Sunday, September 26, 2004

From Goethe's Theory of Colours
Mitsu writes:

Today: I was zooming around as I often do --- I realized that I love this feeling of speed, fluidity, alacrity --- but it isn't because I like to hurry. To the contrary, I love leisure, taking time with things, lingering. But there are transitions, movements in between, and those I actually do love to make quite quick, not in a need for rushing, but rather just because I feel every moment of life is somehow crucial, and so I can linger just that bit longer both before and after, I move from each slow moment to another with as much lightness as I can muster without actually hurrying, so that I can again take my time there, as long as feels right.

Then again I also notice there are these moments when it is just the right thing, it seems, to stop --- to leave, it feels like the thread of that place and time has been all spooled up and the time to go is now.

-from SyntheticZero

If I can point to one weblog that inspired me to start my own, it would be his (if I could point to two it would be this one, which reminds me that there is so much magic in the world, waiting to be unraveled.) This passage is typical of what I found intriguing about his weblog. He is not so much self-absorbed as he is self-examining.

I too like to linger on moments which are just about to arrive or have just concluded. It is like being a passenger on a train with all the focus on that sudden stop, drawing in the time around it.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Tonight, stopping by Doc's Clock in the Mission, I ran into my friends Victor and Lisa. They are remarkable in that they have this infectious passion for life.

I thought I had lost them as friends when they decided to move to Tennessee a couple years ago. But, as it happens, they returned and brought back with them a richer set of stories to tell.

You see, Victor is the "Salsa King" of San Francisco. At least that is what he was named in a SF Chronicle story of many years ago. He was the young prince of dance, a man that knew how to Salsa dance with moves that went beyond formal steps and maneuvers. He brought passion to the dance, a rough edge both gorgeous and seductive.

But, he retired from dance soon after meeting Lisa. She couldnt get over the fact that his dark swarthiness, his firm control, his perfect moves on the dance floor were also a way in which he met and seduced women. After all, this is how he seduced her.

So, Victor became a butcher, cutting meat instead of dancing. A few years ago they realized that even with his job and her hairdresser salary, they had trouble paying the bills in San Francisco. They decided to move to Tennessee, where Lisa's family is from.

A funny thing happened in Tennesse. They went to a local dance club and were told that the "Salsa King of Tennessee" was due to show up that night. Victor laughed as he told me the story tonight. His "adversary" had moves that were so rigid, Ricardo, he tells me, he was like a scarecrow or a wooden actor in a play - he had no passion, no feeling for the dance.

As Victor and Lisa tell it, they outshone them. They outdanced these pretenders from Nashville. Victor launches into a soliloquoy which I wish I could reproduce here. But he uses the phrases "savage","passion","elegant brutality" to describe a dance which he adores. In some ways, Victor is a bigot - he believes that only Latins can ever truly understand "the dance", this odd thing which is both beautiful and savage.

On the bus ride back from Tennessee, one of the passengers drew a knife and held it at the throat of the bus driver. The hero of the day was Victor. He snuck up on the knife-wielder, with his combined grace and strength, and overpowered him. It was in all the local papers.
(To SK)

If you want a bedtime story as you say, I can probably write one out for you. This may or may not be all true. Most of it is, but thats what stories are about.

When I was a child in Mexico, my family lived near an area full of indian villages. These are the people (and villages) that people imagine when they think of Mexican villagers - the men in white outfits and straw hats, the women in their colorful skirts and bare, dirty feet.

My brother and I (we were maybe 9 and 7) had heard the rumors that the indian villagers were wild and untamed. The women bathed naked in the nearby rivers. The men drank alcohol all day and played and danced to wild music. We wanted to see this for ourselves but our parents only took us to the villages during the day (to buy fruit) and we supposed that what we wanted to see, the true wildness, was hidden to us. We only saw the weary sun-baked vendors waving flies off their papayas and we knew there was so much more.

So, as you might guess, my brother and I struck out on our own one night. It wasnt too late, so our parents assumed we were maybe out catching fireflies or playing the final moments of some soccer game where the twilight has already arrived but you still have to go on.

We got lost several times because we only had moonlight and the dim lights of the villages to guide us. As we approached the village, I remember this clearly we heard this terrible noise, like a loud honking and all sorts of yelping. We still approached because, really, there was nothing else we could have done.

Soon, we were in the streets of the town itself and the noise and rattle seemed to be just around the corner. Otherwise, the streets were deserted. I think the feeling I had was that fear that you feel that everyone else has hidden away from something terrible, but you like a stupid wide-eyed animal did not know that you should be running away and so you just stood there, ready to be pounced on or consumed.

The next thing we saw was this: Out of the corner came 5 or 6 old men on canes. But each one was wearing the same mask, this horrible, monstrous mask that disfigured their features to give them exaggerated noses and chins. Seconds later they were followed by small band of men, several holding xylophones and one, holding a broken tuba which honked like an asthmatic cow. They in turn were followed by a parade of people all moving across the street and disappearing into another, emerging and vanishing like ghosts. Not only did they not come our way, they didnt even look our way.

We had watched a spectacle, my mother later explained, a local festival honoring perhaps a harvest or a moon. I've forgotten her explanations. The memory and thrill of that moment is what stays with me to this day, the glimpse into another world, secret and intractable.

Monday, September 06, 2004

On my to-do list (as amorphous as it is) is to watch the otherwise silent Nosferatu with the dark and beautiful score from Jill Tracy and the Malcontent Orchestra. Or, perhaps even catch it Live this year (It is usually performed around Halloween, right around my birthday)

There are MP3 samples here.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Tango que he visto bailar
contra un ocaso amarillo
por quienes eran capaces
de otro baile, el del cuchillo.
Tango de aquel Maldonado
con menos agua que barro,
tango silbado al pasar
desde el pescante del carro.

Despreocupado y zafado,
siempre mirabas de frente.
Tango que fuiste la dicha
de ser hombre y ser valiente.
Tango que fuiste feliz,
como yo también lo he sido,
según me cuenta el recuerdo;
el recuerdo fue el olvido.

From Alguien le Dice Al Tango
Music: Astor Piazzola
Lyrics: Jorge Luis Borges