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I had long admired the tough, uncompromising, take-no-prisoner’s quality of Laura’s psyche, in which I sought to see my own. I saw in Luca the agitation of my own psyche. Laura, however, in a process she describes as codependency with the dead, a ghostwriting, excavated and emphasized Luca’s vulnerability, a quality I had never seen or sought in his work. Her historian’s sense discerned this vulnerability, a vulnerability all too real during years of compelled isolation during a time in Romania when it was unsafe for a Jew to walk the streets of Bucharest, when all Jews were perused and pursued, snatched and sent to labor or death camps. Laura empathized with Luca’s sequestration in his small room, his extraordinary libido necessarily stifled and outraged, displaced through pen onto paper, phantasizing objects of desire: opera hats, monocles, objects of refinement he craved even while wishing to destroy the world that produced them. Keenly aware of these historical circumstances, she transported the original speaker; faced with a choice of words, she intuited those words of most resonance in their new language.

…where I preserve the pressed rose, the ribbons and the bows, the perfumes of the women over which we committed suicide so many times, so many times I waited for you by the side of the sidewalk, by the side of the ship, my shoes shining especially for you. How many times didn’t I die? How many times nine times nine? Laura knows how difficult it would have been to obtain shoe polish during wartime, as so many marching feet competed for it; to desire someone so much that one must obtain shoe polish and must apply it, invested in desire, must polish an object, make it shine, to lure the bird. It is the very act of desire, rubbing shoe polish on shoes (the shoe itself an erotic object, as Freud knew), the rubbing of the shoes a sensual act, dark glaze applied to reflect light, tactile technique manifesting chiaroscuro so prized among singers and painters. It is the very act of desire, to attempt to procure this black-market concoction, plotting and process to procure themselves erotic acts, this polish, 97

Profile for Contra Mundum Press

Gherasim Luca Centenary Issue  

Essays and reflections in English and French on Romanian surrealist Gherasim Luca, including Luca's own texts and art. Also featuring rumi...

Gherasim Luca Centenary Issue  

Essays and reflections in English and French on Romanian surrealist Gherasim Luca, including Luca's own texts and art. Also featuring rumi...

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