High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

Edna Azulay: night owls
Old Works, Young Writers

Edna Azulay: night owls

At the request of the Flemish-Dutch House deBuren eighteen young Flemish and Dutch authors each brought a painting from the Rijksmuseum back to life. They wrote a new text about an old work from the Gallery of Honour, based on one key question: what do you see when you look at these paintings through gender glasses? Edna Azulay has composed an ode to the intoxication of The Drunken Couple by Jan Steen. ‘for a body to collapse upon / I would sacrifice a lot.’

Edna Azulay (b. 1995) is studying Writing for Performance in Utrecht and is writing her dissertation on hope. She writes mostly drama and poetry, performs, and spent last summer with Lila Payens in a pink caravan collecting secrets to be displayed in the toilets at Hungry Wolf festival (Hongerige Wolf festival). At the moment she is working on a theatre text for Likeminds, dealing with the Red Light District, capitalism and queer desire.

night owls

the sky is purple and reminds you of a night,
that night when someone,
you still remember the curve of her back,
how she gasped for breath
she wanted you, you, to save her,

please stop talking, will you
I don’t need your nostalgia
I don’t want your history or your myths
I don’t believe in heroes

give me your trembling body
I want to hear you splutter and stumble
I want hands slipping between legs
and believe that’s all that matters, now
there are no explanations
we have no need for them

this is no way to be a woman, you say
look, sweetheart
I’d have liked to have been a poem
something lyrical perhaps
a formal verse of sorts
but I drink too much dance too much talk too loud and
believe that everything’s falling apart

there’s a language I speak in darkness only,
this body lodges memories and sentence structures and I want
your fingers on the lightning of my thighs,
force my lips apart
read the inside of my cheeks, my throat
until I’m gagging
spit in my mouth,

my tongue’s not made for talking

it is not your intention
to ruin me, you say

are you trying to make a girl out of me?

I could pretend
I need you
to get up
to come home, to stay awake
but sweetheart
let’s not pretend we play no role in this

I thought you knew the rules

we have another hour or three
till I can count your pores again
till I care where I left my cash
let’s dance
till faces coalesce, cohere, disappear and
notions such as good and bad, gender and boundaries lose their meaning
let me lick the salt behind your ears,

I want us to always be beyond the pale
to be pliable

for a body to collapse upon
I would sacrifice a lot
in my dreams I catch on fire,
something new might grow between my shoulder blades

you don’t know me
but you still remember my name
right? repeat it
repeat it
what does it taste like?
you know my name

repeat it

repeat it

until it gets light


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