Yo-Yo Boing! (a scene from the bilingual edition)

 Bilingual edition–The era of the generalist is coming back. The specialist is dated.  The nose specialist, does he consider your eyes, your mouth, your aura, your personality, before he breaks your nose and turns you into another chiguagua.  No, he goes cross-eyed staring at your nose.  Jack of all trades–the specialist diminishes the value of knowing it all, or at least, trying to grasp it all, and adds–Master of none.  Un especialista, just for discerning the details, is not un sabio.  El sabio puede ser un necio.  Mira lo que decía Alcibíades de Sócrates, borracho, en las tabernas, bebiendo vino, con los dientes podridos.  Mistaken for a beggar.  How can a wise man look so base?  Las apariencias engañan.

–No engañan, my darling, confunden. If I say–here, pretzels, here, porn films, here, sexy bodies–then, they will flock to me–looking for cheap thrills, thinking I am another Madonna, but in the middle of my show, I’ll play a trick on them, as they have been playing tricks on me.  Saying it’s great, when it tastes like shit.  I’ll do the opposite.  I’ll dress like a slutty punk, but I’ll give them the real thing, and I don’t mean coke.  I’ll give them poetry.

–What kind of poetry do you write?

–What do you mean?

–I write sonnets, and you?

–I can’t fit life into rhyme scheme.  It would be a straight jacket.  Rhythm is free.  How can I accept rhythms of ancient ages when I’m feeling my own rhythm.  The velocity of cars–the engines of our time–concords, faxes, guns and subways.  The way we talk and the way we commute.  Do we have time to write novels.  What is immortal in a novel is not the form which is long dead, but the context.  And the same with poetry–what is said–that remains, the way we say things, changes.

–Which means, you write blank verse like Neruda.

–No verse.

–Like Rimbaud–or BaudelaireLittle Prose Poems?

Arthur Rimbaud at the age of seventeen by Étie...

Image via Wikipedia

–I do not write little poems.  I write big books.  Which is not to imply that I like everything in them. 

–Then why do you publish them?

–Because it’s not a matter of liking.  Because to tell you the truth, many times, I don’t like myself.  What am I going to do?  Kill myself because I don’t like myself.  No, I exist.  Those poems I do not like function in the whole work.  And they work well.  So, it’s not a matter of liking.  I don’t like my nose, but it exists and it works well.

–You could also get a nose job.

–Why, I can breathe.

–Do you write every day?

–I don’t have something to say everyday.

–I always find something to say.  I have the feeling we are very different poets.  I’m sure Suzana told you that I won a poetry contest at the Poetry Society of America.  It had an environmental theme.  What do you write about?

–I don’t have themes.  I have flavors like Bazooka.  My favorite is the pink one.  I love to suck all the sugar out of the pink one.

–Flavors don’t last, especially Bazooka.  Poetry has a mission and I take my role very seriously.

–So do I.  I want poetry to be a fashion show–to have  a taste of frivolity–savoir faire–a taste of time at its peak–Kenzo, Gigli and Gautier.  I’m more excited by Bergdorf’s windows than the contemporary poetry I’ve read.

–Who have you read?

–I don’t read any of them.

–It shows. You must realize you’re limiting your audience by writing in both languages.  To know a language is to know a culture.  You neither respect one nor the other.

–If I respected languages like you do, I wouldn’t write at all.  El muro de Berlín fue derribado.  Why can’t I do the same.  Desde la torre de Babel, las lenguas han sido siempre una forma de divorciarnos del resto de la humanidad.  Poetry must find ways of breaking distance.  I’m not reducing my audience.  On the contrary, I’m going to have a bigger audience with the common markets–in Europe–in America.  And besides, all languages are dialects that are made to break new grounds.  I feel like Dante, Petrarca and Boccaccio, and I even feel like Garcilaso forging a new language.   

Saludo al nuevo siglo, el siglo del nuevo lenguaje de América, y le digo adiós a la retórica separatista y a los atavismos.

Saluda  al  sol,  araña,

no  seas  rencorosa.  

Un beso,

Giannina Braschi

 

One thought on “Yo-Yo Boing! (a scene from the bilingual edition)

  1. Giannina Braschi posessess one of the most original voices raised within Latino letters… I have read Yo-Yo Boing!…and found the work to be daring, novel, and likely to change the character of poetic discourse. No other writer has captured the mesh and flow of this new brand of American bilingualism with such passion, wit, and intensity….Yo-Yo Boing! is ideally situated to become a modern classic. Given its sophisticated play with languages, its unusual structure, and the poet’s dialectic voice, the piece challenges the boundaries set by cultural differences and calls for a cross cultural vision of human experience. She adds literary bilingualism to ethnically charged themes and locations. Yo-Yo Boing! is especially important and timely given the controversial rise of bilingualism across America and the work’s ability to situate itself amidst millennial angst. Anne Freire

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