Laëtitia, an elegy

verona 1

A barking, seal-like cough, melancholia. Morphing sounds. Reinvent your face. Chaos. Knot of reeds. A village in the south of France, Vaucluse department. Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. On the banks of the Rhône. Shut away. Years were lost to you. To me, us. Aged twenty-nine. Seizures. Psychosis. Laëtitia.

Incarcerated at Montdevergues Asylum, avenue de la Pinède. On a hill in Montfavet, near Avignon. You survived. The brutality you had lived. Short term memory loss. Until that savagery. Until disfigurement with straight jackets. Cast of grisaille. Branches, mixed media. Tore into your skull. Prisons and carceral spaces. Pages ripped out, the many rooms.

fields of lavender
tossing stones into river
summer after summer

Unkempt children, dirty dishes. When life became surreal. Relentless fatigue. Weight loss. The layering of old. Acrylic on cradled wood panel. Finishing nails. Bamboo bone folder. Juxtaposed grey-black. Dreamlike. Scraping. Shadow boxes.

Wrapped in ochre earth. White and the silences. We all will have narratives. As if we had witnessed it. Little did you know about the curse. You did not know the word madness, Laëtitia. Born in Nogent-sur-Seine. Fascinated with clay and shells as a child. Collage, junque, glass.

Unmournable. A grave in the cemetery of Monfavet. You’ll know about how I loved, Laëtitia. Avignon scouring mistral winds. Leaving the sun to shine. You will never speak the word, Mother.

guided to water’s edge
goddess appearing as crow
summoning the moon



these words by Ilona Martonfi were inspired by the colour of Raphael Varona 


From the author: “Marginalized, the outsider. From the locked doors of the psychiatric ward and hospital. Led us to the local outpatient foster home, homeless shelter, streets where they spent their days.”


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Word and Colour

words inspired by colour