Réquiem Para Un Malandra
Saturday, June 02, 2012
Thursday evening was an evening of shifting my body in bed trying to find a position where my joints would not hurt. Of late I have been feeling charley horses in my ankles and knees. It was an evening of melancholy which had begun in melancholy with my listening (rare these days) to a CD, Tango Contemporáneo – Astor Piazzolla y Su Nuevo Octeto
. I first bought this 1963 release in 1965 and it was my introduction to the music of Astor Piazzolla whom I immediately was able to listen to live in Buenos Aires concert venues.
This record (now mostly unplayable but the CD is pristine) taught me to appreciate dissonance (the only previous experience had been the music of Thelonius Monk) and music mated with recited poetry. This Nuevo Octeto even featured the famous and recently departed writer Ernesto Sábato. But especially impressive in its terrible language is Réquiem Para Un Malandra
by Piazzolla’s daughter Diana. Seldom have so many nasty sounding and meaning words been put into one poem with such fulminating effect.
Réquiem Para Un Malandra
En esa asfixia bélica de noches despiernadas
en el gran partenón de tu garganta
donde un juglar de tedio se desangra
en gladiolos adúlteros que escapan por túneles,
azules taquicardias y un malandra en glaciares de metralla.
Malandra agujereado, por todo tu esternón
tantas banderas, por todo tu perrazo,
por todo plenilunio en pleno alcohol eternizado.
Epopeya de vírgenes curtidas
y corales de orines constelados.
Por todo te despenias, potro tú.
Potro que se desnuda hasta el espanto.
Desnudo, nauseanauta que tiras a la ferias
ese gallo averiado de tu sexo
y caminas la niebla como un ciego,
el vientre vocinglero de su amante.
La noche ya te larga los suicidas
y sus dientes la flora del insomnio.
tu desnudo, la noche contemplando,
las vírgenes que cuelgan sus enaguas de cactus
y apagan en la lámpara sus corpiños
que fueron azules de pirañas.
Barrenan por tu sangre tranvías y venados
y bodegas, tenores con diafragma de estaño.
Y desnudo caminas, y desnudo pareces
la épica siempre viva de los desesperados.
Así, desnudo y recto, así, con la aterida
garrapata del asco, con los mil labios
del desenterrado yo te escupo la muerte y ya no grites.
Quiero verte sangrar tu noche larga,
quiero verte sangrar para gritarte,
hoy un acorazado aún titila
entre tus ingles bárbaras.
I will not translate as English could not possibly do this poem justice. If anything listen to the link here
of the somber Piazzolla tune that preceeds the reading of the poem by Alfredo Alcón.
is a Spanish word of Italian origin that is all about a thief and evil person. It is a word that is rarely used anywhere except in Argentina where many old Spanish words are conserved in everyday language. For me it is a magical word that makes me remember the dictionary my grandmother gave me in 1954 in which she says that its purpose is to help me master the language of my grandfather Don Tirso de Irureta Goyena who had mastered and loved the language. I was to perhaps be a worthy grandson.
In many ways thanks to my constant reading of novels in Spanish the language of my childhood and youth has come back even though there are few people in Vancouver with whom I can share this love for Spanish.
In the last few days I have been savouring, page by page and word for word, Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s 7th Capitán Alatriste serial novels, El Puente de los Asesinos
Paradoxically as I enjoy this thrilling novel I feel a depressing isolation as I look out of the window into a gray sky and feel a winter chill in my bones just a few weeks from the first day of summer. I long for heat and the music of Spanish and of my kind. Of late I have felt a stranger in this solemn city of people being concerned about dog poop and bicycle lanes.
The malandra that illustrates today’s blog is not a malandra at all. He happens to be the gentle Scottish film director Bill Forsyth whom I photographed in 1987. How could a man who directed Gregory’s Girl, Comfort and Joy
and Local Hero
, be a dastardly villain? But he will do just fine for appearances.
Of bats and cockroach
Beyond The Pleasure Principle
Friday, June 01, 2012
I have also found myself drawn back to my essay Beyond the Pleasure Principle, which had been hanging fire, with a strengthened conviction that I am on the right lines in positing a death instinct, as powerful in its own way (though more bidden) as the libido. One of my patients, a young woman suffering from severe hysteria, has just “given birth” to some writings which seem to lend support to my theory: an extreme of libidinous phantasy combined with an extreme morbidity. It is as if Venus looked in her mirror and saw the face of Medusa. It may be that we have studied the sexual impulses too exclusively, and that we are in the position of a mariner whose gaze is so concentrated on the lighthouse the he runs on to the rocks in the engulfing darkness.
The White Hotel
D.M. Thomas - 1981
Linda Lorenzo - Mother
Thursday, May 31, 2012
My Mother's Red Shawl - El Rebozo Colorado
Linda Lorenzo - Mother
The day I found out I was pregnant was the greatest day of my life. Dreaming of being a mother seemed impossible because a couple of years before I had become a widow. God gave me back faith, to be strong and continue in my journey through life. My dream came true but with a disguise. On October 23, 2010 I gave birth to my son Matteo Ignacio Lorenzo. Matteo’s biological father lives in Argentina, we reside in Canada. My choice is to have my son in my life here. In the long run Matteo will benefit knowing his father.
God granted me a miracle and for that I am grateful. Everyday is a new and glorious adventure. My life is full of joy and happiness. And, yes, with lots of diapers on my mind.
Gracias a Dios por esta gran vida
Vancouver Sun Columnist
Statesman, Flag Designer
Vancouver Sun Columnist
Lauren Elizabeth Stewart
Edric Sylvaticus - Wild Shropshire Thane & Rose
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
|Rosa 'Wild Edric' - May 30 2012|
One of the reasons why I so love my roses, is their names. They evoke history, composers, actors and often forgotten moments in history. Such is the case of my English Rose Rosa
‘Wild Edric’. I know that David Austin who breeds English Roses from his home base in Shropshire likes to name his roses after poets, writers, saints (one at least, St. Swithun), luminaries of his area or family friends and heroes (but no villains) of Shakespeare plays. When I purchased Rosa “Wild Edric” three years ago I bought it knowing that its rugosa rose heritage meant it would be a good grower with no affinity to bugs and diseases. It has taken three years to finally burst into voluminous flower. The flowers are as wide as my hand and the fragrance is strong. But I was stumped by the name. Who was Wild Edric? What I found is charming. Within the essay is the statement that Wild Edric was a thorn in the side of William the Conqueror. I now see that Austin has named his rose well. Austin lists this vigorous rose as a hedge rose that will soon grow and be impenetrable. I can see that! The thorns are plentiful, thick and thin. The thin ones fester in my fingers and I must deal with this plant with gloves in the future. I have spent a few nights with a small needle trying to pry out the almost invisible thorns.
In a few days the bush (which is already about 7 ft tall) will be in bloom. Wild Edric is a rose to fear but also a rose to love.
I found this fine account of Edric Sylvaticus in the interesting and nicely laid out web page of Shropshire Tourism
|Rosa 'Wild Edric' - July 23 2009|
Edric The Wild - Another Wild Shropshire Man
Does Shropshire breed ‘wild’ men? Perhaps, and certainly history tells of another wild Salopian, this time way back in the days of William the Conqueror.
Edric the Wild was a Saxon thane who held huge tracts of land in Shropshire. Places like Lydham, Clun, Hodnet, and Dorrington were in his domain along with some forty others, including some in neighbouring Staffordshire. No doubt in those days he would have thought of these holdings as being in the kingdom of Mercia.
Now Edric liked nothing better than to hunt, indeed, another name by which he was known was Edric Sylvaticus, or Edric the Forester, and doubtless the income from all his manors afforded him ample time and opportunity to indulge in his passion for the chase.
All went well then until the year 1066 when, on October 14th William the Conqueror defeated King Harold’s Saxon Army at Senlac Hill near Hastings and ushered in the era of the Norman invaders.
Edric the Wild did not swear fealty to William the Conqueror, the proud Saxon found the idea of the Norman yoke too hard to bear. In 1067 he began to harry the invaders as they tried to impose their harsh will on the western borderlands. We have few details of his actions but it is clear that Edric became such a thorn in the side of the Normans that Richard FitzScrob and the garrison of the newly built castle at Hereford were ordered to invade his lands and wreak vengeance for the havoc he was causing.
Sadly for Richard and his Normans they proved no match for Edric, and each time they went into the western borderlands of Shropshire to apprehend their wily opponent the raiding parties suffered heavy losses including those of mailed knights and their squires.
Realizing he had the upper hand Edric deepened his revolt. Allying with Blethyn ap Cynyon and Rhywallon, the Princes of North Wales and Powys, the three marched together into Herefordshire where their armies devastated the city with its castle, and continued as far as the bridge over the River Lugg at Leominster. Triumphant they returned home richly laden with the spoils of war.
In 1069 revolt flared again and the rebels made for Shrewsbury and laid siege to the castle there. This time they were not so successful but, having failed to take the castle, they burnt the town as they withdrew.
Incensed by this refusal of his authority William now felt it necessary to give up personal command of the brutal campaign he was leading in the north of England and come south to finally settle the uprisings in Staffordshire, Shropshire and Cheshire, including those of Edric and Bleddyn. At Chester the rebels submitted and it was here Edric finally swore fealty to King William.
Two years later Edric was accompanying the King into Scotland on the occasion when King Malcolm was forced to pay homage to Norman rule.
There is some dispute as to whether Edric rebelled yet again. One tradition maintains that he did and was finally captured, some say at Wigmore, by Ralph de Mortimer who certainly came into possession of many of the Saxon rebel’s estates.
According to this version of the story Edric was thrown into prison where, presumably, he died. Another account hints that he escaped and lived out his days in Wales. Anyway, whichever version of the story we may choose, Wild Edric now passes from the pages of history
From the pages of history maybe, but long before he submitted, or was captured, or escaped into Wales if that is your choice, Edric Sylvaticus had already assumed another, altogether stranger, history. You see, for a long time weird and other-worldly tales had been told about him and, believe it or not, some of these stories echo and reverberate to this very day in those areas where Wild Edric once hunted.
The Camp Follower
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
|Batalla de Caseros - 1852 |
archivos del Teatro Colón. 236577-2
My half brother Enrique Waterhouse who is a curator, in Buenos Aires has sent me a few images from a newly discovered batch of photographs that were found in the vaults of the Teatro Colón. They are images (Daguerreotypes and albumen prints) taken before, during and after the famous battle of Caseros on 3 February, 1852 in which Justo José de Urquiza and his Ejército Grande defeated the dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas.
While everybody knows that more than half a century later women fought in the Mexican Revolution of 1910 few would know that women did play an important part in Caseros. They followed and fought with the gauchos that finally got rid of Rosas and his regime.
The reason why I am placing this Daguerreotype here, is that I find a startling resemblance between this unidentified camp follower of the Battle of Caseros with my Argentine subject posing with my father’s mate in yesterday’s posting
Y La Noche Olorosa Como Un Mate Curado
Monday, May 28, 2012
|y la noche olorosa como un mate curado |
versos catorce - Jorge Luís Borges
Every once in a while I take a perfect photograph. I must define here what I mean by a perfect photograph. It could not possibly be a Platonic Essence, the essence that is the perfect photograph. If that were the case any other photograph would pale and I would only be able to take one perfect photograph in my life. By perfect I mean perfect for a precise situation.
Years back with my two Argentine artist friends Juan Manuel Sánchez, Nora Patrich and with a beautiful Argentine subject, Linda Lorenzo we embarked on an almost year-long project in pursuit of what we called Argentine nostalgia. Since all four of us were in Vancouver we could jointly reminisce on our nostalgia for a place we longed for, more than anything because we were not there (Argentina) but here (Vancouver).
We told each other of our personal nostalgias and then found ways of sketching, painting and taking photographs of Linda Lorenzo in poses that would illustrate our longing.
My father’s mate (note no accent! it is pronunced with emphasis on the first
syllable mah-teh) is an Argentine gourd in which you drink the dried cut up Ilex paraguariensis
(or yerba mate [note, no accent], Ilex
is the botanical name for holly ). My father’s mate must be at least 70 years old and we used it at home in Buenos Aires since we can remember. The drinking of the tea is quite ceremonial and only one is used. It is filled with hot water (never boiling) and one person at a time drinks it. You can see that in our penchant for cleanliness this social custom would not fly in Canada.
I rarely drink the mate by myself because drinking it is social. If you go to Montevideo you will see young couples on the street, in parks, on bridges sipping the mate. One of them will be holding a special thermos with the hot water (the special thermos that pours the hot water precisely into the small opening of the mate is a Uruguayan invention).
|Linda Lorenzo & Juan Manuel Sánchez|
Every time Rebecca, my 14 year-old granddaughter asks me if we can have a mate I rejoice. We sit down in the living room or outside on a sunny bench and we sip. I like my mate without sugar but just to keep the peace and enjoy what for me is a unique sharing experience with Rebecca, I allow her to use sugar.
To like mate is an acquired taste and Rebecca started early when we would visit Nora Patrich and Juan Manuel Sánchez.
The photograph of Linda Lorenzo is in a prominent place on my living room wall. The title underneath is
Y la noche olorosa como un mate curado
Jorge Luís Borges
When I was looking for a suitable title to enhance my feeling of nostalgia for my father’s mate I found this Borges poem which is extremely beautiful but, I will not translate (sorry).
Versos de catorce
Jorge Luís Borges
A mi ciudad de patios cóncavos como cántaros
y de calles que surcan las leguas como un vuelo,
a mi ciudad de esquinas con aureola de ocaso
y arrabales azules, hechos de firmamento,
a mi ciudad que se abre clara como una pampa,
yo volví de las tierras antiguas del naciente
y recobré sus casas y la luz de sus casas
y esa modesta luz que urgen los almacenes
y supe en las orillas, del querer, que es de todos
y a punta de poniente desangré el pecho en salmos
y canté la aceptada costumbre de estar solo
y el retazo de pampa colorada de un patio.
Dije las calesitas, noria de los domingos
y el paredón que agrieta la sombra de un paraíso,
y el destino que acecha tácito, en el cuchillo,
y la noche olorosa como un mate curado.
Yo presentí la entraña de la voz las orillas,
palabra que en la tierra pone el azar del agua
y que da a las afueras su aventura infinita
y a los vagos campitos un sentido de playa.
Así voy devolviéndole a Dios unos centavos
del caudal infinito que me pone en las manos.
Jorge Luís Borges
Luna de enfrente (1925)
What is interesting is that the line
Y la noche olorosa como un mate curado
is a line Borges used before in 1923 in this poem right at the first line:
Jorge Luís Borges
Olorosa como un mate curado
la noche acerca agrestes lejanías
y despeja las calles
que acompañan mi soledad,
hechas de vago miedo y de largas líneas.
La brisa trae corazonadas de campo,
dulzura de las quintas, memorias de los álamos,
que harán temblar bajo rigideces de asfalto
la detenida tierra viva
que oprime el peso de las casas.
En vano la furtiva noche felina
inquieta los balcones cerrados
que en la tarde mostraron
la notoria esperanza de las niñas.
También está el silencio en los zaguanes.
En la cóncava sombra
vierten un tiempo vasto y generoso
los relojes de la medianoche magnífica,
un tiempo caudaloso
donde todo soñar halla cabida,
tiempo de anchura de alma, distinto
de los avaros términos que miden
las tareas del día.
Yo soy el único espectador de esta calle;
si dejara de verla se moriría.
(Advierto un largo paredón erizado
de una agresión de aristas
y un farol amarillo que aventura
su indecisión de luz.
También advierto estrellas vacilantes).
Grandiosa y viva
como el plumaje oscuro de un Ángel
cuyas alas tapan el día,
la noche pierde las mediocres calles.
Jorge Luís Borges
Fervor de Buenos Aires (1923)
What the sentence means is that the night is fragrant with something similar to a well used mate. You cannot use a mate (the gourd) right away. Some cure it by using sugar and others might use brandy. I have no idea how my father cured his mate. I do know that its fragrance brings me a nostalgia for my country, my city, my home, my parents and some day soon, when my granddaughter is grown up (and if I am still around) a warm memory of our moments shared sipping yerba mate from my father’s mate. And who knows? Might I not take another perfect photograph with the same mate but with her?
Fragrant as a Cured Mate
I gave the mate illustrated here to Rebecca last year. She uses it often.
Lust & Sexual Longing, A Touch Of Profanity - All In Good Taste
Sunday, May 27, 2012
I lived Saturday in three dimensions
|Wen Wei Wang|
At a 2 pm matinee performance of the yearly event held at the Vancouver Playhouse (for too long an exquisite Vancouver secret), the Arts Umbrella Dance Company’s Season Finale, I ran into visual artist Tiko Kerr and we talked about enjoying very good professional dance in real time, place and depth. In this day and age of the ubiquitous computer monitor we were watching dance in three dimensions. While doing so, I tried to stop Einstein’s fourth by hoping the event would not end.
So I went for more and attended that evening’s final performance. In doing so I was able to see the full program as the two-day event (three separate programs, three performances) incorporated far too many pieces to be enjoyed in one sitting, so they were staggered to accommodate all the choreographers and give the performers of the Senior Dance Company and the Apprentice Dancers, all in all about 70 dancers, room to do their thing. And a fine thing that was.
The two o’clock show left me most satisfied as was my 9 year-old granddaughter Lauren and there was a variety of dance that avoided (yes!) tap dancing, flamenco, belly dancing, cutesy dancing, character dancing and anything resembling May-pole dancing in a schmaltzy 19th century mode. It was all brutal (in a good way) direct modern ballet or modern dance. Not that it was devoid of humor. There was lots of that. But the performances would end (alternating the Seniors and the Apprentices) with almost nonexistent and most efficient breaks between them.
And that could have been it and I could write about every individual dance and give you glowing remarks on the choreographers involved and that they came from all over the world just for the Arts Umbrella Dance Company.
But I would rather write about the first three pieces of the evening which had not been included in the matinee. Dawn
by Choreographer Wen Wei Wang (the Seniors), jeune et jaune
by Simone Orlando (the Apprentices) and An Instant
by Lesley Telford (the Seniors).
The first, right off the bat, was about a healthy, handsome, beautiful, fit group of dancers who have discovered sexual longing and the bitter sweetness that it involves. Costume Designer Linda Chow stuck (very smart!) to basics and this year’s collection of male dancers, were wearing only short shorts. They showed off rippled washboard stomachs and thighs that bulged where they should. They were all tall (from my vantage point of center first row where my eyes are about the level of dancers’ ankles) masculine, good looking and oozing with charm when needed and pathos when obliged. The women wore clothing that did not intrude on their beauty and the combination reminded me of Cornelius Fischer-Credo's The Beauty Machine
(featuring three very tall and stately dancers) and of Helmut Newton’s series called Big Nudes
. I felt in some moments like a voyeur and in others like I was clicking the shutter on my Nikon FM-2. This raging heterosexual man could not take his eyes off those young men!
The second dance by Simone Orlando featured music of the Oscar Peterson Trio and the costumes by Kate Burroughs were in a bright, happy yellow that made me, momentarily forget the sexual shenanigans of Wen Wei Wan’s piece. This dance was about the discovery of love and the opposite sex. It was an exploration done in the good taste and elegance that Simone Orlando always brings to anything she choreographs. Wen Wei Wang was about innocence’s fall, Orlando’s about innocence being flaunted. Orlando’s piece was the Moët & Chandon palate cleanser between the two heavy pieces and Lesley Telford’s An Instant
was just that. Kate Burroughs's costumes showing hints of the Matrix
series of films made me imagine that these dancers were a 21st century version of Bernstein’s Jets and, while they were not holding menacing switchblades, I could almost see them.
made me see the light (and I don't write this all in jest!). The Seniors all look at each other in complete understanding as they dance. They are sort of like all those blond girls and boys in John Wyndham's The Midwich Cuckoos
(film Village of the Damned
). Are they all part of a cabal, a secret organization, a pseudo masonic lodge (is Artemis Gordon a Mason? Am I the first to catch on?) that is out to infiltrate the world with intelligence and poise? And I know who one of the ringleaders might be. His name is Paxton Ricketts. And surely the enforcer would be Scott Fowler?
I ran into Ballet BC’s Donald Sales and told him how I had liked these three pieces and that I could have (almost) gone home right after, perfectly happy. I mentioned An Instant
. His comment was, “You like all that European stuff.” Yes! Especially anything by the Netherlands Dans Theater 1, which just so happens is where choreographer Lesley Telford works.
The rest of the show included such young choreographers as Ballet BC’s Alyson Fretz
who only graduated from Arts Umbrella but a couple of years ago. It included edgy stuff by the red-haired wonder Lina Fitzner, disco (as in ballet disco) splendidly choreographed to the music of Cyndi Lauper by James Kudelka, a blend of Canadian and European heavy duty stuff by my fave (and Ballet BC’s Emily Molnar) Gioconda Barbuto to finally Aszure Barton’s Les Chambres des Jacques
(less about sexual longing as out and out lust) that featured and mixed the music of Gilles Vigneault with Vivaldi’s. The costumes by Shirley Chan and Shelly Nichele had the women of the Senior Dance Company wearing tight corsets that made me lose my breath! At one point Christoph von Riedemann (I last remember him as a healthy looking young boy) who is now a most becoming red haired man, on his knees, gently makes it like he is traveling with his mouth, ever so close, up Kiera Hill’s legs and shortly after Brazilian Joao de Paula (handsome and an expert in primitive candomblé rights) yells out, “puta que pariu!” I know what that means but I had to go back stage to confirm what I thought I had heard. It is close to Spanish and it means “ …the whore mother who bore you!” Joaa de Paula indeed did confirm it. Artistic Director Artemis Gordon was quick to explain, “It is part of Aszure Barton’s choreography so we have to respect her vision.” I might have noticed a wink but if I did I would not reveal that here.
I am so glad that Artemis Gordon and her fine troupe respect the vision of the renowned choreographers they manage to lure to Granville Island. Now let's stop making this an exclusive Vancouver secret!
Yes it was an evening of lust, sexual longing, and a touch of profanity but all done in exquisite good taste. We in Vancouver deserve this sort of thing, even if we all don’t know about it.
Lisa, That Lisa From Cochinchina - An Impossibly Far Place
Lejos, esa lejanía tan lejana que es la memoria de mi niñez. Tan lejos esa imagen en el espejo. Soy yo y nadie más. Lejos también cuando Mercedes me llamaba, “Alejandro, a comer. Lavate la cara y las manos. No te olvidés las rodillas.” Lejos, esa memoria de esos negros Celia y Abelardo que una vez me llevaron a un candomblé allá por Urquiza para que vieran mis pelos rubios. Lejos esa travesía, ese interminable traqueteo en el tranvía número 35 al centro, al apartamento de mi abuelita Dolores. Lejos ese tren a Retiro y la anticipación de las películas de conboys en Avenida Lavalle con mi papá. Lejos, tan lejos, el ruido metálico de la apertura del portón de nuestra casa en Melián y la entrada de mi sonriente mamá. Lejos ese olor a pampa mojada con la venida del pampero casi siempre en un domingo a la noche. Lejos, ese solitario ombú en el horizonte desde mi montura sobre el alazán. Lejos los imposiblemente doblados dedos artríticos de las manos de mi Auntie Winnie sirviéndonos té en su casa en Acassuso. Lejos, pero no tan lejos ese olor a whisky y Player’s Navy Cut de mi papá cuando me abrazaba. Lejos, muy lejos esa lejanía que es la memoria de mi niñez ahora que soy un pingüino al norte del paralelo 49. No tan lejos esa memoria de esas siestas en Méjico con mi Rosemary en el cual dormir era un vil pretexto de no hacerlo. No tan lejos el fin de esa lejanía que me acerca a un principio sin memoria, sin lejanías.
A possible translation of the above could be my mother’s poem:
I thought I’d never miss: -
The wide expanse of pasture of the pampas,
The lead gray skies & stratus clouds
The whistling, whining, violent “pamperos”,
The wet moist cold,
The hot damp heat,
The monotonous landscape
Bare of trees & bushes 7 human beings
Populated by lazy, cattle.
But I do,
The balmy breezes of early spring,
The mauve of jacarandá trees in early fall,
The crisp, white frost of midwinter,
The golden yellow of the aroma in late spring
The pungent, acrid odor of the figs in midsummer.
I thought I’d never miss:
The untidy almacén at my corner
Overflowing with cellophane bags of capeletti & ravioli
And mounds of sacks of new potatoes,
Reeking of onions & “tipo Roquefort cheese”,
Of smoked ham & bacon hanging from hooks
Or: The heated discussion of the Italian neighbours,
The chattering, singing & crying of their children,
The clatter of their plates & knives - they ate
In the patio & almost lived there,
Their plaintive singing of their summer land
And the merry quartets from Barbero & Rigoletto.
Or: The austere grays & browns & blacks
That Porteños think proper to wear,
Their sober silence and quiet in public vehicles
The busy little sidewalk cafes under striped awnings,
The interminable wait for tram 35,
The long and never ending route it took,
But I do,
The exquisite taste and stark simplicity
That Porteños think proper for wear,
Their polite “permiso” as they sidled by you on colectivos
The gracious old-fashioned cadence of the
“Cuando” danced in a café.
The beautiful church on Juramento and Cabildo
I always watched out for out of the window of Tram 35
The expectation of getting to Mother’s flat,
At the end of the line,
And the warmth I’d get there!
Filomena de Irureta Goyena de Hayward
Nueva Rosita, Coahuila, Mexico
Dec 5, 1956.
Or it could be Jorge Luís Borges’s poem:
Desde uno de tus patios haber mirado
las antiguas estrellas,
desde el banco de sombra haber mirado
esas luces dispersas
que mi ignorancia no ha aprendido a nombrar
ni a ordenar en constelaciones,
haber sentido el círculo del agua
en el secreto aljibe,
el olor de jazmín y la madreselva,
el silencio del pájaro dormido,
el arco del zaguán, la humedad
- esas cosas, acaso, son el poema.
But no. Perhaps it's the following:
That Prague cemetery is but an echo of that island of the day before. Lisa, Lisa from Cochinchina, that impossibly far, as far-as-one-can-be place, from that lone ombú on the horizon - far from the vantage point of my galloping horse, of my childhood. Lisa, she of the impossibly beautiful chest (and why not!) I called up, not too long ago, and asked her if she would pose for me again. “No,”she replied, I have gotten fat.”