2 + 2 = 5
(Letter originally sent in November 2013)
Ive been trying to tell you about this book I bought on Saturday on Capitol Hill Books (Have you been there? It is a house on Eastern Market completely stacked with books, books, books on the basement, upstairs, and even in the bathroom where you can find the Foreign Language section and a small stereo plays opera. The bathroom also works as an actual bathroom, and I must say its quite charming regardless of having a toilet and all). The owner is an old man who puts funny signs or incisive jokes next to certain books, and gives you handwritten receipts. While I was there holding a beat anthology and the selected poems of Allen Ginsberg (their books were virtually impossible to get in Buenos Aires, so I was excited to see those two for less than $10) I thought, you would probably appreciate a book.
So with that idea in mind I stumbled into a volume by Dylan Thomas. The cover is very minimalistic and beautiful, and it has “Visions & Prayers”, which is written in geometrical seeming shapes -if this style has a name, I don’t know it-. Its perfect. Then I thought, I wonder if you like Dylan Thomas, or, why would you not like Dylan Thomas, or if you are even reading poetry at all. When I brought the book back home I read some of it in bed and selfishly thought “I think I will keep it”.
But, no, I am happy now about you having it, and even if you might not immediately read it I think you will surely appreciate it when the right time comes. Dylan Thomas was a great writer, so good it made me feel like leaving my typewriter to someone else. I also think there is some poetry on reading a book that you will give to someone as a gift, as if the gift also contains a moment you spent with it, thus giving to the other person a small intangible part of yourself.
I thought about an Argentine writer, Hector Viel Temperley, who is one of my favorite Argentine poets and despite of you now knowing Spanish I would really like you to hear one of his poems. Maybe I am too much of a writer but the idea of reading something to someone sounds so appealing I feel sorry life lacks of those kind of gestures, literary ones. There is a certain amount of magic to every language, and what I miss about speaking in Spanish is the melody of words and the way syllables pair with each other, (the word that comes to mind now is cadencia), with a beat that resonates… In perfect tune with who I am. It means a lot to me to tell you this is the reason why I was yearning for my own language.
Then again. There is magic to English, and It was the language I studied, first because it was a requirement at school, and then because I chose to do so.
I made it mine by choice and I am slightly proud I devoted time to it. I never thought it would bring me here, but well, if anyone asks the reasons have various names, like Jack Kerouac, Truman Capote, Kurt Vonnegut… I came here for love, but I also came to this country because of Literature. I hope this doesn’t sound pretentious, this works as a return to communicating my ideas to you, as well as a reminder to myself.
I hope this letter find you in better shape, more like German expressionism rather than a Jackson Pollock.