Monthly Archives: July 2012

Fine Linens

Now that I have been paid, I will buy two standard shams of this type, spending $110. A lot of money, you say, but I run a miniature hotel and these shams hold up well for decades — in fact they become more, not less beautiful. I need another top sheet, too, as one of the two I bought 15 years ago is starting to fray and is not quite right for a hostelry.

I want towels, too, in a cotton and linen subtle stripe or check; these are not easy to find.

Axé.

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La luz 4

Hidra absoluta es el amor, descansa carne y hueso,
bajo la luz terrible del amanecer, más pura y recordada
si más perdida en la silente novedad del cuerpo,
sí más oscura el alma y más dormida su queja…

Pertenezco a una época oscurantista, vana, por eso soy así,
y porque los demonios me infundieron
su escepticismo riente de humo y calavera.
Así, distingo la fibra del amor de su seda frutal.

Pero me importa mucho más la luz, la hermosa luz
que en este amanecer renacentista no nubla la conciencia que la habita,
porque fuma y festeja la cristalina ausencia de los dioses
en la playa de esta ciudad azul y desbocada.

Despierta, para escuchar el lamento fácil del insomne
y la voz nocturna del poeta que canta su amor fibroso y turbio…
Te saludo entonces, te relamo la espalda, te acostumbro a mi ronco proceder.
Te nombro entre la nieve de este dolido invierno sedentario.

Sin voluptuosidad, me entrego a la tarea de darle forma a un canto sin objetos.
Porque la luz, la inquieta, se levanta y borra todo con dedos rosados…
Ah, que tú vieras este amanecer, y sintieras el fuego, el resplandor
que imparte la justicia de la imagen y despuebla el cielo de misterios…

En su negrura de nieve, de heridas, se leen grandes pasiones,
la suma de lo sublime y lo vulgar tocándose las manos debajo de la luz.
Es otra vez su fuerza de tormenta, hecha de nubes, olas y montañas
que son sueños antiguos, labios que se pierden tras un adiós florido.

Cabelleras brumosas de ninfas olvidadas más por necesidad que por disgusto,
y otras sedas gaseosas, como la biografía del náufrago que zarpó de este balcón
para leer en islas otoñales la historia de la magia, y descubrió que no había misterios,
sólo la muerte, por todos lados, todo el tiempo, más blanca que las tumbas…

(Cuerpo que era la muerte, tarde que la vestía, y su sonrisa delicada, al acercarse con el zoom,
tenía el mismo futuro, el mismo suéter, igual resignación, su escritura
dejaba ver huesitos por doquier… y era risueña, sin embargo,
la clave misantrópica robada a la ternura para olvidar su nombre y sus abejas…)

Pero la luz, la luz del día, abría sus esporas delirantes, fraguaba las insólitas banderas,
las pronunciaba en clave y en estruendo, era la vida densa,
haciéndose presente hasta en la luz. Sobre todo en la luz
que sólo viste desde la turbia sombra de mi voz.

En esta luz gozosa que mataba la muerte y esparcía tu rostro, amor, la fuerza de tus labios:
las tensiones marinas de tus piernas, el necio proceder de tus hierbas perpetuas,
el tejido iracundo de la vida como una lucha ciega, como una marejada…
Porque la luz, oleaje y sacudida, era relato barroco y sexual, esta mañana.

En ello estaban comprometidos la oscuridad, los lamentos, los dolores,
la muerte como precio y cuchillada, como premio final
y atroz conocimiento desbordado: el alma, ¡vamos! y sus sensaciones
gratuitas, melosas, lapidarias…

El alma desprovista de dioses y pecados, esa compleja suma,
sucia y radiante en su contorno frágil de líquidos vitales y sueños soterrados,
el alma, sí, brillando a plena luz, con su gangrena, su clamor, su níquel,
su espejo de azucenas y festines, su saciedad y renovado celo…

El alma en vilo siempre soslayada, impura y redimida
por la muerte y su páramo florido, por la vida y su estanque macilento.
El alma era la luz y lo sabía. Por eso señalaba contra el cielo
la ambigua precisión de los placeres y la graciosa flor sobre la tumba.

Te saludo entonces, alma mía, cual si pudieras presenciarte
entre la luz copiosa, si bastara tu gracia para esparcir el miedo y darlo a los durmientes…
Como si una razón, un grito, un hueso, algo más poderoso que la sangre,
menos ridículo que el rezo, una virtud acaso, un vicio cultivado pudiera servir de testimonio…

Como si se pudiera arrancar el velo a la noche y levantar el alma
a que la luz se posara sobre ella, la atravesara de dardos, de labios, de manos…
Ah, que quedaras sobre la ilimitada soledad de la plaza, a plena luz,
sin bordes ni minutos ni mentiras… Que fueras sólo un hálito de luz…

–Manuel Andrade, “Cuartel de invierno”, Fractal n° 24, enero-marzo, 2002, año 6, volumen VII pp. 29-41.

Axé.

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El espejo paraguayo

Medio siglo de movimiento campesino, el principal movimiento antisistémico del Paraguay, muestra que no hay atajos que puedan sustituir el conflicto de clases. Que la presión internacional por sí sola no puede modificar la relación de fuerzas. Que hay varios tipos de derrotas. Que la derrota por represión no es tan destructiva como la institucionalización. Que sólo podemos frenar la ofensiva del capital y del imperio en calles y plazas, y que lo demás es un espejismo, necesario para sobrevivir, dicen algunos, pero espejismo al fin.

This is a good article on Paraguay, on the form coups take in the age of Obama, and more.

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Send the Marines

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On research

It does in fact take a great deal of total time, more if you do not do it every day because then time also has to go into remembering where you left off.

That means you have to have peace of mind and some degree of physical comfort, and you cannot allow yourself to be drained or tortured at work or at home.

In Maringouin I have had those problems.

I never want to have them again.

*

When Reeducation started, I said to it: what you want me to do is going to take my research time and my peace of mind, and that is tantamount to professional and personal suicide.

Reeducation looked at me sadly. I felt guilty then, questioning Reeducation and making it sad, so I took the plunge.

Reeducation did not take place in Maringouin, but oddly enough my Reeducator was from here. Had I known anything about Maringouin culture then, I would have understood much better what the Reeducator was saying and why.

*

This succumbing to Reeducation was only possible, though, because I was at my own impasse. According to my training, research must be original but also obedient. Others might make groundbreaking discoveries, but they were few. My much more modest, and my only realistic goal should be to say acceptable things, I had been told.

In those days, too, at home, to share a view of one’s own was to risk extreme violence. One only did so when one could no longer resist. The degree of anger one felt by then, and of fear at what one was about to do, were excruciating.

I associated voicing my views with feeling those kinds of exhausting pain. It was a degree of pain that interdicted coherent and sustained work. And Reeducation said that the ability to concentrate on a project was not that, but was “obsession.”

I stopped writing for public consumption because it was important not to hurt Reeducation or the family by being my own person, and also in rebellion against doing as I was told, staying on the straight and narrow, and being good. Mostly, though, it was because of the blood rushing in my head: the feeling that I would be killed for saying what I had to say, on the one hand, and on the other, the belief that in order to say it, I would have to be in a killing mood.

*

But: research with writing takes time, it needs attention every day, and for this to happen one must protect oneself from all forms of torture.

In Reeducation we were to let pain in, so as to show we had feelings — which we were accused of not having because we were competent people and able to use logic. Had it not been for the requirement to show “feelings” — to feel deep pain and show it — I would have advised rejecting unnecessary pain and rebuffing its causes. This is what I propose to do now.

I keep forgetting that there is interest in my views. I have a right to them, which I also forget; the other thing, though, is that there is interest in them.

Axé.

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Plantation Nation

Our police are being given paramilitary training and powers that are completely out of line with their duty to serve and protect, but much more in keeping with a mission to subdue and suppress.

That is only a small part of what the Northern Gaijin has to say in his important post, but it is an important point.

For some, “freedom” always did mean freedom to exploit and dominate. What the non-elite may one day realize once again, is that this does not translate into freedom for them. On the other hand, this may no longer matter to most people.

Axé.

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Cine mexicano sobre el 1968 … and its relation to the present moment.

Here is Canoa, complete.

Here is the first part of Rojo Amanecer, which may be the saddest film I have ever seen.

People who think state terrorism might be all right sometimes, especially to keep them “safe,” should see this film as well.

Here is some discussion of what went on at Tlatelolco on 2 October 1968.

This is the face of the party of the current President-elect of the United Mexican States.

Here is this President-elect as a candidate, justifying a massacre he ordered as Governor of the State of Mexico. Listen to his tone of voice.

Here is some footage on the Atenco massacre.

“But they were throwing rocks,” you may say. That is a very superficial reaction.

Axé.

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Black neighborhoods in Elizabethan London

Most of us tend to think that black people came to Britain after the war – Caribbeans on the Empire Windrush in 1948, Bangladeshis after the 1971 war and Ugandan Asians after Idi Amin’s expulsion in 1972. But, back in Shakespeare’s day, you could have met people from west Africa and even Bengal in the same London streets. Of course, there were fewer, and they drew antipathy as well as fascination from the Tudor inhabitants, who had never seen black people before. But we know they lived, worked and intermarried, so it is fair to say that Britain’s first black community starts here.

There had been black people in Britain in Roman times, and they are found as musicians in the early Tudor period in England and Scotland. But the real change came in Elizabeth I’s reign, when, through the records, we can pick up ordinary, working, black people, especially in London. Shakespeare himself, a man fascinated by “the other”, wrote several black parts – indeed, two of his greatest characters are black – and the fact that he put them into mainstream entertainment reflects the fact that they were a significant element in the population of London.

The full article is on the BBC.

“Until now people have assumed that the Elizabethans did not know people of color,” says Shakespeare and English Renaissance scholar Imtiaz Habib, Old Dominion associate professor of English and author of Shakespeare and Race, a book that examines the political, social and cultural impact of Shakespeare’s approach to the racial issues contained within his plays. “We now have documented proof of the residences of black people, which must be reckoned into the colors of Shakespeare’s world, in a very literal sense. Shakespeare knew people of color. He walked through their neighborhoods every day.”

Shakespeare’s Colors: Race and Culture in Elizabethan England.

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That Republican Look

The casual summer outfit for Republican and oilfield women involves red toenail polish, flip-flops, waxed legs from a tanning salon, shorts, and hair burnished to gold via highlighting. Is this the fashion in your region, or is it just here?

Axé.

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Vuelta de paseo

Asesinado por el cielo.
Entre las formas que van hacia la sierpe
y las formas que buscan el cristal,
dejaré crecer mis cabellos.

Con el arbol de muñones que no canta
y el niño con el blanco rostro de huevo.

Con los animalitos de cabeza rota
y el agua harapienta de los pies secos.

Con todo lo que tiene cansancio sordomudo
y mariposa ahogada en el tintero.

Tropezando con mi rostro distinto de cada día.
¡Asesinado por el cielo!

–F.G.L.

Axé.

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