Me parece que el traducir de una lengua a otra es como quien mira los tapices flamencos por el revés, que aunque se ven las figuras, están llenas de hilos que las oscurecen, y no se ven con la lisura y tez del haz; y el traducir de lenguas fáciles, ni arguye ingenio ni elocución, como no le arguye el que traslada ni el que copia un papel de otro papel––dijo don Quijote.
Y aún así le dije a Enrique Fierro, simpatizante de los rinocerontes––Tomemos prestada la pelota de ping-pong de nuestros amigos Lorenzo y Margarita, y aquí escribámonos y traduzcámonos el uno al otro. Pero, tejamos reversos, traducciones traidoras, como falsos amigos, des faux amis que se miran, pero no se reconocen.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The days in Miami, impossible, too intensely incondensable. Largely spent on SW 10th Street, downtown, at Romain and Shani's apartment, felid-free, unlike that of Nicholas, Pastèque and Guéridon, inescapable compatriots of Romain who accompany me always, even when arriving hours late for dinner. Romain's eggplant appetizers luckily best served cold, and chicken. Romain whose close calls with combative geese in Tours' Jardin des Prébendes d'Oé, near my old number 10 on the street of the same name, left him the talent to imitate the anatid war face exactly. And Shani, now his fiancée, whose French outshines her Spanish as well as the March 19th moon, but whose persistence with the magic magnetism of poetry, helped by Romain's carnal Spanish syntax, will surely soon give off a glow at magnitudes capable of competing with the skyscrapers' nighttime neon that filters through their seventh-floor shutters.

Largely spent on SW 95th Street, inland, before the backyard terrace where a pack of crazed cats, Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer amongst them, all moon-driven or readers of Romain's poems, were in pursuit of their Juliet. Their Juliet who improvised her scene atop a fence calling out with her ambulance meow. While indoors destiny self-manifested inside tiny clay cups of cared-for coffee served by Lorenzo's imagined hand; inside the crackling between the photograph pages –grey hourglasses in red campfires– turned by the kind hand of beloved Marta; inside the creative complicity and a wave to share enthusiasm proffered by the open hand of Margarita. The same Lorenzo and the same Margarita of Ping-Pong Zuihitzu renown –the revelation, hospitably inspiring Foes Amis– who just 8 days past lowered the curtain on their project and on these very moments, leaving us alone thinking encore!

Saint Jerome speaks, the horror and the silences terrified their souls, then he descends into the catacombs where a boy, largely on W 6th Street, still puts his hands on the pages of Richard Scarry, convinced that to push is to hold, that his small hands steady that large book, those hands less powerful than he realizes and more powerful than they are. Those hands who don't know that mom keeps the story in front of him, and that when she lets go the book falls away. In that book, in those days, there were no rhinoceroses. And in these days there is not that book, and not those hands, only unions between old and new friendships without which we wouldn't think to live and to remember being who we are.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Los días de México imposibles, por intensos, de resumir. La mayor parte de la estadía en San Jerónimo, en casa de Carmen y Álvaro. Y de Nicoletta, Nina y Micifuz, ineludibles félidos que nos acompañaron siempre: desde el desayuno hasta la hora de dormir. Pero hubo otros gatos: los de Marie-Jo, de los que hablamos mucho con ella en un restaurant de Polanco donde se apareció, para nuestra alegría y para saludarnos, Nicolás, el nieto de los Mutis y nuestro sobrino adorado. Y Casi, de Fabienne, amiga querida con quien cenamos en su nueva casa de Coyoacán y a la que Ida sometió durante horas a una suerte de examen oral sobre las últimas novedades literarias francesas. Casi proviene en línea directa del gato de los Paz que provocó el incendio de su departamento de la Calle Guadalquivir: hija de un incendiario, pues, pasa su vida, como Victoria en Villa Ocampo o Susana Soca en la calle San José de Montevideo, rodeada de libros y de pinturas y dibujos y grabados con los que a veces, cuando sale de sus largos períodos de ensimismamiento, dialoga hasta altas horas de la noche. Se sospecha que a veces escribe poemas: ¿influencia de Octavio, de Yesé Amory o de Gonzalo, que está tan presente en la calle de Inglaterra? También nos reencontramos con otro sobrino de nombre Nicolás: Nicolás Pereda, hoy multipremiado director de cine, siempre acompañado de su encantador hijo Matías y de Andrea, su esposa canadiense. Nunca podremos olvidarnos de él niño y sobre los hombros de Enrique en una playa de Atlántida (la Datitla de Neruda) y rumbo al agua al grito de "Chinchulín, Chinchulín". Una maravilla de persona, como todo el clan de la calle Zaragoza al que pertenece: su hermana Cata (y su esposo Eduardo, el de los "nombres propios") y sus padres Marcela y Carlos, a quienes nos une una vieja y fraterna amistad sin la que no sabríamos cómo vivir y seguir siendo quienes somos.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lorenzo and Margarita's, and of course Marta's, untranslatable gratísima compañía, Fierro seeing his earth lit with salt, his verses ringing from Miami's SW95th St. to its downtown and into the sea, reaching to his fingers, provoking, unpacifying a rhinoceros almost dormant, just in time to catch a flight to Mexico, the land where his love is, and to dance the polka in lines leading nowhere, meaning nowhere yet known, therefore forwarding the charge towards lands some critic cannot know, until they're known. Those commentators, yes, they do drive somewhere, map in hand, like to Jones Beach or to Iguazú, conducing souvenir key chains.

Decapitate, heads and tails. "Heads," Rosencrantz successfully repeated ninety-two times, in the same way Fry's frequent demassified anagrams too often tend to nix hope, but then on the third day re-rearrange themselves to their original splendor. Picture Salto in 1879, then jump two years later to a two-year old Quiroga, promenaded down Uruguay St. in all his infancy. Someone surely died due to that Scheherazade number.

And from symmetry in digits back again to the inevitable era of the lexically palindromic: "Deems Ida's was diamond, Amon alit, or reify Fierro til a nomad, no maid, saw Sadi's meed." Unknowable invention of products enclosed in ferruginous bars demanding two days of thesis energy, all for seventeen prodded words. What Amon and Sadi must be saying now, not to mention Ida... and worse, Fierro. And of even more limited, and phonetic, creativity: "In train or other, too unforgettable. What a mall! Take us tea to mount air, rose, so in carloads he lets us."

Desdemona, Machado de Assis translated to Capitu, which Ida and María Elena considered an optimal name for a cat, though Bento would surely dissent opting for Grimalkin instead, perhaps later even deciding that to be a more appropriate name for a wife. But for more on prescriptivist names for cats... and descriptivist names for wives, ask Eduardo, authority on the proper, and on the improper.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Al fin el Manning, que pasó unos días en la gratísima compañía de Lorenzo y de Margarita, logró que el Fierro volviese a escribir. Aunque sea unas pocas líneas y antes de partir rumbo a México, país de sus amores, donde espera concluir las torpes frases que ha de dejar, como siempre, en el aire y que no se sabe bien a qué conducen. Si es que conducen a alguna parte. Porque el decir del Fierro es, como alguna vez le señaló algún crítico, inconducente.

De Capicu, como suele sucederle con ya demasiada frecuencia (de paso recordar, Fry mediante, al Fénix), saltó a los números capicúas que fueron una de las tantas cosas que coleccionó en su infancia, la de la calle Cebollatí. Porque en la de Colonia Francia casi no había números a la vista y sólo de vez en cuando detectaba algún capicúa en la charla familiar o en la de las visitas.

Y de los capicúas, era inevitable, a los palíndromos: "Oir a Ida a diario", "Yo soy augur, uruguayo soy" and so on. Previsibles productos de la inventiva limitadísima del Fierro, que muchos años después conocería en México a verdaderos maestros de ilimitada creatividad. Entre otros, a dos inolvidables guatemaltecos: Tito Monterroso y Carlos Illescas.

Para, ¿al final?, acordarse de "Dom Casmurro" y de Capitu, que Ida y María Elena consideraban que era un nombre adecuadísimo para un gato. O, mejor dicho, para una gata, ¿no? Habrá que consultar con Eduardo García Ramírez, que sabe más que nadie de nombres propios. Y ajenos, claro está.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

He was and is a père, my last desperate envoy bent on un-misunderstanding by citing a quotation Virgil had placed inside a book by Lafargue (Oh Melibee, God has given us this tranquility). And while he guided Dante through bucolic circles near Pignola, of the Fierros, my friend Cécile, who was so compassionately my only littérature professor at Tours' unforgettable Université François Rabelais, took me by the hand to show me Baudelaire's carcass blooming upon Ronsard's rose branch. But we should not forget that other friend, Cecilio, ever-present in the poems of Fierro and whose own published poems were shorted the merest attention of a canalized, disoriented criticism... mère of invention.

Everyone, like two friends talking, enjoying responding in eclogues, trying to win at words, amoebaean singers, lazing in the shade, making woods resound with lovely Amaryllis. Everyone, pursuing pursued languages and fleeing the pursuers, descending fearlessly into hell, following Alfonso, equipping ourselves with Virgil, feasting upon the marrow of lions. And now, before new anti-poetry onslaughts, let us all read Reyes' Hellenic stretch of warning in hope that his iodine words keep away infection. If not, a water hose and a cane should do it.

Our digestifs in hand we toast about the poker table with Wittgenstein who discusses in depth luck's importance in a first reading and the humiliation of a capicú win in dominoes. But that rumble was the rhino he sensed in my text Friday 11, that hendecasyllable day, an ill-fated sum now, resisting painfully. "Viva ut vivas," say the Mannings, but I wonder, along with Neruda: How long lasts a rhinoceros after being pacified?

There's a library in a house on Cebollatí Street to which Wittgenstein never paid a visit. Russell however did, and William as well, the latter leaving almost all of his works, transferred to Spanish, so that a father could sign them off with love to a mother whom he courted many a glorious morning till a thousand times good night. And on a table there's a copy of that Bible of the Bear stamped with the signature of a sister, a sister who accompanies her brother always: The Nácar-Colunga and the Jerusalem (how many false friends Hebrew must have!) called around much later and to this day there they wait, in a house on Cebollatí Street, in Montevideo.