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Let her struggle till she is strong 


(Metaliterary contaminations) 

by 


ORSO MARIA STRADA 



INDEX 


1 the king's recovery 

2 the monarch's pride 

3 the crumbling order of history 

4 after the commune 

5 the divine draught 

6 she frowned at the stone 

7 let her struggle till she is strong 

8 a profile of courage 

9 the long truce 

10 perfection of the moment 

11 vita nostra brevis est 

12 the germ of a future life 

13 Christian blood 

14 the approaching storm 

15 a mask of sanity 

16 a knowing air 

17 fragmentary glimpses 

18 simple amusement 

19 over the hills and far away 

20 the cleaning lady 



21 blue fairy godmother 

22 the jewish dance orchestra 

23 killed by the tigers 

24 the knuckle of an ox 

25 solution of continuity 

26 over the moon 

27 the young Syrian 

28 the needy monk 

29 items of interest 

30 the lower lights 

31 fun at the seaside 



the king's recovery 


let me tell you 

about the unspeakable 

and the unknowable 

of how envious she would be 

of her father's passion for the bars 

she had the phone disconnected 

and business rests not here 

the cemetery covered an area 

of forty meters by fifty 

the people were urban and miserable 

she had all the mean stuff in her suitcase 

someone knew before her 

a long time ago 

some of those people died 

while she knew 

she was envious of the grown-ups 

in their pastime 

she lay in a profound sleep 



the monarch's pride 


from the bleeding heart of 

an impenetrable darkness 

tickled with the subtleties of 

this lamp-black discourse 

does it pay that virtue 

will eventually be restored 

sherry with lemon peel and nutmeg 

taxes both alike and takes the blood 

which means the pride of the universe 

finally becomes institutionalized 

she laughs at this and wonders privately 

of romantic thought as foolish folly 

ashamed to be her family's disgrace 



the crumbling order of history 


when she got back to her car 
she fell into the most violent agonies 
free of any inherent morbid beauty 
at the other extremity of the house 
a phoenix without a nest 
a bird absolutely without a perch 
seemed to be bleeding from its mouth 
there were natural caves where she 
had organized naked bonfire dances 
hand over hand till fingers hit the pole 
it was a bit like cross-examination 
again uneasiness crept upon her 
the situation was not easy at all 



after the commune 


all unnecessary luxuries were left behind 

the affair had created a scandal 

now slackness and indifference invaded them 

a great deal of unkindly gossip was talked 

it was a shame to topple them over 

how conceited can you get 

her first impulse was to call to him 

their eyes locked like magnets 

coming into line of a grave disregard 

of social good taste nothing 

like breaking them in right 



the divine draught 


the scene must be changed 

she couldn't think of eating anything 

it would be difficult to see her again 

she heard the crunching of tires on the gravel 

and laughed in her silent but heartfelt manner 

unable to change course 

or salvage the story of the silence 

the dark city under dark skies 

she was a scientist with one private vice 

scared and confounded as she was 

she had a sacred obligation 

to sustain the divine work 

living alone in a small apartment in the suburbs 

all her faults and foibles 

buried in the grave with him 



she frowned at the stone 


she looked up at him 

she hadn't known her own strength 

will it save me if I need saving she said 

a little learning is a dangerous thing 

she had known so many disturbing events 

they sat in silence the whole way to the cemetary 

the falling of the tower was enough for them 

the rabbit-hole was easy to find 

I'm not worried she said flatly 



let her struggle till she is strong 


the male warriors were trying to get through the bottom hatches 

she spat blood under the vulture sky 

her voice retreated into the Pythagorean shadows 

sullen compromises were sullying her air 

her absence would not be a good omen 

the men looked about in all the pots and crucibles 

neptune filled the waves even up to the skies 

her cellphone must have not been receiving 

when she asked the question with apparent scorn 

what quite unmanned in folly 



a profile of courage 


fools you are be fools forever she said 

he saw that this was true 

she began to be intemperate in her habits 

in the honeymoon of prosperity played such freaks 

he was alarmed but did not know why 

she was wearing her usual at-home vesture 

at length she flung him a few words he did not catch 

you ask me about myself but what shall I say 

she saw the clouds and rain and refused to be disturbed 

she felt like a worm that feeds in the dark 

upon the fruit where it was born 

after putting away the last of the dinner dishes 



the long truce 


she stood there day after day 

in the shade of the great tree admiring the house 

her perspiring face waled like corduroy 

she kept herself busy working about the house 

blue water came to an end after barbados 

nothing that she could say had any difference 

her domestic economy continued on the old footing 

she paused and drew a deep breath 

the wind roared once in the forest 

her house was all wood and brown leather upholstery 



perfection of the moment 


she reached the wooden bridge over the river 

which the moonlight converted into a river of 

every dirty passion and bad propensity 

in her nature took the alarm 

this was an incident not much in her favor 

she was all patience in appearance 

all uneasiness in reality 

she could hear the cattle breathing 

with helpless fear and fascination 

outside it had grown dark, a chemical 

darkness that felt linked to profound evil 

she took the veil from her lovely face 

and leaned out the pillar of the loggia 

her voice had totally failed her 

her mind refused to suggest words 

and like everything else that strange night 

the words became symbols 

the extraordinary unreality was frightening 



vita nostra brevis est 


she set forward 

and began to climb the hill 

she was going to leave this world 

beholden of nothing and nobody 

deploring this supposed misconception 

yet despairing of correcting it 

she didn't know what to do with herself 

she surrendered to the cosmic claw of inertia 

she'd been feeling that way for a week 

horrible nauseas had possessed her in the morning 

she hoped that that would be the end of it 

she dreamed of a life whose every impulse 

would be dedicated to god 

her cheeks were flushed 

and her hair was beginning to come down 



the germ of a new life 


all things were older than man 

and they hummed of mystery 

yet love still existed 

it was the only thing that existed 

she knew neither fear timidity nor caution 

and all hearts were touched 

and turned to her voice 

her laughter gurgled softly like a little spring 

she held the office of general spy 

and informer in the establishment 

the stranger wriggled like a worm on a hook 

she lay stretched across the bed 

as still as if the hand of death has pushed her down 

then they came out and locked her up 

plato himself did not hold poets in greater abhorrence 

than these men of business do 



Christian blood 


she stood there etched in light 

trying to communicate what she could not express 

she laughed and tilted her head 

and then she gave him the charred arm 

laughing she walked down the row of beds 

the miserable physicist sat like a man in a dream 

she carried him towards a big towel 

watching the waves creeping towards him 

he was not alarmed by her visits 

he looked at her with a mixture of longing and hatred 

you really make me laugh she said 

the woods were full of wardens 

she had a desperate desire to make known her fate 



the approaching storm 


It was the hell of an off-chance 

her hat was gone and her clothes were awry 

she heard slow footsteps rustling over the leaves 

she sliced up spinach pumpkins and brinjals 

in the twilight she noticed a doe at the edge of the woods 

the craving for the sexual anarchy began to diminish 

nothing reigned for a long time but confusion 

her face had become frozen in a curious look 

this show carried away her usual calm and courage 

she lay naked under the sheet wishing he would come to bed 

brief and fearful were the words exchanged between the lovers 

there's no need is there for us to avoid the fantastic altogther 



a mask of sanity 


she listened to the silence outside the house 

in the sun at noon shirt open she stepped forward 

the red sun at noon was pasted in the sky like a wafer 

someone had left some fruit on the table 

another of his looks would have sent her to the grave 

he declared aloud her flight protesting his own innocence 

the immediate thing was to look for her 

finally something happened there was silence a terrible silence 

she traversed the new home she had found 

he was gone and she wanted to cry 

visions of sugar plums clouded her vision 



a knowing air 


toward the middle of the night she awoke 

phrases from the letter kept running through her mind 

the ocean came nearer and the foam moaned like a leper 

she went to the window to have a look at the stars 

never did she mind what he had done 

she thought of him just the bright reflex of herself 

that night she went back to the shack and set fire to it 

and now the body was consumed by the flames 

the ocean seemed to rise up to the sky in a wall of steel 

already the legend had gifted her with supernatural powers 



fragmentary glimpses 


such an instinct it was, such a rapturous command 

that would be rather amusing she said I've never seen it done 

like a black smoke driven by a mounting wind she fled 

the top of the road was removed from her by an alpian distance 

that would be a fairy-tale ending all right 

one would think she was going to have her throat cut 

waiting for the doctor was the worst part of it 

at the end of the day when their sugar blood is low 

daughters of suicide often think of killing themselves 

but a noise from outside interrupted her 

dust of the dead gods like cobwebs in the air 



simple amusement 


money was waiting to be made 

she provided herself with a lamp and dagger 

a strange sensation came over her 

she stopped laughing and her hands twitched 

the violence of yesterday had disturbed her deeply 

escape was out of the question 

the television images pulled themselves together 

all was again dark and gloomy 

at last for want of breath she paused 

she took his face between her palms 

aren't you too old for lechery by now she said 



over the hills and far away 


she belonged to a very poor family 
in that rookery of pomp and vanity 
the palms of her hands started to sweat 
infiltration from below came through the sewers 
the only drawback of putting her under restraint 
she became an easy prey to the methodist 
the dream still shuddered in milky dawn light 
body burned with silver flesh 
the indications otherwise have been too clear 
nobody will ever visit the planet uranus 



the cleaning lady 


she felt his presence warm around her 

the darkness growing against the windows 

she snatched the money from him 

the rain had stopped and the wind fallen 

she looked at him in astonishment 

and again she saw the nearness of the edge 

in paroxysms of hunger 

round the outflow of the sewers 

his body disintegrate in green explosions 

she did not believe in the machines 

she broke free turned and left 



blue fairy godmother 


she carried out their instructions anyway 

she checked her wristwatch 

she was interrupted by a loud humming 

she felt dreadfully puzzled 

the most racking pangs succeeded 

there were bluish sacs beneath her eyes 

why don't you go outside and wait she said 

inwardly cringing she closed her eyes and sighed 

she knew not that she had any right to be surprised 

she had no energy to make any more notes 

fate pointed a way and she took the hint 

she tapped one of her luckies from her plastic case 

it dawned on her that her utopian self 

must have been a different person from her 



the jewish dance orchestra 


she tried to raise a hand 

she hadn't kept her side of the bargain 

he looked at her like she was an idiot 

she put up her palms in puzzlement 

she felt as if had all become a twilight zone 

hardest of all she had to break the matter to him 

but this was shown to be quite impossible 

her heart suddenly filled with anxiety 

the rain stopped and the sun came out 

there's something about war that brings out greatness 



killed by the tigers 


a sudden interest swept over the room 

littered with empty packing boxes 

she felt an instant of illogical panic 

she held out her hand to the nurse 

tell me how to get rid of my soul she said 

a sob escaped through clenched teeth 

the light grew brighter in her brain 

nothing could stop her she could fly 

the gods were witness to the intensity of her heart 

subtle as the twentieth echo of an echo 

she was only another shadow now against the night 

she had thrust the light through the bars of the window 

her life lay again in the established order of things 



the knuck of the ox 


the town had been semi-abandoned years ago 
she took a cigarette out of the pack 
and she strolled in the gloom of the room 
she was becoming more irritable and nervy 
she loved him as only a viking god could be loved 
in the silence there was a faint chattering 
even the panic of love was an illusion 
a moment and she would be past all help 
the town clock struck the half hour 
it looked foolishly without a church 
the belief and herself with it was a corpse 
the thing made a big stir in the town 
a strange punishment for a little indiscretion 



solution of continuity 


the world she lived in seemed all a delusion 

in an instant all would vanish 

the whole thing was an absolute death trap 

would she ever have done 

in those days she had still her way to make 

that is what she found so wonderful 

but she had no satisfaction in society 

anyone else would have bled to death 

to be a comrade with the wolf and the owl 

always winter than endless winter 



over the moon 


she dared not love again and lose 

there was nothing strange in that 

she was reminded of what her double said 

there was a gap an indeterminate distance 

the ultimate was always a dream 

and this was a great blessing 

she had been acting with foolish impetuosity 

she laughed shrilly out of fear 

a red cloud seemed to close over her eyes 

there was one thing that bothered her 

he never asked once about the death toll 

the whole trip had been a big waste of time 



the young Syrian 


she refilled the priest's glass 

she gave vent to expression of interest 

she let her head sink a little to the side 

the sermon ended and ablutions performed 

from within came a sound like a soft laugh 

she had plenty of anguish after that moment 

she left a touch on her shoulder light as wind 

the body of men in the woods rustled 

the passions that ensued must be conceived 

she had never abandoned herself to men 

like the other goddesses too beautous to be wed 

lovely as no other woman was lovely 

the ultimate visage of the sacred she hated 

when men took her for granted as a woman 



the needy monk 


big man in that doorway 

everything failed to subdue her 

she sat wretchedly on a packing case 

the creature did not rise again 

long ago she uncovered the secrets of the moongates 

but she had to throw the book away 

silence was hailed as a welcome relief 

now there was something moving in the room 

she began to feel very uneasy 

a pulse started beating in her temple 



items of interest 


the ideal exists where nothing any longer happens 

the voices were not just coming from the medium 

she was jumpy about a lot of things 

the plane took off without accident 

there was a kind of travesty of humanity over there 

the thing moved of its own free will 

the mirage flurried, trembled, misted away 

nor was that altogether without a warrant 

a secret weighed heavy upon her soul 

a bad feeling began to creep over her 



the lower lights 


she relapsed into a state of wretchedness 

two famine stricken dogs were nosing the garbage 

she tried to shake off her gloom 

the stillness was stagnation and decay 

she was going to have to cease to be dead 

a funny thing happened her way home 

a naked youth appeared in front of her 

i saw a dark sky and tall battlements he said 

his suffering did not last long 

she began to giggle and it was an insane sound 



fun at the seaside 


as she walked into the darkness she heard a loud sound 

like a flock of homesick cranes flying to their nests 

she received no answer that night 

by what law of the universe was she set there 

she remembered what he said about her being alone 

too much alone ravaged by thought 

there was a sudden sharp spasm in her throat 

due to shock and failure of the heart 

she had a long walk before herself the next action day 

she stood there like an expectant criminal 

crime is beautiful she said in a dream