Are You Mad, Ovid?
Ovid was exiled to the Black Sea where he died for frivolous verses on the Art of Love, ArsAmatoria
*the setting: imperial palace on the Palatine Hill
THE EMPEROR: Are you mad, Ovid?
Is thine spirit broken because of your rotten luck
Or loss of coin?
Why hast thou exiled love - a craft most hard into vice?
OVID: Mad about or merely mad, I, Ovid, shall reply, o August
Who has prejudged that I hath writ verses most amorous
Of courtesans with frayed hairs, aye!
I have let loose words of their beauty
I've kissed their nudeness, with verse put it to sleep
But I have not once touched a Woman! My scholarship pullet me from a more joyous hour! A juicy love
I'd have tasted when bedded from time to time
Lonesome and unclad, and upon the joyous hour, I'd have stood stained with happiness.
THE EMPEROR: But why didst thou unleash thy filthy mange and let loose upon Rome to amuse it? Why not remain within thine bed?
OVID: I've sown the seed of arswithin lovers' soil so as to satisfy myself (and others) with mere word.
I've played with ringlets, gentle as violets
Between the thighs of women, white and soft akin to she-swans
And the light-blue hairs danced around the pink moon
The torch was lit and a pyre ensued
The visions have burned long within my heart
I've grown pale with lust
A mere gaze upon women's feet was enough for the Metamorphoses
I've burned all the acts and epistles!
Virtue reeks of hell. The bed is vast to her, yet bitter and empty
Hard like a tombstone
Prison of the learned
A succulent dance of lips I wanted, an entanglement of tongues…
But one breath I wanted to lengthen the kiss of romancers
Tis then I wrote the manual of Pleasures, besprinkled the tendrils with my nectar
And protracted the touch, weaving it into verse…
THE EMPEROR: Publius Ovid, thou art a poet and a hog
With a tusk inside of a woman. Yes, your hearing serves you well, but not shame!
You lead the Roman men to thumb their women
You were yelling in the streets: lovers everywhere, lovers multiply
You spoke: arrange for a tribute to the God of rough sex
But only upon the well end of the conversation between you two
Not a moment sooner
When the nectar is drunk
When the knees stiffen
And she admits what feels good to her
Caught in the biggest art, the art of love
I ask again: are you Mad, Ovid?
OVID: (entranced) And her mind bends obediently, and her eyes inflame
In the abundance of fire
And it turns similar to a fresh fig
And he stains himself with moist semen
In hands of no experience with his hands he feels the horn on the bison mask
That young Carthage girl
Go for her then to have her one way or the other…
THE EMPEROR: Enough with the trumpet and the horns!
May the dead Black sea swallow thee whole.
OVID: (entranced) And I kiss the Woman's sea and I claw at the earth and moan, ah if only, oh
Egeria, o nymph, o teacher
Twas really thus, if only I had been more of an Amor than Apollo
Or Anulap, if I…had been Fabulinus…
(besides myself) a rotund paunch of the rotten Empire quivers, with these passionate words the lust
Rising like the tide, the horn
The horn! Shakes when in hands, and the ground (oh sorrow!) trembles… Barefoot legs and aristocratic asses!
(he drops onto the ground)
Bones break and warm bellies join
Akin to sparrows in heat
Concupiscently chant the crickets
Nymphs of the sea, clench me with thine knees!
I mad am mad!
I've read excessively!
(guards take him to be exiled)
Leila Samarrai uses absurdist and the elements of farce in her plays. She favors surreal short stories, horror fiction, satire and humoresque, enjoying the vaudeville style of structure interwoven with the style of “Pythonesque” stories. She has had her work published in numerous local magazines, both in print and electronic form and been variously awarded. She currently lives in Belgrade with her five cats.
Photography by Ana Viviane Minorelli
Coat Hanger Dogs
Photography by Ana Viviane Minorelli
As a social worker, I sell wire coat hangers to poor people so they can abort their fetuses.
Okay, well, I'm also poor—that's why I became one of the Government's abortion salesman. This way they won't cancel my unemployment and health insurance. And this is why I don't need to go very far to find customers: basically I'm trying to sell the hangers to my neighbors for only two cents.
The Health Minister played with the idea to give the hangers to the poor for free, but the Education Minister insisted that there must be some minimal income involved in aborting economically disabled children that they could use for supporting the schooling of middle class kids. He called it a symbolic gesture.
Our government believes that every low class pregnant mother carries a future-homeless person under her heart and it's a great irresponsibility to give birth to them. This is what I'm saying now to this pregnant lady who already has numerous crying bearded homeless people in her house. It seems she's fed up with them too, because she asks me: "So you can get rid all of them with this?"
"All the unborn ones," I correct her.
"So it doesn't have any effect on the already born babies?"
I shrug my shoulders: "Who knows. Try it, and you'll see."
She gives me two coins. This means a new pencil or a new rubber for a middle class student. This night is quite successful so far, most of the time my neighbors just slam the door in my face, other times they believe I'm the one who performs the procedure. Thank god that's not the case at all. Hah, if one of them would bleed out between my arms they would sue the government immediately. The beauty of the do-it-yourself abortion is that my and the government's hands always stay clean.
I'm about to knock on another door, when a homeless man runs into me. A metal coat hanger is sticking out from his bleeding neck - the wire hook is pierced trough his throat canal. He tries to scream then he runs away, soon the previous pregnant woman arrives, telling me: "It's shit, it doesn't have any effect on the already born ones!"
"Okay, well I'll report the problem to the developers."
After a few hours of work I return home. There a bearded homeless man waits for me in a cardboard baby walker. I take care of him since my wife passed away from tuberculosis.
"Hey, got some change, man?" he babbles at me, and I caress his beard. He's the only reason I took this fucking job.
I take him out from the walker and sit him on my knee. As I start to shake him playfully he gabbles: "Just a few coins, man! I don’t need if for fucking booze, I'm just hungry!"
I take a wire coat hanger into my hand and fold it into a dog shape. The little homeless man pets the wire-animal, but then the dog starts to growl on him. I take the dog out to the street. It barks loudly and scratches the door from the outside. Then it gives up and disappears in to the night. Maybe to find another homeless man it can bite, or to wag its tail for some middle class kid. Or maybe it will join the wire dog flock that's been terrorizing the area. Their barks are scratching the moon. They’ve attacked and ripped apart many pregnant women lately.
Zoltán Komor, 30 is a writer from Hungary who writes surreal short stories. His translations to english have been published in Caliban Online, Thrice Fiction, The Phantom Drift, Gone Lawn, Bizarro Central, etc. His first book titled Flamingos in the Ashtray was released by Burning Bulb Publishing. Leila Samarrai uses absurdist and the elements of farce in her plays. She favors surreal short stories, horror fiction, satire and humoresque, enjoying the vaudeville style of structure interwoven with the style of “Pythonesque” stories. She has had her work published in numerous local magazines, both in print and electronic form and been variously awarded. She currently lives in Belgrade with her five cats.
Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1974, Ana Viviane Minorelli is a photographer for over 16 years. His artwork ranges from organic textures to the contemporary world of abstract shapes and colors. For 10 years, Minorelli lived in Australia, became Australian citizens where he studied art and photography. Back to Brazil in 2008 and engages in social work, working as an art educator in Sao Paulo. In 2010 he moved to Florianópolis and his work gained new inspiration, shapes and colours of Brazil.