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READIN started out as a place for me
to keep track of what I am reading, and to learn (slowly, slowly)
how to design a web site.
There has been some mission drift
here and there, but in general that's still what it is. Some of
the main things I write about here are
listening to (and playing) music, and
watching the movies. Also I write about the
work I do with my hands and with my head; and of course about bringing up Sylvia.
The site is a bit of a work in progress. New features will come on-line now and then; and you will occasionally get error messages in place of the blog, for the forseeable future. Cut me some slack, I'm just doing it for fun! And if you see an error message you think I should know about, please drop me a line. READIN source code is PHP and CSS, and available on request, in case you want to see how it works.
divídeme por favor
exactamente por el medio
despégame con tus manos la piel
y arranca los huesos
con tus dedos
es mi carne, cómela, digo,
pero déjame por favor la sangre.
sepárame por supuesto
de todo conocido
llevaré en cubos la sangre
mi sangre olorosa mientras busco
(y ¿cómo vas llevarlos sin huesos? preguntas y te pido permiso)
y hacemos viajes y aventuras sobre continentes
obscenos y ridículos
Yo voy escuchando en las músicas que suenan
entre corredores negros y tan largos que se desvanecen
todavía no recuerdo las lecturas -- pensativo
frunciré me rascaré apartaré
la mirada triste
Estoy escribiendo sobre ríos y lecturas
y las pildores que necesito para emociones puras
y virilidad la que mofo pero ocultamente deseo
miéntras gano a duras penas
No voy reluciendo, no podría soportarlo
yo no quiero agarrarlos a María y tonto Carlos
pero sé que todavía su secreto queda oscuro
soy inquieto, no entiendo, nunca voy a descansar
hasta todo lo que busco se revele
I served the pork chops tonight with apple gravy -- something which had never occurred to me before but now seems so completely obvious it is difficult to imagine pork chops served any other way. Here is how:
Sauté an onion in a bit of olive oil, with liberal amounts of salt and smoked paprika. Push the onion to the sides of the pan and add two pork chops. Cook over a high flame for a couple of minutes. As the bottoms of the onion slices start to blacken, turn the chops over and put the onion on top of them. Cook over a medium flame until it does not have any pink when you slice into it. Take the meat out of the pan and deglaze with some beer. Scrape the burnt bits off the bottom and add about 1/2 cup of apple sauce and some cinnamon. Stir until dark throughout and steamy. There you go; put it on top of the meat and eat with the remaining beer and (depending) rice or potato or bread; yogurt might be a nice addition, as might pickles.
Sylvia and I had a nice dinner; then she ran off to study, and I am digesting the chop and listening to the New Iberia Stompers (nice find! from my recent trip to New Orleans) live sessions. Here's Shim-me-sha-wabble:
A few lines from Marta Aponte Alsina's "Glen Island (1900)" . A prayer to Expeditus, the patron saint of urgent causes:
The days do not have 24 hours -- what you do today you will atone tomorrow, what today you seek will be bestowed on you tomorrow -- sometimes it will not even be your turn. The only speedy saint is San Expedito. ....
Do not envy the lion his mane, nor the untamed colt
his skull; nor yet the brawny
hippopotamus his enormous loin
Who prunes the bushy branches of the Baobab,
Roars at the wind.
Heaven is what I cannot reach!
The apple on the tree,
Provided it do hopeless hang,
That "heaven" is, to me.
The color on the cruising cloud,
The interdicted ground
Behind the hill, the house behind, --
There Paradise is found!
Kind of an interesting problem -- when an English work is quoted in translation in a Spanish text I'm translating, I normally would quote from the original in my translation, if it's available -- doing anything else seems a bit perverse.
But the situation in "Versos pedestres (1915)" ("A Few Prosaic Lines (1915)"), from La casa de la loca, is a bit unusual. At the end of the story, the narrator writes out her translation of the 8 lines above ("which my handwriting, as erratic as my writing, transforms into 9") on a piece of cardboard. To quote from the original would be not to acknowledge the story. The original would be out of place here.
Lo que no alcanzo es el Cielo.
La fruta que el árbol
ofrece sin esperanza
el Cielo es para mí.
El color que en la nube vagabunda pasa
el suelo a mis plantas prohibido
detrás de los montes,
más alla de la casa,
¡Me espera el Paraíso!
Cannot ignore the original either of course; it has an important role in the story. But the back-translation should sound like the translation, not like the original. (And is it a "good translation"? I'm not sure -- I don't think I get the same sense from reading it as I get from the original; but I have never been very good at understanding Emily Dickinson's poetry. So am probably not the best judge.)
My latest translation project is the story "Lavender Mist (1955)", from La casa de la loca. An exciting project, and I'm close to finished with it; I'm planning to submit this story to Asymptote journal's Close Approximations contest.
This book is another that I bought on the strength of its cover illustration -- Rafael Trelles' painting "El suceso inesperado" (The Unexpected Event) pulled me right in. Contents:
"The Madwoman's House (1915)" -- Rosario Diaz, widow of the author Alejandro Tapia y Rivera, works on an unfinished story of her husband's.
"Glen Island (1900)"
"Black House (1904)"
"A Few Prosaic Lines (1915)" -- a woman sews clothing to support her family and writes (and translates!) poetry on pieces of a cardboard box.
"Lavender Mist (1955)" -- Salvador Suárez visits the MoMA.
"Birds of the Soul (1963)" -- After he was released from prison, Nathan Leopold ended his days as a birdwatcher in the Caribbean. Here he writes about the Paloma Sabanera (Columba Inornata Wetmorei), the final entry in his Checklist of Birds of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
"Coconut Milk (1988)" -- A sort of repulsively smug New Yorker named Thomas Smith describes his travails in attempting to reproduce a recipe from Puerto Rican Desserts: An Illustrated Cooking Tour of our New Possession by Rose Kilmer (1900), given him by his uncle William.
"The Poison Pen (1999)" -- Nurse Belisa Weaver, daughter of an Irish man and a Puerto Rican woman and mother of an estranged son, tries to make some money for her retirement by connecting couples seeking to adopt with pregnant young women.
"The Green Man's Interlude (20--)"
The final section of the book is "Fragments of a Novel" about a young man who kidnaps people to steal their experiences. Tantalizingly pretty but very difficult to follow.