SKETCHES OF CHILE
Perhaps South America is the only suitable place in which one is to go all out, blindly, trusting Providence, filling page after page of the most extraordinary, yet most quotidian ‘adventures’.
The only thing I must have however is my morning hour or two —an hour to quietly ruminate and create. For if I cannot then I am truly lost. My morning ‘sketching’, my morning ‘doodles’ are my only proper anchor. All the rest is wind and smoke.
It is good to reach the soil of the multi-millionaire Neruda. It is a sad intuition that one, naturally, arrives about eighty or ninety years too late (St. Exupéry). Will South America be able to resist the bloodied fangs of the globalist specter? (Nope.) I am afraid, judging by first impressions, it has already been commercialized to the point of no return.
On a personal level, it is wonderful to find D. safely nested in the vastly provincial metropolis S. There are still but a few enterprising spirits who will be able to create a sense of homely comfort and snugness wherever they might settle, temporarily or not. One creates what one is.
One hour of creative outburst is worth one hundred days of quotidian pursuits; for the true and deepest adventure lies within and not without. And in the end how can this world, no matter how beautiful, not disappoint when put against the immense, meandering river of one’s creativity?
And then we saw another residency of his poetic majesty Neruda. The sheer square mileage of it would have surely provided comfortable abode for a several hundred of the poets’ sans-culottes.
Everything must be lost, all your possessions, your god damn spare specs, your god damn stolen chargers, techno gadgets —all down the hole —indeed in order to be found again. There is no way around it; how very few writers understood that, how very few resonated with the truth that lighted the soul of the few who, like Henry M., burnt to the very core of being. And then, one day, what release from the prison.
Only when you veer off the course of what you truly are you end up lost in the forest of the confused Others. Nothing is obscure; all is clear and illumined. Kerouac knew. Valéry. Dickinson. For there were others that threaded the path before us —and, sadly, Señor Neruda was not one of them.
Nothing is yours, you little man. And never forget to express your gratitude for you can serve Buddha best with your creativity that like a life-vest buoys you in the sea of troubles.
What we try to do is to silently retrace the mystical particles that remain inextinguishable, firmly lodged in the air of the continents that should be renamed after the fearless celestial navigators (e.g. St. Exupéry; Lawrence & the Southwest).
The vast, noxious miasma of the modern cities.
Even half an hour of peaceful stay in a public library will help you anchor in the thick of the metropolitan turmoil.
Deus quid odio urbes.
In less than 2000 years we have devolved from a perfect, or near perfect, language (Latin) to a barbarous gibberish of the contemporary South American street ‘Spanish’ and, god have mercy, ‘Portuguese’. Would it not be better to again speak and write solely in Latin and Greek?
What we find seeking refuge in South American soul, is its near frantic desire for freedom (eleutheromania running rampant). To be rid of the monolithic ‘global’ behemoth, the freedom from its deadly grip, the soul’s utmost imperative.
If one can steer off the sea of troubles and keep one’s ship on straight course without whining, working on at least one great book that would be free of bitching — a nobly extraneous task for a beautiful (early fall) Sunday morning in Santiago.
Time and again, cities prove to be at their best when deserted due to national holidays. In fact, you should attempt to visit them only when the deserted streets and closed shops assert the magic of the holidays at hand (in this case, the May 1st Weekend ).
Dia de Mama Day Trip to Valparaiso.
Omelet served in a round (unclean) metal plate —the one you would perhaps see in a penitentiary —also served with a coffee sized spoon. No knife, no fork. Chile can never cease to amaze with its unexpected oddities. The eatery— www.marco-polo.cl (est. 1955 by two Italian immigrants).
And among the general sense of politeness, now and again a shocking instance of rudeness. A monstrously rude waiter-patron at the café the other day (really hated us because thought we were stupid Yanks?); a snarling foul-mouthed thug in front of my seat, savagely reclining in the bus Valparaiso –Santiago, despite me politely asking if he could recline a little less. But I guess my broken sentence rubbed him the wrong way.
It has been a long time since I saw a wonderful, simple, warm film, ‘old-fashioned’ in the best sense, and that is Gianni di Gregorio’s Il Pranzo di Ferragosto (2008). I love this odd wonderful actors nobody ever heard of, or rather actors that definitely are not 'stars'...Bruno Ganz comes to mind too.
On the bus there, a magically beautiful child traveling with her mom and cousins. Chileans? Brazilians? Who knew, but in the sea of average or below average looking (at the most, now and then, somebody —he or she —poco belli, but generally poco brutti or worse…), one can’t help but notice. A wonderful flower in the parched unaesthetic desert. We could have been her parents or, perhaps, even grand-parents.
Coming to the magical verticals of Valparaiso, but at least 60 years too late. One feels the city very much en declive.
The Chilean Spanish e.g. on the metro —the parada ‘Los Heroes’ pronounced distinctly as CERVE. Of course, our lack of Spanish doesn’t help a bit. When ordering, at the bus terminal, cortado doble (para llegar) you end getting te (in a styro cup of course).
Sounds like something out of Cortazar —Paseo Yugoslavo, Valparaiso. Pretty cool they did not change the name. A park with some artists and a great palace of some pre-war tycoon of Balkan-Mediterranean origins.
And, once again, the grand millionaire-hypocrite poeta with another of his five story villas imposing and presiding over the hillsides of Valparaiso.
Vi una flor en la flor más llena.
After the initial excitement of ‘niceness’, inevitably one starts encountering the strangeness and weirdness of the natives. This is the rule of any place you stay in for a longer period of time.
Valparaiso, Valparaiso, a city to steal a wanderer’s heart.
Yet the great age of travel has been successfully annihilated and now the filthy lucre allows the Northern hemisphere Shrimp to infest every corner of the globe. Or nearly every corner. Money is the monster ‘equalizer’, humanity's most ancient enemy.
Worse still is the dread of communicating or having to communicate with people all the time; constantly reporting on the crummy little uneventful ‘events’ on the road. If you see one hostel, you’ve seen them all. If you meet one young backpacker, you meet them all. If you hear one British voice abroad, you’ve heard them all. In every aspect of life, something exceptional, even something a little out and over the ordinary is the greatest, rarest commodity.
Belleza salvará al mundo, lo dice Dostoevsky.
soy una cometa
— un fuego que nunca se puede
June 1st 2012
Más que alguna vez antes, necesitamos un día de Dioses.
Best times of our lives are, creatively speaking, between 8 and 12 am; and brain wave wise between 3 and 5 am (‘the Hour of the Wolf’).
If we (my family) had had an escutcheon, un escudo de armas, it would have to be a howitzer or some similar piece of artillery. Once a gunner, always a gunner, as my dad used to say.
One must steel oneself and become a walking of beauty despite the indisputable, barely disguised, all-pervasive, Orwellian underlinements of Menace (corollary. the Wizard of Oz is in fact malignant).
Yo no soy él quién dibuya y escribe mis reflexiones —estoy escrito por, dibujado por, un ser imperceptible, un ser de poder inmenso quién aquí y allí nos todos da el regale de luz.
No es nadie come la señora Patricia, la lavandera por la calle. Es la alegría de vida.
De donde viene el mundo ?
Nissie, soy el miel y tu estas la mermelada.
With a handful of brave conquistadores, the great Hernán Cortés was able to conquer the entire Aztec Empire. We need a new generation of the mad Spanish conquistas.
Santiago, April, May, June 2012
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