The Siren Pottery

Along the roads on the outskirts of Asilah you can find many stalls selling pottery. One after the other, overflowing with tajines, vases, plates, and other clay objects. Those items that are still dressed in the color of clay sit outside, luring in victims whose pockets jingle with coins wanting to be spent. Their smooth surfaces seduce a possible buyer’s hands and call out to anyone willing to spare them a glance. If you are able to walk past and ignore the pottery’s spell, I congratulate you and admire your strength for I wasn’t as resilient.

The pottery stall captivated me and held its grip on my willpower like a siren’s call. I crept past the unglazed pottery and entered the shabby stall. Inside, its appearance wasn’t as appealing as the song I heard outside. The walls were of plastic tarp and the roof was a mixture of bamboo, hay, sticks, and plastic. The floor was carpeted with red sand and the broken shards of the unfortunate pottery that had been victims of gravity’s power. Even though the interior was an eyesore, what it protected was a treasure trove.


photo by Natalie Tremblay

Tables filled the stall, and every one was covered in pottery even more attractive than those outside. The tables created a maze that you had to weave through to travel from one end of the stall to the other. I dared to navigate the maze, being careful not to run into support poles. There was so much in the stall that I never felt alone. As I walked, beautifully painted tajines glinted at me, hoping to steal a bit of my time. Mugs offered me endless drinks I could have, if only I would commit to them. Bowls and plates distracted my gaze as they showed off the elaborate patterns on their faces, hoping that I would fall for their beauty. Wherever I walked, whichever direction I faced, the voices of pottery filled my ears. I knew that if I listened long enough they would trick me into purchasing them. They were all beautiful, all desirable—and what made it worse—they were all inexpensive. My wallet listened to their calls and agreed that I should buy them.

My vision was a colorful blur and my ears nothing but unintelligible noise. Before I knew it I had two mugs, a tajine, a plate, and a jar resting in my arms. They did it: they broke my will and I bought each one of them without any regrets. Today I still hear their song in my head luring me to buy more. And—to my dismay—I agree with them.

—Ashley Tullo