the audio/visual medium through a guided challenge, and the chance to share the results of ones work. 

Rules:

1. Each film must be set to the progress of a musical scale
2. Each film must be between 8 seconds and 8 minutes long
3. Each change of note must coincide with a significant change in the film 

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zeus cried for victory

by Winifred Harms

zeus cried for victory
while i was lying on the grass
dreaming of rendezvous
the quintessential moments
of my youth
floated with the wind
to a place i would never touch
so here i began my quest
my diabolical plan for
freedom
when life goes on reading
like a parable
along the way i ponder
the essence of beginnings
and play with words
on my tongue
the phrases you used
in our time
this goes on like fiction
torn from the pages of fate

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