JE SUIS BORDELAISE
Je suis bordelaise, Je suis bordelaise !
The Lamprey :
Je suis bordelaise and there is no a tooth of doubt about it! I have been living here since forever, the rythm of my heart is impregnated in the limestone walls of Chartrons, and La Gironde is my best friend. How many times I have brushed her hair swimming down her bare back. And how many times I have dived in her blonde plaits, going upstream to the Atlantic, Gironde La Blonde !
Je suis bordelaise ! It amuses me to say this in front of some of the French-speaking tourists to whom I tell about Bordeaux and the surrounding area, and who often exclaim: “But where is your accent from? It is so melodic! Perhaps you are Italian ?” Hearing this, my face probably lights up in a Southern shine. I tell them that I did live in Italy a while ago, but Je suis bordelaise. “Perhaps you are married to a Bordelais ?” I reply that this would be the most prosaic explanation and that there is one other special test that everyone who insists on calling themselves Bordelais needs to pass. So, here comes the time that I reveal to you one of my secrets.
Je suis bordelaise. My full name is Petromyzontida. I come from an ancient family – my ancestors live in the ocean and the deep rivers since 530 million years ago, can you imagine that ! And it is certain that fearing our extraordinarily sinister maw, none of the other similar kinds didn’t want to mix their genes with ours, and this kept us pure-blooded. Pure-blooded by origin, we are exactly 38 in the family! Indeed, who would voluntarily surrender to the kiss of a water vampire, our most popular reputation, letting him take the most vital part, the blood!
The Nature ! It has rooted in us this impulse for survival that forces us to get our daily dose of blood – our only food. And believe me : when you feed on blood, you’ve got everything! You just need to be discreet when approaching your victim and also skilful in sticking your suction cup to its body. The anesthesia that we inject with teeth permeates fast, couple of seconds and…one, two, three, our victim is weakened in its anaemia.
For the legend-believers, blood is a food for vampires, for the rest – the more earthly ones – food for gods and kings. But believe me : it is not this that makes us aristocrats among the fish. Nor the fact that our extremely delicate flesh melted on the palates of majesties like Henry I, and that only one sacred bite from the body of an ancestor of ours took the king to the Otherworld.
So, you have already figured out that we are fish, but in fact we don’t look quite like the other – our body is devoid of scales, we have no jaws. And if our unique physique – bone-free, with extremely soft vertebrae and a sucking cup, allows us to be so flexible and smooth, and swim into the most treacherous water currents, even this does not help us against the most barbarous amongst all the creatures on earth – the humans! Because while we take just the amount of blood we need to survive, they are catching us out of caprice, to satisfy their « sophisticated » senses. Against them we use the thousands of years of intelligence. Because of their snares, we are merging with the river-shadows on a bright day, and we live our real life in the depth of night.
But this is not our deepest doom! We have a bleeding drama – in the minute we are prepared to experience love and unite with a sucking kiss with our chosen one, our digestive system begins to atrophy, we stop eating actively. Our days are melting together with our accumulated fat reserves.
We barely succeed to enjoy our first and only children! And we have been waiting for them for twelve years – rare are the representatives of the animal world that are going through such a long life path before getting to know love and the happiness of experiencing it!
We smoulder long and die – tragically young vampire-aristocrats of the fish world …
Maybe you already figured out who I am ?!
Je suis bordelaise ! I am the lamprey !
Collier royal de dents, Temple de Nuit, 2020