Tuesday, November 16, 2010


by Riccardo Berra 2010 (c) all rights reserved

We live in such instructive times. There are manuals and guides for everything. For your first period—"The Period Book: Everything You Don't Want to Ask (But Need to Know)." For your first sexual experience—the books of Suzi Landolphi.  For more advancing sexuality—"Our Bodies, Ourselves" and any issue of Cosmo. An expectant mother reads "What to Expect While You're Expecting," then the endless tomes on parenting in all its interminable stages, but what, pray tell, gives comfort to the 50-something gal who is vanishing?

Perhaps I already have. Invisibility doesn't happen all at once. It's more of a slow motion tumble down a cliff.

My darling Missy. It breaks Mommy's heart, tween Missy staring so deep and sincere in my eye, promising, cross her precious little heart, that she'd always share her most intimate secrets with me. Teen Missy won't even make eye contact and divulges nothing. When I enter the room or catch her eye in the hallway at school, her nose crinkles as if I'm a passing bad odor.  Do I smell bad?

My darling Curt. Never, I've concluded after 17 years of marriage, was a man more aptly named, for he passes by and through me like air. Before Missy was born, he was a sex fiend. We both were, God, so shamelessly young and hot for each other, hands grasping crotches, tunneling under skirts and through panties, fingers pinching nipples, tongues in throats.  Everything everywhere. Parked cars, hiking paths, broom closets, kitchen tables, once in a museum bathroom, in other people's bedrooms, our own occasionally, leaving love's evidence trails on Mother's Persian and best chaise longue, me bent over, rump up, screaming as he pounded into me—whenever, wherever we felt like it. We weren't exhibitionists—at least blatant ones. We were just uninhibited, in love and saw only each other. Nobody else mattered. But life has gotten its revenge and now it's me that doesn't matter.

... This post continues!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

from Apostrophe, an excerpt, Zones 6 and 7

As a photographer and son of a sculptor, I've devoted my entire life to "seeing with intent," an act absorbed first at Pop's knee and in all my subsequent studies. It is an engaged process that informs my work and is a link to my departed father. I guess you can say it's in my genes and in my blood. Recently I read this piece at The Erotic Literary Salon which I wrote about four years ago. It is an excerpt from Apostrophe, part of the first chapter, inspired by Ansell Adams' Zone System.  The Zone System demands intense, intimate observation and decisions made by the photographer based on what light reveals and conceals.  But for me, it is more. It is meditation, metaphor and birthright. It is how I express my love for and admiration of the wonders of the female form. Let the words wash over you.

I prayed to have some response to the things that were so clearly beautiful to me.
Leonard Cohen
Zone 6 Shadows on landscape
In the streets and studios on the campus and the city, desire, age and experience had honed this most talented eye. The photographer takes her in so quickly and discretely that he knows her most intimate details before she knows she’s revealed anything. Most men, heterosexual or not, do this or a form of it but to call his lifelong pursuit “girl-watching” insinuates a certain passive amateurism for this most professional and most practiced of investigators. 

... This post continues!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hearts and Flowers

A certain lady sexologist of whom we're fans has a nightly routine in which she and her lover exchange sweet, explicit "nothings." Signora V and  I recently had just such an exchange. Is it sweet? Is it nothing? I'll leave it to readers to judge.

My special request

Love, this is a darker side of my personality that has not been as yet revealed to you though I know you suspect me. As a one-off and never to be repeated scenario I request the following.

To be driven to a dark park at night when I am tired and ready for bed and be forced out of the car and thrown against the ground, (on a very warm night, mind), have my jeans and panties pulled down to my knees and my top pulled up over my breasts and have clamps fixed tightly onto my nipples so that they swell. Then with one hand on my back holding me down firmly I want you to force me, however tired I am at the moment, to let you take me from behind in my special hole. I will resist and finally acquiesce because you are so obviously stronger than me. I may be resentful at the time and the burning feeling that I will experience in my butt will stay with me for the hours to follow.  I will afterwards feel a kind of liberation by being taken in the dark outdoors against my will.

This is the second night I’ve written this request. What may I assume?


I've opened my special file of pictures of you. As I page through them, I frame my response.

What may you assume?
Assume this.
... This post continues!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Jealous Muse

by Riccardo Berra © 6-1-2010

She perched on the arm of his chair. When she'd first arrived, he'd been amazed that she could, but she'd stay like that for hours and he never minded. Except for her constant whisper in his head, he almost forgot she was there. She, so light, so delicate, could insinuate herself into the tiniest of spaces. She'd be what, all of 4'11", all of a hundred pounds wet? She had the final printout of his newest novel. She was wearing a diaphanous orange and ochre sundress. No bra or panties. What need has a Muse for undergarments?

She read incredibly fast and each page she finished, she flipped contemptuously to the floor. He'd not let her read the final draft until after he proofed it. He never let anybody read his work until he finalized it. He'd assumed at first that that's what she was being so pissy about, but something else was bothering her. The pages accumulating on the floor were numbered, thank God, but this was getting pretty fucking irritating. He made to swat her butt, but she became, well, it was like swatting cigarette smoke.

"This is your ideal woman?"

She was furious, rattling the remaining pages she held.

"Ideal in what way?"

"Ideal in the way of her perfect physique. Her perfect submission to you. Your perfect lover. I could be this for you."
... This post continues!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Specular Highlights

Copyright 2010 rbb/apostrophe, all rights reserved
by Riccardo Berra

Naomi was with Sean, an A-list soundman and personal friend that Riccardo hired whenever he could. Riccardo adored his friend, but had always had the hots for Naomi. He kept this to himself. Then Sean left Naomi and New York for a NPR staff job in New Orleans that Riccardo with his contacts, had helped him land. In Sean’s absence, shortly after the birth of his daughter, Riccardo began a desperate affair with the 26 year old waitress and aspiring veterinarian. That’s the simplest chain of events, but chronology is where all simplicity ends.

Sean’s departure was quietly orchestrated to cauterize the raw end of a love affair that had careened from bad to worse most years, now headlong toward a crash into multiple flair-ups of physical and emotional abuse. Riccardo had been a patient intermediary and confidante to both parties. It was so indescribably hard for him to reconcile what he felt and what he knew of this couple. Most nights that the three of them were together, it was the Sean and Naomi show, starring Sean who could tear a Nagra down blindfolded with a live joint in his mouth and make you laugh to the point of pissing with his Don Rickles send-ups of stars and scenes from his photographic recall of classic film and TV. Then there was straight-man Naomi, broody and impulsive, with her whip-smart mouth and soft bleeding heart, this patroness of stray dogs, cats and all pitiful creatures. Strange, contradictory outcast souls, but then so is Riccardo.

... This post continues!

Thursday, May 20, 2010



I’ve taken this path so many times before
I pass people who in contemplating sunset over the river
Reveal their silhouettes
In such stark contrast to the subtler shades of dying light
Rich burnt gold, pedestrian brick red, these waver and fade
To magenta and violet,
My meditation, my motion is past them
The song of blood in my fingertips
The pump of my footsteps on pavement
My steady heart, my fickle head
Rare in truce, constant in opposition
This quivering, uncomfortable asymmetry
So much to regret, such as
That I
Recall all my loves
But forget my best ideas
Rising, slippery, Excalibur bright,
But graspable only by the razor edge of the blade
Before they slide under the surface line
To settle in the silt of oblivion
Only to tease hint
Of their outline
Even then
If I could only stop and look
The delusion I can rescue what was there but once
But I couldn’t and I can't

To late
Gone now.

My most familiar refrain
That now I grasp
Not at the original, but at its rusted iteration
The real treasure
Sleeps untouched
Shells of a man
Shells of notions
Litter shorelines under alien stars
I’ll never see.

This August night
This propagated parkway
This illuminated diagonal
Radiation beneath my feet
As the sun long set and Moon new risen
Takes up her rondo with Mars

In a tight line round the mark of the Blue Cross
Never closer in the millennial memory of men
He Mars, the larger, so removed, so bellicose
She Moon, the smaller, imprisoned, reflecting all, saving so little for herself
But a broken, fixed half-smile

Yet here on the Parkway,
They are improbably tight in the sky
Their proportions inversed
Their attraction shocking but irrefutable
Does he mean to steal her
Rape her.
Kidnap and dash her in his bloody orbit?
Doesn't she know

His red red love isn't kind. It's bestial
Doesn't she know
That if she could but go to him, or he to her,
Calamity would follow
Tides would still

Mountains would groan and bulge like pregnant cows
Earth herself would split
An episiotomy birthing the end of
All tiny antlike Lovers who croon
And make sad songs for Sister Moon.

Don't you ever wonder
What care these two
For the abstemious license of Earthbound lovers and losers
For our offkey songs and lust spluttered lines
For if they who dance in this August sky
Can never claim their truest desires

What care have they of ours?

rbb 2010 all rights reserved ... This post continues!

Whatever That

Whatever that has you but wants you
Wants that longing of adjacent flesh impatient
You cannot move fast enough
to cover all of me that needs all of you
Mothman flickers of fluorescent envy
You under me legs yawn like a hungry mouth at which
I’ll feed till my love declines to corruption
Wet by friction bound by its opposite
Kisses rain like glasses falling from a high shelf
a soft tinkle
a dimpled promontory
a deep cleft
I made my way with you when cooler counsel said fool not
I should’ve shuffled on to the hollow steady thrum
that was my life, my late life, my dying life
and now it is too late for anything
but spin and fall and sin and fall
Awake your mouth moves on me
An impression
Of twin tunnels met in an airy illusion of endless bounty
The salt sea scent of sin
Confederate arms
Desperate eyes
Empty hearts
It won’t be our bed tonight
Not without me in it.

rbb 1/18/10 all rights reserved ... This post continues!


Yesterday’s shirt
Still has your smell on it.
I rub myself
And my hand to my face declares
That it held your apple sex
My lips confess your taste
How can the world be so unaware that we’re lovers
When six ounces of fabric tell the whole story?

An afternoon with you and I feel my skin again
Everything glows
The scaled surface scrubbed
Pumice raw
Sand devils scuttle cross sun-blind fields
Cracked crust, thistles, bleached bone, tumbleweeds

Make the language larger
Make the hair stand up
On the back of my neck

How did the world not see me?
The biggest invisible thing in the room
Fine with it, till now
God as my witness
I will make a mighty splash
Before I jump
Out of my skin

rbb 2004 all rights reserved ... This post continues!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Effective Dreaming

by Riccardo Berra
(c) Apostrophe/Riccardo All rights reserved

“Welcome to the Nepthys Institute for Advanced Chronotherapeutics … Mr. Jack Fischer. I am Hovington Lee your intake coordinator, and I am here to assist in collecting your intake history.  Before we begin, do you have a timepiece in your possession?”

“No,” I type.

“Please place any timepiece in one of the certified possession pouches on your left.”

“Fuckin’ already said, I ain’t got one!” I shout. I don’t type. The screen in my lap flickers and resets.

“Welcome to the Nepthys Institute for Advanced Chronotherapeutics … Mr. Jack Fischer. I am Hovington Lee your intake coordinator, and I am here to assist in collecting your intake history.  Please follow the prompts on the NetPad and when you are finished with each page, press submit to update your chart. Press the call button if you need further help or explanation. When you have completed the questionnaire, press “Submit Final” and your chronotherapist will escort you to the sleep study suite.”

Thank you Miss Hovington fucking Lee. Twenty percent of the good citizens of this formerly good country are good and unemployed. A swank joint like this should pop for a flesh and blood receptionist instead of a Virtual.

When you called yesterday I thought we were having a real conversation. Fool me once. Not that it’s all your doing. My addiction counselor warned I’d lose all sense of time and what did she call them, certain “social radar skills.” Two handy little fuck-you bonuses of Nex tox. A watch becomes your new best friend. Your old best friends go away. Chronic insomnia—yup, that’s the third bonus.

You’re cute Hovington and I’d love to get cozy and tell you a happy tale. I suspect this won’t be it. The guy don't always get the girl and honor between men always plays second fiddle to lust for a woman. But I’m getting a bit ahead.

Why don’t I start with the Departmental Healthy Audit that flagged my insomnia. Yeah, insomnia. I ain’t shitting. Not so long ago it was a lifestyle, not a medical condition and certainly not some broke-dick TMC (treatment-mandated condition). Mind, nobody forces you to do nothing in the CivDiv, but if you don’t seek treatment in six months or you do but you don’t get cured in 5 years, then you get dunked in the “Unhealthy Pool.” That’s no pool you want to swim in these days. Insurance pays for everything until you’re Unhealthy 10 years. Then they ship you to the Chronic Pool and drain the water. Essentially they pay for you to die. So what the fuck?

It sucks being an “Unhealthy.” Tossing and turning all night, never zoning before 4, 5 in the a.m. There are days when the only thing gets me out of bed is the promise of a cup of black joe and a contraband smoke. Don’t help none always being late for work—walking around, day in day out, like a zombie. But I ain’t gonna get frog-marched into something that’s gonna drug-fuck my head. Seen enough of that. I don’t trust them and their designer pills no more. Last year, a guy I sorta know in router maintenance got a script for a new monoclonal impotence patch and now he has some rare dick cancer. His po sprouted two extra inches overnight and stays rock hard twenty-four seven. Until they cut it off next week. Ain’t near as funny as it sounds. Poor Unhealthy fuck.

Your flier promised “Return to Healthy—A Drug-free Choice! Hovington, baby I’m all for choice. I just don’t know how you fit all that on a NetPad. No use delaying the main event.
... This post continues!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


© 2010 Apostrophe Productions, Riccardo Berra

I have not slept. Not well. Not in a fortnight. Ever since I completed the translation I’ve been plagued by dreams of death and loss. There are other even darker insinuations in these dreams—images and emotions I have no words for.  As to the manuscript itself; I am only its translator. I have no other stake in it. I wish for no other stake. I found it cleaning in the attic of my grandmother, who lived to an incredible old age. As her last surviving heir, it fell to me to settle her strange estate when she passed. It was not a task I asked for or willingly accepted, but when I first discovered the manuscript, I was excited. Now, its mere presence unsettles me in ways I cannot explain. It belongs in a museum or in the hands of a private collector. Somebody else will need to take possession and to determine its authenticity. I wouldn’t know where to begin.  I only know that the sooner it leaves my sight, the happier I’ll be. Then, perhaps I will be able to sleep again.

If you are reading this, you have come to an accursed place and I pity you. By the grace of God, Almighty, whose succor I desire but have scant hopes of obtaining in this world or the next, I deliver unto you this exhortation. Desist you investigations now, carefully rewrap this journal in the oilskin you extracted it from and secure it as you found it, as warning to the next poor soul. Then, by all you find holy, flee this accursed cave by any means you can. For surely if you do not or can not, you will come to a most unspeakable and damnable end.

... This post continues!

Monday, March 22, 2010

It’s So Much Easier When You’re Away

by Riccardo Berra/Apostrophe © 2010 

A mental snapshot. 

My 10-year-old Callie, shrieking, jumps into my arms, bony fawn legs locked above my waist.

"Daddy, daddeee, I missed you so much. Did you miss me?" Her arch little smile, so sure of her feminine wiles, even at this tender age.

"I missed you so much my princess; I missed the air around you." I make vacuum cleaner sucking sounds. She squeals in delight, then wriggles from my grasp as towhead monster Mark Jr., my 5 year old brick house swaggers in. The action toy he clutches mimics his gait. He ignores my open arms.

"I got the new red Power Rangers." He waves it in his sister’s face; she swats it from his grasp. It sails onto the couch. They run upstairs shrieking at each other.

"A little help!"

Next shot.

Reflexive scowl stamped on her features, Ellen, my 42-year-old wife, pushes a suitcase through the door as if it contains lead ingots. A practiced martyr, she insinuates with inflection and body language alone how much of a total shit I am for not attending to the car as soon as she pulled up. I’m judged and found wanting oh, maybe a thousand times a day. Lately for good cause. My faults cling like wet leaves to the marital headstone.

Ellen, Callie and Mark, have been away long enough that I’m completely out of their orbit, the wobbly hyperkinetic trajectories of Mom and kids and Dad and kids and kid and kid. Let's not neglect Mom and Dad. We’re right back to circling each other like wary, battle-bruised sharks sniffing the water for blood. My family's return has sucked all the serenity from this place that was so quiet just three minutes ago. I am disquieted and out of my zone.

I'm the senior science writer for a magazine that graces dentists' offices, coffee tables and nightstands across America. The bulk of the research for my latest feature column was completed in the family's absence. I’m now at the part I love, the fugue state of shuffling and sifting to find the story that hasn’t been told, because I haven’t told it yet. All the heady-thready stuff, the scribbled cocktail napkins, OneNote tabs, taped interviews, outlines, insights, late night inspirations, Post-its tacked to my monitor have been sucked up, all aswirl like autumn leaves, making and breaking sparky new connections. I roughed out a first draft which I'm suddenly desperate to get back to.

This part is all mine. This is the black box shit they don’t or can’t teach in `how to write like a writer` schools. What’s mine is mine until I write it. Even then it’s still mine, unless in some blockheaded, uber-genitive huff I decide not to write it. Then it would stay mine forever. But Dr. Johnson got it right of course; I wouldn’t get my fee and I would get desperate, angry calls from my editor and his boss, the senior executive editor and his boss, even the new publisher, with whom I swapped cocktail stories last weekend on the balcony of his Midtown penthouse.  We were all at a summers-end soirée for magazine brass to celebrate the mantle's passing to the young publisher from his father, son of the magazine's legendary founder. China cup pretty, a very young British heiress soon to be his second wife, clung unhappily to his arm.  My new boss told his intended I am the magazine’s best writer. Not the best science writer, but the best writer. He told me we would become great friends.

Nobody’s calling about missed deliveries. There’s no need and never has been. I and my work are utterly reliable. Like all its predecessors, this article will go out a little shy of the deadline as an attachment to a short, cordial email. Then in a process akin to bovine digestion, Editorial will edit and fact-check and kick it upstairs. Somebody else will chew it over again like cud and kick it higher. It gets vetted by Legal, kicked back downstairs to Production and somebody else stripes in photos, charts, callouts, ads and headlines. The point is that by the time you read "my article" with my byline; it’s long since stopped being mine. It's theirs and then yours. The secret of good writing is possession. The secret of making a good living writing is dispossession. People wonder that we’re so fucked up.

Add to which, my lover of three years is royally peeved at me.  ... This post continues!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Molte Corse, Molti Mondi (Many Travels, Many Worlds) Part 1

copyright 2010 Riccardo Berra/Apostrophe

The apartment was empty. It would feel no less empty with her in it. Violetta knew it and knew the empty echoing click of her key in the lock would bring a lump to her throat. She’d been fighting tears since the early morning call during which Riccardo claimed he wouldn’t have time for her before his trip. They’d argued; the argument so silly and pointless that she can’t remember what she’d said, only that it was biting and cruel without cause and that there was now only rawness left in the battle’s wake. In the dread little insecure part of her soul that she despised, she endured another withering barrage of envy for Sofi, who so much more than her, never left his side, having become his constant companion in business and love. Little Miss Familiar, little miss anal protégé, with her stunning beauty and technical prodigy, such boundless youthful energy, absorbing, at such an astonishing rate, every aspect of his business and pleasure. Best, best of all at being useful. Not just flitting from point A to point B, but moving with direction and purpose. While poor Vi on the other hand, fades, every day becoming more useless, insecure and clinging.

Vi shook off this self-pitying monologue like a wet dog shakes its fur and reassured herself that of course they’d all be together as soon as she herself returned, that any wounds were imagined, on her part of course. Today’s bitter words by then long forgotten to be replaced by the ardor of absence. This reunion in three weeks’ time would be as achingly sweet, explosive and intense as all previous ones had been. She was being silly and hormonal to imagine otherwise.

Packing: Why is this so difficult? Impossible to order her luggage or thoughts. Riccardo and Sofi would return from their cross-country shoots to occupy this apartment while she was away. But if Europe was “away” did that make New York “home”? Cruel eternal Roma had always been home but Marco had made her feel like an outcast in her own country. Here, a life as scattered as the clothes on her bed. Zia Maria tanning her wrinkles in San Tropez with her even more ancient first cousin. Gia, in boarding school in Switzerland. Marco? He could winter in hell as far as she’s concerned. Laughing Stella in Bermuda, so sick, terminal in fact, yet stubbornly refusing to step over death’s threshold.

Itinerary: Duties to discharge in Rome, documents to sign, transfers of title related to sales of d’Este estate properties, then off as quickly as possible to Switzerland to snatch what little time she could over the school holiday with her daughter, then off to Etienne in London. London had sure felt like home during her schooldays, those happiest times in her life, before Riccardo. Could any of these places be called home? She laughed bitterly, enjoying the cruelness of the joke on herself.

“Al diavolo con i pensieri tristi!”

... This post continues!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lee’s Daughters

(c) 2010 Riccardo Berra/Apostrophe

The battered old laptop flickers to life for the first time since my recently famous father last turned it off a year ago, a week before he died. I miss Daddy, mind you, but I don’t go all weepy anymore when these sorts of “first-time-since things” come up, as they still do from time to time. Like a nest of butterflies, hundreds of automated calendar appointments, notes and reminders pop open and I give up trying to swat them closed while they’re still loading. I go down to make coffee. The lawyers had handled all the estate stuff and I’d put this last task off for as long as I could. I could wait a few minutes more. Though his fame like his death was swift and unexpected, my father left things in good order. He was always careful that way. Daddy is the smartest man I’ve ever known.

One, two,
Who are you?

I finished sorting through his file cabinets a few months ago. Clippings, manuscripts, documents, receipts—the papertrail of the man’s life. I’d boxed up some of it, recycled and trashed most of it. I was reminded of Robert E. Lee’s daughters, apparently so devoted to their pater famiglia that at his behest they remained lifelong spinsters. I find this a little pathetic, but understandable. In our family, I am “the smart one.” Lois is the pretty one. Ellie, the baby. We had our roles set out from birth. 

Three, four,
Close the door.

Ellie whined on the Skype call. “Why does sheee get the laptop, while all we get are these little thumb drives?”
“Lee-Lee, you don’t want it. It’s just an old piece of junk. Besides, Mar’s the writer and resident computer geek. She knows how to work with those old clunkers.”
Listen to Lo playing the peacemaker while I grind my teeth. A new role for her.
“The drives are full of Daddy’s photos of us as kids. Lots of old stuff too. Him and Mom young. They’re precious. I don’t really want the damned laptop, Lee,” I said. “I have one already. But Daddy had a reason for giving it to me as he must have had a reason for waiting a year to do so. Listen, are you guys coming back East anytime soon? Mom really misses you.”

I could think of no better way to draw this conversation to a quick, tidy end. One week ago, I’d received the registered letter from Dad’s lawyers, notifying me that there was a parcel at their office with instructions for me from my father that I was to open it a year to the day after his death. No, his instructions precluded shipping it to me. I had to come and retrieve it myself. At first blush, it all seemed rather melodramatic and pointless, but Daddy had a point to everything. So, once again I’d cajoled and bundled Gregg and the kids back into the Volvo and up the Taconic we headed for East Ellenville. The parcel contained two thumb drives and Daddy’s old Dell.

Five six
Pick up sticks.

My own dear father took me out to our favorite diner when I, the oldest of the three daughters, started dating. He told me it was time we had a serious heart-to-heart about “relationships.” Oh God!  Just the two of us, eating pie, sipping coffee; me waiting, praying this wasn’t going to be another sex talk. The first one had been  …  Words truly can’t describe.

Wasn’t quite that bad, but close. After some preliminary discussion about school and a recent writing contest I’d won, this was our weighing my options for future happiness on a sliding scale of paradox discussion.

“Have fun but be careful. Be picky, but broadminded. Women are required to make more choices in their lives,” he cautioned over a warmed forkful of Cosimo’s homemade chocolate pecan. “Not all of them will be ideal.”

Seven, eight,
Lay them straight.

I’d thanked him for his Shakespearian counsel. I’d listened attentively. I’d asked him about work. It was more than a little embarrassing but I didn’t have the heart to say I’d no clue what he was talking about. Ten years into marriage it took me to realize that this was perhaps the single best piece of advice I’d ever receive. And I’m supposed to be the smart one. Daddy you were on the money. You were always on the money.

Nine, ten,
A big fat hen.

... This post continues!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Vi's memories must become reality again

I am sitting in Fiumicino typing on my laptop from the Alitalia business lounge having been awaiting my delayed plane for 8 hours in order to return to you............and Sofi. Due to your hazardous snowfall in the NE the long wait to board my plane has increased my anxiety about seeing you again. I know we have seen each other on a webcam a handful of times but I am filled with trepidation.

... This post continues!

We're being followed

Thanks to the incomparable Dr. Susana Mayer who supports our blog and story with this mention on her Erotica Literary Salon blogsite.

Support us and support her unique live event. Riccardo will be there to read from his latest work. We're still looking to publish Apostrophe, but wonder if the mainstream publishing industry is ready for a work that is both literary and really, really hot erotica.

Love and kisses

... This post continues!

Help My Story Go to the Finals

Plural Possessive is online for votes starting today and running for one week. It is in the running for the finals at the Better Sex Erotic short story competition. Please support us.
Sofi ... This post continues!

Six Words for A Kiss

Vi, can't you see how much I miss you? Remember this:

6 words for a kiss


My hand rides your brown thigh, barely touching,
speed to plough familiar winding roads home to lips on lips through lips under over pressed parting lips,
no speak no tongue none but my own that’s still so hungry for your lips


Swimming hand in hand, dark, then a flash of street lamp surge,
we surface through body-warm, amniotic night, and as you turn and sodium vapor ripples across your face,
jumps my pulse, passion whip edited, to other nights matted as tight against my chest
as the sweat-pressed silk that clings to your hips


the Mexican restaurant brain froze fluorescent green Margarita,
Tabasco and tobacco pinch my tongue as your strut reminds me that my heart has long since broken its moorings
and rises—up my chest, out my throat, float, past teeth,
free to dance on contrails raised from ember concrete sidewalks made ripe by orchid night


a hard black pebble lodged under my tongue so round so smooth so polished by practiced deception
of all but you spills effortless from my throat and only you know that though
what I declare rolls fictive like heat lightning dancing off far mountaintops
it is not but razor true


why do I always do this, enrapturing my own destiny
as if some tremulous ego finger tap a tat
lifts my fumbled words above the line,
perhaps because in your lips on mine,
I taste the first act of the divine


3 a.m., Brahman's hour, beyond magnetic lines of sin and salvation,
truth belie, delta pi, fevered wakefulness and sleeping liss,
this longing in your absence is a song with
no tongue,
no lips,
just rhythm, just a frantic rattle in a cage, two clicked tones—
illusion/more illusion,

oh beg this fickle muse to whom I pray
to forgive me if I cannot stay
for your next

The very definition of desire ... This post continues!

Monday, January 11, 2010


This is a new story, unrelated to Apostrophe, but still appropriate for the blog. It will be featured next month on the Erotic Readers Short Fiction site all throughout March. The act of putting it out there greatly helped my editing process. This is a brand new version, so read and enjoy.

Post Mortem
by Riccardo Berra/Apostrophe (c)2010

When did I know that today would be unlike any other day? Certainly not during the neuron withering argument over something stupid I am said to have said or done or not said or done, according to Annabelle who knows all my faults and logs all my failings in her hermetically sealed vault for times such as these and all times to come.

I don’t want to argue. After fifteen years of the guerilla warfare known as marriage, I seldom feel up to it anymore. Even when I’m the offended party. Satisfaction for this tongue-tied poet comes not in spontaneous frontal assault but in surgical postscripts. So as soon as she paused in mid-sentence and spun off to the bathroom to relieve herself, I wasted no time reciprocating the gesture and broke from the house in a sweat-inducing trot, the sun just beginning to dip behind our little brick rowhome as I stole across the ice and snow-slicked avenue for the River Drive running path.

Was it then that the premonition, no more than a tiny prickle down the nape of my neck, insinuated what if, what if, this was absolutely the last time? Since these thoughts came so often—what with the separation with Annabelle so imminent and so long in coming I paid it little heed as my lower half accelerated like a fine sportscar, second, third, winding quickly up to fourth gear, pulse pushing blood to fingertips at 90% of cardiac output and any apprehension of singularity fading as I closed in on a bouncing brunette ponytail. Before passing, I slowed just enough to appraise her waxed, glowing shop-tanned legs and the baroque flourish of butt she’s no doubt out here to tame. I blew past the pretty jogger, replaying the argument with Annabelle. I crafted a withering rebuttal I wished had occurred to me ten minutes earlier and filed it away to end our very next battle in my favor, even while acknowledging how pathetic and sad that is. But I wasn’t sad at that particular moment.

Not at all. The adrenaline lust philosophical endorphin cocktail swirled in my veins as Lou Reed wailed Sah-weeeet Jane through my brand-new Skullcandy noise-cancelling earbuds and I assured myself that if the Angel Gabriel played an axe, it would indeed sound just like this solo when an oncoming Nissan Sentra, candy-apple red, does the funniest little shimmy left then right, then leaves terra firma entirely, like one of those George Jetson-mobiles.

Jane, stop this crazy thing!

In a strobelight pop and a flash of red, Lou punched out and I was twirling like a wayward kernel in a hot air popper, the acceleration and disorientation like the rickety Loop the Loop coaster at the Kennywood Park of my Pittsburgh youth. I never stopped but landed and I can’t even say that because there was no downward motion or interruption of motion. I simply was on the roof of the Vesper Boat Club House surveying the grim scene below with what can only be described as serene detachment.

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You -- my fetish object

Tits and bum, bum and tits, all a matter of approach, isn't it?

The act of masturbating involves fetishizing the very particular thing that arouses you the most. I think men and women are the same in this. Am I wrong? When you imagine me in your masturbation fantasies, I'm sure when you put finger to clit it doesn't involve dinner, fascinating cultural conversations, a good wine, a movie, long walk and a bath?

I 'm sure just as it does for me, that it might start with generalities but zoom very quickly to focus on very small spaces. I confess, your bottom has always been a fetish object for me.

I kiss it.
I objectify it. Think about it when you, the whole you, aren't around. Think about it when you walk past me or find some reason to bend over oh so innocently in a room full of people, only to straighten and make knowing eye contact with me. You know I'm watching your every move and you tease me. How many times have you played this little game with your little ass, bent over, your small, tight, girlish ass displayed to everybody, but open only for me--as eager for me as I am for it?

I can tell when it wants me as much as I can tell when its weepy sister on the north side wants me. This evening I rubbed my prick against it knowing that our previous lovemaking had lubricated and prepared it. I confess, when I came the first time today, my thumb buried to the hilt, pressing down against my own cock in your other hole, surging on the other side of that thin wet wall  pounding that juicy cunt, what sent me over was imagining already coming the second time buried in your ass, its warm, firm embrace milking me dry. It's nothing against your cunt. I love your cunt. I will always pay it its due. But we both know the first time is a warmup and that you have turned me into an ass glutton.

Then we lay like spoons. That's the incredible thing about us. How well we fit together. As if we'd started out from the same block of wood, chiseled apart by a master's hands, only to be fitted back together again. This is how it works. My hand resting on your pelvis tightens. You thrust back. My hips lock with yours. my slowly growing prick picks up a rhythm between your cheeks, grazing your little starfish, knowing full well how easy it will soon be to slip this key of mine through that tight lock, into that tight juicy hole that waited to embrace me. My attention narrows, I don't hear the noise outside. My phone is ringing but I no longer hear it either. Fuck the phone. I only hear my breath, then yours.  I focus down on that tiny point of contact, on that tiny inch of flesh, rubbing slowly up and slowly into that tiny inch of yours. Click. It all fits together with a click.

Can I tell you something else, something sweet, another amazing thing about our amazing, improbably relationship?

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Story Contest Semifinal Voting Starts Monday February 1st

Better Sex Erotic Fiction Contest Semifinals Date Change

This from the Better Sex Erotic Fiction blog:
"Since we've added an extra week of stories and community voting Semifinal Voting will take place FOR ALL STORIES the week of February 1st. Three stories with the most votes during this week will move to the finals. Finals include a nonbinding community vote and cash awards from a 3 judge panel. Judges always award our final cash prizes."

Make A Note: Semifinal Voting Starts Monday February 1st.  ... This post continues!