March 24, 2011

It was in the city of spies
That I spoke with nothing but lies
When they set a trap for all you could feel
It's important that your mind is concealed



Ashley Bickerton, Walking Street, Pattaya, Thailand, 2010

* Who Would Dare, an essay by Roberto Bolano. excerpt:

The books that I remember best are the ones I stole in Mexico City, between the ages of sixteen and nineteen, and the ones I bought in Chile when I was twenty, during the first few months of the coup. In Mexico there was an incredible bookstore. It was called the Glass Bookstore and it was on the Alameda. Its walls, even the ceiling, were glass. Glass and iron beams. From the outside, it seemed an impossible place to steal from. And yet prudence was overcome by the temptation to try and after a while I made the attempt.
...
From the mists of that era, from those stealthy assaults, I remember many books of poetry. Books by Amado Nervo, Alfonso Reyes, Renato Leduc, Gilberto Owen, Heruta and Tablada, and by American poets, like General William Booth Enters Into Heaven, by the great Vachel Lindsay. But it was a novel that saved me from hell and plummeted me straight back down again. The novel was The Fall, by Camus, and everything that has to do with it I remember as if frozen in a ghostly light, the still light of evening, although I read it, devoured it, by the light of those exceptional Mexico City mornings that shine—or shone—with a red and green radiance ringed by noise, on a bench in the Alameda, with no money and the whole day ahead of me, in fact my whole life ahead of me. After Camus, everything changed.

I remember the edition: it was a book with very large print, like a primary school reader, slim, cloth-covered, with a horrendous drawing on the jacket, a hard book to steal and one that I didn’t know whether to hide under my arm or in my belt, because it showed under my truant student blazer, and in the end I carried it out in plain sight of all the clerks at the Glass Bookstore, which is one of the best ways to steal and which I had learned from an Edgar Allan Poe story.

* In DC?

This Saturday night, March 26th, at St. Stephens Church [1525 Newton Street NW], The Caribbean, sandwiched between performances by Carol Bui and Tereu Tereu, performs songs from their new record Discontinued Perfume as part of a astonishingly groovy Positive Force DC Benefit for 826 DC. 826DC is a nonprofit organization in Columbia Heights dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. 8pm, $8

* "That was Youth with its reckless exuberance when all things were possible pursued by Age where we are now, looking back at what we destroyed, what we tore away from that self who could do more, and its work that's become my enemy because that's what I can tell you about, that Youth who could do anything. " -- William Gaddis

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