Posted by: birdmaddgirl | 25 March 2010

In the Pines

bear with my scattered melancholy, por favor (or os gwellach n dda if you prefer the Welsh). i’ve been thinking about memory – personal, communal, shared, internal. sometimes an agreement is reached on a story of a recollection, but it is, in the end, a collection. a compromise of what you can share of your own experience and what others can share of their experience.

i’m writing a close reading on punctuation and tenses in a Raúl Zurita poem. the third stanza of “The Snow” from INRI. William Rowe’s translation is beautiful, although i haven’t read the original for comparison, and it is not given in the Marick Press English edition. i’m also having some red wine and hearing sad songs on shuffle. music cuts close to relationships i’ve had, types of relationships that have passed, and whose passing is heavy. the poem is about dead bodies. “It’s them and they fall. It’s a strange snowfall / coming down onto the white scar of the moun- / tains. There is also the sound of a strange ten- / derness: snowflakes embraced by other snows, / small pieces of ice embraced by other ice.” it makes me wonder about how to get by in a world where evidence suggests that living with relatively little hardship means exploitation, even inadvertent, of someone else. from the personal to the communal.

in my memory, i know i have had a good time of it. but i am too aware of history. it sounds crazy, self-aggrandizing. but what are histories for if not for bringing into the life of the present? what use is the present tense without the past? i ask this, although i know there are languages that get by perfectly well without a past tense. so what i’m really asking is: isn’t all of history now? isn’t all of it just here, with us? and so at any given moment i am small among the dry brown australian pine needles, i am sharp kissing, i am alone with the shape of myself sweating through sun salutations and hoping to lose all sense of body. i am what i have passed through, i am what has been passed down to me. there is a body of scholarship that says that torture and writing are both bodily acts. bound. isn’t it true that we choose to act where we can relate, either as sufferers or as perpetuators?

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