I am exhausted. My bones don’t ache, I lost my bones somewhere in a pile of papers and notes, sitting in a chair for hours on end day into night into day, again, I left them there.

There’s a particular mouth, a kind of mouth, that certain men I know possess. It’s not a sensual one, not the thick lower lip or the wide easy smile, the soft tongue, or fierce white teeth, or the smell of nicotine. It’s really just a sort of pucker, a tightness, yes, a bit like that. But really it’s about the set of the jaw, the control behind the setting of the jaw, a muscle contraction, a well-managed temper, the second before the jaw is set, the moment before the mouth draws tight, lips together, eyes burning with irritation, usually ice blue, where you can see the impatience briefly flash and then be harnessed, again. They are intelligent. They burn. It’s unintentional. It’s not for my benefit. It simply is, and I see it and I burn when I do, or my chest fills with inhale.

Good News

By Siri Z. Müller

Letters

Dear Friend,

Here is some crap. Here is some shit, here is something useless, my dear, for you. To make up for my negligence and my weakness. I’ve failed you in so many ways, ha ha. My letters are too far between, so let’s laugh and make some fun. I’ve had a little wine. Oh I’ve missed you, too. So. Well… anyway.

Ach. I don’t know. Days come and go, stories pass by unnoticed, just a sentence each, not enough to care, not enough material to weave. The great big strokes come much later, after we’ve had time to feel and think. Life continues to happen in wonderful ways, churning as always, but somehow I have nothing left to explain, to anyone. But I’m sure it will have been a really great year, looking back. A turning point, as usual. Isn’t that always the way with me? Ha ha ha.

Well, what can I tell you? I ran a short marathon in a big city, part of it through a zoo. Inexplicably, the herd ran faster there, winding through somewhat impractical paths and things, and the rhinos turned to stare, incredulous. They were excited, happy. The cats stared. Somewhere, a giraffe folded her neck and snorted. So we ran faster. I was consistent, and surprisingly fast. I’d silently asked the gazelles for gazelle energy, and they telepathically informed me that that was probably a very poor idea, after which I asked the bison for some advice, but by then we’d already left the park and moved on to the next kilometer.

Some people ran in costume. I watched them for a while to pass the distance. It was my first marathon. Well, not technically a marathon, but a race. I’d been so busy that I hadn’t had time to train, but it was not an overwhelming distance for me, and I welcomed the change of routine, surprisingly, on race day. Oh but my body ached afterwards, I was lame and my lungs felt totally unfamiliar, stretched a little too wide. We drank beer and warm tea at the finish. Some of us were more excited than others, because some of us were simply trying to find new uses for useless bodies, a new occupation.

Quickly, and to my surprise, this I should share with you, I received an accolade, and a great deal of money. A privilege and a station, which is just weird, and I seem to have also earned respect though that aspect was coincidence, and not due to any efforts on my part. And of course I adore conflicted emotions, so this constant source of ambiguous disappointment is fantastic. Nevertheless, it is something one should be proud of, and probably speak of in less elliptical ways. But nobody knows, because it is not a thing I love. I won’t even tell you what it is. I know, I know, how silly I’m being.

Ach. What else can I tell you. The cat doesn’t have cancer, probably, but I did find a flea on the dog, and now everything itches, constantly. We’ve moved, and my husband has a new office, and it’s lovely. I do not ever have a thing to wear, any morning, ever (I see mornings now) and my digestion is fine, I suppose. My sister is pregnant, again. I am not, as usual. They sent a yellow card informing us of the fact, though we already knew months ago, by designed accident. She signed her son’s name, I’ve never met him. We don’t speak. My sister and I, I mean. I’ve told you, probably. Right? We have not spoken since my wedding. Well no, actually since her wedding which was after ours, and which we weren’t invited to.  Yeah, it’s strange, we were close, I thought. Oh but I’m used to it.

I don’t speak to any of them, actually.

I hear my mother is building a house, after all. My brother wrote on Facebook that he is moving to Florida. So that’s great for him!

Whatever. I don’t even care what they do, anymore.

No, ugh, sorry, I have been so moody lately. Hormones, probably. I am definitely not pregnant, though, ha ha. Oh I must have mentioned that already.

Me and my crumbling, decaying reproductive system.

Oh dear, oh ha ha ha. I’m joking. No no no! Don’t worry about me. Some day I won’t be so unhappy.

Ok, darling, I’ll let you go and have a good night. You have so much to do tomorrow, and I have so much to do here. Say hello to the kids for me, they are just so adorable, as usual. But it must be getting close to bedtime there. So I should let you go.

Much love,

Siri

Moonscape

By Siri Z. Müller

Essay

Moonscape. Something died all over them, they ran and scattered, and I watched from a distance, between work, between papers that were not falling from the sky, but sitting blankly under my hands. So much dust, roiling. I was transfixed to screens in conference rooms I actually had not even known previously existed. I felt the dark, cool mahogany. I am sure it was actual mahogany. The leather below me was taut and expensive. My shoes were cold. I tried to ground myself there, to gawk, to feel, as if the observation of a thing could expand the knowing of it, but the tether was tight; in an unusual act of compassion, my boss commanded me to continue working. To not think about it, to simply go on, though clearly she did not expect much actual work from me. It was shocking, but it was not wrong, I could not deny her logic, at least not in that moment. I did not know where I was, really. I do not now know where everyone else was, exactly, why I had to stay. Maybe because nobody waited for me at the home I had alone, though my family advised me, in all seriousness, to begin walking towards Boston.


If I were to see Radislaw again, which I most likely never will, I should like to fuck him.

This does not mean that it would necessarily be a particularly good idea, that it would be worth the cuckholding of my own husband, or that I assume Radislaw would necessarily be a good lover. Though, based on the delicious kiss he quite literally stole from my face, drunken at 7 am after a night of caviar, champagne and success before he drove off to Poland, scorned and blueballed (and married), he might well be quite good between the sheets. I laughed as I slid onto my own empty bed, scratching sheets, imagining through the cruel filter of my own lust and drunkenness, his terrible, frustrated drive. Desperation makes a good bedfellow at dawn, after a week or two in a tight single bed on the road, at any rate. Maybe. He rarely sees his wife. She does not understand him. He is certainly handsome enough. He was very kind. He was not the one upon which I chose to target my flirtations, my arts, but, seeing the photos now, I was the one he chose. This disturbed my sleep and I woke up only a few hours later, upset and craving the attentions of another man. Any man. I became ill.

I’ve been married some little time now. Long enough for the blush and newness of requited love to sober me, though it could be four months or four decades, as much as it has, in actuality, been four years. It’s been a series of weeks and years of expectations, unmet. He is older. He’s a fine man, I love him duly and very much. It is a good man that I married, very kind and from a good family. Some money is involved. I did not doubt that we should marry. But my fires are reflected in him as wet matchbooks. I strike and strike and strike, and there is simply no spark.

There was a spark. It was a potential. Any man with a libido and a large cock knows that here, with a slut as I am, eventually, one may reap great rewards. Great obedience. But a little fuck on the rooftop was too dangerous and obscene for him, later on. I was too prudent to reward him with my panties under the table at dinner, between the third and fourth course, early on. He was pretending, or playing. He thinks sex is fed with love. He does not know my innermost thoughts. Perhaps he guesses them, but he does not know for certain, at any rate, and I do not feel the threat of violation that I so crave. For all I know, its a world apart from his own sweet, obedient and kind love. Chivalrous love, gentle and still and soft. Hated and feminine and yielding.

I despise his kisses. I would throw them back at him if I could. I would gather them up in my skirts, if I wore them, work spells, and cast them out, turned to curses and fires. His kisses are death, are sickly domestication, and though now I simply turn my head, a new weapon, perhaps one day they will fill me with hate and bile and I will spit. I will never feel the delicious sick twist of conquest with him, his goodness and his sweet ways. My god, what was I thinking? I dream, I confess, of the men I thought, once, that I might marry. Deviants, bastards, scoundrels and addicts. My daydreams grow, they take over and transplant my waning reality, the incessant I-love-you’s and intolerable It’s-so-nice-to-be-with-you’s that torment me.

I was a lioness, a beast and a despicable person, the rotten half woman that all women hate, with good cause and little self esteem. I hid the fact that I stole boyfriends and husbands, only for moments! Moments are nothing, when they had all of time, and Chinese take-out in bed, and Thanksgiving, and beautiful weddings and beloved sisters-in-law who called long distance. I devoured the feeling of want and lust, and lived from these stolen memories and feelings. I was an idiot, I was weak with power, and I enjoyed everyone. These moments were not serious, I was not a serious person. I was promised a great deal which was never meant to be granted; nobody can take themselves seriously under those circumstances.

Now I reap my debts to women I barely knew. Trapped with a man who, with a little more temperament, would be wild with fury, trying to understand why his wife is always just a bit out of reach. But he knows his place, as I mine. We serve our sentences together; though I thought it was an escape, our wedding was, actually, a gift, meant to placate his own treason.

It has not been enough.



My life is a series of nervous breakdowns. They happen more slowly as I get used to the movement, the up and down, the dizzying breadth followed by the very very narrow, and then a sheer drop to nothing that you climb up by inches. As a little girl I was perplexed by my frequent nervous breakdowns. Sometimes simple tantrums. Sometimes I could have killed, if I’d had the power of laser vision, or death rays shooting from my wrists, or curses or other violence. So I tried to fight my enemies weaponless, not even sure where the enemies were; I’d find out later, and even then I’d be wrong. I fought blind, screaming, caring and caring and caring. My socks, for example, were a great source of many a fine nervous breakdown. I really hated having the seam anywhere but exactly at the edges of my toes at all times; surely this was reasonable.

I entered a competition. Actually, we entered a competition. Here in Berlin.

It was a prize for an opera concept, and I luckily had an amazing partner, a composer who has done many strange, wonderful, complicated things. And won some prizes. I haven’t won any composing prizes, largely because I am not a composer, but I make up for it in moxy and strong conceptual ideas, despite all odds.