FRAGMENTS by Joseph Cassara

Sappho of Lesbos began eating her own hair at age four.

Trichotillomania is defined as the irresistible urge to remove hair from one’s body. Some yank, some pull, some simply cry until it freezes off.

Dr. Doryphoros prescribed 60mg of Prozac per day to remedy the patchy bald spots. “Jesus Christ, Sap,” her mother said. “Would you look at what’s left of your hair? Do you want people to think you’re some kind of dyke?”

Federico García Lorca was in kindergarden when he began writing his first poemas about little turtles with souls. At parent-teacher conferences: “Señora Lorca, we’re a little concerned. Does he ever write about people with souls?”

Aurelia Plath worked two jobs to support Sylvia and her brother Warren.

By the time she was fourteen — living on her own — she discovered that hair al dente went well with marinara sauce and a side of raw chickpeas.

Mrs. Brecht craved swiss cheese for the duration of her pregnancy. When he finally popped, she observed a silent birth, gummed ice chips, and told the nurse to get her a fucking wheel of brie already.

Alexander Pushkin had an overwhelming fear that one day he would be shot in a duel by a blonde man taller than he.

Though Aeschylus was the first poet with a documented case of erectile dysfunction, he was said to be prone to random outbursts of trochaic orgasmic screams. Ai ai ai ai ai.

Because duels were forbidden in 19th century Russia, they were usually held at dawn.

“But Mama, people don’t have souls. And who will love the little turtles?”

This fear didn’t stop him from loving.

“You bought brie? I asked for a fucking cube of havarti. Is that so fucking hard to understand? Where’s my baby?”

In 1562, Bruegel completed his Triumph of Death, depicting fires, shipwreckings, armies of stoic skeletons, horses and dogs attacking and eating women and babies. Despite all this, in the right-hand corner, a woman is joyfully playing a lyre.

Susan Sontag never forgot about Irene.

In 1936, at Franco’s request, García Lorca was shot seven times in the face in a butterfly pasture somewhere in Andalucia. His body was never found.

Never, never, never.

At the 1888 Barcelona World’s Fair, Pau Audouard refused to photograph the façade of La Sagrada Familia, claiming it was too gaudy for his taste.

In most cultures, hair is often associated with beauty and vitality.

Warren Plath, a forgotten name.

Eugene Onegin is a novel-in-verse containging 389 stanzas of iambic tetrameter with a rhyme scheme of AbAbCCddEffEgg.

Goethe cried a lot, but lied about it.

As they say, don’t fill your well after the calf falls in.

The only stanza that does not follow the Pushkin Sonnet depicts Lensky’s death by duel. There is no word that rhymes with the Russian equivalent of despair.

On February 12, 1963, Mrs. Plath told reporters that she regretted giving her daughter an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas however many years ago. Like all mothers, she tried to find a reason. She tried to blame herself.

Human hair contains keratin, which smells of sulphur when burnt.

After divorcing and remarrying, Carson and Reeves McCullers were vacationing in Paris when he overdosed on sleeping pills. He left no note.

By the time she was 27, Sappho was nearly bald.

While walking on the streets of St. Petersburg, Pushkin saw Tatyana Petrovna and was so moved by the experience, he stepped into a telephone booth and penned a seven line poem called I Only Loved You For Your Hair.

He tried to convince her to join him. She did not.

Alexander Pushkin was shot by Georges-Charles de Heechkeren d’Anthés in 1837. He was tall and blonde. The dispute was over a woman.

When there was no more hair, she began to gnaw at her fingers. Until there was nothing left but enjambed nubs.

The only remaining fragments of her last poem read:

] lyre lyre lyre
] i might go
] celery

— -END — -

–Joseph Cassara is a writing student at Columbia University. His short stories, humor and nonfiction have been featured in Eclectica Magazine, Quarto, The Eye, and The Faster Times. He lives in New York City.

More Like This

Celebrating What We’ve Accomplished in 2023

Contribute to our year-end campaign to start 2024 strong

Dec 8 - Halimah Marcus

Exclusive Cover Reveal: Cally Fiedorek’s “Atta Boy”

A gripping story of how far you’re willing to climb and how much it's possible to lose

Dec 8 - Electric Literature

9 Books About the Aftermath of the Balkan Wars

Christine Evans recommends literature about war’s collision with ordinary life

Dec 8 - Christine Evans
Thank You!