Victoria Sélavy

Not since my conception had anyone spent as much vital and emotional energy on me in such a short period of time as Victoria Sélavy did between June 2012 and August 2013. When we first met I felt a child-like, newly reinvigorated sense that there was some possibility for a deeply beautiful, generosity-dense world. They inspired this, and—despite the adversity of the lingering life-denouncing presence of depression—their approach and viewpoint, their jovial performance and outlook, persist in me. I feel uncannily grateful to have met them.

Few people have the ability to seamlessly construct and fluidly map a world in ideas that can immediately and with disarming effect, inspire familiar and bizarre imagery. Even fewer, as this ability reaches maturation, unerringly choose to use their ability to uplift and entertain an audience with no malintent. Victoria is, to me, an inspiration and an exemplar of gentle kindness and philanthropy, in the purest sense of the word: wanting to love people, despite themselves and despite the impulse not to.

I woke in a dream-state shortly after Victoria’s death and felt a hypnagogic presence intimate to me that some weird perturbance in the things in my head wanted to convey the words ‘she said, I know what its like to be dead, I know what it is to be sad’. The first words Victoria said to me will always be my response when asked how I feel about their work: i’m a fan.

– Stephen Michael McDowell

Hippies & Goons

In the abyss before all of us
I drank a beer on Emily Dickinson’s back porch
traced circles in a bell tower
swallowed ghosts, ran and rambled—

Love looks translucent as all the bricks on Broad Street
when I stare at it a while and
our bodies are boxes and
they’ve destroyed the evidence but
certainly, I love you.

I’d like to escape this
cheese-puff childhood
and drink nettle tea
in the woods
with you.

I’d like to move to Mexico
with insufficient capital
and eat confetti in the jungle

I’d like to hammer concrete
like peppermint ice cream
because these sidewalks won’t stop
glittering heartless,
indefinite headstones,
and your feet
are too important
to ache.


Victoria Sélavy (1993-2013) was a writer and artist from Arlington, VA. Other poems can be found in Affectionate and Habitat. Victoria’s other writings can be found at Clever Meat.