Dear Anna

My name is “Pru” … short for Prudence. I have read about your case against that “DickyLeaks” guy, and I felt compelled to write to you. While you do not know me, I feel as if I know you. I am sitting on my terrace here in Arizona, watching the bees rape the morning glories on the trellis, which are now in full blossom.

And I am furious.

I know that it is a symbiotic relationship, necessary for pollination … but it reminds me so much of a poem I once read, which has provoked me from the first time I read it – and which I can never be finished with:


Purity of white fleshes outward
With the subtlety of wind chimes
Swaying lithely in the seabreeze …
Sublime fragrances of jasmine and
Virginity meld unwillingly
With sweat and fear
Engendered by threat of violation …
The scent of victimization
Only encourages animal passion and
Further increases the value of the prize …
Beauty – inviting – passion –
Creating – revulsion – increasing –
Attraction – begetting – fear –
Maximizing – passion …
Contorted faces and war-drum heartbeats
Distort humanity as minds are
Dismembered by occlusion …
Peace cannot prevail until
A victor is crowned and
Reintegration is impossible until
Silence shreds its hostility.

The reason I am sitting on the terrace and fuming is that I am sick and tired of not being able to express my need for gender equality and justice … at least not without being referred to as a sour bitch or a “feminazi”. I like masculine men … but I cannot bear misogynistic fools that use verbal and physical aggression – and the accompanying boasting humor – to “keep the bitches under control”.

Last night was a disaster. Cork, my twenty-seven year old live-in boyfriend told a stupid story at a dinner party that we had in our suburban apartment on the outskirts of Phoenix:

“I remember an incident in the apartment building I lived in in NYC, years ago. A woman on the floor under me had a Black lover that played around (she worked at the phone company, and he lived off her). Anyway, one afternoon I was entering the building when a White woman who was literally half-naked ran out of the building and exclaimed to me: ‘He tried to rape me. I’m gonna call the POLICE!’

I chuckled and seconds later the Black neighbor ran out onto the street butt-naked, screaming ‘I’m cumming baby, I’m cumming!’

Well, I quickly went inside and locked the outer door – knowing that he had neither clothes or a key on him. He looked back at me and I just smiled, and went upstairs.

Days later an elderly Ukrainian neighbor was in the hallway and she asked me if I had heard the ruckus. I said: ‘Yeah, and saw it too!’

She then replied: ‘Yes, me too. He rang my buzzer to get into the building. It seems he ran out without his keys.’

After a few seconds of silence, she whispered to me: ‘I have never seen one so big … and so black before!’ “

To be honest, I did not particularly like the guests anyway. They were all colleagues of Cork from his job at Ernst & Young. Cork was the “new guy” at the firm, and he attempted to impress everyone with his special stories from the Big Apple. After two hours of cocktails, wine, appetizers, main course, and dessert — all slavishly made by moi – the “boyz” felt brazen enough to turn the conversation from niceties to conquests.

It began innocently enough, but it soon became a match to determine who had the most brilliant feathers amongst the cocks. Of course, Cork – in his attempt to both assert himself and also to ascertain the strength and cockiness of his colleagues (and competitors) managed to twist the conversation into a sexual context. The three male colleagues listened attentively and laughed all too haughtily at Cork’s story – hoping to both size up this emigrated Englishman, and to show their own worldliness and manhood. The only other female at the dinner party was Cynthia, who was Peter’s wife. Cynthia and I exchanged a few glances, acknowledging that this turn of events was both expected and hopeless. But neither of us dared to interject a protest, or to attempt to change the subject.

I had my own reasons for playing it off. Cork had recently suggested that I was prudish, and tried to make associations with my birth name: Prudence. Ohhh how I have hated that name my entire life. My well-meaning parents wanted to give me a special name, something old-fashioned chic but also with associations to what they equated with a cultured lifestyle. I was ridiculed already from the second grade, when my fellow students mocked my name and made up embarrassing rhymes that haunted me throughout elementary school. And so it was that I went by Pru most of my life, and from high school onward my birth-given name was conveyed only on a need to know basis and in official circumstances.

A short conversation with Cynthia in the kitchen revealed that she had her own strategy all laid out. She was two months pregnant and planned on revealing the “news” to Peter when they got home that night. That surprising news would surely nullify any bachelor-life longings and “guy-talk” residue that might be left over from the dinner conversation. She sat and smiled throughout the evening before she leaned over to Peter at ten-thirty p.m. and whispered that she is tired and needs to get home. Just to be certain that he would leave promptly without more prodding and drama she added: “Honey, I was at the doctor recently and I have something I need to talk to you about.” That cinched it, and Peter soon asked Juan and Ahmed if they needed a lift back into the City. Neither had taken their car that night, and the bus communication back into the City was infrequent at that late hour – so, of course, they said “Yes”; and by eleven forty-six the three were thanking their hosts
and stumbling out the door.

Well, Cork was in a good mood, if not well-intoxicated – both by the French cuisine that I had prepared, the liquor and wine, and the feeling that he had “made the grade” with his colleagues.

This is how it all started:

“It went well, don’t you think Babe?!!”

“Yes, Cork. Your new work friends seem very nice. And …”

Cork had cut me off in mid-sentence and was recounting bits and pieces of the evening conversation – all the while analyzing what was said, the body language, the male drive of the men. I continued to clear the table and stacked the dishes and silverware and glasses in the sink and on the kitchen counter. As you can probably understand, I was all too tired to do the dishes at that late hour, and there was no point in asking Cork to help tonight. A good night’s sleep and forty-five minutes of work in the kitchen in the morning – and all would be back to normal in our small two-bedroom apartment. Or so I thought …

Typically, Cork suddenly decided that he was in an amorous mood, and that he wanted to get laid. “Hey Pru! C’mon over here. I have something to tell you.”

I tried to mask my slight irritation at being disturbed by someone who was not helping me to do a thankless task, and replied: “What is it Cork? I need to organize things here in the kitchen so it will not be so much work when I clean up in the morning. Tomorrow is Saturday and I have lots of chores to do.” I added: “And I hope that you remember that I have to go visit my Aunt Martha at the retirement home in the afternoon. Just come into the kitchen and tell me whatever it is – while I finish up.”

Cork walked into the small kitchen, now already half-undressed, and leaned into me from behind. He nibbled on my neck, started to grind his genitals up against my bum and clumsily caressed my breasts before starting to unbutton my blouse. “I want to tell you that you are the most beautiful and sexy woman in the world,” he whispered into my left ear. I made a half-turn of my head towards him, gave him a quick peck on the cheek and said: “How sweet, Cork. Now go away and let me finish up here.”

But Cork would have none of that. “Leave it until the morning. I will help you.”

“Ha!” I exclaimed, thinking: “How many times had I heard that before?” Cork would not stumble out of bed before ten o’clock, and if he was really hung over then not before almost noon. I replied: “Go into the bedroom, and I will be there shortly.”

Cork then let go of me, brushed his teeth, got butt-naked and jumped into the bed, feeling great about the evening so far. Of course, in his mind, there was now only one last thing he needed to cap off the perfect evening: sex.

However, I had other plans for myself. I slowly and meticulously took off my make-up, had a nice long, hot shower, and put on my favorite flannel pyjamas before turning off the light on the night table on my side of the bed. I leaned over to give Cork a goodnight peck on the forehead, thinking that he had already fallen asleep since his eyes were closed and I could hear his drunken semi-heavy breathing. (I was relieved not to have him chasing me around the bedroom tonight. You see, I enjoy sex and enjoy being pursued … but my boyfriend still has not learned to respect a “no” for a “NO!”)

Alas, Cork was not asleep – he only pretended to be. He suddenly grabbed me by the head and pulled me close up to his face and plunged his tongue deep down my throat.

“Hey! Wait a minute!” I exclaimed. “I need rest and sleep now. We can do this tomorrow.”

But Cork wanted sex now. He playfully wrestled me down onto my back, pressing me firmly with his large and gym-trained body. His huge arms pinned my upper arms and shoulders down so that my only possible movements were to flail with my forearms and hands, and to squirm and kick with my legs. Cork then used his muscular thighs and calves to pin down the bottom half of my body as I screamed out in vain. “Stop it, Cork! You are hurting me. I don’t want to do this. Cork!”

But Cork only tried to muffle my protests by covering my gaping mouth with his own, thus burying my protests with kisses designed to shut me up. Before long, Cork had ripped my panties off of me and was trying to force his penis into my vagina. Anna, I then became desperate, but the more I resisted the more force Cork exerted his aggressive libido … and the more excited he became. I bit him and I scratched him, and I even tried to punch him with my finally-freed right arm but Cork was too strong, and too drunk … and focused on “one thing”. That one thing that men always seem to want and need from women in order to feel masculine and powerful.

He won out in the end, or at least he felt as if he did. Directly after he ejaculated into my pussy, he flopped over onto his side of the bed – still panting, and exclaimed: “God damn! That was fucking hot, Babe! Wasn’t that great sex?!!”

I was sore, scared … and pissed off. I felt like a sardine in a tin … drowning in cold tomato sauce, with no escape from the blood-red sugary tension of domestic rape. I was outraged at the violation, and equally so that an act of love could be so emotionally and physically perverted into a boxing match requiring my ultimate submission. And all the while he acted as if he “knew better”, and would show me what good sex is really all about – almost as if it were an act of kindness for which I would thank him once I realized what I had been denying myself, and how badly I needed a “good lay”!

I answered him coldly: “It was … all right.” My jaws were tight. I wanted to grab the lamp on the night table and bludgeon him, again and again. But I knew that I could not win a physical fight against him. I would have to attack his ego, and his manhood.

“All right??! What do you mean by that?” retorted Cork.

I wanted to tell him that he does not know the first thing about how to turn on or satisfy a woman, and that poking his cockiness in and out of my vagina in a selfish and crude and insensitive way had nothing to do with romance, or even sex. It was basically just him getting off, and holding me hostage as his “cum dump”. But I was suddenly feeling too tired, and begrudgingly said — while turning my back on him and hugging my pillow: “Let’s talk about it tomorrow, Cork. I am too tired.”

Cork did not pursue the matter anymore, and I lay awake for hours watching over his heavy breathing and snoring … ready to spring from the bed at the first sign of him waking up out of somnambulance.

Men can be such “cunts” …

Good luck with your case, and best wishes from Phoenix.


(image: “Crumpled paper”, oil painting by Adam Donaldson Powell)



Chère Madame Defarge,

Je me suis bien acclimatée à mon nouvel appartement de banlieue. J’ai été à la recherche de travail, ce qui est difficile … mais je reste optimiste car j’ai déjà travaillé dans les magasins (avant d’avoir abusé de mes cartes de crédit et de recourir à la prostitution). En attendant, je suis reconnaissant pour l’aide financière que votre bureau m’accorde.

J’évite de passer pour une prostituée, de peur d’être refoulée dans la vie quotidienne. Ici, tous les autres hommes que je vois dans la rue ou dans un café ressemblent à des proxénètes potentiels. Bien que j’essaie de m’habiller de façon conservatrice – a mes yeux, du moins – Je sens le regard des hommes, des femmes au foyer et Des vieilles mémés me scruter lorsque je les croise dans la rue. Celle-ci (les femmes) ont toujours un regard acide … celui qui trahit l’envie et la méfiance.

Ce n’est pas comme à Paris, où de nombreuses femmes se sentent libres de se comporter comme elles veulent, certaines faisant les salopes, mettant les machos et les féministes extrêmes à leur place. Ici, les hommes se permettent de lancer des propos salaces dans la rue. Et les femmes n’en font même pas un cas, tournant la tête pour me suivre des yeux. Je sens leurs regards brûlants derrière moi longtemps après les avoir dépassées.

Pas plus tard qu’hier, j’ai été approchée par un homme dans la mi-trentaine, alors que je marchais près d’un café non loin de mon appartement. De la façon dont il s’habillait, et dont il s’est approché de moi, je sentais qu’il était soit de la ville ou qu’il était de passage. Je tremblai un instant, et me mit à marcher plus vite, alors qu’il prétendait que nous nous étions rencontrés auparavant. Je l’ai détrompé, lui assurant que je ne l’avais jamais vu auparavant. Il a ensuite répondu, avec un éclair dans les yeux, qu’il pouvait se tromper, mais que j’avais l’air familier … qu’il m’aurait vu ailleurs. J’ai haussé les épaules et lui ai dit que je n’avais pas le temps de bavarder, et que je n’étais pas du tout intéressée par les hommes. (Plus tard, j’ai regretté ce mensonge car on aurait pu me croire lesbienne, et cela m’aurait certainement cause des ennuis, surtout ici où l’on n’ose pas vivre ses fantasmes.) J’ai poursuivi ma marche à grands pas, et, jetant des coups d’oeil furtifs en arrière, je mes suis aperçue que l’homme ne m’avait pas quitter des yeux.

Je voudrais que les gens cessent de poursuivre les paranoïaques que nous sommes. J’aimerais parfois me mettre dans la peau de quelqu’un d’autre. C’est alors que vos sages paroles me reviennent à l’esprit: “Agissez selon votre conscience, et surtout, n’écoutez pas les imbéciles!”


TWO OF A KIND: Fictional letter from Pinochet to Franco.

I am reading up on the influences of the Spanish Inquisition upon painters in Spain. I lived in Franco’s Spain as a young boy — together with my parents, my younger sister, and our live-in maid and nanny Águeda, from Murcia. We lived in an apartment on Calle Orense in Madrid, quite near where the Bernabéu football stadium is today. I remember visits to the Prado museum and to El Escorial, and seeing amazing masterpieces by Goya, El Greco, Velásquez, Murillo and others.

The oftentimes austerity of many of the paintings that I saw seemed normal to me, as everything was under a cloak of austerity, suspicion and darkness in the Franco Era. One wrong comment or movement and the consequences could be swift and furious. I witnessed that myself one day while watching a military parade. One unfortunate man was beaten near Death because he had put his hands into his pants pockets on the cold and windy days. Within seconds the Guardia Civil was upon him.

But the era of Goya was long before that of Franco. And that Era of Darkness produced some iconic artworks, of an intensity not so very unlike that of Picasso’s later masterpiece “Guernica“.


Francisco — mi Mentor querido,

Pienso en usted a menudo … incluso ahora. Usted es, y usted siempre será, mi Mentor. Somos tan parecidos, usted y yo – ambos hombres de conciencia que condujo nuestros países a hacerse sociedades fuertes con economías modernas. No es siempre fácil conducir aquellos que rechazan ser conducidos … que deciden permanecer en la ignorancia. Ellos a veces deben ser eliminados para el bien de muchos. Es para eso que los militares y las fuerzas de seguridad son: mantener ” la verdadera democracia “.

Una de las grandes decepciones de mi vida era también uno de mis momentos más orgullosos. Era triste de ver que yo fui el único jefe de estado extranjero a asistir en su entierro. Al menos Ferdinand Marcos envió a su esposa Imelda en su lugar. Pero esto era un momento orgulloso para mí : estar solo ante el mundo en la conmemoración de uno de los mayores líderes de la historia … mi Mentor.

Somos tanto Católico, como por lo tanto somos concedidos con la gracia de Dios. Pueda la memoria de la historia de usted nunca morir. Un día seremos ambos reconocidos por nuestra grandeza y nuestro amor supremo y compasión por nuestra gente.

Hasta entonces, mi amigo querido, descanse en paz y le uniré sobre “el otro lado del tiempo” bastante pronto.

Pensando en tí,
A. Pinochet

“Burbujas — Fiesta en Málaga”, oil on canvas, 65×90 cm., 2019. This crazy work attempts to unite my passions for colorfield exploration and abstract geometric expressionism. There were many technical challenges involved as well as brush technical acrobatics. I always say that I will never again subject myself to paintings circles but I cannot resist the challenge … or the magic of the Circle.

(Text, painting and photo by Adam Donaldson Powell.)