The Totem Collector

The Mademoiselle of Red Flags is mentally ill because she is nostalgic about a past that she never had. Was never granted, perhaps. She moves as though she was wearing human skin, layers of it, around her neck. The darker her mood, the higher her head, as her hands shoved the crowds apart that she pranced through. Never did she leave her flat without putting her yellow amulet over her chest, for everyone to stare at and wither as if caught by the glance of a snake.

In the Mademoiselle’s mind a carousel of female centaurs never stops galloping and vocalising. She had started to populate the carousel when she entered the kindergarten. She recorded every little mean voice. Tuned in with every malevolent idea. The execution of mockery had been more than an appetiser for her. The parade of mistreatment became the saddest and most expected of welcomes. The Mademoiselle built her entire worldview in two years.

Girls had seen the Mademoiselle naked and laughed at her behind her back. She accepted the laughter and internalised the grimaces. Boys pretended to love her and their attraction expired after the act that left the Mademoiselle colder than ice. When the Mademoiselle fell and the crowd’s cheer turned itself on, she preferred to be seriously injured instead of getting up and moving on and letting go. The voices and fingers of others got older alongside her and wherever she went she took them all with her without being aware of her prolonged misery.

The Mademoiselle’s carousel revolves around her. Without her, it would be still and stagnant. She can’t sleep without the tune. She can’t look at herself in the mirror without waking up the centaurs, rattling the discourse off. The Mademoiselle is lonely. She put all the other girls’ faces over her own, grinning down at her, she made them her companions, chose them over herself. She wanted to be safe. She couldn’t afford a carousel of her own, a cheap one, one that was falling apart.

The Mademoiselle is a collector of totems, surreal, the lock of Genève, the earring of Damasque, the perfume of Amonie. Pinned. Blocked. Halted. What is shallow she makes whole. She has the scissors, the soap and water, the vessel. In her hands nothing fades, except herself. She has nothing to give away. The Mademoiselle is a blind robber who has lost sight of her motive.

She once felt like she had everything she needed, but then they made her feel so nude and small and vulnerable. They looked at her for so long that she felt herself fade away and dissolve and never did she recuperate the ability to restore herself and see what she had lost and given up in favour of the centaur girls.

Instead of falling asleep to the sound of her own sweet solitude, she let herself be stomped into oblivion by the repetitive hooves of her antagonising cavalcade that she never stopped revisiting and reawakening.


“Wasserschlangen II (Freundinnen)” by Gustav Klimt (1862-1918)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s