maandag 14 februari 2011
Ana Christina César, Brazilië (1952 - 1983)
Ana Cristina César werd geboren op 2 juni 1952 te Rio de Janeiro in een middenstands gezin.
Ze schreef van jongs af aan en ontwikkelde een sterke voorliefdfe voor voornamelijk de Engelstalige literatuur.
In 1968 verbleef ze een periode in Engeland. Bij terugkomst in Brazilië, verschenen haar eerste gedichten, die niet onopgemerkt zouden blijven. Ze studeerde letteren aan de universiteit van Rio.
In 1982 verscheen haar debuutbundel A Teus Pés - waar het gedurende haar leven overigens ook bij zou blijven. Een jaar later verbleef ze weer enkele tijd in Engeland, alwaar ze zich onder andere verdiepte in het leven van Sylvia Plath, één van haar grote voorbeelden, maar met wie ze ook haar temperament en lot deelde. Ze overleed op 29 oktober 1983, nadat ze uit een raam van haar ouders appartement was gesprongen.
I find a quote that worries me: “Generating contradictions
isn't enough; one must explain them.”
Bit by bit I say the poem out loud until I know it by heart. Célia
appears and confronts me, her expression
makes no sense.
I've turned one more year. I read excerpts
of an old diary to my guests. They exchange glances. Such
lovely adolescent cheerfulness, says the
diplomat. I lay on the floor without my pants on. I heard
the word debauchery come out of Célia's fat teeth.
Célia dreamt that I beat her until I smashed
her teeth. I spent all afternoon out of it.
I typed until my fingers cramped. Must have been
minor remorses. Binder says that a diary is an artifice,
that I'm insincere because secretly I want it
to be read. I moonbathe.
Our first sexual encounter. We were
sober. The clouding followed me
again. I was unable to make the proper complaints.
In Marienbad I sit next to him. I lost
my comb. I deliberately recited capillary fantasies,
gibberish, hair rising up my neck. When
Binder, from the bathroom, asked what I was saying, I
replied “Nothing,” funereally.
Célia also took to criticizing my style at
gatherings. Ambiguous and overstated. The excesses
must have been gratuitous. Binder prefers the hypothesis
about seduction. They both act like cats while
I'm shook up by rumbas.
When I was done reading “The Garden of Forking
Paths” my body was overcome by a rash.
We eat duck for lunch. Binder always touches me
on the wrong spot.
Only typing made my itch go away. I copied
thirty pages of Escola de Mulheres in the original
without making mistakes. Célia barged into the living room
thumping her tongue against her teeth. Célia is an obsessive.
I sang and danced in the rain. We had a fight.
Binder refused to feed the crows. He gossiped
about my diary again. He wrote some words.
A spiteful and rotten resort! He calls me a bum,
and worse. I pick myself up with dignity, get up
on the sink, make a fuss, and clog up the grater with pieces
Célia descended the staircase on all fours. I insisted on the
ludicrousness of the act. We eat that
fowl again for lunch. I whine and sigh before going to bed.
I returned to the
I am going to pass around in a minute some
lovely, glossy blue picture postcards.
In a minute I'll hand out some beautiful
This is the leather suitcase that keeps the famous
Look at my hands, empty.
My pockets are also empty.
My hat is also empty. Look. Nothing
up my sleeves.
I'll show you my back, I turn around.
As all of you can see, there's no illusionism here,
no cheating behind your backs, no tricky games
The suitcase rests on the chair here.
I open the suitcase with this master key
in ceremonies of this type, if
you forgive the joke.
The first thing we find in the suitcase, on top
of everything else, is—guess—a pair of gloves.
Here they are.
I put them on—left hand… right hand…
a perfect fit.
This reminds me of…
A young artist wandering astray by himself in the elegant
Berlin of the Belle Époque who in vain is looking for
pleasure. A noisy group of skaters go by, and
a woman in white lets her glove drop, a
glove with six padded buttons, white, long,
perfumed. The young man runs, grabs the glove, but
can't decide whether he should accept the challenge or not. In the end
he decides to ignore it, puts the glove in his pocket and returns
to his hotel walking down dimly
But I'm drifting from the purpose of this
evening. If there's time left I'll let you know the end
of this fantastic story in which even Neptune 's
chariot, a gigantic grinning bat that
always flees, and an ocean of foliage appear.
Who's to say that this isn't that same glove?
Yet we don't have only one here, but a
pair; it is delicate and in sharp contrast with the black
Does the leather suitcase keep any toiletries?
No, my friends.
As all of you can see now as I slightly
rotate the chair where it rests,
the suitcase contains nothing but paper…
postcards… dozens, maybe even hundreds of
And now, pay attention.
With my gloved hands—one moment,
let me button one… now the other…
gingerly… this is no scam… I adjust the
cuffs, like this…—now, with these hands,
at random, I take the first postcard, I
contemplate it for a second under the light… there's
a reflection… but I see here a drowned girl under
the rush… I'm handing out the first postcard, please
pass it around… second postcard: the
Avenida Atlântica… pass it around… a Cadillac
in Acapulco … Carmen… the Pompidou Center …
a church in Alabama … a castle seen from the Orient…
two cupids wearing sunglasses… the jewelry
thief and the duchess… and this one here is Fred Astaire in
Lady Be Good , or he won't make art, honey…
nostalgic… and a Marilyn, and here the beach in
Clacton with bingo and fish and chips… Air France 's
Boeing… streetcars going up the hills of
San Francisco … a polar bear in the Barcelona
zoo… Salome… London … another Salome…
pass them around, pass them around.
Dear friends, this is a suitcase, not a hat
full of rabbits.
We have enough postcards to last all night.
Alexandria … Beirut … Prague …
Be Mysterious, a picture by Paul…
Gaugin, followed by What's the matter, you're jealous?
a naughty question in a sly tone, just like that,
sunbathing at the beach.
And others of museums over here:
The eye like a strange balloon rising up
On the horizon, the angel of certitudes, and in the somber
sky, a questioning gaze;
Lady in despair;
The blood of Medusa;
The evil mothers;
I close the door on myself;
and now the real Wuthering Heights,
followed by a curious sports race,
some pornography, and a godfather named
Dear friends, I have no idea where this is going.
I'm passing these postcards around
quickly. Notice these pockets attached with an
elastic band, oh I almost forgot to say
that you can and should turn them around
to check whether any words
are scribbled there, take this one for instance “When
might we have an esquisite time again?”,
exquisite with an s, or this one here, “Post 6,
where I spent my childhood and adolescence,
how has it changed!”, or this other one, listen,
“I'm still trying to send you a piece of where
I am but it's always missing.” And another with
tiny letters: “I've calmed down, I distracted
myself, I don't think as much, penso a te.” I think the end
is in Italian. Go on reading, go on, the most part
might be blank. Excuse me.
I have to go but I'll be right back.
I've got something in my eye, a little speck: when I return
I'll keep pulling out postcards from the bag, and who knows,
when the time comes, I might tell you the end
of that true story, but before I leave I should take off
my glove, leave it here on the back of the chair.
beide gedichten werden uit het portugees vertaald door Monica de la Torre