Cualificando, o, La Referencia Imperfecta

'What am I doing here?'
--Arthur Rimbaud, quoted by Bruce Chatwin

Por probar merecerla, busco
aprender a ganarme la vida que cargada
me regalaron de tanto secreto lastre
y de oscuro nudo bellamente trenzada.

Por no rendir del deseo al fin el objeto
fugaz, descanso en su fugaz negación
y abrazo el polo sur de su atracción
contra el rumbo de las estaciones.

Paseo el cansancio del Vate Chileno
y rodeo las aguas de mi marzo natal--
despliego, desfilo y deshago mi armamento

corroído en fuga, de modo que la ruta evasiva
enfrente al tigre y la fresa disfrute
ante el abismo, a cada paso sin medida.


Greetings from Santiago de Chile (revised!)

...courtesy of the Wi-Fi access at Central Frenos.
I nominate Paso Los Libertadores as the worst managed border crossing in the Southern Hemisphere, or the Americas, or what have you. Granted, it was a Saturday afternoon in one of the last Summer weekends South of the Equator. It took an hour of single-file crawling to pay toll at the only open booth at the entrance of the Cristo Redentor Tunnel. Then another two & a half hours for vehicle permits-- complicated, because Hans is still not a resident of Argentina, so there were a couple of extra triplicates to fill out, including one for my expected 50 peso multa--penalty-- for exceeding my three-month tourist visa by three whole days-- then, of course, we had to go through a thorough vehicle search on the Chilean side, with one official flummoxed that we had dared to transport seven boxes of books & papers as a favor to Hans's cousin-in-law, Ariel, without proper permits & paperwork...should I go on?
All told, a grueling but supremely scenic six hour drive stretched into a nine-&-a-half hour ordeal.
Wait, I´m just getting started! As a welcome to Hans's parents, their 14-hour flight jetlag has found no respite as they were welcomed to America by a flat tire in the rear train of Hans's '99 Land Rover 'Defender'. It's Sunday, today, folks. I forget how long it took us to find one lone, hard-working chileno with an open tire shop. But then, changing the tire, some hawkeyed onlooker noticed the brake pad was seriously worn. We had heard a hissing noise on downshifting & braking down the twisting switchbacks coming down the steep slope of the Andes after crossing into Chile. Another two hour (?) ordeal on a wild-goose chase for a brake shop. After we gave up & had a mediocre meal at a shopping mall restaurant (I had 'grilled' salmon that was supposed to arrive with some wok-sauteed veggies & when I complained they were missing from my plate, I had a plateful of butter drenched peas & corn added to the skimpy fish fillet...) we stumbled on this place, the one brake shop open on a Sunday, right by the giant mall, of course. Irony of ironies, their Maipú franchise was the original recommended location we found closed at the end of our labyrinthine ride. I had tried to lighten the mood without much success attempting a joke about leaving Maipú in Argentina to get lost in Maipú in Chile...
Víctor Hugo Mora, who's guest manager here today, wants me to mention him by name rather badly-- I Imagine he's working some long extra hours-- his home base is the central, downtown shop, in the Lira neighborhood of Santiago...¡gracias por toda tu ayuda, Víctor Hugo!

(I'm correcting this four days later, back in Maipú, Argentina. Debating whether I have time & energy at this point to bring some thematic threads up to date in a new post. I haven't had solid food since Tuesday evening, & that got flushed out in three installments of stinky, explosive diarrhoea before daybreak Wednesday morning-- very scary, as I had read about the environmental disaster in the making by the Norweigian salmon farming operations in Chile & had neglected to make a clearer, stronger mental note to myself about the possible health risks in consuming the product-- was it antibiotic-resistant bacteria? Toxic algae? Some sort of fungus?? European tests have found traces of illegal antifungal agents in examined shipments of salmon. Scary. I may be living on yogurt dip, full of garlic & lemon, for a few days yet...to be continued...)


Making Tracks

Hans has no landline phone, never mind Wi-Fi or Internet access at his Posada Cavieres.
I'll be spending at least another week there after driving over the Andes to pick up Hans's folks who are flying into Santiago de Chile this Sunday. His Mom has never been out of Belgium, & she will finally be spending time with her grandson, year-&-a-half-old Anton.
Let's see if I can at least write some stuff up to post in a week or so...meanwhile, a look at where I've been...

Beach club on the Paraná, Rosario.

A view from my balcony at Hostel La Cava.

Happy 2008! (Need I say I'm the face on your left?)

South of Coquimbito, East of Maipú...

My new Chef's knife, my kitchen corner for the last two months.

Lunlunta contrast: two oil sources.

The two sisters mentioned here.

( --continuará...)

(PS-- 'La Chancha', mentioned here, has a website. Duly noted.



Greetings: making do mostly with my left hand, as I burned some of the back of my right, most notably on the knuckles & first joint of my middle & ring fingers pressing the pump on a hot water thermos the wrong way last Tuesday.
Just made it to th Doctor after the big bad blister wouldn't drain on its own & I stupidly hesitated this long to do the needle surgery myself. Cien pesos. For a look, a painful scrape & a length of gauze, & a week's sabbatical from writing, they recommended...
Hans Devloo is my host at his new B&B in Maipú & he drove me into town. Hope I recover quickly enough.

MyPoo Valentine

(13 Wednesdays North)

the warm sad light bounces open
over heartwings' awnings
closed on cold green
everwinter wind

absent love & youth
hope hangs on frosted shoestring webs
held whole with icy needle faith

(--act 2, all gone South)

…all the magic of love
grown stale, disabled & shut down

surging energies of passion
twisting aimless, disengaged

the dark rhythm & raunch of sex
rots in blinding sunlight
--a sad state of affairs, none

(Mayhap, St. Val...)

I hide my age
to ticktock in my chest
as it becomes a salt & pepper
Roscharch Test

I hide my mouth
to pledge a smiley kiss
may only land & show in flight--

Run away with me!


The Damp Tremor

it's a young world
I live on the edge of

drain that old bladder--
half a flagon is too much
to turn yet a new leaf
before it falls to the sere

a habit of place etches
into settling addiction
to feed the trade of goods
beyond want waste & rot

to keep the waves of fear
& smoldering doubt at bay
we build high walls
on higher ground

set a flat roof over the damp
tremor of our expectations