An Excerpt from To the Left Armpit of Mattia Casalegno and Other Love Letters, Summer 2010, Berlin

1.

August 12, 2010

To the Wolford Corset-Stocking-Bodysuit that Got a Run in it About an Hour After I’d Bought it for 55 Euro—

I was a fool to wear you around the flat with shoeless feet on the old rough wood-planked floor, I see this now, I was a fool.

You were good to me, though, in that hour, so thank you.

I got some good photos: black and white, spread-eagled, knees on a mattress that had no sheet, breasts exposed like sugar before it dissolves into cooking chocolate.

Worth it, yes,
So ciao and thanks,
Johanna Hedva

2.

August 12, 2010

To Wojciech’s Soaps that Are Handmade by His Neighbor in a Kitchen or a Bathroom—

You look like small pieces of strange wood that have been cut roughly with scissors, about the size of a pair of folded socks. There are five or six of you, altogether, and though each has his own smell, you all give off a cloddy, kind of ripe and loamy scent, from where you live by the bathtub. I use the one that reminds me the least of mud on my body but not on my face; every time I take a bath, I say hello to you. I am fond of you guys.

Love,
Johanna Hedva

3.

August 14, 2010

To the Large Woman in the Swimming Pool Showers Who Had a Scar on Her Back Like a Crater, the Size and Shape of a Kiwi—

A scoop had been taken out of you, you poor thing. Seeing it, while you kept your front turned away from all of us and toweled your hair and creamed your legs and dressed, was as sharp as imagining what must have made it. It must have hurt so badly, sweetheart, the cutting out of whatever had been there. (What was it? Did you take a bullet they had to dig out? Were they trying to get at your heart?) How it must have, for days afterward, ached and burned and felt like it was gulping at you. (Did the bandage stick to it?) Could you not lay down or sit with your back in a chair or go swimming? How did you sleep? On your soft, big stomach, with your nightgown undone behind you, and your back stinging.

I noticed the woman in the next shower stall looking at it, and I wondered if she’d been taken by the same quick and uncontrolled thought that I had: about putting my tongue into it. It looks smooth inside, like a ceramic bowl made to hold a little round thing. It’s a shallow, concave place that’s perfect for a tongue. It would feel like licking out the bottom of an ice cream cone, or one of those round, mini-sized yogurt cups. I wondered if you’ve had a man on your back who put his tongue, his nose, into it, and then made a noise about how good that feels. You are warm, and he holds your great breasts from behind, and loves you with your missing piece.

He should do this, your man.

Love,
Johanna Hedva

4.

August 13, 2010

To the Coolest Sunglasses I’ve Ever Owned (Will Ever Own)—

Of course, I lost you. Who could keep you? You were so cool.

First, some weeks ago, you lost one of your arms (you were so devil-may-care!), and so I wore you like a kind of monocle on a stick. Someone told me, “but you cannot go around like this,” and so I did, we did, you clung to my face so well. We trusted each other’s carelessness.

I think I lost you (the rest of you) outside the gelato shop today.

Go, then, cool son, lamed and one-armed but brilliant and shining son, and forget me, have no last thoughts about the short time (two months, was it?) we had. I’ll forget you too. It’s okay.

Love,
Johanna Hedva

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Johanna Hedva Johanna Hedva

Johanna Hedva is an artist and writer in Los Angeles. She has exhibited, performed, or had her work performed at the Hammer Museum and PØST in Los Angeles, a forest near Joachimstal and the basement of Jahnstrasse 6 in Berlin, and Real Presence 10 in Belgrade, among others. Her latest piece, The Real Life of Johanna Hedva, has begun. She works at Johannakozma.com.

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