The afternoon grows light because at last
Abruptly a minutely shredded rain
Is falling, or it fell. For once again
Rain is something happening in the past.
Whoever hears it fall has brought to mind
Time when by a sudden lucky chance
A flower called "rose" was open to his glance
And the curious color of the colored kind.
This rain that blinds the windows with its mists
Will gladden in suburbs no more to be found
The black grapes on a vine there overhead
In a certain patio that no longer exists.
And the drenched afternoon brings back the sound
How longed for, of my father's voice, not dead.
Borges and I
It's the other one, it's Borges, that things happen to. I stroll about
Buenos Aires and stop, perhaps mechanically now, to look at the arch of
an entrance or an iron
gate. News of Borges reaches me through the mail and I see his name
on an acaaemic ballot or in a biographical dictionary. I like hourglasses,
eighteenth-century typography, the taste of coffee, and Stevenson's
prose. The other one shares these preferences with me, but in a vain way
that converts them into
the attributes of an actor. It would be too much to say that our relations
are hostile; I live, I allow myself to live, so that Borges may contrive
his literature and that
literature justifies my existence. I do not mind confessing that he
has managed to write some worthwhile pages, but those pages cannot save
me, perhaps because the
good part no longer belongs to anyone, not even to the other one, but
rather to the Spanish language or to tradition. Otherwise, I am destined
to be lost, definitively,
and only a few instants of me will be able to survive in the other
one. Little by little I am yielding him everything, although I am well
aware of his perverse habit of
falsifying and exaggerating. Spinoza held that all things long to preserve
their own nature: the rock wants to be rock forever and the tiger, a tiger.
But I must live on in
Borges, not in myselfÑif indeed I am anyoneÑ though I
recognize myself less in his books than in many others, or than in the
laborious strumming of a guitar. Years
ago I tried to free myself from him and I passed from lower-middle-class
myths to playing games with time and infinity, but those games are Borges'
now. and I will
have to conceive something else. Thus my life is running away, and
I lose everything and everything belongs to oblivion, or to the other one.
I do not know which of us two is writing this page.