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Me and Sylvia, on the Potomac (September 2010)


Jeremy's journal

There is a constant barrier between the reader and his consciousness of immediate contact with the world.

William Carlos Williams

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Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

🦋 Two Old Men

...el Impala aún seguía aquí, por lo que deduzco quie actué con una velocidad sólo concedida a ciertos locos, y vi el Impala con mis gafas, esas gafas que hasta ese momento no sabía que poseía...

—Quim Font
August, 1987

The more I read from Quim Font's monologues, the more I like him. He is beginning to remind me of Amadeo Salvatierra, who I think is the only other narrator in the same age bracket... The two are not at all the same person, but they share a few endearing mannerisms.

I'm knocked a bit for a loop by Andrés Ramírez' monologue from December 1988. The first sentence is "I was destined to be a failure, Belano, take my word for it." (Wimmer's rendering -- had to look this up to make sure I was understanding correctly what he was saying.) This is the first time any of the narrators has addressed an interviewer by name -- so the interviewer here is Belano. But for a lot of reasons Belano cannot be the interviewer elsewhere...

posted evening of November 29th, 2011: Respond
➳ More posts about The Savage Detectives

Monday, November 28th, 2011

🦋 General Quiroga's Death

Brandon Holmquest's analysis of the practice of translating poetry is well worth reading. Holmquest translates Borges' poem "El general Quiroga va en coche al muere" and examines closely the decisions he is making at each juncture.

posted morning of November 28th, 2011: Respond
➳ More posts about Readings

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

🦋 Luscious Skin lives!

¿Qué ocurre?, dije yo. No ocurre nada, todo se ha acabado, dijo Albertito.

— Luis Sebastián Rosado
February, 1984

It is good to know that Pieldivina's death in Savage Detectives is not part of the historical infrastructure of the book -- that he is alive and "in fact did not die a singularly depressing death of a brain tumor." He is (to my ear) a fantastic sculptor of syllables -- check out his poem "Tell them who you are", in both English (Brandon Holmquest's able rendering) and Spanish at that link.

posted evening of November 27th, 2011: 1 response
➳ More posts about Roberto Bolaño

🦋 Luscious Skin: a savage detective

Todo había empezado, según Piel Divina, con una viaje que Lima y su amigo Belano hicieron al norte, a principios de 1976.

— Luis Sebastián Rosado
March, 1983

Piel Divina, homeless poet in Mexico City, puts together a paranoid narrative in which Lima has been pursued by some nameless, evil organization since the trip to Sonora; that his disappearance in Managua is part of his flight from the organization. Interesting... This is the approximate halfway point of the book, and we see Piel Divina putting himself forward as a detective. I had been thinking of the "savage detectives" as being Belano and Lima searching for Cesárea Tinajero; but this works too, and it makes the reader also into a savage detective, one on the trail of the visceral realists.

When Piel Divina leaves Rosado's house, he takes with him some clothing and "a novel by Fernando del Paso", which given the date of Rosado's narration has to be either José Trigo or Palinuro de México.

In Savage Detectives group read news, Rise links to a podcast of a reading at Symphony Space: Roberto Bolaño and the authors he admired, from last November.

posted morning of November 27th, 2011: Respond

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

🦋 The House in Lezama

(by Oswaldo Aiffil -- así pienso, ¿tú qué quieres?)
The concept of Impermanence manifests itself frequently enough in Buddhist philosophy. It asserts that life "is like a dream, just like a dream. Completely hallucinatory -- like lightning -- of a transitory nature. Lightning brings with it an explosion of light and disappears immediately. That's how things are, that's life."*

Since I laid eyes on this house I have not been able to stop thinking about it. Its beauty is incredible, in spite of its state of deterioration.

Passing by, the years have softened the memories: the laughter of children in its hallways, the extraordinary aromas that would come from the kitchen when grandma was cooking, grandpa's old Victrola, which played before the lovely parties they threw in their spacious main hall; the southern songbirds which filled the house and its grounds with such beautiful tones, which cheered them up.

None of this exists any longer. It's just the memories and ghosts that remain to live there. The house is a mute testament to those parties, which once filled those old walls of brick and adobe.

If anyone is interested in knowing -- it's in San Francisco Javier de Lezama, in Guárico, Venezuela. A bit closer down to where the wind comes from.

*The words enclosed in quotation marks above, concerning life and "impermanence", are by the Lama Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche, who spoke them in Kuala Lumpur, Malasia, in February, 2002.

posted evening of November 26th, 2011: Respond
➳ More posts about Translation

🦋 Thanksgiving

...And I find that I don't have much original or meaningful to say about seeing old friends, about celebrations and reunions, nor yet about the queasy feeling of coming home and hoping that everything will be like you left it, the sense of relief when it is. We had a lovely Thanksgiving visit to my brother's house in Urbana, more of the family than has been together in one place for several years now.

posted afternoon of November 26th, 2011: Respond
➳ More posts about the Family Album

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

🦋 Project idea

¿Ustedes han visto Easy Rider? Si, la película de Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda y Jack Nicholson. Más o menos así éramos nosotros entonces. Pero sobre todo más o menos así eran Ulises Lima y Arturo Belano antes de que se marcharan a Europa.

— Rafael Barrios
March, 1981

Here is something that needs to be done: a bibliography should be compiled from Savage Detectives. Ideally it would include all real and fictional works mentioned in the text, with page references and contextual notes. I could do this... Maybe not now, but.

posted morning of November 24th, 2011: Respond

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

🦋 Halting March

posted evening of November 22nd, 2011: 4 responses
➳ More posts about Music

Monday, November 21st, 2011

🦋 House Concert - River Man

Knight from Presto MusiCo in Point Pleasant was at the show in Freehold and made some lovely, ghostly videos of a couple of songs. Look at his YouTube channel for "Crystal Ship" and more. The impressionistic quality of the video -- its pixellations, its lacks of focus -- is really key to capturing the weary feeling of "River Man". Watch it full screen.

posted evening of November 21st, 2011: 1 response
➳ More posts about Gig Notes

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

🦋 House Concert

This afternoon's show was fantastic. I have really been anticipating it for a month or more now, and it was worth the waiting for. The whole concert was acoustic, no amplification at all, just Robyn and his guitar, about 50 people in the audience -- his amazing voice and his guitar. (There was a pleasant cognitive dissonance between that and the much larger, packed Bell House show last night. Both shows were in best-ever territory but the two could not have been more different.)

He comes in to Mark's garage where we are sitting and starts talking about the show, says Thank you so let's see what it sounds like... I'm going to play as many of your requests as I have time to play. First a little context, I'd like to play a couple of cover songs. "In the unlikely event of a water landing, please locate the exits nearest you..." and starts strumming, blocking out chords, "Mark and Elaine will equip you with flotation devices should you not feel sufficiently buoyant.But remember... God wants you just the way you are..." His Dylan cover takes you away, seizes hold of you -- the music and the voice will have complete control over the events of the coming hour.

Thank you he says, and without a beat lost continues laying out his context -- "Dear Prudence" he dedicates to Michele and Montague, he plays a Barrett tune -- Thank you he says Thank you, that's what I'm all about. That's what I've been aiming for and missing all these years. What you're hearing today is what I've come up with over the years, how I've fallen short of my aspirations. But this is a collection of Robyn Hitchcock songs. And here starts playing his own music. He tells us that a song is always, properly considered, a form of invocation or of exorcism, a summoning up or a getting rid of. Plays for us devotional songs. (Last night's songs had been more of the exhortative genre.) After the set we went out to Mark's back yard and he played a few more cover tunes in the unseasonably pleasant outdoors. (It felt as my friend Jeanne remarked, "like being extras in Rachel Getting Married.")

The whole afternoon had a pleasant patina of starstruckness to it. It was weird and enjoyable to be chatting with and eating dinner with one's musical idol, to be able to listen to his music in such an intimate setting. Many thanks to hosts Mark and Elaine Costanzo. Set list below the fold.

posted evening of November 20th, 2011: 2 responses
➳ More posts about Robyn Hitchcock -- gig notes

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