31 Mar 2011

The Invisible Cities

I'm lazy tonight, and quite sleepy, so I'm not going to speak about the book. Not even about the author, Italo Calvino. Wikipedia is there for those who want to know something more about him or about this book: The invisible cities (and, if you want to find reviews, just go to Amazon).

So, again, will I jump again on the narcissistic band wagon and write about myself? Not this time. And anyway, sometimes the books one likes... they did speak about the one who likes them. :-)

Here you have some excerpts from The Invisible Cities. Enjoy.

Thin Cities 3

Whether Armilla is like this because it is unfinished or because it has been demolished, whether the cause is some enchantment or only a whim, I do not know. The fact remains that it has no walls, no ceilings, no floors: it has nothing that makes it seem a city except the water pipes that rise vertically where the houses should be and spread out horizontally where the floors should be: a forest of pipes that end in taps, showers, spouts, overflows. Against the sky a lavabo's white stands out, or a bathtub, or some other porcelain, like late fruit still hanging from the boughs. You would think that the plumbers had finished their job and gone away before the bricklayers arrived; or else their hydraulic systems, indestructible, had survived a catastrophe, an earthquake, or the corrosion of termites.

Abandoned before or after it was inhabited, Armilla cannot be called deserted. At any hour, raising your eyes among the pipes, you are likely to glimpse a young woman, or many young women, slender, not tall of stature, luxuriating in the bathtubs or arching their backs under the showers suspended in the void, washing or drying or perfuming themselves, or combing their long hair at a mirror. In the sun, the threads of water fanning from the showers glisten, the jets of the taps, the spurts, the splashes, the sponges' suds.

I have come to this explanation: the streams of water channelled in the pipes of Armilla have remained in the possession of nymphs and naiads. Accustomed to travelling along underground veins, they found it easy to enter the new aquatic realm, to burst from multiple fountains, to find new mirrors, new games, new ways of enjoying the water. Their invasion may have driven out the human beings, or Armilla may have been built by humans as a votive offering to win the favour of the nymphs, offended at the misuse of the waters. In any case, now they seem content, these maidens: in the morning you hear them singing.

Cities & Desire 5

"From there, after six days and seven nights, you arrive at Zobeide, the white city, well exposed to the moon, with streets wound about themselves as in a skein. They tell this tale of its foundation: men of various nations had an identical dream. They saw a woman running at night through an unknown city; she was seen from behind, with long hair, and she was naked. They dreamed of pursuing her. As they twisted and turned, each of them lost her. After the dream, they set out in search of that city; they never found it, but they found one another; they decided to build a city like the one in the dream. In laying out the streets, each followed the course of his pursuit; at the spot where they had lost the fugitive's trail, they arranged spaces and walls differently from the dream, so she would be unable to escape again.
This was the city of Zobeide, where they settled, waiting for that scene to be repeated one night. None of them, asleep or awake, ever saw the woman again. The city's streets were streets where they went to work every day, with no link any more to the dreamed chase. Which, for that matter, had long been forgotten.

New men arrived from other lands, having had a dream like theirs, and in the city of Zobeide, they recognized something from the streets of the dream, and they changed the positions of arcades and stairways to resemble more closely the path of the pursued woman and so, at the spot where she had vanished, there would remain no avenue of escape.

The first to arrive could not understand what drew these people to Zobeide, this ugly city, this trap.

Continuous Cities 1

The city of Leonia refashions itself every day: every morning the people wake between fresh sheets, wash with just-unwrapped cakes of soap, wear brand-new clothing, take from the latest model refrigerator still unopened tins, listening to the last-minute jingles from the most up-to-date radio.

On the sidewalks, encased in spotless plastic bags, the remains of yesterday's Leonia await the garbage truck. Not only squeezed rubes of toothpaste, blown-out light bulbes, newspapers, containers, wrappings, but also boilers, encyclopedias, pianos, porcelain dinner services. It is not so much by the things that each day are manufactured, sold, bought that you can measure Leonia's opulence, but rather by the things that each day are thrown out to make room for the new. So you begin to wonder if Leonia's true passion is really, as they say, the enjoyment of new and different things, and not, instead, the joy of expelling, discarding, cleansing itself of a recurrent impurity. The fact is that street cleaners are welcomed like angels, and their task of removing the residue of yesterday's existence is surrounded by a respectful silence, like a ritual that inspires devotion, perhaps only because once things have been cast off nobody wants to have to think about them further.

Nobody wonders where, each day, they carry their load of refuse. Outside the city, surely; but each year the city expands, and the street cleaners have to fall farther back. The bulk of the outflow increases and the piles rise higher, become stratified, extend over a wider perimeter. Besides, the more Leonia's talent for making new materials excels, the more the rubbish improves in quality, resists time, the elements, fermentations, combustions. A fortress of indestructible leftovers surrounds Leonia, dominating it on every side, like a chain of mountains.

This is the result: the more Leonia expels goods, the more it accumulates them; the scales of its past are soldered into a cuirass that cannot be removed. As the city is renewed each day, it preserves all of itself in its only definitive form: yesterday's sweepings piled up on the sweepings of the day before yesterday and of all its days and years and decades.

Leonia's rubbish little by little would invade the world, if, from beyond the final crest of its boundless rubbish heap, the street cleaners of other cities were not pressing, also pushing mountains of refuse in front of themselves. Perhaps the whole world, beyond Leonia's boundaries, is covered by craters of rubbish, each surrounding a metropolis in constant eruption. The boundaries between the alien, hostile cities are infected ramparts where the detritus of both support each other, overlap, mingle.

The greater its height grows, the more the danger of a landslide looms: a tin can, an old tire, an unraveled wine flask, if it rolls toward Leonia, is enough to bring with it an avalanche of unmated shoes, calendars of bygone years, withered flowers, submerging the city in its own past, which it had tried in vain to reject, mingling with the past of the neighboring cities, finally clean. A cataclysm will flatten the sordid mountain range, canceling every trace of the metropolis always dressed in new clothes. In the nearby cities they are all ready, waiting with bulldozers to flatten the terrain, to push into the new territory, expand, and drive the new street cleaners still farther out.

Cities and the Sky 5

Andria was built so artfully that its every street follows a planet's orbit, and the buildings and the places of community life repeat the order of the constellations and the position of the most luminous stars: Antares, Alpheratz, Capricorn, the Cepheids. The city's calendar is so regulated that jobs and offices and ceremonies are arranged in a map corresponding to the firmament on that date: and thus the days on earth and the nights in the sky reflect each other.

Though it is painstakingly regimented, the city's life flows calmly like the motion of the celestial bodies and it acquires the inevitability of phenomena not subject to human caprice. In praising Andria's citizens for their productive industry and their spiritual ease, I was led to say: I can well understand how you, feeling yourselves part of an unchanging heaven, cogs in a meticulous clockwork, take care not to make the slightest change in your city and your habits. Andria is the only city I know where it is best to remain motionless in time.

They looked at one another dumbfounded. "But why? Whoever said such a thing?" And they led me to visit a suspended street recently opened over a bamboo grove, a shadow-theater under construction in the place of the municipal kennels, now moved to the pavilions of the former lazaretto, abolished when the last plague victims were cured, and--just inaugurated--a river port, a statue of Thales, a toboggan slide.

"And these innovations do not disturb your city's astral rhythm?" I asked.

"Our city and the sky correspond so perfectly", they answered, "that any change in Andria involves some novelty among the stars." The astronomers, after each change takes place in Andria, peer into their telescopes and report a nova's explosion, or a remote point in the firmament's change of color from orange to yellow, the expansion of a nebula, the bending of a spiral of the Milky Way. Each change implies a sequence of other changes, in Andria as among the stars: the city and the sky never remain the same.

As for the character of Andria's inhabitants, two virtues are worth mentioning: self-confidence and prudence. Convinced that every innovation in the city influences the sky's pattern, before taking any decision they calculate the risks and advantages for themselves and for the city and for all worlds.

Thin Cities 5

If you choose to believe me, good. Now I will tell how Octavia, the spider-web city, is made. There is a precipice between two steep mountains: the city is over the void, bound to the two crests with ropes and chains and catwalks. You walk on the little wooden ties, careful not to set your foot in the open spaces, or you cling to the hempen strands. Below there is nothing for hundreds and hundreds of feet: a few clouds glide past; farther down you can glimpse the chasm's bed.

This is the foundation of the city: a net which serves as passage and as support. All the rest, instead of rising up, is hung below: rope ladders, hammocks, houses made like sacks, clothes hangers, terraces like gondolas, skins of water, gas jets, spits, baskets on strings, dumb-waiters, showers, trapezes and rings for children's games, cable cars, chandeliers, pots with trailing plants.

Suspended over the abyss, the life of Octavia's inhabitants is less uncertain than in other cities. They know the net will last only so long.

16 Mar 2011

40 years old. Dedicated to some people

Image by Micheal D. Endens

I do not know how many gigabytes this sticky dough I’m walking under the sailor's hat (it's cold, very cold) may have, but it’s unbelievable how many memories it can store. And how much junk, too. Cerebral gyrus: that’s the way they call it. But some nights I think of it as a tiny and gray intestine. Tonight it’s one of those. I’d like you to see it, too. Not the brain, of course, but what's inside. I mean, the memories.  And the junk, too.

Somehow, one always remembers pictures, snapshots. Like these ones I'm watching now. I already know all of them. I’d say, if you allow the obviousness, that I know them by heart. But there are details, niceties I had completely forgotten. You know, they say that memory is selective, fatally selective: it cuts moments out, editing and mounting them so neatly that the result is like a predictable purr, a nearly continuous narration of remembrances, sweet or bitter, according to the situation. That's why we become so boring telling our life: we always tell the same. Other times it abominably skips portions of life and situations that we'd like to live again, somehow. And in these cases it doesn’t matter how hard you try: the story just doesn’t show up. The little, gray intestine has decided to stop telling you your own stories.

…like many other things that time goes on adding and the memory fatally selecting, in some way sending them to the recycle bin of this flabby and sticky hard disk, this dusty and gray, tiny intestine I’m walking under the sailor's hat, (it's cold, very cold). You know, memory is a peculiar processor: it doesn’t sort things out: it disarranges them. And sometimes it makes stories up. Especially in dreams: stories based on trivial memories, on forgotten moments that the dream itself recovers from the recycle bin and mixes and weaves; minimum lies that, when we wake up, are (almost) always filed again in the folder where the forgotten pics are stored, where we hide all the films already shoot but never released.

But tonight I’m opening all the bins. And the jewels coffers, too. ‘Cause even the jewelry, the beautiful memories are sometimes forgotten, and sent to the garbage bin.

Well, I'm 40 now. And what can I say? I'd have liked to feel wiser, having here my woman and perhaps a child, and thinking on paying a house and on my next holidays and struggling to find the time to write the best novel of this new century. But nothing of this happened. I find myself in a complete different situation, and trying to accept that I'm just a man like many others, of of those billions who live their life in this world which seems to be fed up with the humankind. It's not easy. You know? one... well, at least myself... always thinks to be born to achieve something special. And I'm starting thinking that that special thing is exactly this: to accept oneself as just being one among the others. This is not a philosophic thought of a recently 40 years old guy :-), It's just something I'm thinking lately. I am -if I'm lucky- in the middle of my life, like Dante when he went to the Hell and, being back, he wrote the Divine Comedy. I've been in my very personal Hell, also, and I'm still walking up, going uphill, climbing the mountain. And I don't know what I'm going to find up there.

And lots of times I miss my friends. Life is nothing without friends. Yeah, I could meet a girl (and I'd love to, because I've always felt the need of sharing space and feelings and experiences... what is life without sharing it?) but friends are something different. It's a different love one feels for them. Perhaps less intense, but very deep and calm, like the deepness of the Ocean.

I'm alone here at home tonight, and it's my birthday. But it's OK: ant the end of the day this has been just another day. It's just that this very same day, 40 years ago, I was born. Nothing more. We are billions of us and this happens everyday. Time flies away (or it just seems to fly away... and perhaps this happens when one becomes aware that lots of time he has been "lived" by the life, without making the most of it at every moment and living the holy life...

What can I say? I should have learned this before. But as for many many things in my life, I've been late, or, at least, later than others. I've been late all my life: the first time I had sex was when I was 19. The first time I used a PC was when I was 23 (my friends were using it since they were 15), the first time I wrote a short story I was 23, too. The first time I crossed the Ocean I was 37. The first time I read Chomsky I was 29 or 30. The first time I read SIddharta I was 38. And I've never read "The little Prince". I've never learned how to love properly, if there's a proper way to love someone.I just know that my way didn't give a good result (first: I suffered a lot and make other people suffer; 2nd: I'm still single). The first time I've watched a series was just two years ago. I've never been in the US, I never went to New Zealand, nor to Syria, nor to South Corea or Vietnam.

Yeah, I've been late. Someone would say that this makes no sense: things come when they "have to" come. I don't know. I haven't read the book where this is written. At least till now. But I'm starting to believe on it. After all, what could I do? In some way I'm writing that book. But I've forgotten lots of things I wrote before. The scenes I've shot.

I can see just some shots, frozen moments of this inconcluded video clip, like that dark night in Stromboli Island, with Antonio, watching the darkness and knowing that it was the sea; or this other one: me and my cousins on a rock, again, watching the sea. I was 12, and it was winter, and cold, and the sea was showing her (yes the sea is a She) rage and I was feeling like a Pirate on the top of that rock. The rock is still there and now I realize how dangerous it was being there with the sea being like that. I can see Gabriella entering the door of the little tower where we lived two years, in that small village of just hundred people, while I was charging the stove with the wood I had previously cutted. And I cannot go back too much: I don't remember anything about my childhood: just one shot: me lying down on the land in front of my grandma's house and watching the sky, trying to reach some point in the sky, concentrating and trying to go further and loosing the pint, and feeling the impotence for not being able to go further. I see now Max writing a poem in my diary, and we were 15. It was a dark poem, obscure, in English. We had smoked and were listening Pink Floyd.

Frozen moments, like that one, lost in the mountains of Guadalajara, Silvia sitting in the middle of the wood and drowing something that had to be a little river with plants and trees: we had been wandering on that wood three days before finding again a street where we could hitchike again, run out of food and drinking water from the river. Or this other one: having a walk with Antonio in the campus, and reading to him what I wrote after Marta decided to stop our relationship, crying and laughing at the same time. And me telling to Anouk "I don't love you" while I was loving her so deeply and at the same time so being scared of it. It still hurts. So many things are hurting, tonight. All the pics of Playa de los Muertos are hurting, Patri. They hit my mind like a lightning, like a shot of crack, but without the pleasure of it.

Memory: the place where something happens a second time. 

And, some time, the place where things are just made up: memories of something I've never seen, like you never reading the tale I wrote for you, Jo. Yes, it was for you, and I'm so pissed off for this that possibly never happened: perhaps you just didn't like it, but in some way I'm sure you've never read it.

It's late now, I should be sleeping, but it's my 40th birthday, and in some way I cannot help writing this, and at the same time thinking that this has so little relevance, that this is so small, so insignificant, so meaningless when thousand of people have died, their birthdays swept by the big wave, there in Japan; while thousand of people will never have again a birthday because a bullets took their lives off in Lybia, Somalia, Darfour... or because they just couldn't afford to live their lives while I'm here, with a house, the freezer full of food and me writing this stupid thoughts, because the gray intestine has decided I had to shit them away.

I won't write anymore.

Just want to dedicate all these years I'm carrying on my shoulders to all of them. And to my friends. And to my family.

13 Mar 2011

The Sgirlies

Sometimes—let's say lots of times—I feel that in one of the many crossroads I found myself during my life, I took the wrong way. And the feeling is that in many of those crossroads one of the path which was being proposed to me was always the same: the theatre.

Today the feeling came again. And it came after watching this video in youtube:

Those two girls are amazing. Beautiful voices, powerful energy, some kind of French nuance in their acting. Joyful and full of energy, they have made my morning, at least for a while.

5 Mar 2011

Sueños Cochinos

(relato para antropólogos) 

Algo oído en un tren, hace tiempo

Como sueño era curioso porque estaba lleno de olores y yo nunca soñaba con olores. Me corrijo: yo nunca sueño.

Primero un olor a establo, ligero, casi insinuado. Pero eso tenía que venir desde fuera del sueño, desde algún otro lado donde un Eolo pedorro, caprichoso y burlón tenía que estar divirtiéndose conmigo, porque allí, en el compartimiento de ese tren lanzado hacia Galicia (muy limpio, por cierto) sólo estábamos nosotros dos. Yo era profesor de Antropología Cultural en la Universidad de Madrid, gallego hasta la médula, —de Ourense— y buen entendedor de chorizos y similares, y mi compañero, el profesor Martin Harris, uno de los más conocidos antropólogos americanos. Harris, el Profesor Harris, acababa de llegar de Huston para una gira de conferencias sobre porcofobia y porcofilia en unas universidades españolas. Y yo había sido el encargado de acompañarlo a Coruña. Tal vez por gallego, tal vez por mis cien y algo kilos de chorizos y similares o, tal vez, porque era un sueño. Quién sabe.

El viaje había sido bastante agradable hasta el momento. O hasta el olor. Yo tuve la ocasión de lucir mi más que pasable inglés en una alabanza de Galicia, ese país olvidado y de sus cerdos, jamones y chorizos también tantas veces segregados en el rincón del olvido. Les seré sincero, no soporto el marisco y me precio de buen carnívoro. Nunca conocí a nadie que llegase a los cien —kilos— comiendo marisco. Tal vez el Profesor Harris diera por entendido que la conversación que yo había empezado, se lo juro, por pura cortesía y para que el viaje no se nos hiciese demasiado largo —todos saben lo que es el ferrocarril español— apuntase a sacarle algo de la conferencia que daría al día siguiente en Coruña, porque se lanzó, con un guiño un poco solapado, a la tarea de iluminarme sobre el argumento que yo mismo había sacado a colación.

Les repito: yo nunca sueño con olores. Y sin embargo aquella era una presencia cada vez más insistente. Me corrijo: una tortura, un desgarramiento. Como si en la más absoluta aceptación de aquel engaño onírico —yo nunca fui profesor de universidad— algo se rebelara contra eso que no era habitual, que hasta entonces no había participado del sueño.

—¿También usted percibe ese olor a establo?— me apostrofó Harris, interrumpiendo su exposición, tal vez notándome distraído, frunciendo la nariz.

Él también, entonces, se había dado cuenta del olor, —pensé, un poco alarmado—. Acaso pensara que mi capacidad de retener los aires del cuerpo no fuese de las mejores. Me ruboricé.

Sí, tiene que venir desde fuera— intenté disimular.

Harris me miró entre sorprendido y socarrón, y reanudó el hilo de la conversación que él mismo había interrumpido.

“El enigma del cerdo me parece una buena continuación del de la madre vaca. Nos obliga a tener que explicar por qué algunos pueblos aborrecen el mismo animal al que otros aman. La mitad del enigma que concierne a la porcofobia es bien conocido para judíos, musulmanes y cristianos. El Dios de los antiguos hebreos hizo todo lo posible, en el libro del Génesis y en el Levítico, para denunciar al cerdo como ser impuro, como bestia que contamina a quien lo prueba o toca. Unos milquinientos años más tarde Alá dijo a su profeta Mahoma que el status del cerdo tenía que ser el mismo para los seguidores del islam. El cerdo sigue siendo una abominación para millones de judíos y cientos de millones de musulmanes pese al hecho de que puede transformar granos y tubérculos en proteinas y grasa de alta calidad de una manera más eficiente que otros animales.”

El olor a orina y heces, a podredumbre, era cada vez más fuerte, casi insoportable. Tenía que llegar desde fuera, no podía ser de otra manera, y sin embargo no me atreví a abrir la ventanilla del compartimento para comprobarlo. Galicia estaba todavía lejos y aquello daba toda la impresión de convertirse en una tarde —nunca mejor dicho— de mierda. Harris parecía no percatarse ya de aquel hedor y seguía con la exposición de su conferencia, cortesmente inclinado hacia mí y con el bloque de hojas dactilografado en las manos. Me miró por encima de las gafas y creo poder decir con seguridad que, por un instante, esbozara una sonrisa que me pareció maligna.

“¿Por qué dioses tan sublimes como Yahvé y Alá se han tomado la molestia de condenar a una bestia inofensiva e incluso graciosa, cuya carne le encanta a la mayor parte de la humanidad? Moisés Maimónides, médico de la corte de Saladino, de El Cairo, durante el siglo XIII, nos ha proporcionado una primera explicación naturalista del rechazo judío y musulmán de la carne del cerdo, aduciendo razones médicas que han sido la base de toda investigación antropológica hasta hace pocos años. Pero la explicación de Maimónides adolece de contradicciones e incongruencias teológicas.Al tener que afrontar estas contradicciones, la mayor parte de los teológos judíos y musulmanes van abandonando mano a mano la búsqueda de una base naturalista del aborrecimiento del cerdo.”
El olor se manifestaba como si fuera un puro presente, otro presente, algo como un alrededor de este presente soleado y caluroso en un compartimento de tren donde yo era un profesor de universidad, gallego por más coña, y escuchando la lectura de una conferencia sobre cerdos, una lectura pausada y ritmada por el ruido monótono del tren corriendo a velocidad constante sobre los raíles.
No venía desde fuera, ahora estaba como seguro de eso y cada vez me extrañaba más que Harris no volviera a decirme nada acerca del olor. No parecía preocuparle, tal vez ya ni lo oliese. Recordé su mirada socarrona. Les soy sincero: tuve miedo. Al principio hubiera podido también pasar inadvertido y yo mismo pensé que la alucinación, o lo que fuera, no duraría mucho pero ahora que llevaba unas horas con el olor como llamándome  a un descubrimiento o a un despertar, ya no lograba disimular cierto nerviosismo. Disimuladamente empecé a olisquearme. Antes las manos, luego, los sobacos, por fin, fingiendo agacharme para atarme los zapatos, el entrepierna. Me descubrí oliendo a cerdo, y descubrí que los aborrecía. Nunca jamás lo probaría.
Me prometí mentalmente una buena mariscada al llegar a Coruña. Y también un nuevo gel de ducha.
Harris siguió con su lectura: 
“Pienso que conoceremos mejor a los porcófobos si volvemos a la otra mitad del enigma, es decir, a los amantes de los cerdos. El amor a los cerdos es lo opuesto al oprobio divino con que cubren al cerdo los musulmanes y judíos. Esta condición no se alcanza simplemente mediante un entusiasmo gustativo por la cocina de la carne del cerdo. El amor a los cerdos es otra cosa. Es un estado de comunión total entre el hombre y el cerdo. Mientras la presencia del cerdo amenaza el status  humano de los musulmanes y los judíos, en el ambiente en el que reina el amor a los cerdos la gente sólo puede ser realmente humana en compañía de ellos.”
El olor era insoportable, ahora. Fuerte, demasiado fuerte, como un vaho húmedo, apestoso y axfisiante. Tuve que caer en un sopor profundo. Soñé. Dentro del sueño soñe con un cerdo: era yo. Y con un hombre acariciándome, cebándome y mimándome. Me desperté sudando. Debió de haber durado poco, unos instantes tal vez, porque Harris seguía con su exposición, al parecer sin haberse dado cuenta de lo que me había pasado.
Algo como un rayo partiendo la oscuridad me dió la extraña conciencia de una unidad simultánea de los dos presentes: el del olor y el del tren, —o del sueño— caluroso y rítmico. Recordé una cara que creía desconocida, la cara de un hombre con botas de trabajo y con las manos y los vaqueros manchados de sangre. Se parecía a mi compañero de viaje. Noté que me latía fuerte el corazón, acelerando.
Harris me miró con aire de enterado, notó mi congoja y siguó leyendo:
“El amor a los cerdos incluye criar cerdos como miembros de la famila, dormir junto a ellos, hablarles, acariciarles y mimarles, llamarles por nombre, conducirles con una correa por los campos, llorar por ellos cuando están enfermos o heridos y alimentarlos con bocados selectos de la mesa familiar. Pero, a diferencia del amor a las vacas entre los hindúes, el amor a los cerdos incluye también el sacrificio obligatorio de los cerdos y su consumo en acontecimientos especiales. El Clímax del amor a los cerdos es la incorporación de la carne del cerdo a la carne del anfitrión humano y del espíritu del cerdo al espíritu de los antepasados.”
Intuyó, se sobresaltó, se despertó. El olor había desaparecido y también el calor del compartimento. Había sido todo un sueño. Amanecía y hacía frío. Cuando el señor Harris, el porquerizo, entró en el establo, todavía no tenía los vaqueros y las manos manchadas de sangre. Acababa de despertarse, él también, más temprano que otras veces. Hoy iba a ser un día de fiesta. Hacía frío, pero el aire estaba seco: lo ideal. Al franquear la puerta, el hombre hizo una mueca de disgusto a causa del olor. Cuando el cerdo lo vio, con la correa en una mano y la navaja en la otra, recordó algo, algo confuso.

Fue entonces cuando empezó a gruñir fuerte.

2 Mar 2011

Una lunga pausa

È stata una lunga pausa, la mia. In un certo senso, è iniziata quando S. uscí dalla mia vita (la notte prima della discussione della tesi, con una chiamata Italia-Spagna, una di quelle che ci facevamo ogni due settimane —chiamavo io). S. rientró, a sprazzi, e ne uscí allo stesso modo.

Io avevo i suoi quadri, quelli che mi aveva regalato. Li ho ancora. Non fanno più male, ma ci sono notti, come quella di oggi, in cui i barattoli di pigmenti, l'odore di acrilico e le sue dita e la faccia sporca di arcobaleni acrilici (ma sei sicura di star dipingendo sulla tela?) ritornano come un vecchio blues che ha perso la forza di farti piangere ma che accogli come un vecchio compagno, ormai, con il quale ti sei riconciliato.

Quel giorno S. mi disse che a casa sua non avevano carbone per la caldaia (4 figli, tutti all'università e la madre —marito perso in un accidente quando S aveva un anno— che sbarcava il lunario con un chiosco di caramelle e panini fatti in casa per gli studenti della scuola del paese) per cui l'inverno sarebbe stato complicato. Dietro la casa di S. c'era un boschetto di eucalipti, un pezzetto di terra che il nonno aveva dato alla madre. Io non avevo una lira. Traduzioni non ne arrivavano e quelle che arrivavano servivano per, ogni tanto, fare un po' di spesa e così lavarmi (senza sapone) la coscienza e raschiarmi di dosso il sentimento di stare scroccando pranzi e cene (e letto). Rimanevano sempre delle macchie. 

Ebbi un idea e chiamai M., l'amico, il mio amico pescatore, tassista, con una laurea in legge che non avrebbe mai portato a termine perché bisognava andare con il padre e la barca tutti i giorni. L'amico che mi regalaba pace, lo avrei ascoltato per ore. Chiedemmo permesso alla madre di S. di tagliare un po' di eucalipti: la caldaia funzionava anche a legna. Le si illuminarono gli occhi: non ci aveva pensato... cosí come non aveva pensato a come eliminare i ratti da casa (il gatto da solo non ce la faceva, cosicché un giorno comprai del cemento e mi misi a cercare i buchi da dove entravano, e li tappai, improvvisandomi muratore).

M. e io passammo due giorni a tagliare alberi, sfrondarli e tagliarli di nuovo a misura della porticina della caldaia. E C., la madre di S. cucinò come non aveva mai fatto: due giorni di banchetto.

Seppi che la legna non era bastata per tutto l'inverno, mesi dopo, quando ero andato già via e S. era con me in Italia, in una casa con riscaldamento (caldaia a legna, pure, ma svedese, di quelle che quasi non lasciano cenere, tanto sono efficienti) e c'era la neve, e S. indossava il mio giaccone perché con il suo aveva freddo. No, non era casa mia, io continuavo a vivere di libri e una vita prestata (grazie G.) e a chiedere soldi ai miei, che si consumavano le mani per farmi studiare (grazie mille volte). Era il 1998. Un secolo fa.

La Grande Pausa iniziò più o meno allora, quando S.tornò in Spagna e io iniziai a ricevere meno lettere (e a scriverne di più). Pochi mesi dopo ero kappaò. Era bastata una telefonata.

Oggi, tredici anni dopo, ho rivisto un po' di foto. 

Ma ho deciso di scrivere in italiano. Era tanto che non lo facevo.


1 Mar 2011

Night poems

Tonight, after having a nice conversation with E. in Facebook (even though FB chat is a real shit for chatting with a friend) while we were (both of us) smooking, on the both sides of this strange invisible thin thread which connects us at 500 km distance (do not think that: I don't smoke such stuff... it's illegal!), I wanted to read some poems I really like, to whom I go back now and again.

I just want to share this with you all.

The world below the brine
(Walt Whitman)

Forests at the bottom of the sea, the branches and leaves,
Sea-lettuce, vast lichens, strange flowers and seeds, the thick tangle openings, and pink turf,
Different colors, pale gray and green, purple, white, and gold, the play of light through the water,
Dumb swimmers there among the rocks, coral, gluten, grass, rushes, and the aliment of the swimmers,
Sluggish existences grazing there suspended, or slowly crawling close to the bottom,
The sperm-whale at the surface blowing air and spray, or disporting with his flukes,
The leaden-eyed shark, the walrus, the turtle, the hairy sea-leopard, and the sting-ray,
Passions there, wars, pursuits, tribes, sight in those ocean-depths, breathing that thick-breathing air, as so many do,
The change thence to the sight here, and to the subtle air breathed by beings like us who walk this sphere,
The change onward from ours to that of beings who walk other spheres.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree
 (W. B. Yeats)

I WILL arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
      And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
      And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
      I hear it in the deep heart's core.

(I know I've already published this one in a post, but it's so paceful...)

And this last one, to someone of whom I believed so many times "she's finally come". While, on the contrary, it was me the one who was late.

Among the multitude
(Walt Whitman)

Among the men and women the multitude,
I perceive one picking me out by secret and divine signs,
Acknowledging none else, not parent, wife, husband, brother, child, any nearer than I am,
Some are baffled, but that one is not--that one knows me.
Ah lover and perfect equal,
I meant that you should discover me so by faint indirections,
And I when I meet you mean to discover you by the like in you.