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The Persephone Complex


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Ruby Elliot
Vilte F
Patricia Alvarado
Caitlin Skaalrud
Forsyth Harmon
Valerie Phillips


too much time spent on nothing, waiting for a mome...
it’s been cold for years, won’t you let it lie?
But I’ve got so much wickedness and sin: part 2
men are coming to take me away
Artists: Jenna Opsahl
they say the French are glad to die for love
You spoke like broken thunder deep into the centre...
you do everything that they ask you to...cause you...
we’re up all night ‘til the sun
immersed in water, immersed in dirt


TABOO Magazine
Style Vulture
Hello Margaret!

Layout by Swoon for the Moon. Copyright of Holly Cassell and The Persephone Complex 2015.

and suddenly I find myself listening to a man I’ve never known before, telling me about the sea


I do not remember everything. There are things I wish I could recall, that I know are lost inside my unremembered experience. Maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention. Maybe I was gone somewhere else.

I can’t remember when his eyes first began to show love, but they do now. We dance together in empty rooms and talk about our future home. From behind us I hear the words from a stereo, “never read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly”. I smile as he mouths them at me and draws me closer against his chest, letting dinner burn. He takes me out at night in his car and we drive until we have gone through every worry that I can bear to tell him. I can hear the sea lapping at the shore but I cannot see where the waves begin. He tells me I need glasses and I try feebly to explain my fear of tests, of appointments, of paperwork – of anything formal that requires me to be formal.We go back to his bed and hold each other in the darkness, falling asleep uncomfortably, but needing to be joined; his arm under my neck, my hair in his mouth, our breath hot on each other’s faces. We both turn several times in the night and when we do the other responds, keeping a kind of symmetry underneath the tousled sheets; moving around each other, with each other; like satellites, or magnets. I remember when we first met, how I felt him coming towards me, slowly, from my left hand side, as I sat waiting on the concrete; my mouth stoppered with a lollipop I had brought so that I had an excuse not to talk. Hello little one. Let’s go get you some lunch.

I remember the way his kitchen spun as he swung me in his arms, alone in that new, surgical-clean room, our reflections embracing each other in the freshly bought glass. Darkness outside, and a bright, fluorescent light within. I saw my black dress  clinging to my body as I danced for him; a silent, shadow self contained by the window pane. I performed a perfect pirouette on the slippery floor, and he told me to repeat it. I obeyed, and he smiled. I told him it was easy in my socks. I have a way of throwing every compliment back into the space between us, as if it would be too heavy for me to carry. He makes me look at him sometimes, as he says things that cut me open; that shatter my solitude; my separate, icy confidence. Sometimes I tell him that I do not believe in his love; sometimes I begin to cry and he has to hold me together as I re-form myself around his words. I lay naked on his bed after an argument, staring at the roses he gave me earlier that day, waiting for him to notice how cold I am and cover me with something, anything. Finally I give in and go to put my dress back on. The movement breaks the spell, and I hear his voice from behind me, saying turn and face me, I will make you believe.

I am afraid that what we have is stolen time. I tell him so as he plays absent-mindedly with my fingers, warming them in his. We joke that his hands are like shovels, but really they are more like  paws; always warm, always soft as they crush my own. It is his way of showing me my weakness, and I do not mind. I enjoy feeling my bones bend under his grip, and watching him check me for damage afterwards. Twist this way. Grip My fingers. Does it hurt when I do that? Good. Nothing broken.  He asks me where I go when I take myself away, and why I feel the need to do it. Do you feel unsafe, he asks. Because it displays a lack of trust. I tell him as calmly as I can that I do not do it in reaction to him; that something in me is always absent, unreachable, so that I may rebuild myself if all is destroyed. He does not understand. He is accustomed to company. I am used to being alone, and I still speak to him sometimes as though I were.

I convulse under his hands as he carefully drips red wax onto my stomach, thinking nothing, my thoughts scooped out of my head like a Jack-o-lantern. I grit my teeth and thrash beneath the searing heat, waiting to emerge on the other side as he covers my body with patterns. Finally I turn to him, and I believe.

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At 29 November 2013 at 12:27 , Blogger helen said...

this is what i want! someone who can make me believe, x

At 29 November 2013 at 16:02 , Blogger Mattie said...

this is so so beautiful! xxxxx

At 29 November 2013 at 19:08 , Blogger Elif Onay said...

I've been waiting a post from you for a while now and let me tell you my friend you should NOT be gone that long! Anyways I'm glad you are back with your amazing words. This was incredible.. I must say that this is something everyone would want at a certain point in their lives if they're ready or not but not a lot of people can put it in words like you do. Very well written :)

At 29 November 2013 at 19:33 , Blogger Signe said...

Beautiful picture and beautiful writing :)

At 29 November 2013 at 20:54 , Blogger Laura said...

this is so so lovely! honestly, this is probably my favourite writing by you:-) xx

At 30 November 2013 at 15:22 , Blogger Nichie said...

I love this so much.

At 30 November 2013 at 15:54 , Blogger Peet said...

That last paragraph is my favorite. For so many reasons. Simply beautiful, my dear...

At 30 November 2013 at 19:35 , Blogger Britney said...

Oh my god. This is so beautiful that I literally cannot even some up how it makes me feel. Your blog is one of my favorites and this just makes me feel so many things that I can't even sort them out.

At 1 December 2013 at 15:44 , Blogger Irene ~Melodies In The Sand~ said...

I feel like my comment won't do justice to how good this post is, but I thought I'd just leave my words of admiration just to let you know how much I enjoyed it. :-)

At 1 December 2013 at 19:03 , Blogger Maija said...

This is one of my favourite of your posts so far, your writing just keeps getting better and better. It sounds like a spell or a dream, but intransigent, I love it, I want someone to make me believe! xxx
ps I like the title too ;)

At 1 December 2013 at 19:50 , Blogger angelaremondi said...

This is so beautiful. I love your writing


At 2 December 2013 at 02:05 , Blogger Emma Jane said...

Gorgeous, simply gorgeous. That last paragraph is so haunting and electric.

Tightrope to the Sun

At 2 December 2013 at 15:58 , Blogger D said...

i'm so glad i stumbled upon your blog, your words are so very beautiful.

At 2 December 2013 at 18:59 , Blogger Corinne said...

'Sometimes I tell him that I do not believe in his love; sometimes I begin to cry and he has to hold me together as I re-form myself around his words. I lay naked on his bed after an argument, staring at the roses he gave me earlier that day, waiting for him to notice how cold I am and cover me with something, anything. Finally I give in and go to put my dress back on.'

I want these sentences in my head forever. Your writing makes me want to drink red wine and write a poem about all the things it conjures up in me. It makes want to put such things on my blog, but then I remember who reads it.



At 2 December 2013 at 22:15 , Blogger Just said...

I think everyone's comments summed up my whole experience upon reading this post. In short, loved it !
Hold onto those feelings, it can become everything you needed.


At 3 December 2013 at 21:20 , Blogger Virgos and Kisses said...

This is beautiful. I had to read it twice x

At 4 December 2013 at 01:49 , Blogger snow said...

wonderful, it sounds like things are going well. :) xx It is the best to hold someone through the night even if it is super uncomfortable just because you need to be close to them.

At 5 December 2013 at 17:31 , Blogger The Purple Assassin. said...

Beautiful piece.

At 6 December 2013 at 21:29 , Blogger amy said...

Your writing makes me want to curl up in bed and never get up it's so wonderful to read. I like the way you think. xxx

At 6 December 2013 at 22:59 , Blogger Ambi Page said...

such a lovely post ! beautiful !!! love your writing dear !!!! would you like to follow each other :) xx

At 6 December 2013 at 23:14 , Blogger ivette said...

love love love,,,,, i wanna be transported to that scene

At 6 December 2013 at 23:29 , Blogger LETICIA said...

a single image is a perfect setting for a beautiful bouquet of words.

At 7 December 2013 at 00:33 , Blogger Jenna Opsahl said...

HOW does a person write like this? You are magic, I swear it.
"He is accustomed to company. I am used to being alone, and I still speak to him sometimes as though I were."
I am just so in awe of you.


At 16 December 2013 at 09:47 , Blogger sophiemdubaiphotography said...

This was so amazing to read! Please do more of them!! I've had to change my blog as my ex and I have gone separate ways and he wouldn't fix the last one he made :( Reading this was difficult right now but so beautiful.

At 28 December 2013 at 08:27 , Blogger Chloe said...

your way with words is simply stunning xx

At 14 January 2014 at 18:36 , Blogger Kelly said...

Beautiful writing xx

At 23 February 2014 at 20:55 , Blogger Cheryl said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

I stumbled across your blog by accident...a lovely, lucky accident that has kept me here for the last hour reading through your past posts and sighing. You write so wonderfully.


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