If you were to cut me open you would find: the dust of New York sidewalks, salugi and spaldeens; figures of eight at the Riverdale Ice Rink in a tiny black velvet skirt with a white satin lining snow white pullover and cap, all to the waltzes of old Vienna and gay Paris; my mother a small slippery elegant person impossible to grasp, my hands slid away she might have been a woman of snow; my father an operatic giant of equal parts terror and delight – blood and tears - Wotan, Humbert, Room 101; Leda's swan bending over me, kisses soft as butter in the sweet warm darkness under the El, the shattered fragments of what was once my childish heart; the Madonna of the dry tree, of the whirlwind, of the wilderness and of the rose garden; Russian novels flavoured with seasalt, long twilights over water and the odour of wild honeysuckle; the shining faces of children, the tear stained faces of lovers lost and found; the little Princess of Chartres and the noble knights of Saint-Germain-des-Prés; new lambs bleating with the voices of infants under apple trees in bloom; the lilacs that gather in the forgotten bomb sites of Austria and Berlin; insistent and tragical arias – Mozart, Händel, and Lieder that always end badly or madly, cries of joy in the darkness; a little corner of blue sky, mountains that smoke, the song of the blackbird, the spikes of the chestnut bloom so many angels at my bedside - ten to watch and ten to pray and ten to carry my soul away; the crown of thorns, the crown of twelve stars; the lamb dancing on the altar of my heart, dancing, calling – dancing. ‘Tout est grâce!’

For a personal manifesto see Maxim Gorky and Grandmother's God.

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