Next Thursday, May 4 at 19:00, Poetry Brothel Berlin launches (Facebook group, Facebook event, EventBrite for tickets). Poetry Brothel brings together internationally renowned and locally infamous bards for a night of poetry, performance—and payment. After great success in New York, Chicago, and London, the Brothel is opening in Berlin. The steampunk-themed launch will feature characters, costumes, intimate readings, vintage photography (complete with tint), musicians, performers, and merriment.
My friend Felicia will also be there. Felicia Faust. This is her story:
Found on the library doorstep swaddled in lingerie, Felicia was raised by a pack of wild scholars. She grew up writing poetry and painting commissions at the behest of the Devil, who was dean of the college of arts and sciences at the time. At 12, she discovered red lipstick and black fishnets, and began composing piano accompaniment for her favorite literary influences — Plato, Goethe, and Rage Against the Machine. When she was 16, she ran away to college, where – sadly – she had no other option but to obtain a Ph.D., as she was young and needed the money.
Burned out on grant proposals and her affairs with Marxists in silk turtlenecks, at 20 she left all her books and papers in an abandoned art silo in Saxony, stole a horse heading to France, and hopped a boat to England under a blue moon. In London she learned the arts of jazz dance from Josephine Baker and drinking from Zelda Fitzgerald. Eventually the flappers’ strict morals proved too much for her, and she returned to her natural habitat: the whorehouse in Berlin.
Felicia enjoys absinthe while drawing liquid poems from a well that reaches directly to Hell, thanks to a joint appointment at Our Lady of the Screaming Banshee. Sometimes she also digs small poetry shards out of her skin, after bathing in brimstone. It takes years off the eyes.
When she’s not writing poetry, songs and essays, or painting her various lovers’ genitalia, Felicia sneaks psychedelics into church water supplies. She prefers clients who have engaged in risky behavior such as whistleblowing, truth-telling, and making peace with their parents; those who prefer life without protection should be warned that her courage is contagious. Her favorite flower is the black Dutch tulip, long prized by anarchists for its aphrodisiac qualities. Her prrrr is unrelated to her relationship with the Devil, but has everything to do with the state of her soul.