¿Mi último adiós? - My last hurrah?
Saturday, September 02, 2023
|August 31, 2023|
El 13 de
octubre, estaré charlando con quizá una multitud de personas, en La Feria del
Libro en el Zócalo de la Ciudad the México.
On October 13 I will be chatting with perhaps a multitude of
souls at the Mexico City Book Fair held for a week at the central square, the
Mi charla será
sobre mis 27 fotos de autores. Mi patrocinador, El Fondo de Cultura Económica
se fundó en 1934 con la meta de promover la lectura con la publicación de
libros con precios económicos.
My chat will be about my 27 author portraits. I am being
sponsored by the Fondo de Cultura Económica, founded in 1934 with the
sole purpose of promoting people to read by publishing books with very low
interesante para mí es que las fotos van a ser ampliadas, con un sistema llamado
Plotter, al tamaño de 180cm de largo y
120cm de ancho.
What is astounding for me is that the photographs will be
displayed with a system called Plotter, and they will be sized to 180cm long and
a dar una charla usando PowerPoint en la librería Rosario Castellanos, sede del
Fondo. Allí van an enmarcar mis fotos, tamaño ocho y medio por once pulgadas.
I will also chat about the authors with PowerPoint at
the Fondo’s bookstore named after
Mexican poet Rosario Castellanos. My eight and a half by 11inch portraits will
be hanging there.
este viaje a un DF, en el cual viví por muchos años, es una verdadera aventura, que me
llevará a mis raíces. Parte de mi
nostalgia por la ciudad es que me casé con mi Rosemary en Coyoacán en 1968 y
mis dos hijas nacieron en Tacubaya, Tengo que agregar aquí que viví una temporada muy cerca
del Cine Lido, en la Colonia Condesa. Fui varias veces a ver películas. Si bien
recuerdo, el cine era en estilo art déco . ¡Y ahora es, precisamente, la Librería
This trip to Mexico City for me, a city I knew well as I
lived there for many years, is an adventure that will take me to my roots. I
married my Rosemary in Coyoacán in 1968. Our two daughters were born in the
city’s Tacubaya district. I would like to point out that for a couple of years
I lived in the lovely Condesa neighbourhood not far from an art deco movie
theatre called The Lido. It is now that Rosario Castellanos bookstore!
agradecer no solo al Fondo, pero también, a mi cuate Paco Ignacio Taibo II que
promueve las operaciones del Fondo, cuando no está escribiendo novelas o
biografías tamaño directorio telefónico, como su biografía - Ernesto
Guevara, también conocido como el Che.
|Paco Ignacio Taibo II|
I must thank not only the Fondo but my buddy, author Paco
Taibo II (II because his father was Paco Taibo I). As a spokesperson for the
Fondo he somehow promotes it with copious ideas and still manages to write
novels and biographies the size of a phone book like his Ernesto Guevara , also
known as Che.
Mi auto retrato, en el cual puse mi cara sobre mi escaner Epson, con uno de mis libros favoritos, tiene un significado especial para mí. Sábato escribió esta autobiografía en 1998 porque ya era un anciano. ¡Pero falleció a los 99, 13 años después en 2011! ¿Cual será mi destino? Tengo 81 años.
For my self-portrait I put my face on my Epson scanner. I used an autobiography by one of my favourite Argentine authors, Ernesto Sábato. He was an old man when he wrote Antes del Fin (Before the End) in 1993 but he died 13 years later in 2011. I am an 81 year-old man. When will I meet my maker?
Bountiful & PTD
Friday, September 01, 2023
|Rosa 'The Shropshire Lad' 31 August 2023|
People will tell you, “Everybody dies,” or “We are all going
I find that those who say this are not aware of its immediacy
when one is an old man. I, am that old man.
In the 52 years that I lived with my Rosemary we never
discussed death. We had too many obligations and activities that kept us away
from the existential conflict with death that I am experiencing now. We experience lots of mutual pleasure and fun.
Living alone with two cats, I have a lot more time to think
and, particularly before sleep, when I wake up two or three times during the
It was about a year before Rosemary died that I brought up
the initials WTD (waiting to die). Perhaps I should have been a tad more kind and modifying
that to PTD (preparing to die).
Yesterday was my birthday and my intelligent (particularly
in financial matters) older daughter Alexandra (Ale pronounced Ahleh) and I
spent time yesterday and this morning with her explaining to her idiot father what compound interest is all about.
And so, when Ale left for her home in Lillooet at noon today,
I can state that my life (what’s left of it) is in order.
When I came to my home I fed my cats and then retired to my
bed with them.These days I do a lot of that. I am overcoming little by little
that Roman Catholic guilt I used to have about feeling bad doing nothing.
My existential conundrum of the moment is that I feel bad
about the fact that I don’t have to do anything. I might scan some plants,
write blogs and clean house. Ultimately there is nothing that I absolutely have
to do except to take my wellness pills (prescribed by my wellness daughter
Hilary) and feed my cats.
But I have time to think. I believe is good. I know that many
of the writing inspiration that Jorge Luís Borges had happened in his bathtub.
The idea for this more positive section of this blog (below)
is attached to the nice word bountiful. Yesterday I noticed that my prolific
English Rose, Rosa ‘The Shropshire Lad’ was in bloom (many). Also out was my
lovely red rose, English Rose. Rosa ‘Darcey Bussell’; the yellow R.‘Betsy
Sinclair and R. ‘Zepheryn Druhin’ were clamouring for my attention. This last
old rose is a reluctant bloomer. Its claim to fame is that it is always the
last rose in any rose catalogue because of the most important Z.
I do not believe in ghosts. But in these almost three years
since my Rosemary died I have coined the expression “her absent presence”. In
that vein I could imagine her telling me, “Alex, happy birthday. Here are my
roses wishing you one.”
As I scanned the roses thinking of her I could not place
one of the remaining “The Shropshire Lad”. I came up with the idea that I did not
want to leave it out so I scanned it all alone. One of the unusual features of
R. ‘The Shropshire Lad’ is its new-growth reddish leaves seen here.
And I smiled even though I was sad.
And of course I have to thank my daughter Alexandra for
helping to put what is left of my life in order.
No querer blancos rodando - Alejandra Pizarnik
Wednesday, August 30, 2023
|Rosa 'Sombreul' 5 de septiembre del 2023|
querer blancos rodando…
querer blancos rodando
querer voces robando
querer vivir mil oxígenos
cruzadas al cielo.
querer trasladar mi curva
encerar la hoja actual.
querer vencer al imán
alpargata se deshilacha.
querer tocar abstractos
mi último pelo marrón.
querer vencer colas blandas
árboles sitúan las hojas.
No querer traer sin caos
Azul Celeste y Blanco Para Mi Rosemary
Tuesday, August 29, 2023
|Rosa 'Susan Williams-Ellis' 29 August 2023|
As a little boy, when we had to draw and Argentine flag in
school, it was drummed into us that the color was azul celeste (sky blue) and
not any other blue.
When Patrick Reid was given the task of designing our Maple
Flag he asked his wife what should be considered. She told him that the flag
had to be the same on both sides and easy enough to draw by a school child.
Patrick Reid - Maple Leaf Flag
And so it is with the Argentine flag. Although there is what
we call el Pabellón Nacional and this flag, seen in government buildings and in
the armed forces, has a sun in the middle.
Today is a grey and rainy day and I might just wear a
flannel shirt. No matter what the weather is, it always gives me a reason to
think of my Rosemary. Today we would acurrucar (almost means to spoon) in our
bed with our cats. And who knows other stuff would have happened.
My Chickering piano is being tuned, and leaving the man to do his job, I went outside to see what might be
in bloom on the deck. I noticed the four white flowers of the English
Rose, Rosa ‘Susan Williams- Ellis’. How could I connect them to my memory of
Rosemary? That was easy as her favourite colours in the garden were white and
blue. To get the blue background in this scan a lay a semi transparent plastic
Then, in one of my Bunny Watson, moments I thought of my
father’s wool Argentine flag. And presto here are two images in honour of my
Rosemary which does include here something of her Argie husband.
Death & the Lottery
Monday, August 28, 2023
|With Rosa 'Bathsheba' 27 August 2023|
As a joke in some of my bios I write:
My birth was recorded on August 31, 1942 by the blast of a
photographer’s magnesium powder flash. I knew then that someday I would become
It is patently false but there is still some truth to it.
I may have been six in Buenos Aires when I became aware of
my personal consciousness and individuality. I wrote about it here And I am Still .
Not long after, a neighbour’s son crashed his motor scooter
on train at a level crossing. I must have been 7 and my mother took me to the
open coffin ceremony next door. The young man’s face was all bandaged up. My only conclusion now is that my mother wanted me to be aware of what life was all about even at my young age,
A few months later, some neighbours across the street won the
lottery. It was then that I concluded that the only people who died or won the
lottery were neighbours.
I accompanied my mother, when I was 8, to the Philippine
Legation that was downtown on Calle Florida, in the same building as the
American Embassy. The American Embassy had a novelty in Argentina at the time.
Its Lincoln Library (hosted by those crafty spies of the U.S. Information
Service) allowed members to borrow books and take them home.
I was left there by my mother and the first book in my hands was either a magazine or a book called American Heritage. In it I saw
photographs taken by Timothy O’Sullivan during the Civil War. I stared at the
photographs (perhaps the first photographs I ever saw) which featured dead
soldiers. They looked very much like the men walking outside on Calle Florida.
I thought to myself that these men in the book had at one time been alive and were dead. And they had been dead 85 years. My concept of only neighbours dying changed
for me that day.
It was then that I began my journey of looking at portraits. By 1958 I was taking them in my Catholic Boarding school in Austin, Texas
with my first real camera, a Pentacon-F. My portraits to this day are my efforts at getting inside my subjects and sharing the humanity that they allow me to look into.
The eyes of my portraits, in my Kitsilano home, look straight at
me. I cannot escape their gaze. Much worse is the stare of my Rosemary in the frames on my walls. I go through that same process that I did so long ago at the Lincoln
Library and think, “She was alive when I took that photograph.”
I have no idea if other photographers have the same feelings
and thoughts of the life in a portrait of person that is now dead.
I cannot resolve this conundrum in my head and it follows
me all day as I feel and note the absent presence of the woman that was my wife
for 52 years.