Tonight or tomorrow I'll begin reading Teresa de la Parra's Las memorias de Mama Blanca (1929).


On the topic of books, I keep returning recently to Cedar Sigo's Selected Writings (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2003). Particularly the long poem "O Twist No Inferno," whose sections always seem to have fallen apart, fragmenting away from each other. All while maintaining an impressive strength, the lines built of vision:

"My heart is wrapped in clover

Floating on the pool of the Washington monument

The little stems shiver and accept it

Because the water is there. It is just that easy

And free free, this way to heaven, free

Some of the room is full of smoke.

Why isin't everyone in tears?

Chains, bottles, knives, guns? I am trying

To be like a gem (firing and still and controlled)

I don't know I may consider this a trap"


As an air traffic controller might map, the books have their own schedules.


In his column in El Nacional earlier this week (Historia viva), Jorge Olavarría discussed Venezuela:

"I myself tried to penetrate the mentality of that man who has such an overwhelming charisma and such captivating words.

The closest I got was diagnosing him as a case of acute intoxication due to scattered and undigested readings, which resulted in a muddled consciousness. A mix of Peruvian militarism, Argentine Peronism, Cuban Marxism, and a resentful nationalism, adding up to a version of tropical fascism, which is very similar to what Umberto Eco describes as fuzzy fascism."


Poetry and politics tend to be very difficult to discuss simultaneously. The Clash did it quite well, particulary on Sandinista! (1980). The results of their early involvement with hip hop culture ("Radio Clash," "The Magnificent Seven": "What do we have for entertainment? / Cops kicking gypsies on the pavement") are brilliant. This album has always made complete sense to my ear: "Please remember Victor Jara, in the Santiago stadium / Es verdad, those Washington bullets again."

It has to be read within its particular time period, anyway. Even though I was a child at the time, I do remember the promise that Sandinismo offered in 1979 or 1980. Maybe I've imagined this childhood awareness in these later years. Most likely, I'm subconsciously remembering words in support of the Sandinistas from my grandfather or father.

Ernesto Cardenal's recent comments about that era in his La revolución perdida should dispel any dangerous nostalgia we might still carry.

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