Two Stories by Viviane Vives

Art by Ana Butnaru
January 22, 2018
Intruder by Jessica Bonder
January 25, 2018
*First published in The Write Launch. Sandra Fluck, editor. *

Lake and Sea

            Lake Travis, Texas, May 15, 2015


Writing is talking to dead people, your traitors, curse them up close, bless them from afar. Monotonous monologue you cannot not leave without drugs or alcohol, meditation, or perhaps music; anything not to hear the same song in your brain for months. You wake up with it, piss with it, swim in the lake with it.

Yet, not the least bit of pain today. Warm breeze on my skin, rocked by the lake, no one can cry. There is joy in the water, music, children swimming. Enormous white clouds quietly stroll looking at everything. They help me breathe. Not even the sun is aggressive today. I want to be indolent, but while I swim, I think I started this book because of you and I have barely touched the subject. Your letters speak, occasionally. I would leave it there.


Nice le 29-1-60


         “Alberto (..) It’s funny how the person we love (you) is as necessary as the air we breathe, without true love (ours) life is a small thing, what difference when it’s the two of us together to see the beauties of life and to discover things that belong only to us. (…)

         Always we will walk hand in hand on the path of life and always we will breathe the same air, verdad? I love you and I love loving you. Forever, the destiny of Alberto and Bambi is linked. (…)

         Until tomorrow Alberto, tonight I will dream “in” (sic) you.” 

Barcelona, 2-II-60


             “Our love, beautiful, sacrificed, complete… Our desire to see each other continues to multiply (…) our love is no longer lacking in order to be perfect. Our joy must be greater than our sorrow. Perhaps god wants us to live our relationship as intensely as possible. He has us bound so that we appreciate the beauty of freedom to the fullest. Our freedom is to be together.”


The beginning of your love. Suspended in time as if it had never ended in cries, screams, betrayal, so much death . Even the incipient madness was better, it still equated to a certain kind of magical hope, it remained pure, charming. If I stop here, nothing else exists. Your love welling in my heart. I lay on the deck and open my notebook:


Perth, December 23, 2013. 


      Deep in the sea, first swim. The wind keeps blowing. I write about you two in two tongues: Star, sea, woman.

      Alberto shuffles down the hallway, cheering himself on to make it to Bambi, as she sits in the middle of the giant bed, so thin, surrounded by her little Jewish men and her Egyptian notes.

      His obsession lives on, inside each black pearl in his brain. He stumbles, filled with dread, he must have total closeness, not become her slave or run away in weakness.

      She’s her own magical destination. Frees him, delivers him to his talents, and in the end, to his death. Some may flee, but he fell, like most, forward, fully, to her feet, to really know her deep feminine power. Immense power to one who was pretending power.

      Star and human. Woman and man.



The world stopped every time she got on the train to Nice and the letters resumed.


Nice le 14. 9. 59


“A piece of street fell into the Sea!” “La Promenade des Anglais looked like a lake peppered with stones.”



Dialogues with Your Notebook



            “Secrets (for the book)”


            And nothing more. I see a forest. Why are forests and rivers so important in our story? Alberto’s was happy (for once;) yours was your freedom, then your horror, your prison. My forests are many, all over, trees fathering and mothering me.


“I will sing and dance for you, who knows how to pour honey on ancient wounds, you listen, give me no sobering speeches, you know, at times, my reasons are unreasonable.”


            We were like that too, best friends that told each other everything. I thought I knew everything about you, you all about me, but there is so much you didn’t tell me.


            “Dream: Tuesday 6 to Wednesday June 7, 2006 [only 5 years left in your life]

            From the top of a building I look down, crystal clear waters, formidable waterfalls of incredible energy, flow strongly in a mad dance. For a moment, I fear, then realize there is no danger, I observe from above, I can enjoy the sheer beauty of nature in full expansion.”


            That water takes me downstream. Don’t you see me?


“I hate repetition, routine, I hate all that prevents creation. I want space, silence to think, intimacy, loneliness, blinking, creating in peace. I’m sick of being interrupted, they believe that my time belongs to them. “


            I remember well your feeling of bother. It lay on top my feeling of bother. It came from inside. “My freedom to create!” We yell at them, but everything “eats” our time because we eat our own time as we run away, fast, through the dark forest of our minds; everything else a mirror.

About the Author

Viviane Vives is a filmmaker, actor, photographer, and writer, she’s married to architect MJ Neal, FAIA; together, they own an interdisciplinary creative studio. Viviane is a Fulbright scholar for Artistic Studies (Tisch School Of the Arts, NYU) and her translation work, poems, and short stories have been published internationally. As a photographer, filmmaker, and co-owner for the design studio she has exhibited internationally and won many awards. Viviane’s poetry recent publications are by Southeast Missouri University Press and Lito Magazine of London. Rusty Morrison of Omnidawn has agreed to edit Viviane’s book manuscript, the Cities and the Dead, which will be finished in 2018. Viviane writes in both, Spanish and English. Her first language was French and part of her family spoke Catalan at home. She learned Portuguese to be able to read Fernando Pessoa in his native language. In chronological order, the cities she has lived in for an extended period of time are: Barcelona, Paris, Madrid, New York, Sant Feliu de Guixols, Los Angeles, Austin, Sydney, and Perth. She’s currently back at ‘home’ in Austin, TX.