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the cave at the tip of the lily: 

transliteration, international friendship, and Leonard Cohen’s translation of Lorca poetry.

como estas?

                    actually sentirse muy solitario


Nooooo :’(

Esta bien tu corazon?

                    just una ola

                    or an oleada? a wave

Si, una ola

Entiendo perfectamente

Hay olas buenas y malas


Como estuvo tu dia? 

                    buena, gracias. tranajo un poco. y es bueno sentirse vivo, incluso si es bueno y mal. how was yours?

Si, por supuesto, emociones de la vida. Mi dia estuvo bueno. Pero con mucho sueno. Fue dificil concentrarme. Pero relajado. Mi papa y mi hermano me han tenido ocupado. Ayer caminamos mucho, along the río.

                    How do you say cool? I’m guessing it’s not fresco… but cool- ? Estan tu padre y tu hermano todavio en la ciudad?

I know what you mean. In Chile we have a word for cool, but it only works for us. Peruvians and Mexicans have a different one.

Si si mi padre y mi hermano aun estan aqui.

Vuelven a chile el miercoles.. 

Una semana mas. 

                    Word. Tu forma de pensar es poetica. 

                    Leonard Cohen made this song from a translation of a Fredrico Garcia Lorca poem. I really like the way certain phrases are.

thank you for sending.

What phrase do you like?

                    there’s a piece that was torn from the morning, and it hangs in the gallery of frost.

                    the cave at the tip of the lily

                    the hyacinth wild on your shoulder. & a garland of freshly cut tears. 

out, talking

Every word dripping with a sealed potentiality, its meaning leaking out in gestures but coyly, ultimately, inaccessible. Delphic chains of musical language link and morph through the air over the nut bowl.


[friendship] There’s just this nowness, everything becoming something. So yeah, he’s teaching me useful phrases like “Why are these lights wrapped in paper”, and “my dress is not made of the skin of a zebra”.


seria encantador creer eso, pero / por que es la luz envuelta en papel / amo la ciudad por que es muchas trabajos y es muy hermosa.


He adjusts my collar, his eyes sparkling off as he tugs on the collar-points, one in each hand. He’s exercising restraint. Thinking about the realm of possibility like you would if you were thinking about buying a little kitten, but you’re not sure, so you put a bow on its head and say, hmm. hmm, as you adjust the bow, concealing your smile.


summer nights

MC Solaar- AIWA

Paloma Mami- Not Steady

Bee Gees- How deep is your love

Coldplay- Yellow

Broken Social Scene- World Sick

Frank Ocean- Moon River

Ja Rule & Ashanti- Always on Time

Berlin- Take my breath away 

Carla Bruni- La possibilite d’un Ile

James Blunt- you’re beautiful

Sting- Desert Rose

Korey Dane- Canyon Dogs

Leonard Cohen- A Thousand Kisses Deep

Gypsy Kings- Trista Pena

Rihanna- Stay

Rihanna- Diamonds


Why is the light wrapped in paper. (branches into conversation about la ciudad). La luz now more light-like and radiant than light has ever been, apprehended newly as la luz. Papel yet more marvelous, soft, something that light should live in softly, as it chooses. La ciudad is of light, wrapped. Wrapped delicately in steel, shaped and thrown through sky-grazing crystals of glass and girder, thrown out again across the water, the black of the night, softly flowing, as it chooses. We are graced by light and by language that fills these hollow structures, of syntax, of the mind, of form…


As Kafka writes about New York in his final novel Amerika, “and all this was held and penetrated by a mighty light, that was forever being scattered, carried off and eagerly returned by the multitudes of object, and that seemed so palpable to the confused eye that it was like a sheet of glass spread out over the street that was being continually and violently smashed.” 


prioritization of formalism in poetry

Shakespeare adhered rigidly to poetic form. In a class I took at Columbia, it seemed like the academic poets are enthusiastic, if not outright passionate, about poetic structure. (I would prefer not to be the one casting around criticism, but the Poetry Foundation does note the term “retrogressive” as a common critique of the “New Formalist” movement. The New Formalist movement responded, like mauve florals and women in suits as “power dressing”, to the freedom of the 60’s and 70’s).  

Leonard Cohen made a lot of rhymes, and had a knack for writing a march-like evenness, kind of a steady AB plod reminiscent of a more gothic, secular Battle Hymn of the Republic into the feet of his verse. I think in many cases it’s kind of kitschy and self-effacing, but in Leonard Cohen’s case, the constraints of the verse actually generate some brilliant lines, like the constraints do for Bob Dylan with songs like Visions of Johanna


from L.C.’s Bird on a Wire:


…Like a worm on a hook

/ Like a knight from some old-fashioned book

/ I have saved all my ribbons for thee


… For like a baby, stillborn

/ Like a beast with his horn

/ I have torn everyone who reached out for me…


at the tip of the lily

Leonard Cohen, speaking from a video whose colors had the soft tints of age: "I could say that when I was a young man, an adolescent, and I hungered for a voice, I studied the English poets and I knew their work well, and I copied their styles, but I could not find a voice. It was only when -- when I read, even in translation, the works of Lorca that I understood that there was a voice. It is not that I copied his voice; I would not dare. But he gave me permission to find a voice, to locate a voice; that is, to locate a self, a self that is not fixed, a self that struggles for its own existence.”


Lorca’s imagistic flair is already vibrant and otherwordly, and to experience the language from the distance of English could only imbue the words with additional wonder; reapprehending the lily, the silver knife, or the torn frost as sonic phenomena, like an Impressionist painter realizing that the image of the flower is not a flower, but crushed rare stones suspended in linseed; colored dust. This sound that makes the knife flash, that makes the torn frost drip, if only in the ontological space of the mind. For example, to read la cueve en la punta del lirio, and to feel newly the round depths of the cave in the vowels of -ueve, and the lyrical curve spiraling into the unknown depths of the lirio, as its edges slowly enclose the r consonant as petals around a pistil.

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