“by the time you hear this / I’ll be somewhere far away. / I’d rather not say it at all / but these moments have to burn / they are the fuel that will get me home” Ada Rook

“someone will remember us, I say / even in another time”. Sappho


Do you ever imagine yourself in ancient times? Not yourself exactly like a reversed 80s movie where a medieval knight time warps into New York, but whatever nature you are, nurtured by the gears of whatever was going on 2000 years ago. Do you imagine yourself rich? Poor? In pain? Happy? Anxious? Self-aware?

Lately, I’ve been kind of obsessed with Sappho. Her work and times, her desires and fears, her whole existence as a successful writer and musician, the young Sappho, the aging one…

How do you make sense of someone who lived 2600 years ago? We only keep a few fragments of her work and a few testimonials not even from her times, either praising her for her work or demoting her for her sexuality. There’s not much we can hold on to (except the omnipresence of patriarchy throughout history).

I feel like the borders of this moment in time that we’re probably sharing and what happened before are very similar to the thin borders between dreaming and wakefulness. Sometimes it’s a blurred line, and certainly, the more you venture beyond that border, the more fragmented and imprecise things get and the more holes there are for your imagination to fill. Sappho -and the fragmented nature of what we keep of her songs and poems- feels like a dream, and maybe you don’t need to figure her out. Maybe we can embed ourselves in the oneiric mystery of it all, like Paul B. Preciado suggests, by considering dreams as biographical as whatever you do while awake. For him, his dream about having an apartment in Uranus is as valid as his talk at l’Ecole de la Cause Freudienne. Maybe a way to experience Sappho is precisely from an oniric perspective, a magical ghostly figure floating between Lesbos and the Pleiades. How do you make sense of someone who lived 2600 years ago? Maybe you don’t. Maybe you just float with the bits and pieces that orbit the Moon and gain momentum until you’re released with enough force to reach Uranus.

I’ve been writing songs using Sappho’s poems as lyrics for the last year and a half. My relationship with her has passed through many stages, even though the “maybe she was a rich chaser abusing a power imbalance between her and her disciples” stage. But was she a teacher? A priestess? A performer at weddings? All of them? None? I’d like to challenge the need to commit to a particular version of her, or of anything at all. For me, uncertainty is much more inspiring. Anything that comes in the shape of fragments and missing pieces drives your imagination to more interesting places.

Remembering is very similar to dreaming. I feel like the inner voice that explains our dreams to us is the same creative force that tries to make sense of our past and memories.

There’s this memory I have. I’m two years old, my mother is doing laundry and I approach her and ask her if I’m two or three years old. To this day, I’m not sure if it’s a real memory or a dream I had at some point. Maybe it’s neither; maybe it’s an experience created by myself after looking at pictures from when I was two. Regardless of what it actually is, like Paul, I keep it with me as a relevant piece of biography, even if it’s not real. Even then it’s inspiring; it triggers complex and interesting emotions.

Piecing together the shape of Sappho from her fragments is like creating a vivid dream or a false memory. Reading her feels like remembering her. Remembering her feels like dreaming her. “Someone will remember us”, she writes. “Even in another time”.

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