I Am Going To SleepMonday, July 09, 2018
Desganado (from the root ganas to want and des for the opposite) is a word that is defining me these last two days. I am not hungry and I have no desire to eat. Food does not taste (a result of old age) and the very idea of eating makes me feel sick. I am dizzy (no calories) and feel sleepy. Our Stickley bed beckons and the idea of lying down with Casi our cat is about the only desire I have that is pleasant.
Paradoxically I am stressed out because I have finished printing my show at the Galería Vermeer, mid-September in Buenos Aires. I will be sharing the space with my Argentine artist friend Nora Patrich.
I am stressed out because I have been left wanting. The printing was almost a snap. What now?
I spotted this b+w negative of the Argentine subject of mine Yuki. Before I even met her in person she had indicated that she wanted to do something related with the European-born (at the Argentine Embassy in Capriasca, Switzerland) but famous Argentine poet Alfonsina Storni. When she found out she had cancer she published a poem in La Nación before she committed suicide in Mar del Plata. The story is that she walked into the sea and drowned.
When I noticed that Nora Patrich’s swimming pool was empty I decided that I could do something to honour Yuki’s request. Patrich has a fine garden so we cut two callas (Zandeschia aethiopica) for the photograph. I shot it in colour, too but I have a fondness for this one.
And yet I still feel desganado.
The poem Voy a dormir (I am going to sleep in Spanish and English): below
Voy a dormir
Alfonsina Storni (1938)
Dientes de flores, cofia de rocío,
manos de hierbas, tú, nodriza fina,
tenme prestas las sábanas terrosas
y el edredón de musgos encardados.
Voy a dormir, nodriza mía, acuéstame,
ponme una lámpara a la cabecera;
una constelación; la que te guste;
todas son buenas; bájala un poquito.
Déjame sola: oyes romper los brotes…
te acuna un pie celeste desde arriba
y un pájaro te traza unos compases
para que olvides… Gracias. Ah, un encargo:
si él llama nuevamente por teléfono
le dices que no insista, que he salido…
Translation by Richard E. McDorman
I’m Going to Sleep
Alfonsina Storni (last poem, 1938)
Teeth of petals, bonnet of dew,
handfuls of herbs, oh sweet nursemaid,
turn the earthly sheets down for me
and prepare my quilt of carded moss.
I’m going to sleep, my nursemaid—lay me down;
put a lamp on the nightstand for me,
or a constellation, whichever you like—
both are fine; turn the lights down a bit.
Now leave me alone and hear the buds break …
as you’re rocked by a heavenly foot from above,
and a bird zigzags you a path
so that you can forget … Thank you. Oh, a favor:
if he calls again
tell him not to insist, for I have gone away …