Notes from Many Places

Notes from Many Places

Picture Credits: Carl Milner Photography

Violence is a Wind Blowing Down the Corridor,

Cottesloe, Perth, Oz. February 20, 2014

Violence is a wind blowing down the corridor, wind coming down the stairs, wind kicking you in the stomach in the kitchen floor, leaving you breathless while you think of playing basketball as it’s gorging on your soul, by the mouthful.

These letters that hurt are mine to sit with now, they moved up from the basement, to my white shelf, in their silver box, they talk to each other in a way I had never heard, my clouded memories bleed, my already arthritic hands weigh my mother’s red coral beads.

I do not feel you as much, where are you, where are they all. My friends are also disappearing, leaving me hanging on in the antipodes,

1 × 1 (one)

It seems that the pain has passed (until I cry in the car.) I feel at ease alone, I retrieve my yoga and my pen. No words spoken anymore. No room for words

“No está el horno para bollos, niña”

No one speaks Spanish, who will understand me? Not my husband, not my words; he does get my feelings, thank you to all the gods; those who were believed, those who were not, too; I thank this beach life in Cottesloe, of friendly neighbors and Iranian refugees.




Cottesloe, Perth, Oz. September 13, 2014

Many of my lovers have been artists. His weren’t. Most of La Gauche Divine made love to Swedish models and Brazilian skinnies on the red velvet couches at Boccacio. Mine obsess over “the” work (well, B. concentrates on whores). Me, I focus on this book, a mess in a few languages that blinks back. I rub my eyes, I feel like a jerk, Kirsten emails to try “centos.”

“as water weeps
as the wind weeps
(your name sounds more distant than ever.)
If only my fingers could
defoliate the moon!”

I’m losing my house for the fiftieth time, Kirsten. As I pack, move back, and cross continents (may the gods hold her during the crossing, my computer with the scars on her face) I will write sprawled over boxes, at airports and bars, breathing my own sweat

–“you don’t smell like kin.”

I will save the file every day, hidden, on face.

“Why was I born among mirrors?
The reaper is harvesting the wheat.
Who longed to cut his heart open far out at sea (?)”

It’s harvest moon today. I take a picture. Walls of aluminum in the port of Fremantle are etched, by the acid in our hearts, with the names of those who came to Australia. I search with my fingers the sharp edges of the letters for names of errant Catalans who can’t look back, as Al-bert Farrés Blasi, as Viviane Vives Begliomini, the same long stride across time, always feeling the breeze, never able to return, for wanting to change a rhyme.

“I will make a ring of it
Empieza el llanto.”


Thousands of Images

Newtown, Sydney, Oz. October 29, 2014

Every picture I’ve taken, every photo I’ve seen join the slides of my life inside my brain. Thousands of images. My son says I’m in the spectrum, he teases me; his long strong arms, his poet hands, hold me down when we walk the streets of Newtown, he guides me – he’s so tall now – to the slaughterhouse, as one of Grandin’s cows; wherever, as long as something surrounds me completely, I let go. I don’t think, I feel. At night, my husband turns around, because he feels it or I because I ask, folds his arms around me, making sure there are no gaps. A pillow or two hold my chin and belly. I can sleep.

Too much freedom.


Austin Has Gone Mad

Kings Park, Perth, Oz. May 1, 2014

You were looking for me. Insistent, palpable desire, your hand making shadow,

–“wrinkled foreheads rule”

(my luck) impatient, hair clean, wet; skateboard and backpack, I still see you. Your determination is also mine. Austin, gone: the artists will flee, fucking Mopac, one way costs eight bucks now; Austin, California. Even so, I learn I will leave Perth to be back in Texas; hills, lake, keep writing in the heat, the drought, the cedars; all I want is to bring rain, light and constant rain, like in Ireland, like whispers, not Texas rain. I will, you’ll see. When you come to me, I will have a blanket of fresh green leaves.


Venice Beach

Casa de Luz, Austin, Texas, June 17, 2015

You are happy with her and her dog (always dogs, we kiss them daily). I see you in a Lana del Rey video. I know what you feel, I know that you see yourself as a child on that (other) beach. By Ozone Street, looks the same. I’m rich from my shitty TV show, see dolphins in the morning, make love to Robbie for the last time (no particular reason, it was over and that was that). Married to his married lover, he now lives in Manhattan Beach.

I am not wrong. Just lessons of gold from my little voice. He invited me to his party, I watched him, I watched her, streaming through the crowd like a cat as I danced, as she cried. I wore Venice Beach and my single malt and my black wings of freedom; earthquakes shaking my earrings, her perfect breasts.

You are happy too, with your girl, your thousands of images. Get out of Los Angeles, my heart. Bring her if you want. Forgive me. Forget me. It’s all ok.

–“Even if her skin is rough.”


One Wall Inside the Other

Lady Bird Lake, Austin, Texas. October 16, 2015

Sunken Gardens is in Austin, it’s a spring by the river. There are two circular stone walls, one inside the other, where it all came crashing down as we crashed down.

I don’t know if those blind salamanders they so wanted to protect are now buried under all this shit, but it all fell; the pecan, the other pecan, the leaves, not the walls, and there is only a big turtle, now, walking as slowly as our story.

We are no longer protected. You want to step on my face as I throw back my head on the steps, as my breasts still call you. I hang from the one that floats half a meter over your shoulder, it comes down and helps me up; just like in the dream I had, that you did not want to hear, except in it you climbed with me. In silence, in deep water, all the people gone.

Clearly, we are the same. You think I’m wrong as fuck, but the trembling one loves me so much, always obeys me, it leaves your shoulder and sits on my belly.

You look at me with hatred, you climb the inner wall to throw stones into the pool at the center. You think your freedom lies behind the turtle that crossed our way, you get around it, walking backwards as you look at me, like you do before a queen; you are safe, or so you think, and you run away without looking back; my Indian blanket tied around your waist.

– “Your people will be happy.”

The turtle and I, with your demon in my belly, among her fallen trees, walk the circular walls in our in-between, we bathe often in the spring, we see your mad dash through the desert, no angel by your side, no open sky, my womb beating in your temples while you throw a coin at your memory.

Married in the desert, a house with wheels, with your fat woman, two fat kids, a brush and a canvas tied to your neck.

–“Is that all you want?”

I am only this book. Would I trade it in? Would I seek you, rip you from the desert, the rocks you climb? It’s not my age, nor my flesh, not even her; what separates us is my mother singing over me: “Ma petite est comme l’eau…” while yours choked on a rosary. I am free water, kid, for all your running through the desert, hanging from mountains, nothing is where you seek it, God moved it a little bit before you got there.

– “Snakes are dropping from the sky.”

One day, you will remember, as I did, that we came to free our brothers and sisters so they would not wait behind these bars; and later, your children too will walk out, the cage had only three walls, after all. You will think of me, that day, of how we stayed between the walls, inside each other.

The turtle and I, in the dead corner of Austin, by the cold river, one-two, we shimmer, in one dimension and the other; until the spring finally reveals us, only to cover us during the next flood, to lead us to the sea, to the islands. They will be surprised in Mallorca to see us come back, after so many years.

Viviane Vives is a filmmaker, actor, photographer, and writer. A Fulbright scholar for Artistic Studies,–Tisch School of the Arts, NYU– her translation work, poems, and short stories have been published internationally. Some of Viviane's recent publications as a writer, among many, are poetry in the Southeast Missouri University Press, a short story, "Todo es de Color," in Litro Magazine of London, and a ten page story in The Write Launch: "In the oblique and dreamlike style of Marguerite Duras, Viviane Vives weaves memories of her ancestors and place—Nice, Barcelona, Perth, New South Wales, Texas—in “Dialogues With Your Notebook,” a stunning literary achievement." She is a Finalist of the Philadelphia Stories’ Sandy Crimmins National Prize in Poetry, Semifinalist of the American Short(er) Fiction Contest by American Short Fiction and has been nominated for the Best of the Net 2018 literary award by Burningword magazine. Viviane writes in both, Spanish and English. Her first language was French and part of her family spoke Catalan at home. She learned Portuguese to be able to read Fernando Pessoa in his native language. In chronological order, the cities she has lived in for an extended period of time are: Barcelona, Paris, Madrid, New York, Sant Feliu de Guixols, Los Angeles, Austin, Sydney, and Perth. She's currently back at 'home' in Austin, TX.

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