Vita e sogni




Prima edizione
Settembre 2017

via Cesare Battisti 1b 20854 Vedano al Lambro (MB)
+39 3804788847

Progetto grafico, copertina e impaginazione:
Alessandra Carcano

Stampato in Italia 2019
proprietà letteraria riservata
Touba Culturale Italy srl

È vietata la riproduzione, anche parziale, con qualsiasi mezzo effettuata, compresa la fotocopia, anche ad uso interno o didattico, non autorizzata.



     In one of the pages of this collection, one of the characters of the extraordinary gallery that Kossi Komla-Ebri offers us, Elom, says: "Suffocating the quest for tenderness in a foreign land". And a few lines later he also says: “Writing frees and defeats loneliness. Writing is thaumaturgical against nostalgia, the ghurba, the saudade. It is a way to scream: 'I exist, there is also me in this society who wants to ignore me in my essence. "

Of course, it will be said that the speaker here is Elom, not the writer. But behind the thin veil of fiction, his face is evident. On the other hand, it is not a question that concerns only the author of this book: every writer, we know it well, writes to be loved.

I don't know who said it first. Garcia Marquez maybe? Or Calvino or Houellebecq or McInerney, or me? But it doesn't matter: any writer thinks it and does not hesitate to say it, knowing whether or not someone has already said it before him.

Kossi Komla-Ebri, however, has something more than "any writer": he is also a migrant writer, in short, still staying with Elom, a writer in a foreign land. And from here, then, the amplification of the need for tenderness (as Elom says), of consideration, of affirmation, of visibility ignites.

We have to thank Kossi Komla-Ebri for the frankness and the moving getting naked that he gives us in those lines, and that is for having said exactly those things that other writers instead hide perhaps out of modesty or perhaps out of bad faith.

But we must also thank him because on these bases, on these drives and motivations, what he then built is a catalog of good books, a group of stories and novels that are read well and willingly, with satisfaction and learning not a little.

The point is this: Kossi Komla-Ebri, is a true writer. A true, talented storyteller. Certainly the issues related to differences, integration, prejudices, and roots very different from those of a European powerfully innervate his writing. But, just like any good writer, they melt into a narrative flow that takes us from the first line and brings us to the end word. Of course, the need to be loved, liked, considered, is pressing, you breathe it page after page, but you only notice it at the end, when you have finished the novel or the story and try to analyze it cold . Because, when hot, you only think: "what a beautiful, strange thing I just read ...".

Beautiful, different, particular, is each of the tales of this small eclectic collection. They are stories that come from different sources, some on occasion, others written to participate in competitions and

anthologies. They are stories that range from the daily news to the fairy tale and fantasy, they are stories that speak to us of a here and elsewhere, of an Italy, of Africa, and of countries located only in the author's imagination. They are a multicolored but uncoated catalog of Elom's imaginative universe. Indeed, pardon: of Kossi.

Welcome to the funfair of his imagination, have fun, and be careful not to hurt yourself.

                                                                       Piersandro Pallavicini


 The darkness of the night

Elom Doglo was awakened by the violent slamming of shutters. He had left them half open to create some air flow. He woke up drenched in sweat, pushing back the sheets. He heard the howling wind and moaning in the railings as if broken by a dark evil. Elom was immediately seized by his eternal anguish. Already his thoughts ran feverishly in waves. Riding in an avalanche, they crowded his mind obsessively: goodbye sleep.

Suddenly like a fury, the air ran aground in the room, unfolding dryly like the sails of a boat. Trapped fugitive, he was looking for a way out, desperately lifting the roof tiles.

By now awake, the gears of Elom's brain started moving again. Slowly the memories, the concepts swelled like bubbles. They attracted themselves as magnets, flowing into larger, crackling bubbles, then crystallized. Sometimes it seemed to him that he was almost touching a light, a truth with his mind. Then everything disappeared and dissatisfaction, boredom, the evil of being, of living returned. It seemed to him that he was traveling along known routes and relentlessly getting off at the wrong station. Worse: every time he missed the train or the connection. So faintly his thoughts evaporated, leaving inside him the void where anxiety soon lurked.

In the distance, the sky mumbled unsatisfied. The rain poured down to water the soil in large drops. The air dilated with the acrid scent of hot, steaming asphalt.

Elom Doglo sat on the edge of the bed, his head dangling, heavy.

A muffled thunder echoed in the distance. He got up to reach the balcony. He was immediately hit by a louder thunder and dazzled by a blue lightning that ripped through the darkness injuring the darkness of the night. Slowly, slowly the rumbling went away with ec

hi of flock of planes flying at low altitude.

Elom saw the stereo display flash: there was no power for a moment. Blinded by lightning, he watched the darkness of the night become palpable and threatening, with clusters of clouds hanging from the sky.

Now the rain, which before fell like heavy and heavy tears, became fine and frustrating like the spray of the encrusted knob of a shower. The heavy air became lukewarm, then gradually cooler.

Elom Doglo was shaken by a shiver: he got goosebumps.

He went back into the room.

The clock on the dresser said three in the morning. He went back to bed, pulling up the sheets to cover himself. He curled up, voluptuously enjoying the sparkling and warm feeling of being sheltered.

Outside, in the howl of the wind, nature was unleashed scratching everything on its passage.

Elom tried to go back to sleep by coagulating his mind on a rosy thought, a happy thought.

Unfortunately, the storm had closed the curtains of sleep, shedding all hope.

Shadows of indefinite presences now populated the room. Unhealthy fears crowded his mind.

He seemed to hear a voice. Mysterious, the voice said:

- Never look at the darkness of the night when he smiles ...

Eyes closed, he tried to escape himself, to his torment.

Silent his soul slipped into the night. Barefoot, quietly, his soul went around his heart. He discovered an island, alone, deserted.

Elom Doglo felt a comma, ink stain, black, faded on a page of life.

Reaching out to the other side of the bed, she felt the comforting warmth of Giorgia's body. Giorgia Venanzi had been his partner for four years. Elom felt the regular lifting of his chest: he slept prone, unaware of the bad weather.

He stroked the curves of his hips. He paused to wipe the pearls of sweat curled in the lower valley of his back with his fingers. She didn't move.

Elom was sad. He would have liked so much the comfort of his caresses, the warmth of his body to warm this painful soul of his.

The anguish seemed to have dug dwelling in every corner of his being, along every fiber of that envelope that he wore. On the edge of the abyss, with the complicity of the night, he touched his arm. He looked for his hand. He stroked her fingers and she turned, turning her back on him, anchoring herself to the mattress.

He tried again to find his hand. She withdrew it and Elom sank into the abyss.

He hated the night with that weight that oppressed him in the chest. He got up again to get out of those sticky sheets that suffocated him.

Outside, the night dyed the city with a veil of black. Dense, noisy dark. He did not know how much the weight of loneliness was compared to that of nostalgia for his land.

Indefinable melancholy that fire that burns under the ashes of everyday life in a foreign land. That always feeling like nobody. Worse, not existing: perceiving the looks, curious, irritated or compassionate, slipping on you as if you were a shadow.

Grueling memories intertwined with sounds, noises, smells, perfumes, colors and laughter.

Suddenly, the vivid memory of a voice from his childhood: that of his grandmother Amewonò.

Grandmother was certainly the only person with whom she didn't need to swagger. Mama Amewonò was the only one who defended him and he used to sit next to her when he felt the stormy air hovering in the house. They didn't need words to communicate with her. He let himself be hatched in that silence full of complicity. Crouched next to her, he drew figures in the sand with a piece of wood, while she tirelessly turned the cotton around the spindle to give birth to the thread. From time to time, the old woman stopped and without mentioning any gesture, he handed her the small ball of pumpkin containing the ground tobacco. She took a hold by bending her index finger around the thumbnail, alternately compressing one nostril and then the other inhaling deeply with an "Ah!" of satisfaction. After squeezing his nose, he sneezed a brownish liquid dripping from his nose which he cleaned with the back of his hand, wiped his hand on the cloth of the pagne, gratified him with a toothless smile of complicity then returned to spin.

For a moment Elom seemed to hear Mama Amewonò's voice saying:

- Don't look at the darkness of the night when he smiles ...

How much he missed his grandmother!

Suffocating the quest for tenderness in a foreign land. To love and be loved: four words, a whole life. Better, the whole dream of a lifetime.

Tough reality of subsisting. Each one painfully drags himself into the shadow of his life, modeling himself masks of circumstance under the ephemeral burden of living on stages

improvised. In order not to drown in nostalgia Elom thought:

“I should go back to writing. Yes, tomorrow I will go back to writing and finish this damned novel! ”.

Writing frees and defeats loneliness. Writing is tauma

turgical against nostalgia, the ghurba, the saudade. It is a way to scream: "I exist, I am also in this society that wants to ignore me in my essence", "I am not aphasic, I am not your object, I am not a second-class citizen!". Reassured by his defiant decision, he began to smile in the dark of the room.

The shadows thinned. Elom swooped into sleep. His forehead dripping with sweat in the heat of a packed room. The powerful beam of a spot illuminated the open stage.

It was on stage. The crowd cheered her. Standing. He could not suppress a broad smile. His cheeks ached with contentment. His novel was a success. In the back of the room, Giorgia was smiling, on the sidelines: proud, her eyes bright. The air smelled of incense. Elom felt light. The jury president rang for silence.

The audience didn't stop applauding. The sound of the bell persisted, as irritating as that of an alarm clock. The alarm! Elom reached out to extinguish it. Giorgia had already got up. Beside him, the crumpled and empty sheets bore the imprints of his body. The brain rumbled inside his head.

- Deluded! He muttered. A bitter crease froze at the corner of his mouth.

- Never look at the darkness of the night when you smile ... hide false truths - so the grandmother's voice said.

Story published in L'Unità, Saturday 24 August 2002, p. 27.



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