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wild fucking ride: the thin fire. of sappho. in me.

By Ana Kiffer
Translated By Rahul Bery


breakfast in house at the top of a hill. on the island of hydra. i spotted her. she was sitting down. her legs crossed. i saw the blonde hairs. she wasn’t wearing underwear. she must have been 50. i was 25.

i’d met her daughter in paris. we’d shared dreams. revolutionary ideas with our bodies. moving the earth’s axis.

i was her daughter’s friend.

***

i stayed with the two of them in that white house for three days. with the breakfasts where i could glimpse her blonde pussy. and just over the mountains. a monolith engulfing me. the sea.

i left two days later. in a daze. i thought i’d never see her again. i went on alone. all she said was: Christina should do this too. go to Sappho’s island, like you. we went down the hill. and at that moment we were sheltered by a great tree. and the twisting shadows. and that thing. and now. here we are then. how do you say it?

***

i traveled alone for thirty days. from hydra i went back to athens and took a night boat to chios. i was hoping to get to lesbos. Sappho was one of the first woman poets to assault my body. where tongue breaks and thin fire is racing under skin and in eyes no sight and drumming fills ears.

that was exactly it. how you say it. written down. finally. in my grasp. still breaking me. the exactitude. the exact desire. under skin. in eyes no sight. under skin. desire. which over the years. so they say. desire is prohibited. all of which just makes drumming in my ears. in my eyes there was no sight. shadows. of desire. breaking the skin of the earth. the earth exposed. a wound. a rock. a drumming. the steps. the descent. desire. every tongue. displaced. the sea. hydra. the sea. this every tongue. fire erupting on the deck. the legs. the hairs. the friction. the skin. the rock. of desire.

***

it must have been twelve o’clock on the deck of the boat. a body slept by my side. nameless. in my eyes was no sight. he’d held my butt cheeks. he’d fucked me for some of the night. he’d touched my firm tits. my emerging tits. my hard nipples. his prick. my half-open legs. and i was on my way back to hydra. the mornings. when i saw her pussy. the hairs. the friction between us. her daughter. a world. the years. an absence of tongue breaking us open. the stones. the twisting shadows. the hill. a tree. no shelter. that desire discovered on the ship’s deck.

i don’t know who else was there. there was only sea and night. everything was pitch black. a shoddy boat. no quarters. transit of bodies. anonymous. a displaced tongue. of desire. breaking me. desire as prohibition. desire is prohibited. desire prohibits. the inexorable breaking of the tongue. the tongue the only thing. breaking. even now. every line. made of that breaking of a tongue. of desire. of a tongue. of desire.

***

i reached lesbos. finally i would find a tongue. and the origin of this drumming in the ear.

***

i found two rivers but no edge.

girls seven or eight years old were coming out of school and playing on the rough earth track. hand in hand.

on eressos beach all the women from 20 to 60 were also holding hands. they were kissing. so were the girls. but it was different. perhaps.

***

the tongue of desire. when the tongue of desire enters. it would be the river’s edge. there were only two rivers there. with wild currents. no edges. cutting across lesbos. sappho’s drumming.

i realized i’d gone there looking for edges. desire was assailing my body. relentlessly. and this thing where it came from. i found no tongue. i was only breaking myself.

***

i went back to athens. more in a daze than ever. i stayed in the house of a friend i’d made on the road. from chios to lesbos. she sold salami in the supermarket. she lived alone in a squatters’ block. she was the only one in the whole crumbling building.

***

it was the day of my return home. i said goodbye to her. one of her friends was going to take me to the airport on his scooter. i went into the toilet. strangely the bathroom had been carved out of the kitchen space. i turned the tap on. i heard the loudest crack. i came out completely soaked. i slipped on the floor. everything was shaking. the roof was shaking. the door. i got up. i looked at the floor. it wasn’t there anymore. rippling beneath my feet. the floor trembling. my body falling.

***

i felt Sappho’s eyes. with no sight. and drumming fills ears. a single drumming. at last. the flesh downcast. watching the world disintegrate. in drumming. an ending without sin. a world before christ. after everything.

***

i want to get to the airport and return to the safe world. to civilization installed in museums. i thought about the athens museum. if the fall had taken place there. the statues reduced to dust. drumming. the end of the history of the beginning of all beauty. the statue destroyed. the fountain of desire within us. i was in the middle of a jostling crowd. the airport was an escape route. in the midst of everything. which i could no longer see. a hand grabs me. my friend’s mother. where it all started. it was Janne. in the athens airport. just as i was leaving. her too. broken apart.

***

we barely spoke at all. we hugged for a long time. our bags tossed onto the floor.

she whispered to me. Christina is dead.

my body started to tremble again. faced with death we can no longer. continue. like statues of our desires. death sharpens the senses. i began to smell her like an animal sniffing out meat in order to survive. to survive the death of Christina. i took her neck in my hands. i grabbed hold of it forcefully. i could kill her. mother and daughter dead just like that. she let me. right there she too was made up entirely of love and hatred. of death. of desire.

***

the hands that took the violence from mine were hers. hers the delicate caress. before death. my hands. shaking. intertwined we stayed like that. like people who die together. or who want to. we were only beasts after all. the world of statues. of the desires being represented. of beauty. now it was just a torturous. drumming. and dust. clouding our view.

we were always beasts. before the christian era. we were horses with a something about us that could not be tamed. before being statues. of desire. our tongues broke. against each other.

***

we went to the women’s toilets in the athens airport. where the signs showed the way to μεταφορά. we laughed. about death. about a pain without limits. her dead daughter. our surviving bodies. we were the remains. the refuse. nothing between us was metaphor. there was just the breaking of the tongue. absolutely nothing to say. and what remained of our bodies. in the toilets.

we threw off our clothes. in the cubicle. i licked her blonde pussy over the latrine. and i enjoyed the sound of her moans. i was taken aback by the fury. the rage of desire. of the death that was touching it. in spite of it all. now. here. i feel the wicked and gentle way she desired my breasts. putting her hands on my hard. nipples. nothing there beyond that hardened nipple. and her hands grasping them.

then she dug into my back. and we fucked. as scraps of ourselves. in the toilets in an airport. in athens. with no μεταφορά. no way of transporting the pain. nothing to transport it in. only the tongue. breaking desire open. deepening wounds. our pussies. and suddenly the fire of death breaking out.

***

right now. i feel my wet pussy as the racket of the written word seems to press down on my womb. i’m not wearing underwear as i write. and i feel sorry. so sorry. i feel sorry for all those who never felt. i feel sorry for those who still don’t feel. i feel sorry for her daughter. i feel sorry for myself. enclosed within the solitude of feeling all alone. i feel sorry for Janne. for all that is right locked away in cubicles. i feel sorry for all of us women. conditioned. or scandalized. for our own desire. i feel sorry for not feeling. i feel the presence of death. i feel sorry about the scarcity of the world. and the excess of laws. with no force. i feel bad for not being able to live in the lurch. i feel bad for rivers with no edges. i feel for this immense rightfulness. so mistaken. i feel the floor trembling beneath my feet. i feel with no metaphors. i feel that i do not feel. i feel that i only feel once or twice over the entire course of this life i can’t endure. but which endures. i feel sorry about not finding someone who feels as deeply as i feel. i feel the inhumanity of humanity. in museums. in statues. in the written word. they attempt to grasp. desire. without success. and its sudden thin fire. beneath my. your. skin. which i feel. now. here.

 

“wild fucking ride: the thin fire. of sappho. in me.” originally appeared in the Brazilian journal Revista Pessoa. It appears here as part of WWB’s ongoing partnership with Revista Pessoa. Several times a year, WWB will bring readers new work that originally appeared in Pessoa here in English translation, and Pessoa will publish work from WWB’s pages in translation into Brazilian Portuguese.


Published Oct 22, 2018   Copyright 2018 Ana Kiffer

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