Copy Queen Papers, part 1.3

19 marzo [1996]

So… this letter is beginning to bother me. How’s that for a third entry.

I know I had something to tell Pat. But Jocelyn saved my life today. It just goes to show the kind of things that can go screwy when you’re a wetback (that’s foreshadowing, not foreshortening).

Thank you Jocelyn. I had a sort of job interview/meet the community sort of deal today. Anyway, this morning Sgna Cattaneo asked me if I had any clothes to wash. Well everything was dirty, I thought she was helping me get ready for the interview so I was like, “Yeah, please.” That’s «Si, grazie.» for those voting at home. Anyway, the appointment is rolling around, I get out of the shower and go to look for some clothes. I forgot they don’t have a dryer. So all my clothes were wet. “Hmmm…” I said to myself, “This is not good.” But luckily there was a single shirt I hadn’t worn, the one Jocelyn gave me as a going away present. It was still clean and dry. I also had my suit slacks and plenty of socks. Man, I know how to pack a lot of socks. So I am dressed nicely (if somewhat oddly; I call it moda di Nuovo Mexico). The interview went well I suppose. They said the same thing everyone always says, “You really have your own style. I don’t know if there’s anyway for us to work with it.” We’ll see, they are keeping my portfolio for a couple days and will farm me out if they can. Maybe, I don’t know. It’s weird. I’m an illegal for these purposes and they obviously understand that but they are very encouraging. Morocco may be calling though, or maybe that’s Korea, or maybe Seattle, or maybe just Bologna, or maybe just my body telling me to go to sleep.


I just got back from Bianca and Maurizio’s. I dasn’t dare tell ya what we ate. Oh, okay. Nothing much, just some sort of prosciutto stuffed with artichoke and cheese and stuff. Oh, we had martinis again. Remember that smoked salmon we had at work? Well, the main course was that but in a sauce on pasta. Desert was pudding first (chocolate for those keeping score at home) and then a batch of things from the pastecciere (or something, my brain limit for italian was reached at four pm today). One of the variety (for instance) was a tiny chocolate basket (much like an empty Reese’s cup) filled with a cream tapioca and on top was a tiny cake (just like a french donut) stuffed with the same and there was whipped cream on top. We had Liquore Strega, Grappa, and Grand Marnier along with these things. This is what people eat at home here. This is a modest house and the table they set.

I designed a new font this week. BodoniFutura, I’m calling it. It is going to progenate a couple more once it’s done. Well, I have a more important interview a week from today. It is supposedly with a typographical type of firm (how ironic, I always wanted to design firm types). I was also discussing the possibility of becoming a gigolo (a word which Italians seem to understand…?) Bianca has some lonely friends. I’ve got three months to get married, get a visa or get expelled. No, Signora. Non sono italiano. Sono extracommunitario. So I’m working out and window shopping for a new wardrobe.

I learned some things today. For instance, the power they use in Europe…well, it’s an interesting amperage. In fact I dare say that although the volts are quite higher it’s got the same exact kick as an American outlet. I was attempting to fix a speaker wire while the amplifier was running. My thumb still feels funny.

An hour ago I saw one of the most beautiful young women I’ve ever imagined might exist. It was sheer madness. She was black and I can’t describe her, she was too fine for my coarse and pale vocabulary. I can tell you something of her dress though. It was clingy with broad black and white stripes. This was quite complementary to her five inch pumps in black and white leather. And for the naïf in the crowd I can assure that her garb in combination with her locality (via Misurata, more delicious irony) made it a certainty she’s a whore; putana. It’s legal here. I am unsure how to feel. Like someone took a crowbar to my soul and rifled through everything trying to find one particular emotion, found it lacking and left everything in disarray. Just one of those things I guess.

There are things you need to know about the rain that fell on exactly one half of a windshield for over a mile. There are things you need to know about the kestrel that would feed a kitten it found near it’s nest above a highrise balcony. There are things you need to know about the kid who fell out of a plane with a parachute and landed with a broken back; if you know this thing the word fall will never again be gentle as snow; as the death of a good man in a quantity of same. But the thought of writing makes me climb under the table and wish for an escape as temporary or permanent as the world might offer via snake, needle, whore, or this sixth story window I’m in front of. Remember me? No more remember me.

The trouble with me and sobriety. Here I am. …choices that have brought us here / your lies / my lack of faith / your will was true / I wanted you / but you slipped into bed with me too late / now here I am a rich young man / no one I trust to hold my hand / there you go / pretend to know / the way this movie has to end… Do you get it? Or more to the point: do you want it?

This girl, an old friend of mine, opened up some ideas for me recently. That is to say she gave me a special present and she called me insane. In so many words but in a gentile and conciliatory tone, in friendship in fact. She loves me and I love her as much as I can understand the emotion anymore. It was once synonymous with safety for me, from betrayal, this sort of thing. Like many other people. In retrospect I feel this is a terrible lie. Now I am quite sure I misunderstand, because I seem the only one in fair practice of the new idea of it. Surely that must make me wrong. If I’m the only one, how could I be right? Anyway, this girl gave me an important book. A book that was perhaps too much for me. I left it in America. Left it in America. Those are funny words. I hope she’s not mad. I loved it too much. That I know she understands.

This boy, a good friend of mine (who I may someday owe more than I can say now), and I woke up in the dorms at an ungodly hour one morning after being up to an ungodly hour one night. I said something I’ll never forget or perhaps reconcile. We met in the middle of the hall and I was looking at my hands, feeling something, I’m sure. I said, “Flesh is funny.” He laughed. He’s a very good person. I think he’s gone over, but I’m not sure. If he has, I want him to come back.

Personal tone, you don’t mind do you? It’s this insanity you see. It’s inside of me you see. And everything I’m living on is everything I’m missing. Stone soup and Emperor’s cloth. A museum of Japanese skin and a death’s head moth.

I think perhaps I should go. No one seems to like me much when I am here. No one but me, of course, and then I’m terribly in love. Just one of those things. Alceste reincarnate.

Oh, yeah, if any of y’all copy this for my grandmas make sure and white-out all the dirty words. They think I’m still a virgin. Hell, they don’t even know I’ve met Carl Lewis. They don’t believe I am the son of Satan. This would of course make what have always been odd familial relations go all the way south, as it were. Ciao, buona notte.


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