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Authors: Sergio De La Pava

Tags: #Fiction, #General

Personae (3 page)

BOOK: Personae
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Despite the fact that trips to the capital were then only slightly less than impossible, Jose Arcadio Buendia promised that the moment the government placed its order he would attempt one so he could appear before the military powers-that-be to make practical demonstrations of his invention and personally train them in the complicated art of solar warfare.
 
With the gnarled mess the world got. It’s all enough to make the non-Spanish speaking world jump ship before Buendia can even announce his discovery that the world is round like an orange.
 
In sum, can anyone prefer “an earthly condition that kept him involved in the small problems of daily life” to “a terrestrial condition that kept him entangled in the miniscule problems of quotidian life” and does preference even matter when the Spanish is
una
condicíon
terrestre
que
lo
mantenía
enredado
en
los
minúsculos
problemas
de
la
vida
cotidiana
?
 
Problematic English, finally then, is my diagnosis.
 
The invisible sounds they generate, sure, but also just the way some words look on a page, black ink on white paper, so that it almost seems as if even someone deprived of their sense would recognize their beauty:
 
LONESOME
 
Death is insufficient to us part, deaths is required.
 
. . . the literary equivalent of melody.
 
Art, or a purposeful form of play that seeks to illuminate Life.
 
The author’s task is not to invent or even discover but to reassert, in compelling fashion, what we’ve long known to be true.
 
Melville dying in the gutter though he did damn near write The Gospels of his century.
 
. . . requires… special… selflessness… interest in others… inhabit… nature… engagement with… high… questions…
 
With proper Art man reminds himself of the ideal.
 
. . . great only insofar as it creates palpable human beings one can feel for; otherwise it’s far more likely empty exercise designed principally to benefit the exerciser.
 
Perfection (v.) of which marks the zenith of human activity such that…
 
“Avenge me man.”
“Avenge?”
“You mean avenge your death. His death he wants you should avenge.”
“What does that even mean?”
“I’m dying bro, you see the blood.”
“He’s dying.”
“No that part I get. It’s the avenging part that stops me.”
“Avenge my death.”
“How?”
“How he says. Kill the man who killed him, there’s no other how.”
“Kill? I’m going to kill someone? From what I’ve seen society frowns upon that sort of thing.”
“Society? Who brings up society at a time like this? It’s his dying wish, just accede to it.”
“Easy for you to say, I don’t see you rushing to avenge. Go ahead. Take a blood oath to do so, there’s plenty with which.”
“That’s silly, I don’t know this guy from a hole in the wall.”
“That’s another thing. I mean I know you and all but we were never really that close. Don’t you have like a brother or something who can avenge?”
“Course not, don’t you think you’d know if he had a brother? Falls on you man.”
“My point exactly. If I don’t even know if he has a brother, I’m probably not the best choice for avenger. I could probably be the guy who relays the message to his eight brothers that he wanted to be avenged.”
“His death avenged.”
“No brothers, avenge me. My death.”
“What about, like, a really tough sister?”
“Will you stop? There’s no time to lose. Look at him. Swear you’ll avenge!”
“Fine, I’ll avenge! But I don’t even know where to start. Who’s the recipient of my avengeance? Is that even a word?”
“Who did you man?”
“Also who asks for avenging? You own a deli, all of a sudden you’re a goddamn Shaolin monk or something?”
“Know him?”
“No.”
“Better describe him then.”
“He’s black.”
“African-American.”
“Great, I’m avenging a racist.”
“Huge.”
“Naturally, can’t buy a break.”
“What else? Nothing else, he’s gone. You’re going to have to run with that.”
“Run? I can’t even trot with that.”
“You’ll have to do some investigation. Start collecting fibers.”
“Fibers?”
“Yeah, it all starts with fibers it seems.”
“Fibers. You collect the damn fibers you roped me into this thing. Fibers.”
“Here’s a fiber, a giant one. Yellow and spongy, what do you make of it?”
“That’s a Twinkie.”
 
Proper Art increases the recipient’s capacity for empathy thereby increasing the world’s store of Love.
 
Emily Dickinson’s Letter to the World bound in a drawer away from any auction of the mind.
 
Ask the four if the forty come back no more and only the waves reply.
 
I am not a man who suffers fools gladly. In fact if you ever see me in the presence of a fool you will almost immediately note that I refuse to suffer him. Or if I do suffer him, do so in a manner that can never be mistaken for glad. Of course this inability and the biting comments it requires has earned me a well-deserved reputation so that I will often hear my name come up in public discourse only to hear one party say something to the effect that
well
you
know
he
doesn’t
suffer
fools
gladly
to which the other will respond something like
no,
he
doesn’t
. Which reputation, of course, comes with its own responsibilities so that many is the time I have found myself in the presence of a fool and thought
why
don’t
you
go
ahead
and
suffer
this
guy
for
a
while,
where’s
the
harm?
But then I’ll remember what I’m known for doing with fools and I’ll stop. Not that it’s always easy to identify a fool either because many is the time that I’ve been going along suffering some person like it was the most natural thing in the world when I’ll suddenly realize
hey
this
person’s
a
fool,
and
what’s
worse
I’ve
been
suffering
him,
gladly!
BOOK: Personae
8.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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