machiavelli’s whimsical hairs

Image © Elly Jarvis 2016


by  Elly Jarvis March 31, 2016

you know you should trust your first impressions. i never knew much about psychopaths before i loved my first italian. now i know plenty. i met him at my old workplace, a craft beer bar in berlin. he was a brown-eyed mid-sized guy. a guy who wore suits with pockets and had hair i called “whimsical-looking.” he had crooked teeth and a small little freckle above his left nostril. he looked proud, and slutty, with jeans that had three buttons up the crotch. i found that hot. he came up to the counter and asked me “who are you?” i found that charming. i told him my name.

“do you work here every day?”


“then i just have to come here every day until i find you.”

“no, please don’t do that, i’ll give you my number and we can meet for a coffee.”

we met for coffee. i found out he was in berlin for his sister, she is a “special case,” according to him, a forty year-old woman who has never worked a day in her life, and who he had just sent on a plane to sweden, to a place called uppsala, to attain her masters of foreign affairs. he was her financial sugar daddy, even though he is six years younger than her. he paid for her rent, gave her allowance, and was working towards buying her a smart car.

i fell madly in love with him, even though i found him somehow creepy. he was brilliant. he used analogy like a craftsman: perfectly fitting the proper analogy to any situation like a glove. he opened me to new perspectives, ones i had never considered before. he was troubled and pained. his parents were dead. he had a red convertible in a garage in rome. he showed me pictures of his dog, who lived at his uncle’s villa. he was a security genius, a bomb specialist, an architect, a dog-lover, a clit-master and work-obsessed. he designed hospitals in the sahara for the UN, and had a secret employer as well. his work made james bond seem realistic and made me feel distant and confused. work was always the most important, a clear priority, and he never comprised it for anything because “money,” he would say, “it makes me happy.”

he always had his phone on him, the world on his shoulders, a “situation,” and a big pack of marlboro golds. his phone was always vibrating, and sometimes he’d have to go on and talk loudly in italian to some recipient on the other end. occasionally friends of his from rome would come spontaneously and consume him for days. i couldn’t see him because his friend was shy and uninterested in meeting me.

he made love like a mad scientist. he had the queerest sex of any straight man i’d ever been with. and he wasn’t just straight, in fact he’d recently learned how much he loved cock: a mere few weeks before i’d met him, and he loved to mention his thrill for his new-found bisexuality.

he first made love to me after he came back from libya. (he had gone there for work. he’d invited me to come along on our second date. he said the UN would pay for it, he would just pretend i was his assistant but i said i couldn’t make it, i had work, and going to libya with someone i didn’t know sounded unreasonable.) he told me that day, as we lay on my bed, windows open with a fresh march air blowing through the window frames and me running my hands through his whimsical hairs, that it’s hard for him to cum. i didn’t even try to make him – i just laid, helpless and enraptured, as he fucked me with a machiavellian masturbatory manipulation, making me desperate for him in any moments we had apart.

there were many stipulations to our relationship. we dated in the morning-time. he would come “first thing in the morning,” after he had coffee and took his special depression meds. one of the stipulations was that we could never meet at night. another was that it was open, the relationship. i had another partner and he had a “special friend,” (but he liked me more). at night was when he would work for the UN, designing his hospital in the sahara, and the morning was when we would meet, but it wasn’t all that often. at most three times a week, sometimes not at all, but on average we kept a steady two days a week, week days, because weekends were also a stipulation: he never made plans to meet on the weekends.

he came all the way from moabit to me, in kreuzberg, and we would drink a cup of coffee while he smoked cigarettes at my dining room table. it was divine. he told me stories of corrupt doctors in northern africa – doctors who would use the air conditioned surgery theater as their office, and make surgeries happen in a shack next door. he told stories brilliantly: he used his whole body – he became hilarious. he was no longer terrifyingly tragic or overwhelmingly depressed. he was vivacious and clever. quick-witted and delightful. he’d tell me stories in the kitchen and then inevitably he’d grab my neck, or push me against the kitchen sink, and we’d go and make love. i adored him.

he was still in love with his ex-girlfriend. she was the daughter of a millionaire designer in new york, of finnish decent, dumb as rocks, didn’t even know who caravaggio was, but somehow, despite that, he felt he loved her. many times he would be getting off the phone with “her” when he’d come to visit me, discussing how the money he’d wire transferred her to kuala lumpur hadn’t gone through. because she lived in kuala lumpur; because he was her sugar daddy in berlin, and her real daddy in new york didn’t pay for her; because she was a step daughter, and it was a very bad family situation; because he worried about her.

we planned to travel together. we changed our plans to just make love in his apartment for four days. i came on the first day, and it just so happened to be the day his love, his ex, was moving to kuala lumpur. his phone was ringing non-stop with pleads for him to come to kuala lumpur. “come to kuala lumpur,” she typed, “i want you to be waiting for me at the airport. we told each other we would do this.”

he skyped her in his bedroom and closed the door. i calcified into the couch. he came back. we made love. he got a migraine. he made me sit and watch ten episodes of the big bang theory while he laughed madly and held his head.

the next day he went to german class at noon and our sexcapade was over.

after that it got worse. i always heard about his ex love. he got a new job in a different german city. the city was far away and he went there often to work on a building project – security. we whatsapped every day, perhaps one message, but the messages were beleaguered and boring. while at first our relationship was filled with hearts and virtual good morning kisses, our conversations regressed into his complaining about being tired. about work.

his sister dropped out of her masters and moved back into the apartment. they made an agreement never to have visitors, so i wasn’t allowed to come over. i never met his sister or saw a picture of her.

in our second month of dating he told me he wanted to erase all of his contacts, except for me and two others, and run away to sicily. he said he believed people were tracking him. he asked me if i should like to come to sicily, too.

on the one night of our relationship where he almost spent the night, someone got in his way. he texted me instead of coming: “sorry love, i have an unexpected visitor. i hope you’ll let me come tomorrow and explain.”

the next morning he came and never mentioned the visitor. not until i asked at the end did he tell me: his ex love had come from kuala lumpur and surprised him last night. he had spent the night fighting with her, and trying to find her a hotel. now he would go meet her for lunch, to “figure out what the fuck she wants from me,” and tomorrow go to the far-away german city for work. we sat in my kitchen as we discussed this, and he massaged my thighs and kissed me. “next time we meet, we make love,” he promised me. he loved to make promises just so he wouldn’t keep them.

he left for lunch and went to the german city, and i decided to desert my mission of this insane italian. i didn’t write. i said to myself: let him have his wretched messed-up life! i don’t need it. i am letting go.

i got a text from him two days later: “how is my beautiful woman? mine, who i’m sure isn’t possessive?” i found the irony creepy but also deeply characteristic.

it turned out a scene had unfolded with his ex. she had proposed marriage at their lunch and he had told her no. afterwards he had left, and she’d asked for 48 hours time to think. now the 48 hours were up, and she had blocked him from all channels: he was unable to contact her or infiltrate her network. no skype, no whatsapp, no viber. he called me in a panic from krakow: “can you call this thai number?” he asked, choking on his breath. “i’m terrified something has happened to her.” i thought he was being an idiot. “clearly she wants you to chase her,” i said. “i’m sure she’s just fine,” but he was so distraught he returned to berlin after being in krakow for one hour. he cancelled his business meeting and came back.

within the 48 hours that had passed, his ex had written an email to all of his friends (none of whom i had ever met), inviting him to his funeral. she had put four return contacts on the email for an RSVP, but hers was the only real one. “i guess you only do something like that if you’re really mad,” he deduced dumbly as he texted me about it. he started to need me. he texted me more frequently, saying how much he missed me. how much he needed me. he begged that we would see each other soon.

when he came to see me, he came and sat in my kitchen and talked at me for eight hours about how he was building a tower against his ex. he knew where she was now. he’d paid 4000EUR for some of his “colleagues” to find her. she was safe in kuala lumpur, at work, like nothing had ever happened. he hated her for this. “every day the tower grows bigger,” he told me as he sat in my kitchen, “and every day it’s more and more armed. it grows higher. there are more guards and more weapons.” he told me he thinks he is becoming a psychopath, that this is the final straw, that you can only lose so many people before you snap. he explained how he sought out revenge on anyone who mistreated him. now he was going to snap.

i went away to south africa. i went away and told him to get better while i was gone. to get therapy, because i wouldn’t compromise my happiness. he called me and told me had found a therapist in kreuzberg. “i want to be the solar person you and i both like so much,” he said.
we were supposed to go to sicily when i came back from south africa. i came back expressly to go to sicily. otherwise i would have stayed and gone to namibia. the day we saw each other to discuss our trip, he had just returned from a mission in africa with his secret employer. “how was it?” i asked. “it’s classified,” he told me.

we met for twenty minutes in a cafe on a tuesday, after three weeks of not seeing each other. after i finished my sandwich he said he had to go to meet his sister, who had packed all of his things into ikea bags while he’d been away and left them in the living room. “what about sicily?” i asked.

“oh, you’re sick,” he said. “i don’t think it’s a good idea.”

i sent him a voice message telling him how disappointed i was and he responded by saying he’d bought the tickets – only he wouldn’t tell me for when. he texted me that he would call me on thursday and tell me the details. he said would call me at 13:00. but he never called, so i texted my dissatisfaction:” i don’t understand why you say you’ll do things and then you don’t do them.” (the reason was because he’s a psychopath).

“love,” he wrote, “please. i have a situation.”

“always,” i replied.

“no really, this time i do. my sister has run away to rome. so now i must fly there to stop her, and then you fly to rome tomorrow and join us and then we go to sicily.”

i said the relationship was over. this was too crazy and no one should be involved in this nightmare. he said he agreed. he took his flight to italy, arrived three hours later, and then he skyped me from his uncle’s villa where he told me he never wanted to lose me and we broke up. i wish i hadn’t been emotional, i wish i’d been sly and clever. i wish i’d looked for clues as to if he really was in italy, or if he instead was in germany, just in some strange apartment.

we didn’t talk for a while, until a bomb blew up in cairo. we talked in cairo once, for two minutes. i asked him how was he and how was cairo, and he grumbled about how he had been torn from his vacation in istanbul. then he said: “i see someone i know. i’ve got to go. i’ll call you later.”

but he didn’t. he wrote five days later that he’d been so busy, he’d almost forgotten he had a phone (an impossibility) but would i like to have a coffee soon?

i wrote him that i wouldn’t.

i haven’t spoken to him since june of 2015. i have no idea who that man actually is.


Elly Jarvis! A poet from the United States of America! finds herself under a canopy of passions, or, rather – does she toss them in the air, like a stir-fry in the pan? If we should stick to the pan, the vegetables inside are as follows : theater of the oppressed is the green pepper, the chunks are big and juicy; teaching English is the tofu, which makes her muscles big and strong; dancing is the mushrooms; playing the drums, the bamboo shoots; riding her bicycle and writing is the fat, which makes the whole dish cook; and people! oh! people are the seasoning – essential for the flavorfulness and success of the dish. You can find Elly writing poems in unsuspecting corners of Kreuzberg, or acting with Kuringa in Wedding. As a typical Gemini, she enjoys the duplicity of things: she is a leader as she is a team-player, she’s a theater practitioner as she is an actor, she’s a poet as she is a passionate reader. For a more specific lens (CV) into Elly, you can contact the artist directly:

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