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books / landscapes / life

Nothing good ever comes of love. What comes of love is always something better. But better can sometimes mean worse, if you’re a woman, if you live on this continent, hit upon unhappily by the Spaniards, inopportunely populated by Asians gone astray.

Roberto Bolaño, page 29 «Amulet»

That’s what I thought, shut up in the women’s bathroom on the fourth
floor of the faculty of Philosophy and Literature in September 1968. I thought about those Asians crossing the Bering Strait, I thought about the
solitude of America, I thought about how strange it is to emigrate eastward
rather than westward.

I may be silly and I’m certainly no expert on the matter, but in these troubled times no one will deny that to migrate eastward is like migrating into the depths of the night. That’s what I thought, sitting on the floor, with my back against the wall, gazing absently at the spots on the ceiling. Eastward. To where night comes from. But then I thought: It’s also where the sun comes from.

It all depends on when the pilgrims set out on their march. And then I struck my forehead (or tapped it, because I didn’t have much strength after so many days without food) and I saw Elena walking down an empty street in Colonia Roma, I saw Elena walking eastward, toward the depths of the night, on her own, well dressed, limping; I saw her and I called out, Elena! But no sound at all came out of my mouth.

A poem made name

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life / love / travel

A Barbara, Jacques Prévert

Rappelle-toi Barbara | Il pleuvait sans cesse sur Brest ce jour-là | Et tu marchais souriante | Épanouie ravie ruisselante | Sous la pluie | Rappelle-toi Barbara | Il pleuvait sans cesse sur Brest | Et je t’ai croisée rue de Siam | Tu souriais | Et moi je souriais de même | Rappelle-toi Barbara | Toi que je ne connaissais pas | Toi qui ne me connaissais pas | Rappelle-toi | Rappelle-toi quand même ce jour-là | N’oublie pas | Un homme sous un porche s’abritait | Et il a crié ton nom | Barbara | Et tu as couru vers lui sous la pluie | Ruisselante ravie épanouie | Et tu t’es jetée dans ses bras | Rappelle-toi cela Barbara | Et ne m’en veux pas si je te tutoie | Je dis tu à tous ceux que j’aime | Même si je ne les ai vus qu’une seule fois | Je dis tu à tous ceux qui s’aiment | Même si je ne les connais pas | Rappelle-toi Barbara | N’oublie pas | Cette pluie sage et heureuse | Sur ton visage heureux | Sur cette ville heureuse | Cette pluie sur la mer | Sur l’arsenal | Sur le bateau d’Ouessant | Oh Barbara | Quelle connerie la guerre | Qu’es-tu devenue maintenant | Sous cette pluie de fer | De feu d’acier de sang | Et celui qui te serrait dans ses bras | Amoureusement | Est-il mort disparu ou bien encore vivant | Oh Barbara | Il pleut sans cesse sur Brest | Comme il pleuvait avant | Mais ce n’est plus pareil et tout est abimé | C’est une pluie de deuil terrible et désolée | Ce n’est même plus l’orage | De fer d’acier de sang | Tout simplement des nuages | Qui crèvent comme des chiens | Des chiens qui disparaissent | Au fil de l’eau sur Brest | Et vont pourrir au loin | Au loin très loin de Brest | Dont il ne reste rien.
Remember Barbara | It rained all day on Brest that day | And you walked smiling | Flushed enraptured streaming-wet | In the rain | Remember Barbara | It rained all day on Brest that day | And I ran into you in Siam Street | You were smiling | And I smiled too | Remember Barbara | You whom I didn’t know | You who didn’t know me | Remember | Remember that day still | Don’t forget | A man was taking cover on a porch | And he cried your name | Barbara | And you ran to him in the rain | Streaming-wet enraptured flushed | And you threw yourself in his arms | Remember that Barbara | And don’t be mad if I speak familiarly | I speak familiarly to everyone I love | Even if I’ve seen them only once | I speak familiarly to all who are in love | Even if I don’t know them | Remember Barbara | Don’t forget | That good and happy rain | On your happy face | On that happy town | That rain upon the sea | Upon the arsenal | Upon the Ushant boat | Oh Barbara | What shitstupidity the war | Now what’s become of you | Under this iron rain | Of fire and steel and blood | And he who held you in his arms | Amorously | Is he dead and gone or still so much alive | Oh Barbara | It’s rained all day on Brest today | As it was raining before | But it isn’t the same anymore | And everything is wrecked | It’s a rain of mourning terrible and desolate | Nor is it still a storm | Of iron and steel and blood | But simply clouds | That die like dogs | Dogs that disappear | In the downpour drowning Brest | And float away to rot | A long way off | A long long way from Brest | Of which there’s nothing left. |
*Barbara is a feminine name of Greek origin which means “foreign” or “strange,” derived from the Greek word barbaros of the same meaning.

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