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…)