Parts Unknown / M and Mrs Hyde

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We have spent many years in this old museum, encased behind these glass barriers, people come and gaze at us like we belong to them but no one knows who we are. I am a statue made of wood of Benin, where a man sculpted me out of nothing, like god, but it has long been forgotten that someone whispered life into me with a few words and the warm blood of a freshly butchered chicken. I am ageless, hence forever a ripe woman, my breasts pronounced and my thighs just a little apart, waiting for a man since a hundred and twenty years. In this museum, I wither, I wither like a century old wooden rose.

My love and sexual future depended on the goodwill of the curators, on their inspiration. First they have placed me next to a Baoule monkey carrying offerings whose bitter look betrayed a keen interest in my feminine forms. Then, on the occasion of a special exhibition on desertic Mali, a Dogon statue covered with ritual irons. She hid her hands prudishly, as if she refused to see my plump forms, but her ithyphallic character showed that she was not insensitive to my charms. Then there was a Punu mask with death whiteness, whose narrowed eyes betrayed a disgust of life, a morbid fascination for the chtonian forces, an uncontrollable appetite for the blackness of the soul, as opposed to rotundity of my body that only called to enjoy life, and to enjoy everything.
I was desperate until an innocent hand put you next to me, you.

You, a Massai head, hand carved by Isaka, seemed to have arrived to deliver me from my endless agonies, and even if I did not believe in the invisible hand of god, I knew that it could not have been anyone else’s. But there was still a missing piece: your body. I had next to me only the head, and your body lay somewhere else (in the same museum?) like the headless Buddhas of Angkor Wat. The future was still uncertain, depending entirely on the serendipitous discovery of your missing pieces, you. I awaited again the invisible, innocent hand.

All the fragments of me had been scattered on the surface of the Earth, of ethnicities, cultures, of populations, tribes. All that remained of me was a coarse, haphazard spread, without any finality. Arms mixed with those of a Bronze Siva, legs in an archaic Greek colossus, fingers encased in the ventral magical hiding place of « nkissi » fetishes, breath in the air of medieval reliquaries buried in a Syriac crypt, and my mummified phallus in an acacia box in Osiris’s fortress in the sands of Abousir …

You would have to become Isis and revive me – even if momentarily, even if only my phallus – to taste once more the ecstasy that you’ve forgotten, a night of resurrected death, out of which you will have my son, a second Horus. No one would understand the mystery of the pregnant wooden statue in the museum from which will emerge another statue, as alive as us, as someone will dream of the ancient epithet: Khenti-Amentiu, khenti-amentiu …

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