The Exiled II
We speak languages that are not ours
we walk around without passports
or identity papers
we write hopeless letters
that we don’t send
we are numerous forlorn intruders
and at times that
make us feel guilty.
Cristina Peri Rossi, State of Exile. Translated from Spanish by Marilyn Buck.
Nancy Wake, who has died in London just before her 99th birthday, was a New Zealander brought up in Australia. She became a nurse, a journalist who interviewed Adolf Hitler, a wealthy French socialite, a British agent and a French resistance leader. She led 7,000 guerrilla fighters in battles against the Nazis in the northern Auvergne, just before the D-Day landings in 1944. On one occasion, she strangled an SS sentry with her bare hands. On another, she cycled 500 miles to replace lost codes. In June 1944, she led her fighters in an attack on the Gestapo headquarters at Montlucon in central France.
Ms Wake was furious the TV series [later made about her life] suggested she had had a love affair with one of her fellow fighters. She was too busy killing Nazis for amorous entanglements, she said.
Nancy recalled later in life that her parachute had snagged in a tree. The French resistance fighter who freed her said he wished all trees bore “such beautiful fruit.” Nancy retorted: “Don’t give me that French shit.”
Ever since you pressed me
beneath the mimosa tree, the pink
tufts of flower, the broken light,
your broken breath so full
of love and “shush, shush,” I picture Rebecca
suspended above the highway. I like
to think that someone saw her
silhouette like a bud on a bough,
and thought how lovely
she will be in bloom.
Sounds about right (C/O Exeter/Bennington/Salinger fans):
"She said she didn’t think she’d known more than three girls on the train — Martha Farrar, Tippie Tibbett, and Eleanor somebody, whom she’d met years ago, in her boarding-school days, at Exeter or someplace. Everybody else on the train, Franny said, looked very Smith, except for two absolutely Vassar types and one absolutely Bennington or Sarah Lawrence type. The Bennington-Sarah Lawrence type looked like she’d spent the whole train ride in the john, sculpting or painting or something, or as though she had a leotard on under her dress."
If you write in Japanese or Vietnamese or Portuguese you have to wait to be translated, and translated literature never really works immediately as English literature unless it wins the Nobel or some big prize. I’m saying language is a passport. A dubious, dangerous passport too.
THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER, BY KRISTEN MARTIN AND MAUREEN DEVENNY
The Heart Wears a T-Shirt in the Pool
The Heart Needs to Ask the Receptionist for a Tampon
The Heart Has Gas Pains
The Heart Plays Clarinet
The Heart Lies About Its Height on OkCupid
The Heart Always Has Pit Stains
The Heart’s Upper Lip Gets Stuck to Its Dry Teeth When it Smiles
The Heart’s Leggings Have a Hole in the Crotch
The Heart Only Pretends to Read the New Yorker Fiction
The Heart’s Yogurt Exploded in Its Purse
The Heart Had an Allergic Reaction to Nair
The Heart Poses With Its Tongue Out When It’s Drunk
The Heart is Worried That the Dry Shampoo Isn’t Fooling Anyone
The Heart’s Glasses are Always Crooked
The Heart Gets Red Wine Teeth
The Heart Can’t Tell if it Has Bad Reception or People Just Aren’t Texting it Back
The Heart Struggles to Maintain Critical Distance
The Heart Grinds Its Teeth at Night
The Heart Tucked Its Skirt Into Its Tights
The Heart Got Scolded By Its Manicurist
The Heart Can’t Get Anyone to Join Its Carson McCullers Book Club
Racism should never have happened and so you don’t get a cookie for reducing it.
Carta de Mamá II
Tía Ángela pregunta por ti
cada vez que viene de visita
y yo contesto con evasivas
¿o se dice evasiones?
El gato saltó por la ventana
cosas de gatos
cosa de personas
La helada quemó todos los árboles
sólo un limonero sobrevivió
solitario en medio de la tempestad
Nos dijeron que con el nuevo general
las cosas iban a cambiar
pero si algo cambió
fue para peor
El almacenero de la esquina murió
un infarto o una embolia
tu abuela Maruja siempre con las varices
y tu hermana con la úlcera
Me pregunto si por allí estada lloviendo
a veces cuento las horas de diferencia
el asunto de los hemisferios
No te olvides de nosotros
que te queremos tanto.
por Cristina Peri Rossi
[T]hey love life. In people’s eyes, in the swing, tramp, and trudge; in the bellow and the uproar, the carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, sandwich men shuffling and swinging; brass bands, barrel organs, in the triumph and the jingle and the strange high singing of some aeroplane overhead was what she loved; life; London; this moment of June.
Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf