Federico y Wilde: Readings 2017

MENIPPUS: My dear coz—for Cerberus and Cynic are surely related through the dog—I adjure you by the Styx, tell me how Socrates behaved during the descent. A God like you can doubtless articulate instead of barking, if he chooses. CERBERUS: Well, while he was some way off, he seemed quite unshaken; and I thought he was bent on letting the people outside realize the fact too. Then he passed into the opening and saw the gloom; I at the same time gave him a touch of the hemlock, and a pull by the leg, as he was rather slow. Then he squalled like a baby, whimpered about his children, and, oh, I don’t know what he didn’t do. Lucian of Samosata, Dialogues of The Dead, 4 (21)

Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis Transcribed from the 1913 Methuen & Co. edition, is a book for the living. Jesús Cotta‘s Rosas de Plomo Amistad y Muerte de Federico y Jose Antonio (February 2015) ISB: 978-84-16128-47-1 is a book of what in Spanish grammatical terms is called futuro imperfecto, An imperfect future in other Words, a book solely for speculation, a military book designed to whitewash the legacy of Franco. Succinctly put, De Profundis is about unjust laws; Rosas de Plomos a simple military apology.

The common thread between the books is quite a simple humane universal understanding of suffering and how two people describe this emotion which affected two literary stars of yore who became baptized as Christians on their own volition but only after undergoing personal distress. Or so it seems for the likes of me at this year and time. From afar It is easy to judge two giants. Oscar Wilde and Federico García Lorca. Wilde describes his ordeal in Jail in a semi-biographical form and García Lorca has Cotta to draw us the pain and suffering García had had to be subjected to as he went through the ordeal of persecution by two ideological fronts in the Spanish civil war.

Jesús Cotta’s book was a bit more of a drag because I kept questioning the speculative nature of the narrative, mind you, his speculative narrative is a well done study in the events that led to the arrest and persecution of García Lorca. His portrayal of García Lorca left loads to be desired and him speaking for him was just a drag. No pun intended. Cotta’s discussion of García Lorca’s homosexuality is rather grandiloquence. It created confusion in me since I assume, like everybody else does, that he was homosexual. But his grandiloquence knows no limit. Especially when he digs into his jail time and how his Christian credentials come into play as he is being charged by the Franco regime for being this and that. Jail time is quite a personal experience and I have no doubt García Lorca underwent a rather strenuous time as he traversed his personal calvary. The psychological roller coaster does indeed put one through a series of emotional states which all lead to a reaffirmation of the bible.

Oscar Wilde’s De profundis was more rather interesting as it was. Mind you, the book I read is in the public domain and as I scoured about the net for info on the ISBN I came across information which detailed that my read version is incomplete. It does though present the gist. The notes weren’t supposed to be released before 1960. I am guessing rather against Oscar Wilde’s wishes. My reading of the letter was more in relation to the mental suffering Oscar Wilde went through while in prison. I was particularly struck by the many biblical references and comparisons used to describe the mental agony of the prison stay. The suffering was ameliorated by using the bible and the Christ as a source of comfort and lastly to reaffirm faith in the Christ. This use of the bible to come close to one’s God in order to seek relief from the daily strain of prison life is rather interesting because it manipulates the brain to better understand the world around us. Although Oscar Wilde prefers the term humbling I suppose. It humbles one’s position in the world to better adjust us to the present realities, in this case for him, his imprisonment.

It sort of bothers me to see this in two great writers being exposed to a redemption which was not true to the nature of redemption. Would they have continued their lifestyle had they not endured the cruelties of political establishments that condone behaviors and threats the way they do? In Oscar WIlde’s time, the Victorian period and their decency laws and in García Lorca’s period, the Franco regime during the white terror purge? Does it require to be in prison or endure distress in order to come close to God? It is easy to question from a position such as mine since I don’t endure that but the mind is inquisitive as well as curious. As I read both books, I often wondered if García Lorca ever read De Profundis. It seems he did, according to Ángel Sahuquillo in Federico García Lorca y la cultura de la homosexualidad (2007) ISBN-13: 978-0-7864-2897-7 pages 34 and 35 (thanks Google!).

As much as my reading these days, I rushed the reading somewhat and only fund out much more about the books as I wrote this. I missed alot and hopefully, I will be better prepared for the next book I have recently read as well.

 

星期五

All day I spent feeling Friday the 13th
it was an ominous day
something bad is to happen
yet every day something bad happens
this time it felt specifically aimed at me
mass hysteria
→ though the winds rocked the yellowed leaves of the branch trees ←
→ doomed to decry the fall ←
→ whilst the gray clouds floated aloof ←
→ and the puddles from last nights rain ←
→ reflected the air passing by to whowhereswhere ←
→ the office continued with its normal routine ←
→ hate hovering about ←
→ pretending everything is ok ←
→ sniffing a wift of wellness ←
→ outta the fluorescent-lit office corner ←
→ writing this so-called poem ←
→ yeah, Friday the 13th is out to get me. ←

saiqueado

In my blood runs
Tijuas Caló
Whether in (E)spañol
Or
English
Them beats
Pound the flesh
Like a Smith
Hierro
Fierro
A fuego
Con ritmos
turiquean y dicen
netas
Desde el punto cero
We knew before thee
güiri güiri
Los filerazos
de la punta de la lengua
Wacha
Wachatelas
Agüigüi
Semos
Lo que que traimos
Caile
acá
Te calmamos
El party
No
Empieza sin ti

derrames de ramajes

hace viento

el follaje
mece a su merced

corre por ái
un dicho
sobre quién mece
a los arboles

yo quizá

pero no cuando llueve
las hojas frondosas de la primavera
acumulan agua
solo para hacer llover de nuevo

la gente se cree a salvo
de la pausa
y es cuando el árbol
nos la juega

y al destello del sol
aguarda a Ehecatl
derrama
lo que guardó
en caida
brilla un arcoiris
y a chingar a su madre
a correr de la sombra del árbol frondoso

adamantium

the nihilist virus
wants
to renew itself
forever
it wants
a life and an imagination to last a lifetime
to reinvent itself
to
gut
till it tires
alloveragain
ceaselessly
a joy bug
who pukes
in delight
.

de esas de aquellas

Mis huesos
Vivieron
En el Valle
Hasta el cansancio
Y La Voz del Pueblo
Esquiniaba
Contra Kawuila
De a buche
Habría que pedirlos
Para poder saborear
Bien las 2am y wachar
El farol de luces
Recaer sobre las costras
De mugre
que soltaban olores
justos para wacarear
aquel
walk of shame
soltar cacharpas
a la Fuente de la suerte
y retornar a ese valle
on’Comala’ta

The Fifth Impossibility


When I bought this book I was in serious depression mode. I felt I belonged so in glee I pressed ok, buy. I live in a so called ‘foreign’ land and I ache for my ‘motherland’. The attraction was mutual. Then. Time passed.

I was vulnerable. So I forked the bucks through my Kindle tablet. Do I regret it? Sort of kinda of, not really. I really liked it. It’s juicy in details which makes my mouth water for stuff such as this. I understand the longing, the constant battle of identities because of the languages, I get it. The exasperation of the Cold War stuff as well. In my younger years there was nothing to consume but intricacies of the Cold War and the ‘Liberation’ of the nations from the yoke of the USSR. I wasn’t there with them but I saw in it on the tv and read it in the Californian papers like the very lightweight San Jose Mercury News which seemed a baby compared to the San Francisco Chronicle and a few others like the NYT or WSJ. I lived it through the lenses of the many white men who spoke on those behalfs back then, Foreign Affairs whatnot. Not to say its the same.

Although seeing live on the tv news of the fall of the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu and the drama that ensued his downfall, as we in America felt a glorious feeling of liberation that we helped the world rid itself of the commie scums, well, one can’t help but not remember their ill fate as they faced the firing squad as we felt pitty for his wife, Elena Ceausescu. It isn’t until these last years that we get a slight glimpse of those last seconds of the Socialist Republic of Romania. Paratrooper Ionel Boeru, the couple’s executioner, has come out to tell us those last seconds of that republic.

Boeru says it was the 29 bullets from his AK-47 rifle that killed the evil president and his ruthless wife Elena when they were lined up against a courtyard wall and executed by firing squad. Then an army captain, Boeru remembers how the 71-year-old tyrant was smartly dressed and smelled heavily of aftershave.

“Ceausescu’s last words were, ‘Long Live the Socialist Republic of Romania, ­independent and free’,” says Boeru. In contrast Elena Ceausescu smelled badly of body odour. And her last words were far from statesmanlike. “She yelled at a soldier, ‘You motherf****er’,” he says. Boeru, now 56, rarely talks about what happened on Christmas Day 1989.

We were told by Cold War propaganda what occurred there but not through Jewish eyes. They seem to somehow be in the wrong side of history on this side of the planet, that is, Europe. No matter where or how, place of time, it ails the Jewish lot. So to hear their voices of those persecuted by communism and the Soviet aftermath tell it, well it offers a window into the many hows which otherwise remain locked up in the silence or the few circles which roam said stories.

Where does the mesh occur indeed. Where does memory begin and where does makeup land start worst yet where does the nostalgia begin which if not careful can turn into romanticism? I do not know. But I understand their plight. Their moves. America though in its infancy is yet to suffer the lot of Europe. Not that America as a continent hasn’t suffered persecution for ideas or thinking or mass deportation, ethnic cleansing whatnot. One ought to be thankful for it not becoming a preferable habit of sorts as in much of European history would indicate it. We Americans long for Europe because it was the hell of the many.

We long to bathe in its past yet the shore is long away. Still, when we wet our feet we question the father. I, for example, wonder why does the European lot need to compare their linguistic achievements to us? We are not the same there. We are a lot that abhors the language imposed upon us. There, the European Jew has lost touch or sensibility. It, does not know, our lot. We did not ask for English, nor Spanish, nor Portuguese. We had our own languages. We still have our own languages by the miracle of persistent and rebellious attitudes towards the imposer who punishes us by infringing our rights to think and develop in those languages. And if money is poured unto said languages it is only to ‘rescue’ them from extinction though they be only left 5 old speakers whose fate and moribund souls must suffer the hell of reviving their languages through he insistence of the speech recorders. I was particularly peeved  by Ephemeridae.

Borrowed Time: An AIDS memoir

I first read Borrowed Time, with that jacket, yes, in the late summer of 1996. My first and only term at SDSU which is to this day, I feel, my true Alma mater. Such was the impact of it that one April the 8th of a 2015 I decided to buy it again in digital form far fetched notion indeed from the days I curled up to the book in paper format in the corridors of SDSU that 96. The memories it brings, yes, they last. So I bought it again. Only to finish it again in February 2016. The math says 22 months to read. So I took my time. Loads more than what it took in 1996. Why? What happened? There is a pain so deep which transpires time as the very breath I take now, it feels here and now. Though I fail to recollect my exact emotions when I first read the book I can recollect being taken by it in a way palpable today as then. Suffice to say, Mr. Monette weaved a tale that drew on the past as well as the now and the future which entangles one to this day. So am repetitive, only because I went against the grain towards my own myself, I do not reread for the most part. Yet I did for this volume. It is not easy to describe the aforementioned. What is it that makes a person reread a book? Take good old Virgina Woolf. She suggested to read a book ‘several’ times. But for the sake of memory? To relive? So I did it. I feel like when I got off the metro Piazza del Popolo in Rome, confronted with a past only I know because I knew where I was since I had been there before and I could imagine its world anew. A past I built on bits and pieces; facts and sheer fantasy. So I walked it alone. Admiring its beauty. Although I was more critical of Monette this time. The emotional fluctuations of the passage of time as he went through the pangs of pain and love for his dear Roger.

A reading of Monette is a delight because this is a good wordsmith. Not to mention that he weaves a series of interrelated events with the emotional load which tends to obligue one to side with the narrator on the injustices suffered by those who ended up guinea pigs for the conservative agenda of the Reagen years which linger on to this very day like a bad fart. Again, the second reading made me see a different Monette though, perhaps because so much time has passed by and am more cynical than when I was younger and more prone to the references to Greek and Roman history alluded in the text, stretched out like a thin silk line to the present, ah, yes, what imagination doesn’t fall for that? Yet the emotional decrying seems so exaggerated at times, viewed from what we now know with what we knew then, it is easy to lay blame on Paul.

Over and out.

Church of Spies The Pope’s Secret War Against Hitler

I ought to add a category for books read on my Kindle Amazon owns though I pay for it almost everyday. So I read Church of Spies – The Pope’s Secret War Against Hitler. By a dude named Mark Riebling. A lad with a many credentials. He is not your neighborhood comadre so his research seems to be legit. Regardless, the e-book read on a Kindle Amazon, was done over a period of time. Purchased the 2nd of Oct. 2015 and done with it January 2017 suffice to say, no ordinary read. 15 months. It took its time which presented a sort of reading contrary and against the flow of the day or thinking which encourages to read much and fast. I loved this method. Not that I never wanted to rip off the tonsils of my nagging little voice making me feel all guilty about letting the read sink in as the days turned into weeks and week into months. That thing has a life of its own and it ain’t little for wielding such power might I add.

Suffice to say it was a good read because I had the time to think about it as I perused the digital text at leisure. There is something about getting back to an unfinished book that allows for deeper reflection and this certainly did it. AS the reviews say it better than I do it tends to offer quite an intriguing recount of how Germans wanted to rid themselves of Hitler with the sanction and approval of the Holy See. Catholic Germans off course. Am sure a lot of the stuff that is retold in told in the book with the utmost enthralling details are fairly well researched but I imagine the sources had to be carefully authenticated. I mean, The Holy See in the WWII is not free of sin. No matter how well intentioned the characters portrayed in the book are explained with their actions and deeds to do away with Hitler. Although it is interesting to read somebody tried to do something to stop the Nazi crimes despite the hinders that that society presented at the time of the horrible episode of Germany. Just as interesting was to read how average people communicated with the Holy See as well as to get a glimpse of the mechanics of power during Nazi occupation of Rome.

All in all, the book was a juicy one for its intricate details of the cat and mouse entrapment that espionage is all about though this is no ordinary espionage since it was wartime. Good work.

The calender

I am surprised by the passing of time.

Not that it has changed. Just my perception of it. That has changed. I wonder if that is how water feels as it traverses rivers and seas or stagnating in puddles. Though it befuddles me to no end. Here I am, end of February, and it feels as if new year’s eve was yesterday. You mean the Chinese year? jested a friend of mine at work. How did we get here?

Then I saw the office calender. It’s one of those that are red, with namesakes and long which lends itself to quick jots as one plans whatever. January 2017. A whole bundle there in a table in one of coworkers office which serves as a nerve center for employees like me who drop in occasionally for diverse info. I was left astounded by it. Usually I pick up those before they are current in the year, 2 months managed to pass before that. What the?

Am sure time is no faster than 30 years ago or 50 or a 100. But my perception of it surely has changed. You’d think I don’t care for its passing anymore and that its yoke is no more, yet as it slaps me in the face as it does today it presents a crisis of existence of sorts. One tends to question its rapid passing in term of positive and negatives.