.....maybe there will be a moment there I still could have laughed. Joined him. But it’s the thought of the blade that will do it. I will be mesmerized. As if I am back there. Looking at it. Seeing the one steel sharp glint that will spring me into action. And even the meaning of that scene will shift. The memory of what I’d done. What I’d wanted to do.
It was my fight, I’ll whisper: His bronca was with me. I had to take care of it. It was my job. Mine. To determine the outcome. And yes, you’re right, I do have experience. I did know what I was doing. And the blade isn’t in my corset. Or in the bra I don’t wear. Where the Brooklyn street whores carry their razor blades. It’s here. In my pocket. It’s how I’ve lived.
I will not be chattel, I’ll go on: I will not be chattel, repeating it between clenched teeth. Though it will likely not have been so elegant, I’m not sure I even know that word chattel in Spanish, it is among the properties of automatic translation that you sometimes clean up and polish the words you’re working with in your mind before you even know you’ve done it, so it will probably be more like: No soy la puta propiedad de nadie. I’m nobody’s fucking property. Or its equivalent. Because I am pretty sure I’ll use that word puta, though maybe that’s the intervening years translating themselves too, puta is probably the most common adjectival expletive in the Spanish speaking world, just not necessarily first choice in Mexico. But I like it: neither puta nor propiedad. Neither whore nor property. It still makes great sense to me
An older woman who spent her eighteenth year in Auschwitz. A younger one who used her nineteenth to organize against the war in Vietnam in New York. An economics student who despite his radical convictions works for the Mexican stock exchange. Mexico 1968. A year, a student movement, a friendship and a massacre which changes all of their lives forever. This is the stuff of Itzel, a two volume novel from Sarah Xerar Murphy, the woman who lived it.
In the first volume, it is Itzel who is the focus, as she blooms into her own agency, bravery, even heroism, possibilities she thought beaten out of her by the horror of the camps. The second volume, in turn focuses on Nauta, the narrator, to bring her face to face with her own violence and capacity for both betrayal and commitment in a series of harrowing scenes..
the critically acclaimed author of multiple works of fiction and memoir is also an Interpreter, translator, community activist, and teacher, as well as award winning performance, visual and spoken word artist, Brought up in New York and a subsequent resident of both Mexico and Canada, she currently lives in Passamaquoddy Territory in Bocabec, New Brunswick.
Her bi-racial, bilingual and multicultural background combine with her long-term residence in all three of North America’s largest countries to bring electrifying authenticity to her creations. You may also know her simply as Sarah Murphy.
Sarah Xerar Murphy has recently been announced a finalist in The Brooklyn Film and Arts Festival's 2019 Brooklyn Non-Fiction Prize