A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

Esa Ráfaga
Saturday, March 26, 2016

Tango



I love the Spanish word despilfarro from the verb despilfarrar. It translates (not very well) as waste. Think of throwing money out of the window with a smile on your face. This verb is exhuberant.
Thought when one is busy is difficult and a luxury. Thought when one is finally retired (and avoiding thinking that what it really is, is “waiting to die” is almost a despilfarro. I instantly think of the lyrics of Captain Beefheart song Ashtray Heart,somebody has had too much to  think”.

I now do a lot of this. My thought involves places, Argentina, Mexico, Texas and Vancouver. It is about my friends and relatives, the ones who are dead and the ones still with me. It is about gardens had and a new one to be worked on and seen. It is about the loss of my darkroom and the excitement of a now functioning inkjet printer. It is about my body’s faulty plumbing and the exploration of eroticism only with the mind. It is about sharing what’s left with my Rosemary and our cat Casi-Casi. It is about bringing warmth to my youngest daughter and her youngest daughter with a meal and movie in our new Kitsilano home.

But the most troubling kind of thought is determining where I belong. Vancouver to me is an unfriendly place. I long for hotter climes and my family in Argentina. I want to drink a mate but this is not done alone. I miss my Argentine artist friend Nora and her new partner Roberto. With them we would share a mate and converse in Argentine Spanish.

In my thoughts I want to be in Buenos Aires, I want to be in the Veracruz of my mother in the Austin of Brother Edwin Reggio, in the home of my departed friend Abraham Rogatnick, going to see an Italian film with my mentor and friend Raúl in Mexico City and listening his describe beautiful music as “bello”.

I am now listening to more records and CDs in my comfortable living room/dining room. Of late it has been Hampton Hawes on the piano or Astor Piazzolla on the bandoneón.I have been thinking of the pleasure of having danced the tango (almost well) and how Argentine I felt (and how I seemed to belong to myself)  when I did so.

Tango music takes me to places, streets and, corners of my former life in Argentina. I smile when I read that Obama in his recent trip to Buenos Aires danced the tango. What a classy man. Imagine a Republican doing the tango!

Jorge Luís Borges wrote a lovely poem, El Tango. I have it in my collection of Borges books. There is no translated version of it in the internet (or surprisingly one in Spanish). So below you will find a Youtubeversion of Borges himself reading his poem. And there is that line that makes my skin crawl with nostalgia:

Esa ráfaga, el tango, esa diablura,
Los atareados años desafía;
Hecho de polvo y tiempo, el hombre dura
Menos que la liviana melodía,



     

Previous Posts
That Unkind Cut - II

Los Zapatos de Charol

Evgeni Onegin & That Bond Girl

The Wonders Of Restrictive Limitation

Murray Newman - Smart Fish - R.I.P.

My New Muse?

Bass For Bach & A Manly Apollo

The Perplexing Redness Of Its Red

Cherry Pink & Hosta Blue

A Light Exists In Spring



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11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16