I was told that The Lord’s Prayer and the text below, Prophets of the Streetlife, have a lot in common… Work it out for yourselves. Brain slobs and/or fundamentalists, back off. I don’t care what you lot think.
Religion and politics: a bunch of rapine, gavel-banging bigots, as the best a nation has to offer in the way of cultural diversion? You tell me… And diversion from what? You tell me…
Give us this day our daily bread tho the Lord should know we’ll only have time for him once our basic needs are satisfied, but what does the church say about the basic need I keep referring to and which has the dim up in arms? They will insist on mistaking my sincerity for shallowness. Can’t help them. I’ve often wondered why and how the colour purple is at one and the same time the colour of sensuality and the colour worn by top-ranking clergy…
Give us this day our daily bread: watching holiday-makers befall the breakfast buffet once. Had the urge to collude with the hotel to bar their entry a day later. See how long it’d take them to get worked up. Then let them in, only to discover: a single rasher of bacon, an egg, the corner end of a baguette and a cup of cold tea. All those hungry mouths – and fists – will have to work something out… Hidden cameras filming the rest, peeping deep into the true heart of our kind.
At times they tell us: think (i.e.: reason), at times: believe (i.e.: don’t think). Most of the time we only believe we’re thinking, or think we believe… and behind it all the permanent attempt to mask the mere finger puppets we all are, hungry for reasons to believe anything at all… Won’t take Their finger out without a fight. Maybe I should be flattered by so much attention: seems like I’m worth fighting for after all!
Still have to clean up your own mess.
Till the next time. Yours, Tatar.
There she stood, hiding; the mother without child, the voiceless woman full of anger. Her smoked nails hammered her evaporated heart snivelling in the grotty kitchen of disaster. Her face, depleted, cauterised. Her eyes wheezed shame at what she knew would happen to her daughter, again and all over again.
Candelaria was a child with a lost childhood, a girl with volcanic bruises, ache squawking in her voice, apocalyptic rages and the teethmarks of her father on her breasts; a child whose nipples hardened when father’s fungous tongue licked them whilst she cried, bled, whilst he totally ignored her. Candelaria’s father had taught her how to fuck. Her mother had taught her how to swallow and how to quench scars with make-up. Scars that could never be silenced.
She was sitting on her chair, a butterfly without wings, the rouge on her mortal cheeks accentuating the surviving beauty of her face seeking the remains of her soul in the grey mirror image. Her black olive eyes smelled the scotch in her father’s mouth, and their lobotomised stars drowned like despairing coins in forgotten fonts. His torturing footsteps she could hear, his collapsing breath she could feel and she had stopped begging for mercy long ago, fleeing behind the lie that it was Eligio swashbuckling between her legs in order to get wet, at least, wet at least.
Mother overheard that violent bed of guilt, sputtering back and forth, sick sweat dripping, the rainy sough echoing through the daughter’s stolen body of gold. Next time I will do better, thought mother. Next time I will help her, take a pan. She knew she would not have the courage, but the illusion would calm her down, her conscience, at least her conscience.
Candelaria urinated fruitless spermicide, her mildewed brothers and sisters, before she reapplied the lipstick which had stained the maggoty nails of her genitor. In the glistening streetlight she could be free; she learned how to laugh on stigmatising streets where succulent condoms and paradisiac joints withered like the concepts of innocence and purity.
(from Prophets of the Streetlight, by Laura Gentile, published in Until Forever Becomes the End.)
Illustration by Jean-Paul Clayette
Laura Gentile replies:
‘The bruised skin of the inner nature next to the graved conformity of human surfaces. Her colourful body amputating itself from enslaving dictations, finding herself in the perversion of the cross’ silhouette, becoming flesh, getting hold of her soul by getting rid of the cross’ devouring burden, to find divinity in her proper features, unscrutinised, un-flagellated, de-victimised, humanised. She can grasp herself with her senses without the need to believe in something higher than herself, she can get there by herself, with her hands, her heart, her mind, not with a cross, in her case. Your honesty is a needle awaiting the reader in its detail.
I think it’s crucial to be able to have the choice of identification/acceptance or of deviation and an alternative quest for the self. What if it can’t be found where it is ‘supposed’ to be? We must tear ourselves from symbols that de-humanise us or constantly remind us that we need to be punished, that we need to walk with aching shoulders and that death awaits us in the end: where and what is human life in all this?
The cross you chose is very interesting; part of a mechanism (not humanism) attached to and controlled by a chain, holding it at arm’s length. It is so unnaturally smooth, basically the knife did a good job here, the surface looks ‘perfect’, no sign of blemishes. For me, it looks like an instrument of penetration that can be grasped, turned upside down, like a weapon that sends untrustworthy invitations, its double in a human form: unprotected, vulnerable and emotionally forced to be pinned down. In a sexual context, when it comes to the father (why use a capital f for where there is a father there is a mother), the cross as a photographed phallic symbol seems to be omnipotent and ever-lasting, always ready, always hungry. The way the woman in the painting gives pleasure to herself using her hands/fingers in this case, assuming the same position/form as the cross itself whilst she ‘drowns’ them (her hands).
(Hands as symbols of action. His are nailed. Hers are free to roam… She may and does act whereas all he can do is die…)
Are her hands free to roam because his are nailed or are his hands nailed because hers are free to roam? Either way nails are seeking and creating scapegoats and they play a very violent and senseless blame-game. Only when they succeeded in cornering human flesh onto a cross do they hold ‘it’ up high, in ‘exemplifying’ torment and death, not in life and action. What is this passion we speak of?’