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Alex Carnevale

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Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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Entries in fiction (63)


In Which You Get What You Want From Me

Run of the Play


New York at the start. Windswept jack-o-lanterns, the mighty gamble.

She wore all kinds of things. Prim dresses, outdated lingerie. I saw her on stage. She was in Cyrano at the National Theater. I always hated that play. It didn't make any sense to me, in a world where everyone generally knew who everyone else was.

I waited for her, expecting other admirers. There were none. The play closed at the end of the month, the newspaper said it was "a spirited revival in the way that a glass of tap water can also be said to have spirits."

She let me into her apartment and she assembled herself on the rug Indian style, breathing deeply, before she changed. I had a bottle of something she had put in a cooler for me. My shirt was almost soaked through. As soon as she was in her new things, I was undressing her, like that. She stopped me when I was having trouble with a certain latch, and she explained that if she screamed No! it meant keep going, but if she said anything in French, I should leave.

I finally got the latch, so I said, "The more costume changes there are in an act, the less likely I am to be interested in it."

Fucking was like a high-wire act for the first bit, until she relaxed. She could really control her breathing, and she was athletic - not like, limber, but she could slam down on my cock from almost any angle, and she always did me the courtesy of pretending I was so big it hurt. I knew immediately that nothing like this was possible with the third lead in Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary.

When we came back to her flat after that, she never changed. Her sweat was redolent of chamomile. I did like that she would listen to me, but I never got a big head about it. I knew she had other men, but she did not see them after her performances. I was there, I know.

It felt like most people we knew were actors. She possessed loads of friends, she would wave to them along the avenue. She did not stop to talk to them, and when I asked her why, she said, "Je sais les hommes de un autre existence." Her French was poor. I spoke it better, but not in front of her.

Her apartment was a hole but mine was not much better and if I suggested taking her there she would pretend to cry. I did not really want to, so I said okay.

One day I came in late. She had a very severe look, the sort where you know apologizing isn't going to get you to the place you want to go. I thought she was going to tell me to be on the other side of the door, but instead she asked me if I knew the story of the man with the golden arm. I shook my head, so she said, "He lifted everything, until he could not even lift his own arm."

Figuring if she wanted me to get lost, she would have said so in her perverted French, I said, "Who's troubling you?" It turned out to be some lope who lived a few floors above her. I went to take care of it, but she held me back and brought me to bed. You know what happened after that.

More often than not she was a mess when I got there. I couldn't tell if it was to add spice to our sex, or for some other reason. Her stomach got a little larger, but I did not know what that meant either.

Finally once when she was asleep, and the night had been a particularly bad one, I tiptoed upstairs to find this wretch. I make it sound like it was a spur-of-the-moment decision, when I have never once decided something like that lightly in my life. For one, I had been looking at the ceiling all night, thinking of the man with the golden arm. And also, I had already half-unscrewed every doorknob in the building - in case I had the wrong room, or I had to hide.

Once I saw the light I knew whose room it was. I lowered myself to the ground, carefully unscrewed the doorknob and peeked in. A man held a small boy, perhaps only three or four, in his arms. He rocked the child back and forth, singing a lullaby. His voice, low and soft, kneaded up in itself. He sang,

La lune trop blême
Pose un diadème
Sur tes cheveux roux
La lune trop rousse
De gloire éclabousse
Ton jupon plein d'trous

An older child came out from a bedroom, holding his little sister's hand. He asked where his mother was.

Mark Arturo is a writer living in Brooklyn. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here.

"Torpedoes" - Lake (mp3)

"Don't Hate Yourself" - Lake (mp3)

The new album from Lake is entitled Circular Doorway and you can purchase it here.


In Which We Never Understood It Until Now

Return to San Francisco


They landed without much effort. A man inspected the plane and called out to his co-worker, "I am so tired. The morning is an afternoon."

Max found a cab without much trouble. A blinking light on the dash bothered him to no end. The cab driver said, "Without a witness, there's not much to do. You wait for hour, but it's a happy kind of waiting, absent the pressure I thought I would feel."

A culvert trickled water. The house creaked and settled at an angle. He opened every closet to be safe. The caretaker stopped by, rapping on the door with a wrinkled knuckle. He told Max how to turn on the water, to be sure to lock the fridge. The man took a call, and quickly became heated. "Put it back wherever you got it," he screamed.

Picking up a package of hot dogs at 7-11, he spotted an old "friend" who recognized him instantly. "Max!" He could not place his friend's name, but he soon realized it was not necessary - any other synonym would suffice. Eventually he said it: it was Richard. A few of Richard's friends came back and drank all the beer in the fridge, the one he could now not remember how to close. When Dana called to tell him she was coming over, Max kicked them all out, saying, "The jetlag is always worse than you can imagine."

She did not stay long, and appeared substantially more interested in the house than anything else present. Feebly, Max heard himself offering to dogsit for her. She touched every wall with her red fingernails. Before she left he said, "There is a fascination with repeating yourself that I have never been able to understand until now."

In the morning he woke early, but not early enough to view the rising of the sun. All Max recalled of the previous night was her thighs. Could not imagine what kind of work she had done to make them look so smooth, like the crests of waves. When the mailman delivered a few circulars and a book of coupons to the house, he took off a hat with a picture of John Lennon on it and said, "The blue lagoon is closed today. Some kind of problem with shrapnel in the air." Max could only nod as he drove off.

Max walked around the city, up and down it really, quickly getting myself far more lost than he intended. A cadre of Colombians were staging a festival; children oscillated on bouncy castles for as far as Max's eyes could see. Mothers tried to decrease incrementally the velocity of their descent, shouting, "A careful churl comes to no sorrow, slow, slow, slow," in a language he could only half understand.

A crowd had gathered around a magic act on the esplanade. The magician looked young for his skill level; his moustache was obviously fabricated. At some point during his demonstration, the magician shouted as loud as he could that the painting he was about to make disappear was an American classic.

In the daylight the house resembled the burning end of a cigarette. The temperature dropped, and he had packed nothing to insulate himself against any kind of cold. He called the caretaker but the connection was indistinct. All he could hear was a woman breathing very heavily before she said, "March in single file. When we arrive you can eat it."

He thought of calling Dana, but remembered the events of the previous evening with more clarity. Her expression had only been familiar to him at first, but he had difficulty placing its meaning completely. Now, as he placed his phone inside an old drawer, he fathomed what it was: the same expression he had seen on his sister's face at their father's wake. He pulled the phone out of a drawer and called a number. He said to himself, but also to the house, "A mercurial phantom rides a long way. Come now the snow, the dithering in the artifice, to me if not to her as well. I could sit here, but I wait."

Dan Carville a writer living in Brooklyn.

Paintings by Hadas Tal.

"The Best of Friends" - Glass Towers (mp3)

"Tonight" - Glass Towers (mp3)


In Which We Reduce Ourselves To This

photo by Arno Minkkinen



“I don’t even know why it exists.” He drew my eyes to the pin perched on his breast pocket: an Argentine flag and a Finnish flag, their poles crossed at an axis. It’s always made me uncomfortable when someone puts stock in my heritage. 

“Where are you from? Spain? Italy?” 

“No, but I get that a lot. It’s Finnish,” I say of my surname. Or, “I’m Finnish,” even though I have only ever been to Norway, and I only know two words in my grandfather’s language — hyvää päivää — that actually function as one in mine.

photo by Arno Minkkinen

“People always think that, but I don’t think I look Latin at all,” I hear myself say, again and again, like a ritualized prophecy. “But I guess I don’t look very Finnish, either.” I flick my wavy brown hair over my right shoulder, dripping in vanity.

“Where did you get that?” I gape at the pin.

“I—I don’t know.”

“Is it a football thing?”

He laughs. “Who knows.”

“That’s so cute.” 

He orders a pulled pork sandwich, and we talk about how that used to be my weakness before living in Spain made me a vegetarian. (I still eat fish. And birds.) A few nights ago, after he took me to dinner, he went to get ice cream, alone. He texted me that it was delicious, and that we’d have to get some sometime. Familiar with the outpost, I told him it better not have been the vegan flavor. “yo. i’m from argentina,” my screen read. “i get steak flavored ice cream if it’s avails, okay?”

photo by Arno Minkkinen

We talk about how I drink and he doesn’t. We talk about how he lives alone and I don’t. He orders me another Jameson. The bartender stumbles over and I wonder what her BAC is, right at this very moment. Then he kisses me. Hard. Open. And in that second, my attraction to him leaves my center and dissipates down my extremities, till it evaporates from the very tops of my arms.

Later, when he walks me home, and we say goodbye, after a long kiss goodnight, I will turn around in my hallway, and run past my neighbors, back outside, to kiss him once again. And I won’t know if I mean it, or if it’s just another thing I do, like how I act when someone asks if I’m Italian, because I feel like I’m supposed to.

Sarah Salovaara is a writer living in Brooklyn. She blogs about film here, and you can find her twitter here.

"Flowers in Your Hair" - The Lumineers (mp3)

"Stubborn Love" - The Lumineers (mp3)