Saturday, April 1, 2023

Two Pieces, Giorgia Pavlidou

A Vampire Called Eurydice  
How comfortable the warm darkness of caskets --
Doubtlessly finer than nowadays’ low-quality blood
Still much to my surprise,
Orpheus eventually arrived.
I followed his back for a little while,
bumping against a shadow or two    (more to stay true to the myth instead of really
wanting to)
Yet I was curious: “Will he succeed this time around?”  
As was to be expected, he turned his head once again --
Tired, stuffy, dark circled eyes looked at me for the umpteenth time.  
He didn’t impress me much; I feel forced to confess.
Or was he a she? Or a they? Difficult to say, today:
Even genitals have minds of their own -- on this present day.
Relieved that my hero had so blatantly failed once more,
I returned to the comforting darkness of my sepulcher  
(apropos: my relationship with light has never been exceptionally bright).
Hades isn’t such a bad place after all, I thought, while my coffin welcomed me back inside.
The embittered Goddess, Persephone, stared at me with her usual pitch-black eyes.
 I drooled gazing back at her magnificent, mean-pale and perforating face.
And before I could even think of rising up, and lick her splendid but insipid dark lips,
her hungry tongue, deep inside my menial and brittle little mouth,
was already done circling around mine:

So-so comfortable - I was mandated to think - the convivial darkness of my casket.
Much-much more exquisite and finer than nowadays’ low-quality blood.

Fun Republic
Fun Republic was the name of my favourite mall. One of the reasons I loved going there was that it had both a butcher and a bar. The bar was on the top floor. The butcher was on the first.

A few days after I began frequenting what would become my favourite bar, a young female journalist committed suicide. The girl jumped from an indoor bridge on the top floor where the bar was. While I was enjoying my sixth or seventh tequila, I vaguely remember that the bartender tried to convince me that the girl wasn’t a regular.

“Besides,” he said emphatically, “she was sober.” While he was telling me all that, I remember thinking, wow, this man has a huge head. And why does he have hair sprouting out of his ears?

Slightly tipsy and while holding my big plastic bag of meat, I wobbled to see the bridge. I wanted to feel how it is to walk around the spot where someone had just experienced a massive amount of anguish.

Imagine you’re trying out new lingerie, I thought, or enjoying an omelette when you suddenly hear this strange loud thud close to you.

Pacing back and forth on the bridge with my dripping bag, I don’t remember feeling much. I quickly returned to the bar. I needed another tequila. Much to my dismay, however, the bartender refused to pour me one.

A handsome young man with reddish and unusually long hair sat a few stools away from me. A colourful three-to-four feet tall half-human half-monkey hybrid figurine stood next to him. I made sustained efforts to not wonder why that was. When he looked in my direction, I asked him if he knew why no drinks were being served. He told me that the owner didn’t want people to think the girl drank in his bar and then jumped. Other customers who were drinking suspicious lemonades said that this was out of respect for the deceased girl.

It all irritated me. I implored the large-headed bartender with the hairy ears to pour me a drink: “please, bro, I’ll pay you double or even quadruple for another tequila.” He looked at me in a sad way, wobbled his head and made a shrieking sound, perhaps saying something in his dialect, I wasn’t certain, but he surely didn’t offer me a drink.

Feeling disappointed, I decided to leave.
Exiting the mall, still dragging around my dripping bag of meat, I saw the artist and his apelike figurine at the parking lot. They were sitting on a stationed Harley Davidson. When I approached them, he suggested going up for drinks.

“But you just said they don’t serve alcohol out of respect for the dead,” I said.

He ignored me and played with his long red tresses. Next, he smiled at me and touched the forehead of the statuette.

“What do you have in this big black dripping bag?” he asked next. I didn’t buy meat that day because the butcher shop was closed, so I agreed to go for a drink with him.

At the bar I refused to drink alcohol. “I rarely drink during the day,” I lied. “What about coffee?” he asked. He looked sexy in his extremely tight jeans. His crotch was bulging out. The figurine, he and his bulge looked wonderful together.  

“Please, if possible, very strong coffee,” I asked the thick-headed bartender. I glanced at the artist, but it seemed as if he looked right through me into nothingness. I did my very best to not wonder why.
I used to drink double or triple espressos back then, but as expected, when it arrived, my coffee wasn’t strong.

“Through the coffee, one shouldn’t be able to see the inside of the cup!” I yelled, upon which a short little man ran off to bring me extra instant coffee on a little plate.

“Don’t worry,” the artist said. He played with his tresses some more and smiled looking out the window. The figurine seemed more figurine-like than earlier, but the handsome artist’s bulge less bulge-like. Taking a sip, I tried observing the bulge through the corners of my eyes. Alas, even with the extra instant coffee it all tasted bland.

Feeling disappointed for the umpteenth time, I left. The artist and the figurine left as well.
Crossing the bridge, I saw that in the meantime a net was spun on one side of the bridge but not on the other.

“Work in progress?” I asked the artist.

“Nope,” he said. “The net will be spun only on one side. You see, I’ve heard that the mall received just enough money to spin a net only on one side.”

He seemed to find this fact funny and laughed loudly. I could clearly see that he didn’t miss any teeth.
I laughed as well and tried observing his crotch a little more, to see if it was still bulging out. What I saw tickled my groin.

“What’s going on,” the artist asked, “your face has turned red.”

“Nothing,” I said, “absolutely nothing. It’s just that I’m experiencing the world being perfect just like the way it is.”

His almost-black melancholy eyes stared at me with this look people have when they don’t understand what is happening, and they’re assessing whether they’re in danger or not.
Nevertheless, he offered to drive me home.

We drove through a slum at breakneck speed. The road had more potholes than asphalt, but that didn’t seem to surprise anyone.

I kissed the artist and the figurine goodbye, entered my apartment, and dropped myself on my bed. After putting the dripping chopped-up body parts in the fridge, I contemplated my day at my favourite mall. I thought of the butcher, the bar, the bridge, the young female journalist, and the strange loud thud at least some customers must have heard. I thought of the artist and his woody friend, the potholes, the slum, and the net spun only on one side of the bridge.

“The world is perfect just like the way it,’ I said to myself, and I smoked some more, observing through my window a crooked yellow laser springing up behind the silhouette of a man standing straddle in between a few wild bushes growing at the side of the potholed street in front of my apartment.

Originally trained in clinical psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, Giorgia Pavlidou is an American writer and painter intermittently living in Greece and the US. She received her MA in Urdu literature from Lucknow University, India and her MFA in Fiction from MMU Manchester, UK, (though her meetings with visionary LA poet-philosopher Will Alexander have been and still are exceedingly more impactful). Her work has recently appeared in such places as Caesura, Lotus-Eater, Zoetic Press, Maintenant Dada Journal, Puerto del Sol, Entropy. Additionally, Trainwreck Press ( launched her chapbook inside the black hornet’s mind-tunnel in 2021. Ireland-based Strukturriss Magazine selected her as the featured visual artist of their January 2022 issue 3.1. She’s an editor of SULΦUR online literary magazine. 

Anvil Tongue Books published Giorgia Pavlidou's debut collection of poetry in 2022. Copies can be purchased by navigating to the 'Books' tab to the right. 

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