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Gabriela Gonzales


Movement in Space by Jacob Wexler

I.  the boy i love writes a song and sends it to me and my best friend says that if i date him she will leave me. the song is pretty. it is to a girl dripping off his tongue. i want to be dripping off his tongue. i will take listening to him sing to me over voice recording, though. i will take his eyes on me again. when i am listening, wrapped in a towel on the edge of my bed, i scream. i can feel myself dripping off of myself. i am killed by beautiful things.

II. when Stendhal visited the burial places of Machiavelli, Michelangelo, and Galileo in Florence, he grew so sick that he had heart palpitations and an anxiety attack. “Everything spoke so vividly to my soul,” he said. “I walked with the fear of falling.”

III. when I visited the Lourve, i almost vomited. i was in a room alone, overlooking a hall of sculpture and i ran to a bench before i could collapse onto the floor. the cramps in my side were so sharp that i cried. in front of me was a painting i don’t remember. behind me were walls covered in empty frames. i grew so lightheaded i was afraid someone would find me unconscious on the floor, mistake me for a sculpture, leave me here.

IV. In 1986, psychiatrist Hiroaki Ota, coined the term “Paris Syndrome.” “Paris Syndrome” is when people visit Paris and experience hallucinations, delusional states, dizziness, sweating, and vomiting. A few factors can add up and cause it including the language barrier, differences in cultural communication, and physical exhaustion.

V. my family is screaming in my grandmother’s living room and i take my brother and my little cousin and lock us all in a bedroom. my cousin cannot catch his breath, he is crying so hard. i rock him and want to sing and cannot find a voice. the only music on my cell phone is the recordings of the boy i love singing and i play them over and over until my cousin is silent.

VI. Santa Maria Nuova hospital workers are used to people coming into the hospital after seeing the statue of David. In 2018, a tourist had a heart attack while staring at Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus.

VII. the boy i love calls my name when i am leaving a room. he opens up a little journal and passes it to me. there are pretty words crossed out and erased and perfected. it’s a song based on a story of mine he loves. he writes about how beautiful other girls are. he writes about how beautiful my words are.

VIII. the same areas in your brain that are activated in emotional responses are activated when exposed to art. this is to say a confused brain could mistake beauty for love. this is to say a confused brain could mistake love for beauty. this is to say sometimes beauty and love can exist simultaneously but there is no way to prove any of them.

IX. and after years of watching a boy i love with hands like that, a voice like that, a mind like that, toss them aside and sit so still, melodies in the tone of his voice are the most beautiful things i have ever heard. listening to the rhymes that drip off this tongue is magic. my mother calls and i tell her i am feeling dizzy tonight. i drink water to ease the headaches until i fall asleep on my bed and wake up sweating to the buzzing sound of my phone where he is sending me more music. i am killed by beautiful things.


About the writer:
Gabriela Gonzales is a writer from Nashville, Tennessee, who writes about the strangely beautiful tragedy that is human connection. She won first place for fiction in the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Sandra Hutchins’ Humanities Symposium Writing Awards and received the Ruby Treadway Award for Fiction in 2019. She has had work featured in Awakened Voices Literary Magazine, Waxing and Waning Journal, Cosmonauts Avenue, Kissing Dynamite, Wigleaf, and many other journals. Her poem “Sunday Morning Girl” was nominated for 2020 Best of the Net. She really appreciates giraffes, the oxford comma, and babies dressed like hipsters.

Image: Movement in Space by Jacob Wexler (1912-1978). Acrylic on canvas. 160 x 360 cm. 1965. By free license.

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