Monthly Archives: August 2009

“The Truth Is Bitter, I Want To Spit It Out”

When I was a large child we would hear concerts at the Palace of Music. We would see people like Paco Ibañez sing, and we would make fun of them later the same night for being too serious.

But we would only do this in private because we knew all too well that people could still be garroted, probably in our city. The police were shooting rubber bullets at us and everyone, and we did not know who would be tortured to death in Carabanchel or elsewhere after we went home.

At this time that Blackguard was still a Falangist child. And on Thursday that fucking Blackguard called me a “Puritan” for not receiving his silly telephone communications to my home at 11:59 PM and later.

And I told him he was a manipulative, lying Blackguard. And that I, personally, would like a colleague. Not a 16 year old macho man son I did not raise or a 12 year old gossiping daughter I did not raise, either. And that I had plenty of comadres in my barrio, but that at my workplace I would like to see a professor.

“You have insulted my honor,” said he. Que nunca tuvo. Ni qué carajo.



Filed under Banes, News, What Is A Scholar?

On August 31, 2005…

The Times-Picayune reported the catastrophic flooding is expected to worsen over the next few days after rainfall from the hurricane flows into Lake Pontchartain from upstream rivers and streams. With the levees broken, the water will keep rising in the city of New Orleans until it is at same level as the lake and Mississippi River.


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Dios, que buen vassallo, si oviese buen señore!

This weekend we are singing in victory, so we invoke the Cid. Listen to the precise clashing of swords in the Poem of the Cid as transcribed at UT-Austin.

Here we have a much cuter version of the Cid — perhaps the very cutest ever.

The best kind of background music for the Cid’s activities is heavy metal.


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Filed under Arts, Poetry, Songs

For August 29: The ‘I’ of the Storm

On August 27, 2005, I talked to all my New Orleans people, and on August 28 they came here. Some stayed; others went on to Houston and Austin after lunch.

Traffic was really heavy that morning. The people and the storm were inevitably coming, and I was concerned to see how long we might be without electricity and how many trees might fall. I sat on the porch willing both storm and people to come on in.

On August 29 we were already in a state of tense mourning. We fed the ducks and looked at the sky. We did not learn that the levees had broken until the following day.

For this August 29, also my kitten Krishna’s ninth birthday, we will read a newly discovered post Katrina blog, The ‘I’ of the Storm.


The air is close and the sky, ominous. For his birthday, Krishna would like me to help him with his garden projects. He is there now, cutting back primroses, planting vines.



Filed under Bibliography, News

Reading for Pleasure Wednesday: Light Breaks

Light breaks where no sun shines;
Where no sea runs, the waters of the heart
Push in their tides;
And, broken ghosts with glow-worms in their heads,
The things of light
File through the flesh where no flesh decks the bones.

A candle in the thighs
Warms youth and seed and burns the seeds of age;
Where no seed stirs,
The fruit of man unwrinkles in the stars,
Bright as a fig;
Where no wax is, the candle shows its hairs.

Dawn breaks behind the eyes;
From poles of skull and toe the windy blood
Slides like a sea;
Nor fenced, nor staked, the gushers of the sky
Spout to the rod
Divining in a smile the oil of tears.

Night in the sockets rounds,
Like some pitch moon, the limit of the globes;
Day lights the bone;
Where no cold is, the skinning gales unpin
The winter’s robes;
The film of spring is hanging from the lids.

Light breaks on secret lots,
On tips of thought where thoughts smell in the rain;
When logics dies,
The secret of the soil grows through the eye,
And blood jumps in the sun;
Above the waste allotments the dawn halts.

D. T.


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The “Backboard Call”

All graduate advisors and dissertation directors may want to let their students know that Friday at midnight is not a good time to call your senior colleagues at home to complain about your class schedule.

“I am or was asleep, please talk to me at work on Monday” is a hint all, but especially untenured faculty members really ought to take — as opposed to simply dialing the next number.

My hairdresser refers to calls such as those I and others have now received as “backboard calls.” These are apparently similar to “booty calls” except that you the destinataire are being interpellated not as a booty but as a backboard — something for the destinateur to lob tennis or handballs at.

New faculty members should also realize that if they have made three or four backboard calls, their destinataires have probably talked among themselves, especially if you have also scheduled a meeting with an administrator.

If after that meeting you invite one of them to coffee saying I have to talk to you, something very serious has happened, you must realize that this destinataire will probably ask that administrator for a reality check before having coffee with you.



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It is the weekend, so despite missing Rising Tide, we must sing. Here is a new cantaor, an archangel, singing a toná. He is really brilliant.


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Rising Tide

It is the weekend and I am singing that I hoped to be at Rising Tide and to see you there! I promise I will go next year!


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Reading for Pleasure Wednesday: Åsa Larsson

In Spain, Swedish crime fiction is all the rage. I read Åsa Larsson‘s first novel Sun Storm and it was fascinating, as are most things Nordic. Now I want to see the film and to read recent books as yet untranslated. I would like to find out about Åsa Larsson’s possible preacher father.

You, too, can read Åsa Larsson but I think you should do so while drinking tinto de verano, the Spanish drink. To make this you mix red wine and Casera, which we do not have here. I have found that Sparkling Lime Water works fairly well.

Once you have your glass you can read Åsa Larsson in the language you wish, while listening to the original Swedish read aloud.


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Des Chemins

The summer is not actually gone, but for bureaucratic purposes it is, and I am thinking of the next one. My plan is never to spend June and July here again — in New Orleans perhaps, but not in Maringouin, it is too hot and desolate and we have no Andalusian fountains. All speculations about how it would be more practical to stay home are false.

The cost of getting to Mexico is about 1/3 the cost of getting to Europe and the cost of rent there is about 1/3 the cost of European (or Californian) rent, and 1/2 the cost of New Orleans rent. Therefore if I do not want to go to the frozen Southern Hemisphere, I should go to Mexico — the city I always miss. It is less cute and more stressful than Europe and I have no friends there, but it is the best bet. There are all kinds of ceramics courses available, as well as a bookstore that is as good as a library.

I think Mexico, although less exotic than Germany or the Faroes, is more cosmopolitan than Madrid or Lima. I am not sure about Buenos Aires, but Buenos Aires does not count because I find it unpleasant — it is snobbish and it has no Indians.

And I am an Indian, of course, although I became a stela long before the term “Indian” was created, and am now a mere detail. I think I should go to Mexico and work and then mail most of my things home. Then I should set out for Guatemala, most specifically the Cancuen.

To get to the Cancuen by land from Mexico City I believe one would have to go first to San Cristóbal de las Casas. From there one could go to Palenque, then Bonampak, and then cross into Guatemala. It appears there is little public  transportation in this area.

Have you been there? In the travel forums other people ask whether one can really take a bus from Palenque/Bonampak to Tikal/Cancuen, but I have not yet found an answer.


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