Anna Akhmatova

Anna [Akhmatova], we have written to you numerous times (Naples, Palermo, Alexandria, Corfu, Tangiers, Odessa), but have never replied to any of our requests. Why ?

I was dead, I died, I remain dead.

So we’re going to conduct this interview now, before it’s too late.

I am yours, I have time.

First question: why are you wearing this image of harassing melancholy?

Look at my silhouette. I am as stubborn as a flowing tear. My body is transparent like a beating heart ghost. What do you want me to do besides being a sad luggage carrying a troubled soul? I like to imitate myself in the dubious thoughts of a Bengali poetess, in the pathological brain of a tired jailed depressive, in the heart of a woman or a man who is watching my words to sink totally into the night.

Are there any books you regret not having had time to write?

I wanted to write about Amedeo [Modigliani], his scars, his fat hair, his way of putting his callous hand on my beautiful diaphanous skin (marking pauses on each one of my tiny red spots), his rocky voice, his smell of warm sweat.

What did you keep from him, as a memory?

A drawing (of me) and a Dogon bracelet.

What message would you like to deliver to the younger generation?

Do not be afraid to love. To say that one loves, that one has loved, that one will always love, one way or another, even at a distance. Love has so many shapes and faces. Much more than an alliance around a finger. Much more than a promise.

Finally, in memory of a Sufi patient, could you define life by two words?

To survive.

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