- Italy -
Valentina Neri was born in Cagliari where she lives and works. She studied Art History at the University in the same city and graduated with a thesis on the Sardinian artist Maria Lai.
In 2013 she published the novel Le donne di Balthus by Arcadia publishing house. The novel reached the final at the literary prize Alziator in the same year. Her book of poems Voli inVersi, published by Arcadia in 2015, was introduced to the public in Cagliari by Davide Rondoni, who also wrote the preface to the book. The same year she also participated in the international festival “Capudanne de sos poetas” at Seneghe (Sardinia).
Valentina Neri is currently the director of the cultural association Il Grimorio delle arti and as such, she has organised exhibitions and cultural happenings in unusual places with the well-known Italian poets Claudio Damiani, Franca Mancinelli and Franca Grisoni.
Her books have earned recognition from many famous writers and scholars such as Maria Luisa Spaziani, Dante Maffia, Silvio Raffo, Filippo La Porta.
Her last work is Folliame, published by the editor La vita felice.
The little match seller / La fiammiferaia
Every match a dream
Every dream a flight!
One flight after another
On the filthy and shear snow
That scratches the child with asphalt
Death makes its way
And turns her body to marble.
Swallow her silent and alert mouth
Grab her round bare little hands
Snatch her lifetime interrupted
By a macramè frill
Grab her knees dirtied on all fours
Grasp her fury without aims
Seize! Her vices as impulsive butterflies
Grasp! Her oxymoron that prolongs time
Seize! The freezing cold of her motionless tender feet
Grasp! Her waiting at the pulsing of the body
Seize! Her implacable disposition to die
Grasp! The scream of her dreaming heart
Seize! Her frozen match on the ground
Grasp! Her last fleeting moan!
Light the burn out match
Brighten the enchantment of her dream
Clean the filthy snow
Melt that marble body
Soothe the asphalt scratches
Release her breath
Raise her body from the floor
Allow her the last flight.
Little Red Riding Hood / Cappuccetto Rosso
In your bowels swallow my mutiny.
My sin abdicates to obey your cruelty
No one must see, hidden
through the modest redness of my hood
My desire of evil.
No one must understand
Your enchantment upsetting my senses
Your wicked soul that will give me my womanhood
I yearn for punishment
I want to be a victim
I am your longing for evil.
I knew it all! About the woods… about the wolf…
And now I am meeting you:
You cannot disappoint me.
Be what you’re not
There is no hope for you
Seduce me slashing through my body with the frenzy of your claws
Scratch me by the sweetness of your lies
Swallow me…do not spew me!
Swallow my misunderstood loneliness
Swallow my inept nonentity.
Hurt me, really hurt me badly
So badly as to be understood,
So badly as not to be hurt anymore.
So badly as to become someone
In the dark wood of hypocrisy
To be someone
Barefooted Cinderella / Cenerentola scalza
Is it really true though
Cinderella and her Prince
Lived happily ever after
As the old story recounts?
It’s not true! It’s not true!
In fairy tales
It’s never truth that counts.
Actually, it’s a recent discovery
Princesses are really sad.
Poor, pitiful first ladies!
The splendour of the castle
(it’s verified, it’s true, absolutely true)
It’s a mousetrap.
But the charming Cinderella
Has become very smart
She doesn’t believe in fairy tales any longer
And throws away the tiny shoe
Never again to be her golden cage and her doom
Strip your feet of the illusion of a happy ending
Leave the carriage quickly
Before it turns back into a pumpkin
And tread the meadow of joyful uncertainties
On the threshold of freedom.
Social Slaughter / Macelleria Sociale
Slaughter us! If you wish it, if you believe it’s of little consequence,
Rather if you think it is right
By a meat grinder of unproductive procedures
Through a global totally not interactive meat grinder.
Make it carnal!
If you want, if you can, if you think it is appealing
Our shout skinned from your virtual living.
For you like and you think it is right,
Our silent consent to social
Authorized, participated, shared, compulsory
Pierce our tongue
With your skewer of lies.
You’ll choke in this way
On our cold, sugary blood grown thick
If you like, if you believe it’s of little importance, if you still think it is right.
Our torn deboned flesh
Will displease your frustrated horrific desires.
And again if you think it is right
If you want, if you can, it would be nice
If for once what is whirling in the meat grinder
Was your flesh, no longer our flesh at the slaughter.
Rant and Rave / Svagonerie e vaneggi
I won’t give myself to the sick blockage
On the axis of a forlorn assent
As a message in the bottle
Never to arrive at destination.
Spent among the imperfect red of traffic lights
And the irony of the common horn
Suffering from diurnal lycanthropy.
I’ll get on a train instead and coach
Crouching among fragments of other people’s lives
Alienating if necessary
To dreams undisturbed
Till the next station.
Like wine / Come il vino
I could ask you to love me as if I were wine
That decants its vice from innocence
Distilling utopia from objective.
Sugary shoots ferment my desires
Drunk with shyness,
Make my lips red
Goblets to be interpreted as coffee grounds
In an alert delirium.
Hook me by a sugary barrel
Harvest the gushes of my growth
Darken the claims of my birth
Stun me with the must of your nectar
Arouse my uninhibited will
Inebriate my drowsy reason
I could ask you to love me like wine
So that I could drown cheerfully.
Now that we are reaching a new day / Ora che andiamo verso un giorno nuovo
Now that we are reaching a new day
Stop to pick me up
My eyes unfolded to follow you.
And look for me with your hands
Before finding me
In a trash can of memories
Scrunched up into a paper ball
Spotted by ink.
I love the possessive ‘our’
Declined in the future
And your hurtful words that wound me
To reach me and taste me by bites,
Now that we go towards a new day
Clinging to egg shells by our teeth.
Imagining / Fantasia
Vanishing one evening
without a trace.
Without forgotten clues
on the threshold of my room
and no arrow
to show me the way.
Wherever I could have gone
Would be of no relevance:
Laid at the bottom of the sea
Buried in the darkness of the woods
In China devoid of memory
Looking for a pitiful story
Or in the desert with a shroud of sand.
Everything is fine
As long as nobody ever knows.
Vanishing without a certificate of death
So that one day they will understand
What is baffling me now.
Fetish / Feticci
Amongst the skeletons I keep in the cupboard
There is a talking doll
Naked and without a record.
I hated her lullabies
Especially those of the stuffed little lamb
Thrown out the window because it bleated too much.
I keep her because
Her empty head
Still, upsets me
and because I adored disfiguring her
cutting her hair
despising her for her being a doll,
and I child, above it all.
Among the skeletons I keep in my closet
There are still silk black gloves strewn about
Invisible underwear and filthy stockings
To play at dirty doll.
I keep them because
my empty head
of that time
Still, upsets me
and to remind me I liked
letting my heart be injured
letting my body be despised
by someone else beneath me.
Different for each of us
I tried to act
As in a movie
But the unexpected happy ending
Took me by surprise
Breaking these aims of dark plots
Undergoing my immortality
The pleasant mourning of perishing body.
I keep well clear of rewinding the tape
I won’t press the reset button.
I will adorn myself with bloodstains instead
I will wear necklaces of shinbones
And only at a net gain of hypocrisy
Will I offer you my embrace.
Cruelty / Crudeltà
Sometimes I feel so cruel
I would die to hurt
Tragedy / Tragedia
I would like to write a letter
That could be forgotten
in a drawer for fifty years
Faded, perfumed by dust
and dry petals of tea roses
To be found by chance
by my nephews.
But my pen betrays me
I let my hands slip
So I chase words
With my fingers glued to the keyboard.
Words doomed to vanish in a snap
from the virtual container of inadequacy.
No graphologist will pontificate on
My supposed narcissism
or on the bizarre dream of an unreality that harasses me.
What will survive of me will not have a history.
Nothing you will know of the afterthought, of the step in front
Or of the one behind
Nothing you will know about the failure
Nothing of the victory
Nothing would be known about the wondering of my story telling
Nothing of the horror felt
In front of those blank sheets of paper
How long the empty road
Without beginning or end
Or of the horror left without ink
Among the breathless turmoil of the unspeakable.
Public executioner / Il boia
“They have burned the child on the meadow
Open the link to get the information.”
Oh yes, it makes one say
“Hang him higher!”
Choose I like if you really like it
As in the past hanging legs and chopping heads
Were mass amusements.
The new executioner equipped with computer
Turns human fetish into solitude
choosing the noose that will satisfy
the thirst for cruelty
of readers of social/antisocial papers
to gain thumbs up
of opposite meaning
to the ancient Cristian meal of the lion.
Violate me! / Violami
Don’t wait for my consent.
Relieve me from every crime.
Do as I had not wanted to
As if it were not written
As if we had never told each other
Through body language.
When you’ll have ravaged me
Despised and covered me with salt
All my unacceptable
impurities will rejoice.
And just how sweet your violence would have been to me
You’ll never know.
The tamer / Il Domatore
you’ve seduced my yearnings.
calms my insolence down.
I have stopped wandering
Homeless within the walls of my castle
And I linger, instead, kneeling
Tasting your fruits.
I created you with my lust
Unaware of having you
But now you exist and possess me.
In love with my cage
I abandon myself, quietly
To the strength of your extreme orders.
I belong to you even more than your own eyes
And of their personal gaze.
Kiss me tons / Baciami tanto
I felt your hot mouth on my neck
Your teeth linger on my lobe
I risked fainting as in a Truffaut movie
Overcome by vertigo
For your demanding arms.
And that “I kiss you tons…have you heard?”
It hooks my palate.
Scorching is the tongue
And the fantasy of torment
Comes and goes
in my throat.
In a flight of breath you’ve violated all my cavities
Opening them wide
Fractured emptinesses waiting to be filled
Without rest or pain.
You’ll define my name with the most suitable adjective.
Will your foaming glaze
quieten the burning gloss that runs through me?
I would like to be your doll, just one night.
And then kiss me tons
With all the words you can say.
Even if nothing real should happen
This will be our poem.
Dark fable / Favola nera
Our days will be made of indecencies
And our nights of guilt
Shall I hate you for having destroyed the peace that besieges me?
Or rather shall I satisfy you with submissive sweetness
Thanking you for having led my desires
On the threshold of the shelter of dreams.
Fires of white foam
Will write about what
our dark fable was
In primaeval language.
Fire / Fuoco
My body is yours
If it’s true that you burn it.
My body is yours
If you really are the intrusive flame
That runs from the mouth to the extremity of cavities.
My body is yours, you who burn and enthrall me
In a constant blaze.
The ashes of our past eager nights are emerging
But now in my memories, there is only your demand.
You bend the shadows of suspended vices
To catch them in trap torches.
You’re my sin
My body is yours
If it’s true that you burn it
If you consume it and destroy it
If you reduce it to nothing
To this emptiness that echoes and cradles me
Fondling me with illusions and blackmail.
My body is yours if it’s true
That you’re real and if it’s true
That you’ll burn with me
In the night of our inferno.
Earth / Terra
Soil my shameless face
with filthy soil
And after having raped my fury
Bury my head in the sand.
I’ll dig, with bare hand, eager
To look for a path that will lead me to safety
Under your feet.
Wood / Legno
Scratch me till I bleed
And then dress me again with your body.
I’ll be simple as a birch
And you might exhaust me with bites
To mould me as you wish.
You’ll notice that in rooting I die
And by branching out I exist.
Lead / Piombo
Crush me like a large rock!
Why do you bother listening to my stupid words
And my disputing about flimsy uncertainties?
Use the bullet to pierce my breath.
You’ll leave me that way, without words
At the mercy of the most coveted abuse.
You will have deserved my devotion.
Hair / Capelli
For years I believed I could recreate myself with
a pair of scissors
But only by abandoning my head on your heartbeat
I finally found the right hair style.
Arms / Braccia
My arms won’t be your prison
But your shelter
Against dark nights
And crazy days.
Let me enjoy
This desire of holding you tight
As an antidote against the uncertainty
of the breath that escapes.
Untidiness / Disordine
Rolling up blouses,
Skirts, dresses, t-shirts
Scattering paperwork on the chaos of my desk
Leaving the hairdresser before setting my hair
Leaving the photographer at home on the most important days
Leaving the dripping spoons and empty containers to wait
Only worrying about browning zucchini in butter with mint
Neglecting to switch the hood on
To push the aroma of the cooking out the balcony
Aiming at stirring the sensory of smell of the neighbourhood
Condemning pens, glasses, umbrellas to be lost
and forgotten in small squares, in doctors’ practices and crowded trains.
So that feelings won’t be lost before objects.
Kitchen / Cucina
Anxiously, I wait for you
On the threshold of the kitchen, while I try!
To accomplish magic through spices
And I stir sauces eager to please
To make you need me.
You like this game of waiting and demands
And dreaming about the frenzy of a smell
To release my surprises.
The satisfied treat
Will be the fire that will light up the night
And you my food!
Frenzied to possess you
On the sail of this table.
Unaware, my bites nourish you.
Bed / Letto
The ghosts rest, defeated,
Under the slats of the bed.
We have exterminated them
Under the weight of joyful entanglements.
Dreams crowd on our pillows. They become real
In compelling astral conjunctions.
The sexual embrace of hope
Gives birth to miracles.
Strenuous, under the sheets, we plan to land
Where reluctant vigil and desires
cast their anchor in waiting list.
In this harbour of pleasure, we collide
And fulfil the night to create tomorrow.