"You see," she began, and turned her body to face him."Everyone must know what happened. Your story must be real, as only you can tell it, not just what you have seen with your eyes and heard with your ears but what you have felt. Your voice must be a clarion. Because the truth is far beyond journalism's grasp."
"The day was hot and dry like a extra thick towel you get at a good hotel, The Crillon or The Vendome in Paris.
They heat the towels for you there. When it is cold outside, when the day is the color of nickel, when the birds ne chantent plus. She read Beaudelaire. Comforts were not lost on her. Her father used to lock her in a cold cellar at night when she was nine for forgetting to feed the dog. She carried the cold in her bones."
"She smelled of cardamom and linseed. Around her neck she wore a strand of Persian turquoise he'd brought from the States and hid in his pocket while traveling through Rwanda. If Hutus had seen it, they would have seized it. Very good turquoise, he had told Maria, no visible veins."
"He woke at dawn and watched them sleep. He felt connected to Maria and Noel, the way the heart is connected to the lungs, the way the skin is an umbrella organ for systems of great magnitude.
He remembered the market smells, his first time in this small country, right in the heart of Africa, practically sitting on the equator. The smell of mildew, of charcoal-burned meat, of old sweat, tobacco and fruit rind. He remembered the terra cotta hills looming large from where he'd stood, the rooftops of palm and thatch. He remembered the piercing Rasta music. Now he had a daughter. He felt propelled like a chord sprung from a steel guitar."
"If I were the devil and I really wanted to punish you, I would give you great success in something you didn't believe in." In a red chemise, facing him, she added, "But then you don't believe in the devil, do you?"
"Women!" he bellowed. "Proud of this metaphysical power they assume they possess. Power to change a man! Talk about ego! Women need to know men don't change! -- And babe, I do believe in the devil! Look at my ex-wife and a few of the women I dated! They might as well cleave with goats!"
About the author
Alessandra Gelmi, whose first short story was accepted by The North American Review and published in Buffalo Spree, is the author of the prize-winning novel Who's Afraid of Red, a chronicle of love set against the Rwandan genocide, hailed by Joel Siegel of "Good Morning America" as "brilliant" and by Desmond Tutu as "historically important". This small independently produced novel won 4 national awards, (one open to all unversity presses) and was published worldwide.
Alessandra is an accredited senior journalist and current correspondent for The Epoch Times in Washington D.C. Her interest in journalism stems from her college days when her father, a surgeon, operated on Ferdinand Marcos. Alesssandra asked to meet the former president of the Philippines and published the interview in The Dartmouth, the oldest college newspaper in America.
Gelmi's long-awaited first narrative poetry collection, "Ring of Fire, Selected Poems 1972-2008", was published internationally in 2009 and won first place from the National Federation of Press Women. Her published poems are archived in special collections at Bowdoin College, Boston University, Barnard College, Columbia University and Dartmouth College (where she studied with Richard Eberhart and reviewed Alexander Laing’s poetry collection Brandt Point for The Dartmouth).
Alessandra Gelmi is a board member for the Honorable Michael Feighan Collection curated at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson Library. She was Director of Communications for the Army Navy Club in Washington, D.C. in 1998, is a Friend of the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development, a graduate of Landmark Education's Advanced Curriculum, a member of the National Federation of Press Women,, and a former Bread Loaf Scholar. She was named Leslie Fay Woman of the Year and concomitantly voted "One of the Most Beautiul Women in America" featured in "Vogue", "Harpers Bazaar", "Cosmopolitan" and "Working Woman".
She is the daughter of June Villarreal-- a Lady Commander of The Holy Sepulchre, a linguist, and former speechwriter for Egyptian foreign minister Fawzi-- and is the great great grand-daugther of the last Milanese consul of Czar Nicolas II.
Alessandra Gelmi is profiled in Who’s Who in American Women, Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in the World, the chronicle of human achievement since 1899.
She is a founding member of Ave Maria University, a member of WETA's Presidents' Club, and a trustee of The Notre Dame Institute of Catechetics.
She is available for lectures, readings, and symposia.
Alessandra Gelmi recently interviewed the new Foreign Minister of Italy, Guilio Terzi di Sant'Agata, for The Epoch Times (Print and Web Editions) and concomitantly was invited to speak at the home of the President of the Dartmouth Club of Washington D.C. for Dartmouth alumni.
Gelmi's ficiton was published in "Amazing Graces An Anthlology of Washington Women Fiction Writers" published by Paycock Press ( a NY Times Editor's Choice publisher) Launch party was held at Politics and Prose in the nation's capital. Her work was recently included in Gargoyle 57, an international literary review. She is an Honor Roll member of the Dartmouth College Fund and is a current member of the Academy of American Poets.
Nominated for "I Am a Modern Woman" for "I Am Modern Magazine" : Profiled in June
Consulting Editor: "Light on Dark Water" by Steven Hayes, Dartmouth '66
Alessandra Gelmi is now referenced in the collected papers of authors James Dickey (archived at Emory University Library) and Norman Mailer (archived at the University of Texas, Austin, in the Castaneda Library named after her great uncle, Carlos Eduardo Castaneda, 1890-1958.)
Interview and poetry published in "The Worcester Review", Volume XXXIV
Interview published in POSHSEVEN Magazine
Featured in "The Diplomatic Pouch" and "The Washington Diplomat"/"Diplomatic Spotlight"