A Semi-Literate Boy Named Bobby

I was a project kid, pretty but hard to make.

Most of the men I let into my life started in pursuit but stayed as teachers.

I was bright and gave my full attention to any man who was willing to teach me about the world of art.

The music I knew was the music of my parents and the other kids in the projects.

From my Father I got Porter Wagoner, Buck Owens, and Skeeter Davis.

From my Mother I got Dinah Shore and Kitty Wells.

From the other kids in the projects I got Motown.

With the music of Motown I learned I could dance and for me dancing is still spiritual.

Everyone said I moved like a black kid, and it was true.

Black folks were my friends and neighbors.

As far as I was concerned I was a Black kid with pale skin.

I figured that Blackness was as much about class as it is about race.

My friend Paul knew I knew my ‘place’ in Charleston’s antiquated class system and that I wanted out.

Paul lived in the rich part of Charleston; the historic district near Battery Park.

He invited me to lunch one especially bright spring day.

He poured tea and showed me a decorative plate that was inlaid with hundreds of shimmering butterfly wings.

Paul liked exquisite objects.

We stepped onto the patio that overlooked his garden and I brought a branch of wisteria to my nose.

Paul said that he wanted me to hear a record.

He said he wanted my opinion.

Then he placed the Beethoven Violin Concerto in D Minor on the turntable.

I heard the needle drop, and then a timpani followed by woodwinds.

I listened as Beethoven told me a story.

I had never heard a story more complex and profound.

It was more beautiful than anything I had ever seen or touched.

And I never stopped listening….

Beethoven Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61

by Yehudi Menuhin, violin Wilhelm Furtwangler, cond Philharmonia Orchestra of London Recorded: 1953

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Felique Dupré in the Haunted World: Whose Hell is This?

Persephone plods relentlessly towards Hell.

Great drifts of snow form a tunnel along Union Turnpike.

Everything is grey: grey snow from a grey sky on grey
buildings.

Persephone rolls her eyes at the writer; perseveration of
thought is the sign of an overwrought mind.

Yet, she does consider the landscape grey

Illustration of Persephone made from a photograph of an avatar
Union Turnpike

Alla Saints an’ Mother Theresa coul’na saved me!” laughs Hades
with a puff on his cigar.

He’s just told the story of how, as a young Catholic converting a Jew in Switzerland, he was chased by a pack of Protestant dogs.

“My twisted sister!” Persephone hikes her skirt; that story never fails to impress.

Hades,” she says, “about Felique…”

“I don’t have your precious Felique!”

Nevertheless, she persisted: “But you must!”

Hades relaxes and chuckles affectionately: “Of course I must. She’s in the Garden playing with dolls. She’d love to see you.”

Persephone is confused: “What was that business with the hag in the mirror?”

“You know how the writer likes special effects.”

“And Felique…?”

“She’s a little girl named Trina.”

“I see…and, whose Hell is this?

“Cocteau’s, do you like it?”

Surrealist photograph of virtual reality avatars to represent Persephone and Lucifer entering the Garden
Persephone and Lucifer enter the Garden

Persephone examines one of Lucifer’s paintings and smiles: “Life is like a skyscraper on quicksand.”

(c) Rob Goldstein 2017 All Rights Reserved

Felique Dupré in the Haunted World: Headed to Hell

Persephone is headed to Hell but first she decides to
meet Christ in Manhattan.

She takes in the sights of 7th Avenue; shards of rain
slice the sky.

She stops at the Cafe des Poetes for a cappuccino:

“Ex-presso! she orders.

“How fast?” asks the waiter.

“Oh, the puns,” Persephone sighs. “Please stop!”

“Make him.” the waiter points through the screen at the writer .

Persephone gives the writer an irritated glance, “He never stops!
Ex-presso please.”

“But you came in for a cappuccino.”

“But I ordered an ex-presso.”

“Not stating your intention! This is no way to meet Christ!”

(c) Rob Goldstein 2017 All Rights Reserved

Felique Dupré in the Haunted World: An Affair

1.

Footsteps: an affair.

“You’re late.” says Felique.

“Ten minutes.” Marcy replies.

“I cannot kiss on an empty stomach.” Felique orders à la carte
and gazes fearfully into Marcy’s eyes.

“What bothers you my little bon-bon?”

“Nothing, Mon cher. Try these snails.”

Yet the fear remains…

“Oh Marcy!” Felique feels suddenly silly, “Will I die if I make
love to you?”

Marcy giggles, “Only If you forget to breath!”

Tragedy replaces the fear in Felique’s eyes . “Breathing reminds me
of my mother.”

“Is your Mother still alive, dear Felique?”

“I was ten. Mother chased some wild geese and drowned in the Seine. This is why my love for you is so painful. Everything reminds me of Mother, which makes me cry. Oh my poor stupid Mother!”

2.

Felique sobbed as they hopped the E Train for Harlem; she sobbed for
her poor Mother.

Fellique turned to Marcy, her face as grey as the Moon.

“I’m a troubled woman.”

“Lamb.” Marcy replied.

“I do nothing but need.”

“Lamb.” Marcy repeated.

“Have I told you of my Mother?” Felique asked.

Marcy’s head throbbed with love; she gripped Felique’s shoulders: “Did your Mother drink?”

“Wine…White.” Felique replied.

“Alcohol has wrecked your life!”

Felique offers a dry cackle: “Ah, that it was that simple my wise, merciful,
long-suffering woman. She said she loved me.”

Marcy was strong yet gentle: “Denial! Make love to me now!”

“In the road?”

“Nothing sullies those who love!”

“Not even history?”

“Lamb.”

3.

What it is about love? As if a conquered people had gathered to rewrite history.

Felique moves with the purity of a child who spies a new perception: all mothers are one Mother and the World is one big Mother

Hot tears dribble onto Marcy’s mound, whose love expels the ghost of Felique’s affliction.

“O! Que j’aille à’ la mer,” sighs Felique.

A digital photograph of an avatar that represents a young woman named Felique Dupré in a virtual Manhattan
Felique Dupré in the Haunted World

 

To be continued…

(c) Rob Goldstein 2017 All Rights Reserved

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