In the Belly of the Serpent
It took me some time to figure out where I live.
I live inside a serpent that lives among you, in Rome.
It is no coincidence that the serpent is here in Rome.
I myself didn't think I was living inside it but I assure you that when I realized it, not only I did not fight, but I was happy.
Because the serpent is inherently autonomous, both because of its survival skills and because of its nature as an immortal being in a world of mortal men.
It is neither its predator nor its guide.
But it lives in the company of mortal men, as I live with it, inside its belly.
It's a place like any other that seems to have been created especially for me.
It is neither bright, nor dark.
I think the serpent is proud of me.
After all, it allowed me to live there, somehow.
It hasn't digested me yet and it allows me to live because in the end my presence gives it the strength to remain immortal.
If I didn't live inside it, it would be a more fragile creature.
I can't explain why this is so.
The serpent exists thank to those who inhabit it, to give shelter to those like me.
I used the plural form because the serpent chose other people to inhabit it.
I know some of them by their name, some other by their surname, we are all here, to provide it the strength to continue to plow the world.
If I were Ariadne, it would be my maze.
A labyrinth of which I know every corner and crack and wall.
A labyrinth to which I fully belong.
This condition of life of mine is serene and restless at the same time.
Having found a home and a purpose it is not enough.
But it is enough to search again and now I live from here, through the eyes of the serpent.
I look at the world through it.
I taste it and perceive smells through its organs.
Maybe I am the serpent.
And if I were a serpent, is what I've said false or different from the truth?
If I were one, it would be difficult to answer.
But I am actually two.
So it's all very simple.
My nature is simple.
I was born (maybe this is true) inside the belly of the serpent, then, over time, moving down into its bowels, I became the serpent itself.
And now I smell, taste, look, touch with two noses, two tongues, two pairs of eyes.
I touch things differently. But this is just better for me.
Or should I write "for us"?
Courtesy the artist and Lorcan O'Neill Roma
Ph. Giorgio Benni