Lessons On Foreign Languages In A Reeperbahn Café by Djanet Tozeur / Slipstream #14 sex food death issue version

Lessons On Foreign Languages In A Reeperbahn Café

for Cordula


trees or torture…”

my breasts were made for children and your fingers…”

choices are limited by the boundaries of the playing surface…”

how do you know that’s not a table?”

if we could meet in Ireland by the palm trees…

everyone drinks Guinness and whiskey, every one drinks Paddy”

“even in the ancient holes of Greece, the big dig and who

wouldn’t give up school for the bones of Archimedes ?”

to find the way past childhood, finding the past of childhood,

the paths of childhood past the personal to the collective…”

who wouldn’t give up tomorrow for a chance to come into Pandora’s Box ?”

well when I am god I shall bless Pandora, bless Eve, bless all those who

turned away from paradise and instead followed the stars

to follow the question – Why? Why everything? Why not something else ?”

ignorance may be bliss but consciousness divine…”



…but if I could meet you in Ireland by the palm trees

yes, even I would drink Paddy whiskey with you from the bones

of Pandora’s ass; and we could trace the historic exile of

our childhood to the music of Bruce Springsteen’s : Point

Blank, The Price You Pay, Ties that Bind, as it tins through

some battery cassette. So roll up another cigarette and pass

the Pandora but first let me see your eyes, and kiss me. Let

me lay my tongue on yours. Let us swallow some of each

others spit, like a Red Indian blood-brother ceremony and

yes you can be Winnetou if you want to…


When I was in Greece I lived on dirt. No not even dirt but

sand – dust. The dust of hot sun and cruel fate, the dust of

ancient tombs split open like over-ripe fruit and covering

everything with a dry syrup crust. We were fond of bones and

murders, of sacrifices and lesbians and of our Spartan

swords and sleeping children. We hated columns and

Parthenons. We sweated ouzo and goat fat and when we farted

little black olives rolled down and out of our pant legs.


When I was in Europe I lived on sleep. I slept for days in

Wien, Vienna, Vienne, Vienna … Slept for Beethoven at his

tomb and at his little platz by the statue near the

Shubertring. I was frozen in the Maria Theresian Natural

History Museum – lost among the stuffed corpses of every

living creature known to man.

In Hamburg, the whole city is made of sleep. Sleep like a

giant smog impregnated every thing and every moment. Its

embryonic motion grows heavy in a damp heat, like breath on

a still winter night of north sea drifting downward with

hunger, for those German girls ,who like the little boys of

a homosexual fantasy cover me with the slick semen of their

love. Their mouths moaning with love, their cunts hungry

with love, their ass-holes a dream of love…


In the states I lived on flesh. The flesh of pigs,

the flesh of Ronald McDonald, the catholic flesh of Christ bloodless

white and sour… I lived with the flesh of dead dogs and

aborted infants; sucked the juices from the fresh wounds of

teenage girls down in the darkness of their daddy’s garages.

(Dracula had nothing on me man). I walked the ninety degree

heat s of New York City streets. Streets made of skin and

muscle like some giant souvenir of Auschwitz. The tattoos

sweating black ink and muggers. Whenever I couldn’t buy

anything to eat all I had to do was lick the street – Meat

Street USA. And when I could afford to bribe my way out to

the country side? It was for a breath of fresh blood and a

little something still warm from its body heat to chew



… but now we sit by the palm trees of Ireland and we

have hung up our harps to dry. Pandora’s ass is so dry, is

like a sponge sucking up Irish whiskey the way a drowning

man sucks sea. We don’t sleep anymore and the only flesh we

eat is our own. You have met me here and like Winnetou have

taken the blood of my wound into your own. So my dearest

look at me; you have the saddest eyes I have ever known. Do

you remember the peace I stole from you in Hamburg years

ago? Now there is nothing to heal, nothing, no reason to

steal… So roll up another cigarette; the sun is really out

doing itself today, a splendid display of muscle and our

harps soon will dry… But first let me lay my tongue upon

yours, let my tongue sleep awhile in that sweet hole. Let

us see how long we can stay still like that


and yes you can be Winnetou if you want to.



on the occasion of my first trip abroad in 1983 I started this piece. this version was published by Slipstream a print magazine out of Niagara Falls New York (the town not the water) in their #14 sex food death issue. As you can see this one ticked all the boxes. It was published under the pen name Djanet Tozeur in 1994. At the time I didn’t realize it but my work was published alongside (more or less) material by Charles Bukowski. It wasn’t until I was 52 years old that I discovered Bukowski otherwise I would have enjoyed the publication even more. I was 39 years old in 1994. Unfortunately the issue is sold out and out of print otherwise you could get to read his really cool poem about his death. Anyway Slipstream is still publishing and doing the good work of keeping poetry alive in the USA and the rest of the world.  The last line with the  reference to Winnetou was not published by the magazine. Who knows why.  But I liked it too much to not add it on here. Otherwise it is exactly as they published it. You should look up Winnetou, if you want to – Google is the way to go.









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