Sunday, November 30, 2008

Triunfo, otra vez...

Triunfo, otra vez. The white handkerchiefs in the dancers' hands. A dusty stage, La Plata, 1962. Creaky floorboards, warm-up act. The troup of Argentine folkloric dancers, preceeding a radiant Carmen Amaya, de España, la gitana. And yet they remain the more true--in memory's home--the hand-sewn skirts, long and modestly graceful, their dutiful young men, attendant, in country clothes... Attentive and unsure...

A train platform, half a century later. Also the handkerchief, now more worn, but equally tender. The the same dance, the same embrace...

Friday, May 02, 2008


From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him,
Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odor and in hue,
Could make me any summer's story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew.
Nor did I wonder at the lily's white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
Yet seemed it winter still, and, you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.

Shakespeare, Sonnet 98

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

La Cautiva

Yo sé que te tienen cautiva
y que no te puedo ahora yo librar.
Pero sé llegará algún día
y a tu prisón mi amor he de escalar.
Porque mi alma se apena
al ver que sufres de ansiada libertad,
y entonces verás, mi cautiva
todo lo que puede el que ama de verdad.

Ya verás la luz del sol
¿Y una gran día su primor?
pues anhelo con porfía
verte alegre como el día
y bella como una flor...

(fragmento de una canción)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Quilmes (Consitución)

The train ride between La Plata and Buenos Aires, moving impossibly slowly, stopping even, unannounced, and for no apparent reason, in the middle of a field--lush green expanse of the Argentine countryside--el campo--and then a bump and slowly again underway. The year 1962. Industrial suburbs to the south of Buenos Aires--names on signs along the right-of-way: Bernal, Don Bosco, Quilmes. Signs as markers--apparitions--the places unknown, even if right there alongside the tracks...(were they towns?)...but the land, being so flat, the perspective never offers a vantage point. Then, Avellaneda, rough, urban, and soon enough the grand southern depot of la capital federal--Constitución.

The names themselves a kind of memory. Or perhaps as anchors for a kind of memory. All still tucked in, un medio siglo después, waiting.

I was barely sixteen, so much not known. Just the names. Quilmes, for example. An indigenous people who once lived far to the northwest, above Tucumán, in the Cerro Alto. Their settlements built on terraced slopes, overlooking elaborate irrigated fields. Present now as ruined walls. Fighting the Spaniards, fiercely, but defeated by 1664--a remnant forced to march overland in the direction of Buenos Aires--kept under watch--and settled in an industrial area to the south of the city--the site of a brewery, to this day (Cerveza Quilmes) and soon the name of the town itself.

A sign on a railroad siding, amidst green fields.