Friday, July 31, 2009
30 July 2009. Quiet Friday pool, out and return. All gray. Sleek figure, midstream, several feet below, saving the dolphins...
Alfredo Zitarrosa. Who would have thought. A hundred faces, each more haunting than the last. Bien gominado--the polished hair--but something alive within, mysterious, very near the surface, but always hidden, even painfully, as if the revelation were never to be part of the deal. Watching him, we feel the same...
Una voz ensimismada--this for us as well...
* * *
Ensimismarse=from en sí mismo, a reflexive act of the awareness of the presence of the self--and at the same moment, the world. Velázquez, Cristo...
Por que hay tanto campo, vidalitá
y tanta gente pobre...
(For there is so much country land, vidalitá
and so many people poor...)
Posted by Anthony Dubovsky at 10:45 AM 2 comments:
Thursday, July 30, 2009
29 July 2009. Gray skies, lovely, even gray skies.
Yesterday--a vidalitá, recorded by Leda y María, half a century ago. Entre valles y quebradas--Between Valleys and Ravines... (The recording they made together, remembered from that time, now returned.) Or the yaraví, una canción del viejo Perú, making its way through those same passes. El Cisne, the swan. "Del cancionero anónimo..."
Traces of colonial Spain, leached into the American earth--el yacimiento... A young girl from Arequipa, this history, relived.
Posted by Anthony Dubovsky at 10:22 AM 1 comment:
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
28 July 2009. Gray morning, hints of sun to the south, then gone. Puffy truck across the street--also gray--with achingly luminous tail light housings, tinted glass. Labor's revisionists.
As with Eva Perón--who's words stand out as a kind of heroic madness--engaging the emotions, always, but finally, towards what end? ("Yo quiero la selva y la incógnita...") And yet, her face...
Abel Fleury, Estilo pampeana--song of the llanura--the open plains.
Botas de potro...
* * *
(Note: Eva Perón-- "I love the jungle, and the unknown..."
Botas de potro: leggings made directly from horsehide, partially covering the foot .)
Posted by Anthony Dubovsky at 12:33 PM No comments:
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
27 July 2009. Even and gray, breeze.
White ACR truck--Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Corporation in small red letters across tail. Man appears--red shirt, dark arms, swings open back to remove two long white replacement panels, carrying them jauntily across 7-eleven lot. 1-888-345-COLD. Next to him: hint of charging red bull on violent yellow--emerging from gray over blue--American drug. Continuing, gleaming Toyota van, also in white, with narrow black rails on top--purpose unclear. Parked and waiting...
As opposed to Che G, "sobre el burro"--sometime in 1933, Alta Gracia, Córdoba, la Argentina...
Posted by Anthony Dubovsky at 10:48 AM No comments:
Monday, July 27, 2009
26 July 2009. Again gray, promising sun...
The poems of Romildo Risso, poeta gauchesco uruguayo... "y tomando quizá la forma contemplativa del hombre de campo," a phrase from the introduction by Claudio Frydman: "And taking on perhaps the contemplative form of the man of the countryside..."
Silbando piensan las aves.
Silbando piensan las aves
Yo pienso ansina también.
Naides sabe lo que dicen,
Ellas lo deben saber.
Se me hace que las ideas
Con las palabras se van.
En el sibido parece
que se alargan nada más.
Mesmo sin pensar en nada
Las horas suelo silbar...
* * *
Birds Think by Whistling
Birds think by whistling
That's how I think as well.
Nobody knows what they're saying,
but they must know.
Sometimes it happens with me
that ideas in words just go away.
By whistling it seems
they simply get a little longer.
And so in not thinking about anything
I find myself whistling the hours...
Romildo Risso (1882-1946)
Posted by Anthony Dubovsky at 12:18 PM 1 comment:
Friday, July 24, 2009
24 July 2009. Gray, with flecks of rain. Gray pool, cold.
Tata Cedrón, singing to a group of friends, in Buenos Aires... The poems of Hómero Manzi--
El Ultimo Organito
Las ruedas embarradas del último organito
vendrán desde la tarde buscando el arrabal,
con un caballo flaco y un rengo y un monito
y un coro de muchachas vestidas de percal.
Con pasos apagados elegirá la esquina
donde se mezclan luces de luna y almacén
para que bailen valses detrás de la hornacina
la pálida marquesa y el pálido marqués.
El último organito irá de puerta en puerta
hasta encontrar la casa de la vecina muerta,
de la vecina aquella que se cansó de amar;
y allí molerá tangos para que llore el ciego,
el ciego inconsolable del verso de Carriego,
que fuma, fuma y fuma sentado en el umbral.
Tendrá una caja blanca el último organito
y el asma del otoño sacudirá su son,
y adornarán sus tablas cabezas de angelitos
y el eco de su piano será como un adiós.
Saludarán su ausencia las novias encerradas
abriendo las persianas detrás de su canción,
y el último organito se perderá en la nada
y el alma del suburbio se quedará sin voz.
* * *
The Last Organ Grinder
The muddy wheels of the cart of the last street organ player
will emerge from the late afternoon searching for the arrabal,
with a skinny horse, a lame one, and a little monkey
and a chorus of young girls dressed in percale.
With muted steps he'll choose his corner
where the light of the moon mixes with that of the corner store
in order that they dance waltzes just within the alcove
the pale marquesa and the pale marquis.
The last street organ player will go from door to door
until he encounters the house of the neighbor, now dead,
the house of that same woman who grew tired of love;
and there he will grind out tangos, until the blind man weeps
the inconsolable blind man from that poem of Carriego,
who smokes and smokes and smokes, sitting there in the darkened doorway.
He will have a white music box, the last street organ player
and the asthma of autumn will run through his sound,
and the heads of tiny angels will adorn its sides
and the echo of its piano will be as a farewell.
The awaiting brides, enclosed in their houses, will greet his absence
opening the Persian blinds just behind his song,
and the last organ player will be lost in nothingness
and the soul of neighborhood will be left without a voice.
Posted by Anthony Dubovsky at 10:31 AM No comments:
Thursday, July 23, 2009
23 July 2009. Chill wind, ghost ripples on pool. Empty lanes at dawn. En route home--the old pool--building now a pile of rubble, two iron-jaw machines scooping up chunks of concrete, dumping them without ceremony into dented bin of waiting semi, diesel running...
La Siete de Abril de Andrés Chazarreta...from a different time. Image on screen--a young man, posture forthright, seated at table, pavo y mate al lado, "tratando de tocar"--una frase gauchesca, or is that so? A certain dignified modesty, in any case--viejo estilo criollo--although he's certainly too young, and the striped pullover reveals a much more recent age. Heavy sliding bolt on door, locking from the inside...
Otros andarán por ahí
igualitos como yo
cantando tristes sus penas
zamba sos mi canción...
* * *
Others will follow along
just as I do
singing with sadness their sorrows
zamba, you are my own song...
(Note: The adjective, gauchesco, describes an act of selfless--and often risky--generosity. Viejo estilo criollo--the old argentine criollo ways. For example, story of poet, Juan L. Ortiz, that he always addressed his young son not as tu, but rather in the second person formal, usted. Viejo estilo criollo. The boy would answer him using tu...)
Posted by Anthony Dubovsky at 10:55 AM No comments:
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
21 July 2009. Nicola curled up half on my shoulder, motor purr, sometime in the vicinity of 1am... But who's counting, with Polo Gimenez's charming accounts of Buenos Aires in the 1950s running through my head. El Tinetense, for example, small club hidden behind an old brick wall--una vieja tapia de ladrillo--where one knocks at the unobtrusive inset doorway--no sign, of course, and just inside a run of grand shade trees along path to sloping structure with unplastered walls--sin revocar--
Este insospecho rinconcito de Buenos Aires, resulta un pintoresco, alegre y airado lugar, donde puede reunirse un grupo de amigos a comer un sabroso asado al aire libre, bajo los árboles, gozando de intimidad y tranquilidad absolutas...
Taking for granted--or perhaps making possible--that we all share something of this life...
* * *
(This unsuspected little corner of Buenos Aires turns out to be a picturesque, cheerful and airy place, where one can come together with a group of friends to eat a tasty asado in the open air, under the trees, taking pleasure in the intimacy and absolute tranquility... Polo Gimenez, Este lado del recuerdo.)
Posted by Anthony Dubovsky at 11:02 AM No comments:
Monday, July 20, 2009
20 July 2009. Gray dawn. Natasha eager to come in, Nicola eager to go out. There we have it--the tides, the seasons, the three-minute egg.
Playing songs in morning light. Corrazones Amantes. And Nostalgias Santiagueñas, from Adolfo Abalos--ripply arpeggio against a solid but understated strum. Never emphasize the first beat, he writes--and then does so precisely. Tides and seasons.
Story from Polo Giménez, in Este Lado del Recuerdo (This Side of Memory)--always with a certain lively drollness, mixed with the most unabashed emotions--for the songs, the land (Paisaje de Catamarca), for his mother (Del tiempo i'mama)...and of course for all of his friends...
Hotel du Midi, que vive todavía...
* * *
(The pianist here is Ariel Ramírez, noted composer of Misa Criolla, and an admired friend of Polo Giménez. Polo's own recordings seem to be available only on record. In the second video, we have an impromtu dining room duo with Marco Cardenas y Galo Jurado--fresh from YouTube. The drawing shows Polo Giménez, with Jorge Cafrune alongside...)
Friday, July 17, 2009
17 July 2009. Dappled sun, tiny breeze. Natasha appearing suddenly in the shadows, after long night out, sitting quizically, gold-green eyes...
Rodolfo María Giménez--"Polo"... "Los Musiqueros y... del tiempo i'ñaupa...". His piano, his books, paintings, leaning back in a relaxed way on the well-worn couch--an urbane touch--played tangoes in Córdoba from day one--and yet, and yet his love for la música folklórica--Catamarca, La Cuesta del Portezuelo...
Posted by Anthony Dubovsky at 12:18 PM No comments:
Thursday, July 16, 2009
16 July 2009. Gray morning, chill. Pool water gray, too. Untoward...
Older woman with yellow bags, a pile of them, stacked on metal roller cart. Her narrow eyes veiled by wide-wing dark glasses, moving mouth, soft features, but ready to pounce. "You're crazy," she announces, accusing me under her breath...
Story of Levinas and the shoe store in Vienna, which he visited, children in tow--but the pair he tried on somehow just weren't right. Nevertheless, a great inner struggle as to whether he weren't indeed obligated to purchase them, the clerk having made such an effort.
Effort and grace. The island of Chiloé, somewhere south, off the Chilean coast. Dancers in narrow room, hurricane lamp, heavy clothes. Smiling. Refalosa y zamba, Cueca chilote también...
Posted by Anthony Dubovsky at 9:19 AM No comments:
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
15 July 2009. Window seat, mid-morning, cool gray skies. Mysterious dark haired girl, bare feet tucked up under her knees, working on an elaborate report--many separate boxes to be filled in. Alacritous typing...
Neighbors next door. Voices through the holly leaves, grown thick over rickety fence--laughter and short exclamations, group of young people--a nice abruptness... Glow of single cigarette in the evening dark...
Also, this morning--young guy with band flyer--his own. Black and white. "I play guitar." Gives me a quick history of the Stooges--their four albums, "each one different, each one perfect," rounding his thumb and first finger into a mathematician's "O"...
The Impediments, sans serif plus tantric hand with question mark, Weegie photo of dissolute middle-agers... and some scraggly writing as to time and place... Also appealing...
Posted by Anthony Dubovsky at 11:43 AM No comments:
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
14 July 2009. Push of light at dawn, warm day in the offing...
Lechuza--the owl. Sheet of yellow trace, with blunt markings on straight lines--plan and section for owl boat, as before... Invisible architect of the night, bane of mouse and mole--whose subtle and prominent mournfulness greets us from the cedar tree...
Posted by Anthony Dubovsky at 9:48 AM No comments:
Monday, July 13, 2009
13 July 2009. Sunny window, Norris and Charles at work--backs and forths, notes on the day... Impromptu analytique of Dorris Day, Judy Garland, Greg providing the requisite youtube standoff. Bit of film track--sound of an entire era--an eager and somewhat complacent optimism... Reassuring as well, the sound of mild tears...violins...
Dusty road somewhere in the northeast corner of Santiago del Estero. Monte Quemado--the burned mountain. El Hachero, figure of a woodcutter, an over-sized eulogy in roughly-formed concrete, scarf and sash of a campesino, sideburns and brow overdrawn. Clearest feature--veins on the arms as he grasps the axe. Los brazos...
Yesterday: Nostalgias cuyanas. Corazones Amantes, a zamba, recorded by Ruiz Gallo and Perez Cardozo...
Yo te quiero morena
con alma y vida, con alma y vida
solo con tus caricias
podré curar mi alma herida
* * *
I love thee, my dark one
with my soul and my life, my soul and life
only your caresses
will heal my wounded spirit
Posted by Anthony Dubovsky at 11:29 AM No comments:
Friday, July 10, 2009
10 July 2009. Nice gray morning, sun sometime soon... Paying altogether too much attention to John's small green car--an English racing green (and when was it English? when did it ever race?) pulled in on the Solano diagonal. Stack of narrow of cardboard boxes on front seat; bicycle rack on back. Implied narrative...
Jaime Dávalos, songs and poems. "Ese toro," given to heartfelt enthusiasms and good Salta wine. Miguel Castilla, Cuchi Leguizamon, Eduardo Falú...circle of friends. "La calendaria," "Vamos a la zafra", "Canción del Jagandero"...
Worked as a potter, puppeteer, itinerant artist... "Entre fines del '50 y comienzos del '60 tuvo sus propios espacios en television: El patio de Jaime Dávalos, and Desde el corazón de la tierra...
"Alma de las golondrinas," soul of the swallows... "Se me vuelve camalote el corazón..."
* * *
(Note: camalote, jacinta de agua, or water hyacinth. "And my heart becomes a camalote...")
Posted by Anthony Dubovsky at 12:14 PM No comments:
Thursday, July 09, 2009
9 July 2009. Sun, mild... Through window, for a moment--palm branches in the wind...
La Rioja, Los Hermanos Peralta Dávila. Esteban y Aquiles... "Somos como los robles... fuertes... y no sabiendo llorar, cantamos." (We're like the oaks...strong...and not knowing to weep, we sing.)
A history of trees...
Posted by Anthony Dubovsky at 8:46 AM No comments:
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
8 July 2009. Sun, even at dawn. Small birds in the mimosa--the local crew. Greetings from the east...
Juanele, in the middle of the night...
El aguaribay florecido
Muchachas de ojos de flores y de labios de flores.
En la sombra exhala--¿de qué su dulce hálito?--
los vestidos ligeros, muy ligeros, con pintas.
Arde de abejas el aguaribay, arde.
Ríen los ojos, los labios, hacia las islas azules
a través de la cortina
de los racimos
Ríen los ojos, los labios. ¿Veis las muchachas o es
la tenue sombra ebria
que alucina de muselinas claras
y de otras flores vivas--extrañas flores vivas--
riendo, riendo, riendo hacia las islas?
Muchachas de ojos de flores y de labios de flores.
Arde de abejas el aguaribay, arde.
* * *
The Pepper Tree in Flower
Girls with eyes of flowers and lips of flowers.
In the shade it's sighing--from what source this sweet breath?--
light dresses, very light, with small touches of color.
Burning with bees, the pepper tree, burning.
Laughing, the eyes, the lips, even to the blue islands
through the curtain
of clustered berries
Laughing, the eyes, the lips. Do you see the girls or is it
the tenuous shadow, drunken
and deep chorded
that would seem to beam of light muslins
and of other living flowers--strange and alive--
laughing, laughing, laughing even to the islands?
Girls with eyes of flowers and lips of flowers.
Burning with bees, the pepper tree, burning.
Juan L. Ortíz
Posted by Anthony Dubovsky at 10:02 AM No comments:
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
7 July 2009. Even gray.
Narrative and its discontents. A figure in a boina. "En Europe aparece históricamente documentada tanto en miniaturas de la Baja Edad Media como en figuras que adornan construcciones góticas..."
Trails and paths. Salta. Story of Juan Panadero--Juan the baker, as in the poem by Manuel Castilla, retold here by Cuchi Leguizamon, who set it to music:
"Nosotros teníamos un amigo, don Juan Riera, quien era propietario de una panadería en la calle Lerma. Manuel todas las mañanas le compraba el pan calentito, pero una vez al Barbudo lo dejaron sin trabajo en el diario El Intransigente, entonces no fue más. Pero al poco tiempo Rierita comenzó a llevarle personalmente el pan de la mañana. Manuel le dijo que no lo aceptaba porque no podía pagarlo y ¿sabe qué contestó Rierita? 'Antes, cuando usted podía, venía y me compraba el pan, pero ahora que no puedes es mi obligación llevarselo todos los días.' Mire qué filosofía."
"We had a friend in those days, don Juan Riera, who was the proprietor of a bakery on the Calle Lerma. Every morning Manuel would buy from him some fresh warm bread, but one time el Barbudo (the poet, whose nickname was "the beard") found himself out of his job at El Intransigente, the newspaper where he worked, so he stopped his morning visits to the shop. Nevertheless, after a little time, that Riera fellow personally began to bring him his morning bread. Manuel told him that he couldn't accept it because he wasn't able to pay him--and do you know how Rierita answered him? 'Before, when you could, you'd come to me to buy the bread, but now that you can't, it is my obligation to bring it to you each morning.' Look at that philiosophy."
(Note: The second figure is Themis Riera, Juan's daughter, who tells the story on El Blog de Themis.)
Posted by Anthony Dubovsky at 10:20 AM No comments:
Monday, July 06, 2009
6 July 2009. Sunshine announcing itself even at dawn, silver and blue-green ripples on face of pool, fragment of shamrock pennant from weekend festivities... Churning swimmers, depart and return...
Latinate possibilities. As in the wry and tender words of Jaime Dávalos, from his Cancionero, about the origins of La Candelaria: "...Nació una zamba, una tarde, de esas que yapan con el alba, en lo de Poncho Marrupe; en la vieja casa de la finca La Candelaria, delicioso paraje del Valle de Lerma, sobre las regueras del Río de Arias, allá...entre algorrobos y talares, tuscas y sauces playeros; donde en la umbria del monte se oye el moroso canto del zorzal en contrapunto con el isócrono lamento del crespín..."
“A zamba was born late one evening, one of those songs that come with the dawn, at Poncho Marrupe’s place, in the old house on the country estate, La Candelaria, a delicious spot in the Valley of the Lerma, on the waterways of the Río de Arias, yes, there…amidst native trees—the algorrobos and talares, tuscas and streamside willows; where in the shade of the woods one can hear the delayed call of the thrush, in counterpoint to the isochronous lament of the crespín…”
(Note: The crespín—tapera naevia, or striped cuckoo. An Argentine folk story about this bird tells of a woman calling out for the husband she has lost... It's a bit more complex, however: he's described as ever hard-working, whereas she loves to party. In his hour of need, the wife abandons him for several days of dancing and drinking and song, returning only after he’s passed on. But in her loneliness, like the crespín, she spends the rest of her days calling out...)
Posted by Anthony Dubovsky at 11:08 AM No comments:
Friday, July 03, 2009
3 July 2009. Gray morning, mild...
Mother and daughter across the way, hand and hand for just a few steps, then turning to cross the street. The normal accoutrements--her toussled hair, mild face, the child's hands one upon the other, as with an acolyte in a Taoist shrine somewhere in the Heng Shan. Everything balanced on tall red poles, tucked unevenly into face of yellow cliff. Jutting roofs with ashen blue-gray tiles. Two small figures make the ascent, their hands on a narrow parapet. Only one looks back...
Posted by Anthony Dubovsky at 9:36 AM No comments:
Thursday, July 02, 2009
2 July 2009. White blotch on dark rubber tread, marked in long sweeping blow with a ball-ended stick--the most attentive meter maid. Her rickety vehicle--primarily white, toned-down--a kind of glorious tri-cycle with financial intent--the goal here is revenue. Be glad for a job...
A field with cows--an entire plain, that is. A sea of cattle, all descended from a few 16th century Spanish strays. Vacas criollas. In the early roundups the Argentine countrymen would use the term repuntar--the moment when the tide begins to rise or fall--to describe this vast flow...
Posted by Anthony Dubovsky at 12:10 PM No comments:
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
1 July 2009. Again gray. Solitary figure at edge of pool.
Leumann on the word pago--homeplace--and how in Argentina it took on a new meaning: "Y al fin cuando se hubo fijado la duradera fisonomía característica de nuestras llanuras, con postas, pulpería, puestos de estancia y vecidario ralo en amplitud de leguas, debió prevalecer en el contenido de pago la idea de lugar campestre nativo, con una, dos o más viviendas, y donde el paisano tenía mujer, hijos, amigos, vecinos distantes y aparceros."
"And in the end, when the ongoing physiognomy so characteristic of our open plains became set, with posts for changing horses, pulpería, the ranches, and an occasional neighbor some leagues away, there had to prevail in this new meaning of pago the idea of a native country place, with one or two dwellings, and where the paisano had his wife, his children, his friends, neighbors and ranch hands." (Alberto Carlos Leumann, La literatura gauchesca y la poesía gaucha, Buenos Aires, 1953)
Arreando vacas en San Carlos...
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