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conversations with strangers

Austin

Humans of Austin: Philomela

Austin

This is Philomela.

This is not her real name; it is her poet name.

“Philomela, of Greek mythology, had her tongue ripped out, but she continued to sing,”¬†Philomela explained to us.

I complimented her on her shirt, and she asked if she could sit with us. “Are you two artists?” she inquired. We explained that one was a filmmaker and the other was a writer. “Oh, I could tell that you are both artists. I’m writing a book about my lovers,” she said. “I’m not trying to sound morbid, but I’m 87 years old, so I need to finish it soon.”

Philomela then began a whirlwind conversation about Chekhov, Kurosawa, Roberto Rossellini. “Have you read the great Russian novelists?” she asked. “They’re brilliant.”

‘Brilliant’ was a word she used often; “I don’t mean to boast” she used as well. “I was a great beauty in my youth, but look, now my teeth are breaking.” We assured her that she was in deed beautiful; her beauty had caught our eye. Philomela had previously been sitting two tables (more…)