elegy for unknown recipient (Franziska Hofhansel)

i’m in bed wearing nothing but sandals and sea glass earrings from the store on main st with that beautiful man and his vicious cats and i’m lying there like this and i don’t look pretty or anything because my makeup’s fucked up from somewhere–crying maybe–and there’s a woman in the bed with these awful shoes, Rilla, awful, orange and clacking like a fucking puppet if only puppets could clack and she’s on top of me i hear her breathing and she grabs my neck, she’s got these vile nails and she whispers in my ear–she has an ugly voice, Rilla, like how you think a train might talk–she says I LOVE YOU I HAVE BEEN A CHILD ALL MY LIFE WITH NO EARS IT IS A TERRIBLE THING TO BE AN ANGEL WITH NO TONGUE OR GORILLA GLUE IT IS A TERRIBLE THING MY LOVE YOU MUST SEE

and I wake up and i swear Rilla i swear to god or whoever watches the monks in their terrible dreams i wake up wearing nothing and it doesn’t matter if i went to bed the night before in a dress or hula hoop or whatever your fancy i’m naked and wearing nothing but sea glass earrings from the main st store with the beautiful man.

i keep thinking it is unusual to be so afraid. i keep thinking someone somewhere knows everything about me and they hate me, they think i’m awful, they think at the core of me is something ugly and mean, a centipede’s guts or helpless crook maybe and i think about that woman and her ugly voice and how lonely she sounded, really, how that was what made it ugly, that unbearable loneliness.

when i was fifteen i knew a boy in the drama club with bangs and endearing ears and no one liked him, Rilla, no one at all, and when i asked a friend about him she told me it was that terrible need for companionship which drove everyone away. you can smell it on him, she said. you can smell it on some people. the loneliness i mean.

i have a theory about loneliness. i keep having this dream. i’m in bed with no clothes combing my eyelash with a little comb and this woman crawls in, she doesn’t use the door she is on the ceiling with green shoes and her eyes are somewhere else like an island in south america maybe i don’t know and i like her eye sockets, black like she filled them in with charcoal or fancy face wash and she looks at me, as best she can with no eyes she looks at me she is on the ceiling still and i am somewhere near, the bed floating or simply disengaged and i come closer, she holds out her two hands like a beggar or pleading minister she is trying to speak and i don’t let her and she cups my chin with her two hands which are wrong somehow, too rough and too small and she touches my face like a man in the movies she touches my left ear and my crooked nose and the mole i never got removed and we stay like this, i let her look at me in the way she does with no eyes she turns to the ceiling and i reach out for her hands which are all wrong, somehow, i didn’t know hands could be so wrong and i didn’t know you could look at someone with no eyes.

there is a bluebird outside my window with the most beautiful wings, Rilla, and i think you would love her. you have always loved small things. 

sometimes when i’m fucking a man or being fucked by a man with no ears and three mouths i am thinking of something someone once told me about lobsters and how it broke my heart completely. they have no vocal cords, Rilla, these silly fish, crustaceans, what have you, and when they die–boiled alive, i mean, i know of no other death for the lobster, i know of no other way–they make this screaming noise, you understand, this awful screaming, only it isn’t them really, or is, but they have no vocal cords and can’t scream like you or i because it doesn’t come from that place and i know you know what place i mean, you felt it in amsterdam, we felt it in amsterdam, but what good does it do the lobster to have that place inside if they can’t scream, if that noise you hear is only air bursting out of small holes in their small bodies as they leave this world behind and there is no one left to love them, there is nothing left to bury.

i know you think i should get therapy for some of my issues but i am doing just fine like this, and have been fine for a long time really even if you don’t believe me. in my head is a movie about a man who has a girlfriend named sally and mostly he neglects her for his studies but a couple times he stops his research to sit on the bed and hold her in his arms and she lets him, almost, she’s compliant, and once or twice she even turns to him and presses her thumb to his cheek, touches him like a dying animal you can’t help but pity and when he tucks his hand behind her ear she strokes his collarbone and when he says SALLY SALLY YOU ARE THE ONLY THING THAT’S EVER MADE ME TRULY HAPPY SALLY YOU ARE THE ONLY THING I’VE EVER MISSED she stares at him like this is the first time anyone’s ever spoken to her and she touches his knee and he stops breathing or maybe breathes faster, he can’t tell.

if i built my house i should like to call you, Rilla, i would call you on the phone every night just to hear your voice like men do in movies, sometimes, only they don’t mean it, and i would mean it. i would call you in the mornings to say goodnight and i would call you at night to say i love you and i am not so different from the men in the movies, Rilla, the way they turn away, close their eyes like they’ve seen enough, already, enough, only i would keep loving you.

anyway. i hope you write me back someday.


Franziska Hofhansel is unemployed. You can find her on Twitter @mobybitch1.