Tag Archives: Paris

Cityscape: An African Kitchen Song

I found myself whipping a squashed avocado, mixing the paste with the diced tomato at the beat of the Senegalese song that echoed in the space at the back of a characterless apartment complex. The voice jittered around the inner court from low to high in an unintuitive timing, its irregular beat was fascinating to the rational mind. I estimated the woman of the voice which was high-pitched, to be in her early twenties. I imagined her wearing a boubou, like the Senegalese women in the street, with a Senegalese pattern in bright yellow, gray and black figures that repeated around her waist. Earlier, I had still gotten irritated by the loud speaker voice of a radio or television, being forced to overhear the reciting of Ramadan prayers being broadcasted. Maybe if the recital voice had been of a real human being in their kitchen, the singing recital of a praying man whose humming danced out of the window, I would have been joyfully trying to make out the inaudible words of the distant song. The Senegalese woman had to be cooking I think, as the kitchens were all in the back of the building. The apartments were stapled on top of one another like Lego blocks. While one person was beating his wife, two meters above him, only separated by a concrete slice of 20 centimeter, a man and a woman were fucking passionately, while to their right or left, a man bowed down on his knees with his hands on the rug for prayer, bend in the very same position as the woman being fucked five meters to his right, while coincidentally facing the same direction as the man beating his wife. I listened to the singing of the Senegalese voice again, which sounded unique and solely.

Cityscape: Les Couleurs de Belleville

I stared out of the stained window of bus ninety-six onto the pavement of the Rue de Ménilmontant, where three black women sauntered down the street in darkly colored chador garments and leather sandals, twisting their hips and torsos in alternating directions, pacing slowly forward. One of the woman however in particular drew my attention and repulsed stare in consequence, as her face looked so crudely male and miserable, that I was convinced she had to be a Shia cross-dresser. I searched desperately for breasts or a wasp tail, tried to imagine the vaguest of sexual poses or nudity underneath her dress, but the widely shapeless gown hid her body completely underneath and left but mystery to wonder about for me. The only body parts that could clearly be distinguished apart from her strong masculine facial features were her ankles and heels. A thick yellowish layer of callus on the heel bones of her elephant feet in combination with the country side fashion of chador garments here in the city made me believe these women had been burdened by years of carrying water jugs along many miles of Senegalese fields and dirt roads. This impression seemed to be confirmed by their crude peasant faces, that looked hardened and unpleasant, in which every sex appeal or elegance had been worn off by the endless hoarding of water and firewood in the tropical heat. But maybe there was more to these three women than their crude covers that revealed them to be Twelvers. Could it be that the male female was in fact a homosexual protected by his two older sisters, the other two women, who by their mass alone would make you think twice to throw any sneer or vile comment at them and even kept off the disapproving judgment by their imam and elderly. Enlightened by the chanting and praying of endless recitals of Arab which they couldn’t understand, while being on the haji in Mecca, they had been overwhelmed by compassion for their confused and troubled brother in Paris, bought three chador garments, and then and there decided they would not let their little brother out of their sight ever again.