je ne suis d’aucune faction, je les combattrai toutes.
Ellen Feldman is a glaring and unforgivable omission. My heart is split between Siri Hustvedt & Ali Smith.
Yay for my boy Neel tho!
One would hope to not be anywhere and not be in the knotted being, spasmodic being that does not emerge. One would hope to half-open permanence, touch substances, sap, primary delights.
Antonia Palacios (trans by Guillermo Parra), from Displacement Texts
I have refused to transit through roads of grace. Let darkness be. I will conform to my nature like the sunflower to the flame. I will be an arc docile to the tensions. I will fill myself with servitude at the demand of weak imposition. But I want within me a flowering, insurmountable, ductile angle where I might reign undisturbed, to retreat there when the temporal liquor is tasteless and there are no more confines to trespass. Sheltered by such limits I will open my house to travelers.
Rafael Cadenas,The Exile Notebooks (Barquisimeto, 1930)
I want in fact more of you. In my mind I am dressing you with light; I am wrapping you up in blankets of complete acceptance and then I give myself to you. I long for you; I who usually long without longing, as though I am unconscious and absorbed in neutrality and apathy, really, utterly long for every bit of you.
Franz Kafka, Letters To Milena
Reject the angel, and give the Muse a kick, and forget our fear of the scent of violets that eighteenth century poetry breathes out, and of the great telescope in whose lenses the Muse, made ill by limitation, sleeps.
The true struggle is with the duende.
The roads where one searches for God are known, whether by the barbaric way of the hermit or the subtle one of the mystic: with a tower, like St. Teresa, or by the three paths of St. John of the Cross. And though we may have to cry out, in Isaiah’s voice: Truly you are a hidden God,’ finally, in the end, God sends his primal thorns of fire to those who seek Him.
Seeking the duende, there is neither map nor discipline. We only know it burns the blood like powdered glass, that it exhausts, rejects all the sweet geometry we understand, that it shatters styles and makes Goya, master of the greys, silvers and pinks of the finest English art, paint with his knees and fists in terrible bitumen blacks, or strips Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer stark naked in the cold of the Pyrenees, or sends Jorge Manrique to wait for death in the wastes of Ocaña, or clothes Rimbaud’s delicate body in a saltimbanque’s costume, or gives the Comte de Lautréamont the eyes of a dead fish, at dawn, on the boulevard.
The great artists of Southern Spain, Gypsy or flamenco, singers dancers, musicians, know that emotion is impossible without the arrival of the duende. They might deceive people into thinking they can communicate the sense of duende without possessing it, as authors, painters, and literary fashion-makers deceive us every day, without possessing duende: but we only have to attend a little, and not be full of indifference, to discover the fraud, and chase off that clumsy artifice.
Once, the Andalusian ‘Flamenco singer’ Pastora Pavon, La Niña de Los Peines, sombre Spanish genius, equal in power of fancy to Goya or Rafael el Gallo, was singing in a little tavern in Cadiz. She played with her voice of shadows, with her voice of beaten tin, with her mossy voice, she tangled it in her hair, or soaked it in manzanilla or abandoned it to dark distant briars. But, there was nothing there: it was useless. The audience remained silent.
In the room was Ignacio Espeleta, handsome as a Roman tortoise, who was once asked: ‘Why don’t you work?’ and who replied with a smile worthy of Argantonius: ‘How should I work, if I’m from Cadiz?’
When the angel sees death appear he flies in slow circles, and with tears of ice and narcissi weaves the elegy we see trembling in the hands of Keats, Villasandino, Herrera, Bécquer, and Juan Ramón Jiménez. But how it horrifies the angel if he feels a spider, however tiny, on his tender rosy foot!
The duende, by contrast, won’t appear if he can’t see the possibility of death, if he doesn’t know he can haunt death’s house, if he’s not certain to shake those branches we all carry, that do not bring, can never bring, consolation.
With idea, sound, gesture, the duende delights in struggling freely with the creator on the edge of the pit. Angel and Muse flee, with violin and compasses, and the duendewounds, and in trying to heal that wound that never heals, lies the strangeness, the inventiveness of a man’s work.
The magic power of a poem consists in it always being filled with duende, in its baptising all who gaze at it with dark water, since with duende it is easier to love, to understand, and be certain of being loved, and being understood, and this struggle for expression and the communication of that expression in poetry sometimes acquires a fatal character.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I have raised three arches and with clumsy hands placed within them the Muse, the angel and the duende.
The Muse remains motionless: she can have a finely pleated tunic or cow eyes like those which gaze out in Pompeii, at the four-sided nose her great friend Picasso has painted her with. The angel can disturb Antonello da Messina’s heads of hair, Lippi’s tunics, or the violins of Masolino or Rousseau.
The duende….Where is the duende? Through the empty archway a wind of the spirit enters, blowing insistently over the heads of the dead, in search of new landscapes and unknown accents: a wind with the odour of a child’s saliva, crushed grass, and medusa’s veil, announcing the endless baptism of freshly created things.
From Federico García Lorca’s essay "Theory and Play of Duende"
it has rained all night.
you say drape me
in the valance of your hair
you, i soothe
as a festival of flames,
a tree of torches
a hundred boughs of bladed heat
costumed in a jellyfish silhouette
hand-drawn in charcoal.
i become an ossuary
of smoldering depths
a spiderblue snare
between us the moonshine
of words to cauterize
a whole holocaust
so we gut the quicksand
barefeet & carnivorous
we amble through
foxholes filling up with snow
fingers feasted on by frostbites
mouths – a parade of wasps
the horizon crafting fog
into animal shapes of
we laugh like a stampede
anomies of flocks & herds
you, i harbor
unbuttoned by a sleep
smaller than a bird’s belly
the ever-coiling hours
are where i am roughhewn
from the gossamer black
of a highway’s midnight
you are an ingot of sugar
thawing my fangs to an ache
the edge cutting through
the precipice of its own flesh
so, teach me how
to teeth against the marrow
of your speechless disappearance
when you anchor into me