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




 

Rubén Derlis - Coghlan - Colectivo 219
Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Rubén Derlis in Coghlan

One of the charms of getting old is that if one loses some of one’s inhibitions one can make new friends. That has been my case. One of these newish friends is an avowed Stalinist who cultivates his moustache so he can look like his Soviet inspiration.


His name is Rubén Derlis. He used to be an editor of one of the better Buenos Aires newspapers, El Clarín. Rubén Derlis is now retired and he publishes many (as in many!) books of poetry.

Since he is a porteño, a Buenos Aires-born man his poems are all about costumbrismo. This is a word that Argentines use to describe that most peculiar talent of Argentines to compose music, write novels, short stories and poems that are about Buenos Aires.

For anybody who no longer lives in his place of birth (Buenos Aires and that’s me) Borges,Cortázar any tango but especially Piazzolla tangos is to live in remembering those memories of my past that I have not forgotten (a Borgesian way of explaining it).

What makes Rubén Derlis especially notable to me is that he is passionately in love with his Buenos Aires barrio of Coghlan, the very barrio of my youth. In April of this year I met up with Derlis at a café (near Coghlan on Cabildo) where he handed me the lovely book on poetry inspired by his more than 40 year life in our barrio.

Mexico City has its colonias. There is Colonia Polanco, Colonia Las Lomas de Chapultepec and so on. In other Latin American cities these parcels or sections of a city are called barrios. I believe that since our Vancouver is a smaller city in comparison to Buenos Aires and Mexico City, our neighbourhoods, Kitsilano, the Westside, Marpole, etc may be also smaller in size and may be really about that area in close proximity to where you live.


Buenos Aires which when it began was so small that the only direction was South is my poor translation of Derlis’s:
Cuando Buenos Aires se fundó
era tan pequeña que solo tenía sur.
Para un Friso Porteño – 2012

What is unique about the barrios of Buenos Aires is that many of them are named after the train stations that traians went to on their way to the outskirts of the city. The British built the Buenos Aires train system.

Of Coghlan Coghlan historian Alfredo Noceti wrote:

De apellido irlandés y alma porteña
vive apartado del “mundanal ruido”,
Quizás alguno diga: adormecido,
Pero Coghlan no duerme, sino ensueña

Of an Irish surname and a porteño soul
it lives separate from the mundane noise,
Perhaps someone would say: slumbering,
but Coghlan does not sleep, it dreams.


I will not attempt to translate Derlis’s nostalgic poems about Coghlan in which he describes with extreme sadness its very disappearance (the memories of his past, that is) but here is one of my faves, Colectivo 219 which is all about a now extinct bus and its bus route.

Colectivo 219
No tomarás el 219 en Pinto y Pedraza
-ya ni ese número es-,
sólo tu entonces puede hacerlo.

Es un colectivo invisible y lunático:
dobla por Freire,
se aleja hacia Monroe,
cruza el angosto puente,
baja por Superí hacia Los Incas,
y más no sé,
en un recorrido imposible,
a contramano por las mismas calles,
cuarenta años ayer.

De tarde en tarde,
un fantasma sesentista, nostálgico, asciende a el
en un viaje a sí mismo,
hasta un antes perdido en el tiempo,
llamado juventud.
2005



     

Previous Posts
My Gun is Quick

Phenomenal Woman

Selfies At The Met

That Package from La Biblioteca Nacional Mariano M...

Jorge Luís Borges - Alberto Manguel - Homero

The Egg Did Not Crack

Cheescake & Beefcake

Victoria Lace is not a rose

El vestido blanco - The White Dress

le modèle et le bassiste



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6/26/16 - 7/3/16

7/3/16 - 7/10/16

7/10/16 - 7/17/16

7/17/16 - 7/24/16

7/24/16 - 7/31/16

7/31/16 - 8/7/16

8/7/16 - 8/14/16

8/14/16 - 8/21/16

8/21/16 - 8/28/16

8/28/16 - 9/4/16

9/4/16 - 9/11/16

9/11/16 - 9/18/16

9/18/16 - 9/25/16

9/25/16 - 10/2/16

10/2/16 - 10/9/16

10/9/16 - 10/16/16

10/16/16 - 10/23/16

10/23/16 - 10/30/16

10/30/16 - 11/6/16

11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16