One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Borges "Clip"

The anthology is an admixture of prose and poetry. Not every piece rises to the same level (always the case), but every piece speaks (yells) of Borges.

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The argument set forth in the preceding paragraphs, rather encumbered and interrupted by examples, may seem intricate. I will find a more direct method. Let us consider a life in whose course repetitions abound: my life, for instance. I never pass in front of the Recoleta cemetery without remembering that my father, my grandparents, and great-grandparents are buried there, just as I shall be; then I remember having remembered the same thing innumerable times before; I can not walk through the outlying neighborhoods of the city in the silence of the night without thinking that nighttime is pleasing precisely because it does away with useless details, like memory; I can not lament the loss of a love or a friendship without meditating on how one only loses what one really never h ad; each time I cross one of the streets in South Buenos Aires, I think of you, Helen; every time the wind brings me the odor of eucalyptus, I think of Adrogué in my childhood; each time I recollect Fragment 91 of Heraclitus, You never go down to the same stream twice, I admire his dialectical skill, for the facility with which we accept the first meaning ("The stream is another") clandestinely imposes upon us the second meaning ("I am another") and grants us the illusion of having invented it; every time I hear a Germanophile running down Yiddish, I reflect that Yiddish is, after all, a German dialect, only slightly tainted by the language of the Holy Ghost. These tautologies (and others which I keep back) are my entire life. Naturally,

Big Chair


A gift from Italy (I read). Used to be the biggest -- in LA, US, or world? I was exiting the city (wanted to get a feel for where the Bradbury is) -- going south on Broadway. Passed some scary stuff: trash, graffiti, tent villages. Then this came into view.

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2nd Street: Morning: Balloons

Taken (I believe) the day after the Xmas parade.

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Reading, Etc.


Finished with Sebald (and Sebald is finished with me) for now. The ending of Vertigo has something in common with Borges' "Matthew 25:30" (I'm rereading JLB via an Anthology I found on Kindle -- and he himself supposedly stirred the mix):

MATTHEW 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. The first bridge on Constituci√≥n. At my feet the shunting trains trace iron labyrinths. Steam hisses up and up into the night which becomes, at a stroke, the Night of the Last Judgment. From the unseen horizon, and from the very center of my being, an infinite voice pronounced these things— things, not words. This is my feeble translation, time-bound, of what was a single limitless Word: “Stars, bread, libraries of East and West, playing cards, chessboards, galleries, skylights, cellars, a human body to walk with on the earth, fingernails, growing at nighttime and in death, shadows for forgetting, mirrors which endlessly multiply, falls in mu sic, gentlest of all time's shapes, borders of Brazil, Uruguay, horses and mornings, a bronze weight, a copy of Grettir Saga, algebra and fire, the charge at Junin in your blood, days more crowded than Balzac, scent of the honeysuckle, love, and the imminence of love, and intolerable remembering, dreams like buried treasure, generous luck, and memory itself, where a glance can make men dizzy— all this was given to you and, with it, the ancient nourishment of heroes— treachery, defeat, humiliation. In vain have oceans been squandered on you, in vain the sun, wonderfully seen through Whitman's eyes. You have used up the years and they have used up you, and still, and still, you have not written the poem.

—Translated by ALASTAIR REID

Friday, December 8, 2017