Six Sentence Stories is a weekly writers’ challenge hosted by Denise at Girlie on the Edge blog.
Join us and take part in the form here. This week’s cue word is: Centre
You Were There and Not There
(For Lolanda Cristina Gigliotti)
If I could turn revolvers into posies, I would have done so at the blink of your beautiful eyes.
If I could turn bullets into butterflies, I would have done so at the first stretch of dawn which tells the baker to bake and the cockerel to crow.
If I could turn deadly pills into sweet cherries, I would have done so the moment evening fell and dark thoughts formed on the epaulettes of the setting sun.
But it’s hard to hear gunshots among the song of the cicadas; hard to see butterflies against specks of light upon the Mediterranean sea; hard to digest cherries when the stomach is full of wine, and I… I am no alchemist… merely a plundered man ashamed of what his country has become, and who pines for the guitars and the mandolins and the tambourines making aching melody of all that once was but is no longer there.
Dalida… is that you… is that really you, Dalida… how you came to me at dawn when I had fallen asleep after waiting up all night; Dalida, your costume the colour of mimosa and lavender, your lips letting slip the harmony of ‘Gigi L’Amoroso’ and a trail of scattered words: “I’m so sorry I’m late, but my show in Milan was delayed by almost two hours.”
Dalida, no… wait… wait… ah… how you perched your hands defiantly on hips and laughed, and that was when I saw the swelling at the centre of your stomach – a bloating not caused by fine wine, cuisine nor some divine pregnancy, but a belly full of barbiturates… and I… I watched your ghost diminish, going, going, gone as though auctioned to the highest-bidding angels, and leaving me there to gaze at your legend tacked upon each sky to come.
English translation of Gigi L’Amoroso lyrics: here
You Were There and Not There poem by Ford, July 2021
You Were There and Not There – La Garde, Var, mural photo et clipart par Ford, juillet 2021
If you could go back in time and change tragedy to a happier outcome, would you?
In my poem You Were There and Not There I wanted to remove certain bullets from certain guns and certain pills from a bottle; I wanted to stop all those suicides which claimed the loved ones of Dalida, and even herself eventually.
But who am I to change such events, no matter how sad, how tragic? As I stated in the poem, I am no alchemist.
I imagined Dalida came to me in a dream after I was waiting up all night for her. When she finally arrived she was a ghost – having died just a few hours earlier – and she offered her apology for being late before departing into the spiritual world.
In the real events of Dalida’s death her suicide note read as: “La vie m’est insupportable. Pardonnez-moi.” (“Life is unbearable for me. Forgive me.”)
The tragedies which surrounded this most talented artist in her brief lifetime are more than enough to make a soul ache for eternal rest. Dear Lolanda Cristina – Dalida – there is nothing to forgive, only a sincere and loving thank you for what you gave to us as gifts in your time on this earth.
Ford Waight, The Atomic Mage
Additional images: Place Dalida and sculpture, Montmartre, France, 2017. Photo par Sylvie Waight.