Leila Samarrai


The unrest of the soul which pushes us towards the quest of the subconscious, or even unconscious, maybe that’s just traces of bygone pasts, or maybe just long forgotten images of our ancestors…

Long ago, there was nothing but Senses. Senses, like a dreaded, pungent Fire of rotting meat which, at times, wind would carry away along the tracks of the dim ancestral silence. Within us were monsters – our forefathers. They were animals, decked in fur, like our scalded skin. Then they rode giant horses and descended onto the passes of mutilated dreams, their presence sharp and glistening like a blade. They stepped into our tendons. And from the bits and pieces of our dreams remained bloody sinews they use to strangle us as they speak in an unintelligible tongue. During sacrifices, powerful senses bound hands to wild tribes. Set about a grand fire pouring onto the faces chafed by heat of molted wax, they were hissing voodoo mantras from their melted throats as well as chakarias (two-verse poetry) through which they spoke to the gods of the Threesuns, resting on the gigantic Platana beach. They too were skinning apples with their roasted hands and their hardened, horny nails – yellow scaly wrinkles creating with their overlap a cracked, horny layer, and turning the hands of Their gods into the monsters of the night.

The darkness of my soul was the darkness of the night. Visitors of other worlds also sought salvation in prayer, those exiled tigers and men with their nails deeply ingrown. Their fangs scraped the apple whose foam sprayed back into the womb, into the nails jammed into it, onto which a crow was giving birth, a child of death, a croaker of horror. Times flew by. Wind sprayed the coast of silence and bloody rains put out fires. Men found mercy with gods and the liquid fire – the aphrodisiac collected in their dirty, aging skin of giant fish and reptiles. They became men, but lost their gods in the process.

And now it’s all over. Desert everywhere, unending. Vera is waking up, feeling like a light knife jab at her temple. More precisely it could be said that Vera was at that crossing point between dream and real life when, while opening our eyelids, we simply admire all the shades. And over the shapes in the semi-darkness, these shades clasp their ghastly claws. Perhaps we fancy we can hear in this delirium of awakening amid the driest of nights the drumming of rain or a bang of someone’s bony hand against the window. After such oneiric daydreaming and flirting of our senses with the nonexistent vistas, we awaken, with the prior unclear signs of dreaming. Where were we? Did we go somewhere? What foggy lands of dream did we lose forever by waking so suddenly? And Vera was so tired out by archetypal dreams of her ancestors that she didn’t notice droplets of dried blood from the loud, leaned knife which came closer to her throat. When? Who? Where? Once more, within her head a mask rotated, a mask with wax dressing of rosy candles which her cousin Eulalia, a dream witch, used to clean her entrails while chanting her sins and yodeling. What kind of powerful shriek is that? Exhaling painfully and clasping her throat, she jolted up. Something was grabbing hold of her, like a mare which sat on her breasts , propping up its flowing garb, or like fear that boded the upcoming unrest.

The light glow of the sun reflected against the shiny hilt, the sun which gnawed at the sheets tossed over the messiest parts of the brothel where emerging female flesh rested, as if clad in diapers. She was nude, with a spattered sheet flung onto her body. Dark circles of perquisition and carnality were on her face, tattooed onto her by the Prince of darkness, trying to cut off her toes, jamming a cloth into her mouth and shouting ‘Swallow, you white bitch!’. This is where Vera thought of her parents, of the empty table where the clay of evil was smoking, rolled up in a piece of barren bread where an old man was testing his gums.

– Abrahamosvaldo, where is our daughter?-Almalikai asked.

– Ah to hell with her- The stern voice of the old man growled.

Abrahamosvaldo is the father, with bronchial asthma and frail lungs. Almalikai is putting the tequila onto the square tablecloth, wearing a bound kerchief and a black dress with a knitted collar and curlers in her hair. She rose her hand, which sucked up the thick light of the tiny holes through which a piece of the dim sun burst through. Her hand is soft and pale, veins swim along it, colorful, green, purple, knotty. Her clothing is nothing but rags, torn and cut up like ingrown claws, and her skin is tiger-like, with implanted tattooed flesh. They say Fernando Puerto Vallarta himself imprinted the wrinkles with rhetoric of blood, sweat and stench. But she awakens, and there was no freakish unrest to her. Her chunks of flesh are, however, still in place. The dress can be sown back together. Ah, the mouth, she needs to put on her mouth, pushing the web-like bundles of pus towards her esophagus, some of that pus from the lip cut open with the knife. Slops of blood poured from each pore. And the tracks were deep, and going all the way to the uterus they caused her that key nausea that tightens hoops around the head, when one thinks that he has precious little time left to live. She also had a toothache. She picked at the rotting enamel and pulled out bundles of ash, little charred bits of metal, and took them to her wide-open eyes. She then removed her blood-hued darkened dress and wrapped herself with the salty sweat of her bite mark-covered body. She’s shaking. Eyes?My eyes? Tense from the thoughts in her head, she wondered where her eyes were. What she sees are two bloody slits through which the light of darkness pierced. She remembers one of her customers. A giant hairy animal onto him whose hands clasp a butcher’s knife, and whose teeth are tiny like those of a bloodthirsty beast. Fangs are there too, biting into the clasped stomach.

– No, I don’t want to remember! – Vera speaks, nude as the day is long. The sight of this lustful battle with the animal that tore into her with anger and the knife at her throat, squeezing it tightly, was now merely a series of troublesome floating images painting dim and dead matter, unusual and colossal things. These were controlled by time flowing on the clock on the filthy wall. Drapes were pulled up on all four sides like semi-spheres, there were pictures of whores with bound hands lining the walls, and the dry faces of martyrs in the dark, tobacco laden night. The light bubbled on the clock’s flywheel endlessly ticking away, handles moving and sharply casting the shadow at the last demission of the customer.

Silence ensued. Dusting off the chair, she sat down buck naked. She then started lulling, breathing in the romance of the remaining musical beats, the music which, played during someone’s departure, was slowly dying off. She too dug her head into her hands to hide the raspy howl implied in her lips chapped to the point of bleeding. Yes, she was good tonight, still on that crossroads of an older girl, with her reflection and her spent, burnt form. Her lips were wet. Using her hand she was scraping off something invisible from them, wanting to ignore the blood. It was all the same to her if she could get up and reach for the mirror, but the half-pierced glass flipped in her hands, seeking an answer. She looked at herself. Now that was an ordeal, dreaded ordeal of self-knowledge. Something secret was buried in that mirror, like a secrete heart, a place where pain ended, and silence started, a place where light and shadow met, coshering each other. Down the filthy glasshouse across the bed, where she was lying powerless and bloodied up until that point, tiny terracotta figurines of lions and tigers were hanging about, as well as some other wild, African animals which tore into her mind. And she saw the shapes of fantastical figurines from her dreams – the famed Alebrijes, restless spirit from Native American Zapotec tradition. Its light wings were like bird feathers, with that same feathers adorned with colors which shone as if oiled. Each feather was rosy from the inner tissue degradation, as if a crafty carpenter made tiny bones in Vera’s flesh, making figurines from her dreams with a brush and a chisel. And then there were the patterns which bubbled after a sleepless night that were on the back of her hand like an undead spirit like Alebrijes. He is a burning soul – Fire. He only comes when the dead die. He is someone who had a hard life.

– Alebrijes will burn him with his eyes – Almalikai spoke, leaning over the candelabras, wearing tiger skin traje[1]. This was how Alebrijes lived in her imagination, since her childhood, while she was grinding her soul fleeing from one mythology to the next. His Pegasus wings were a continuation of a horse’s head, unwillingly turned from her child stand to her tiny, curious head. This was her mother’s gift for her 13th birthday.

– Let VirgenMorena protect you, and let Alebrijes do so too – she told her then, kissing her on the forehead and she then dreamed a blissful dream. Not long after, heavy shadows were creeping over and waking her, and a heavy body stood over the door in a cape and walked as if on water. She would scream in the dark, and saw him on the floor chasing under the shadows, under the light, trudging gelded and bejeweled, pricked with voodoo dolls, splashed with bucketfuls of blood. Then a scream, an ending to the dream and the first bedwetting stream.

– One day, when I will be dying, I will see his face in my mirror – she would say to Eulalia the fortune-teller.

When Alebrijes got into battle against the dark forces (and she could never tell which side it was on), it would turn into a young white man with a poncho around his starched shirt and a cheap sombrero. They say it sometimes appears at early dawn, like a young man wearing a gold necklace, or a copper necklace but gelded. His belt buckle had the head of a snake on it. And at times it would appear at night, black-cloaked, and many believe that in this form it comes to hold off death. She didn’t know why Alebrijes came to her dreams, whether the violence was in her or whether she, as a victim, managed to bite the magic twine from the violence ball of yarn which Eulalia shoved into her hand the night rivers of blood flowed atop her bedding, and an unknown fruit wiggled out of her womb like a monster with tentacles, while Eulalia fell backwards with her eyes rolled up. She was kicked out, no questions asked. They called her a witch, and she knew that Alebrijes twisted her mind.

– Alojandra! Alojandra! – she clapped her hands. She would at times touch her lips gently, swollen from the blows and cooled with ice from the tequila which was now foaming, like a puddle of blood, in the filthy decaying glass.

– Give me the Meskla (scorpion juice) – she is somewhat curiously listening to her raspy voice coming from a different throat. How long was it since she saw Rigoberto who came to her room one lonely night with masks of religious monsters on stone walls? And now , clasping her hands in prayer, directing her gaze at the Virgin Morena, she felt all the repulsiveness and emptiness of her life.

– Yes – she whispered, downing the brandy – This is the end, and that end is the most wondrous road I could have taken.

– I summon death – she theatrically raised her glass, almost with a mindless indulgence to the Great Shadow. – Alojandra, I summon Alebrijes! – she shouts while her face flows on the cracked mirror like a drunken sea, or a scorpion’s tail in a sandy hole in a desert. Alojandra, in a state worse than she was, entered the room somewhat fearful. She wore a woolen dress and a golden pearl necklace. Long dark hair fell onto her shoulders unbound. A dark-red, crab-like face aflame bears wrinkles just about ready to worsen her countenance. It was a grand mother walking along the desert with a bucket. Her hand is on her mouth, her eyes flung wide open.

– I’m telling Puerto Vallarta.

– No, I’m fine – she’s looking into her eyes and wants her to also feel everything being fine.

Alojandra is nibbling on the almonds digging around her right hand for some and lookingat her while her eyes kept increasing in volume.

They sat at the table. Both leaned over the cup of brandy. Silence. Vera’s gaze turns to Alojandra, and then like a beam of light drops onto the doors open ajar.

– Close them – she said abruptly.

The brothel has two floors. The second floor rooms are completely empty save for their. The two are separated from the outside by strips woven by Chincha Indians, role models of the long-gone world, greatest masters of silence. Suddenly, due to the silence, only pieces remained, like the gnawed strips making up the protection at the door. Something like a Shadow ran down the silence and the edge of the bed, and the Shadow went for the windows, and the ground floor doors slammed open.

– There is no wind here – Alojandra stood firm and grabbed firm of the smooth cover.

Between two tightly clasped fingers a few pebbles were sticking out, barely scraped by fire. Her hands were hot from anticipation, and her breasts grew in small kinks.

– Vera, the gods are here for you – she said and screamed, knocking over a lantern from the wooden, moth-eaten table.

She became tiny and hunched as if she were a terracotta statuette. Her eyes were red-hot like chili peppers. Fear completely encompassed the two women.

– Someone is watching. Maybe it’s Xolotl, the Grand monster – Alojandra shrunk, while her chin quivered. A powerful howl of wind. – A dog-faced god, Quetzalcoatl’s twin. A grand monster. – she shook with swigs of hysterical crying.

– Stay calm, Alojandra!

– We need protection – she screamed. – Someone’s coming.

Vera looked in the mirror. She saw all. She saw Vera. Her face a voodoo mask.Fluids on her – black, blue, white (of questionable purity) and red.

– I can’t see my face, Alojandra, I can’t see – she fixated onto her wrinkled bra.

– Xolotl’s spells. – she leaned to her conspiratorially. Vera shrugged it off.

Again silence, for centuries, years, that howling silence that smudges the lip-liners of whores and flips their brassieres. Suddenly some change dropped, bouncing off with a tap taptap. There they are, rolling like penitentiary machines and sprockets cutting mercilessly and moving the wheel. There were rotations. The clock is ticking – the mechanism one gets with a brothel in the same manner one gets nightmares with age. The two women are aging in an obnoxiously fast rate. Vera is sipping the final shot of brandy, at the same time fondling the slim, torn dress, bargaining with impulses of showing nudity which got under her skin. And as if in a hurry, she lifts her head up high, diagonally a bit, her eyes rolled back because she felt a shadow above her, unthreateningly bathing on her cheek.

Alojandra’s hand is back on her mouth, and she moved past the Stranger squealing. His eyes followed her with contempt, contracting. He wore a shirt and jeans, with a cheap sombrero on his head. He took the mirror form her hands and observed his bony face. Partly animal, the stranger, for a few more minutes, intently stared at his reflection. She was observing him. Indeed, his ears would make a great pair of shoes, a potato from his nose, she thought numbly. He made a ball of his long, serpentine hair, which gave him the clairvoyant Westerner look. He smiled for a second, as if he had concluded this ironic thought himself, and then with a few short, sharp twitches of his wrist the mirror was flung away.

He was observing her gently, as if the two were the only ones conversing in the entire world, somewhere beyond the desert, in the hills miles away. The look was almost apathetic, as if her shameful nudity was but a battered landscape meant to photograph or paint. His grey eyes feign a bit of a mocking smirk and a mere look is enough to her, a look crossing his – a look known to all the fornicators of the night, all the brothel whores in this little desert town of Oaxaca. He also somehow kept retreating, shuffling some box in his hands which kept on buzzing, and then going silent again.

– Maricón![2]– she thought bitterly, but without delight. She knew her nudity left him completely holy and clean.

– This is unworthy of me – he said turning and twisting all over the room. He then sighed and sat where Alojandra was sitting up until a moment ago.

– Were You sent…? – she pauses, because she forgot the name of her Benefactor. To her he was a reflection of a man with butcher-like arms, broad shoulders resembling mountains, all but neckless. This was Vallarta, the man who brought her here. For a moment it seemed to her that Alojandra was looking beyond the stranger’s back and she managed, with her eyes closed, to imagine here lovely hands clapping, calling for her to wake up. And where is she? In what odd landscape? Did she finally decide to let go? She too realized that she can hear a horrible trudge of shamans dancing around the flames. She saw a few charred masks onto the sliced faces bouncing in their cramps.

– You can offer much more – he said and started dressing her slowly, without lust, and she was letting go, like she did to Eulalia when she revealed to her father, a man eagerly demanding to kill Rigoberto and his unborn son,  the shame of baring the hips. And then she heard the father’s breath and saw an extended palm. Vallarta, grinning, responded in kind.

– We had a deal, old man.

And here they were,Alebrijes came for her, Vera thought observing the stranger’s sensual lips. He held her hand gently, with his collar digging into his neck. He spoke with a somewhat robotic voice, and she was listening and drinking it all in. Truth be told, Vera did resist a bit  (and this resistance was rather pathetic and unconvincing). Namely, all she did was cross her arms and bow her head while the for og the early morning madness mixed with the breath of brandy. Still, trying to stave off his face by constantly flipping her head left and right, she managed a question.

– And you are?

– An amateur artist – he said.

Suddenly he was erect and all but pounded his chest with a fist, like a hammer, wanting to confirm the dignity and vanity of his words.

– A visionary.

– Ah – Vera sighed.

– You can help me to make a short film or something. You will be paid well – He then took her out of the brothel, shielding her as if instead of an arm he had a bird’s wing with golden, brown and red feathers. His hands became a bird completely moving closer to her, a black cloak down his back which had a snake symbol woven in.

– Alebrijes – she said silently. – Where are we going?

– Down a dark path.

They moved onward, but she did not see the road, but a stream where their seemingly fused bodies moved. She grabbed his hand more firmly. As it was morning outside, both it and the camera lens were extinguished at the same time and the sun disappeared behind a cloud somewhere. They disappeared too in some skim of bright purple night. The sky covered the bleeding sun, and its bloodthirst fused with the horizon, and but a mild, bright-brown light cast his grotesque potato face and yellow cheeks smudged in shoe polish. He was nearly ashen.

– Is this what the Ritual Death Mask looks like? – Vera wondered.

It was like a dream, but much more…dream-visionary, she was looking for the right word. For, death was like a flash of a long lost dream – magnificent vistas, mosses rolling on the road and entwining with the face, a complex universal harmony, stopped time, her hand in that of the young man. All of this reminded her of a wondrous, compliant game of surrealist colors and images. Is this what death looks like? Is this the end, like when I accidentally choked on tequila, when I was burned by my own breath from within my esophagus, vacuuming and soft like a pipe? This is how they walked down a dark path with greenery and many-colored leaves multiplying on its sides.

– Where is the desert? – she asked seemingly curious, playing with the tapes on her most lavish of dresses, an imitation sari flowing down on her moccasins, her hair in a merry bun filled with hairpins and colors.

– In our eyes. We’re almost there. – his hands clapped and behold, a corner materialized, and in said corner a house, all of this a weird image Vera met with a sudden relief and a jolly squeak. His long, capable, gentle hands, rigid with a row of pink scales covered in skin-colored smooth flesh are messing about with the key while his lips open slightly. She notices the mark on his hand – that of the snake.

It was evident the young man was into important things, although the rather sizable house had no furniture, but only doors, bare walls and cameras across the ceiling where gray light seeped from, like warmth of his yellowy eyes. Vera accused herself for not evenly applying lipstick, like on that fateful day when Vallarta came for her. One of her moccasins was so softened by her sweat and moisture evaporation that she felt every dull gust of air with sharp pain. One of the cameras was set up high, and the stranger, moving another camera closer to it, unpacked something akin to a purse containing a bowl. He then set the bowl on the floor, a vase next to it, and this was all the decor he had. He then lined a few huge dishes which he pulled out of a hole in the wall dressed in snake skin and stretching up to the ceiling in the form of drawers, which seemed modern to her. From each of the dishes he picked an apple, the fruits being large and scarlet-hued, muscly and sunken into his soft hands and hard, then he began stroking them and shifting them, which went on for an entire hour. Then the stranger approached two steps away from her, looking gently at her while gnawing at the fruit, his eyelashes making fantastical reflections on her chest, analyzing and observing her hips, her buttocks…

– You have the face of an actress – he concluded his analysis of her aging face, with eyes like pasta dented into her sockets, and her nose in the shape of a chewed-up sausage, her face was far from beautiful. But the young man found something in her, a game or an adventure of the spirit, a redness of a virgin, not caring about the childish mockery of nature which destroys beauty stamping wrinkles on like seals.

– There is something lavish in your physiognomy, like a hazard that wins some and loses some. You are perfect. – She feels the old man’s pleasant voice, and melts, spreading her legs like a peacock, staring at his face and, no less thrilled than before, merges with him in ways unknown.

– Come here. Your task is actually rather easy. All you have to do is chew apples, like so. – already he is gnawing at a piece of the halved fruit making his cheeks swell up and contort. She listens to him and he passes her the bowl where she picks one, the biggest one, takes a bite and chews, staring him square in the eyes.

– There you go. Now take more. Take two. Swallow faster. – She swallows, her eyes bulging, shoving apple pieces into her mouth, ripe, red, juicy. Droplets of its sauce are moving down her slim dress. The stranger turns to the big camera covered in some black cloth, uncovers it and eyes her while turning the handle; the camera captures her smudged lipstick on the outside, her excitement on the inside, and she is overtaken by hunger which, strong as it is, poisons her mental faculties, making her shove quite a few apples while the stranger is recording and speaking to her.

– Swallow more apples. This is all I ask for. – he spoke in a foreign accent. – Many apples, more apples! Slurp, suck! – She swells up like a frog, unable to breathe and guzzling three apples. They drop onto the ground, and she gathers them up with her mouth wide open and her eyes poking out, as if she is sucking the very last vestiges of her soul out of herself.

– Do not question it. Keep swallowing. Many apples, many red, juicy, sweet apples, alabaster ones, emerald ones, nacre ones, like mother’s milk. Speak while you eat! – he yells, and the contrast between the soft dreaminess and his impatience made her eyes bulge out all the more. – mmm… I like apples, there we go… – he turned the bolt on the camera harder. Only buzzing and her huffs in the air. – Now! Now, darling! – the young man is yelling as if wracked by insanity, grinning.

She felt a hum, a squeak, more like a murmur, and it was not coming from the camera, but more like buzzing turning into a roar. She turns and sees an enormous serpent, an anaconda wrapping around her thighs, mouth, crushing her skull, and without fear she observes the winding wing of the creature descending onto her stomach, onto her chest, and crushing them with a powerful force until half-eaten apples started bursting out, in all their sweet inglory. Geysers sprayed out of her lungs and in the end only here bloodshot eyes remained. While juices flowed down her chin, she was choking and dying, and the stranger was looking into her dying eyes with delight. He then clapped his hands and the snake retreated into the wall, merging with it. The stranger takes the strip and exits singing and throwing money onto the prostitute’s mangled body. And the monster kept floating onto the nude water amid the unbearably endless desert. And thus for an eternity, for many a millennia to come – this was Alojandra’s last thought while she shook the corpse in the Indian sari already worm-ridden.  Next to the butchered body on the bed with two pink canopies was a twenty dollar bill, a prostitute’s wage as per the darkest nights’ criteria.

[1] (in Spanish) Clothing

[2] (in Spanish) Faggot!

LIARS, Leila Samarrai


They lied to the constellations, and stars
The colorful fireflies with drums on their wings
Hidden inside the flakes of chitin
About the origin of the dinosaur bone and silence of the cosmos

In the image of god by which – they lied about this too!
Pulse the rivers of light
Hypnos weeps, and the tears of ice are a gruesome cure
Weeps on the catafalque of the Queen Kai and Gerda

Eternal Herman watches the game, he will hunt you down
Quickly! Do not say how foxed dreamer does not warn

They lied to me that I am fertile, dreamy and fertile
The mortal mouth of lies bent like a toy
They lied that there are addict giants
On the Cape Verde
And the faces of savages are like an ironing board
The smell of clean laundry is mixed with salt
And the eternal prince with the yellow heraldry of the irises
Circles around their feet

The scalding grip of a lie
How she embraced you
Like some kind of a law is crumbling or
The steadily Nothing is being demolished
Within the inconsolable Truth
The ship is sinking!
Munchhausen pass the gun, you lurid earl
Mammoth killer, you crocodile, you dreadful rhapsody of white
A vixen your mistress Mother – Lie!
Uneasy, work-eaten, strong
Are the poets of your Hell,
On the pyre of the sea drowning like the truth

This is why my laughter is no longer heard,
This is why my womb is pillaged, for
The sea torn from laughter clamors:
“Oh, naïve daughter. . .!”
The sun does not exist
After 25th ideals are dissolved in hydrogen chloride
All the dark and cynical faces
Are the alcoholic dream of the universe
And the gale of everyone’s laughter is the start of a thunder
Make-up is smeared in the circle whose path
Follows the Eternal Beast with its intestines of pickled love

The lied to me that they lie!