Macedonio Hernández | Gully Thoughts


Traducción: Silvina Vital

I saw the guy. I saw him walking along Italia Street. And I don’t know if that was at night or the guy was the night, but the guy was walking along Italia Street and the night was gulping his shadow and his steps.

Was there anyone in the street? Probably, but the presence of people doesn’t necessarily mean company. (Doesn’t it happen to you sometimes to be standing alone even when surrounded by people?)

At the corner of Italia and Zeballos the guy plunges headlong into his thoughts so as not to feel so lonely, and he thinks about Galileo. You ought to be a little dummy to ask Galileo for company. Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. We are such a piece of Babel…!

“There are subtle confusions,” the guy thinks. “A negative increase, for example, or an increase in slowness. And there are dialectical confusions -to take velocity for speed and power for energy…” When the guy gets to the corner of Italia and Rioja, he watches a rag-picker checking the stuff thrown away from a house of false queens, and the guy thinks: “Look, Galileo. There are those who take giving for sharing.”

Listen. I could now go on talking about this man going along Italia Street until I see him getting to the Paraná River gully. I could resort to Galileo, to the law of free falling bodies, and I could then tell you of the non-free falling of this guy over the gully. I could also say that nobody looks at the people around, and that Facebook friends are not friends of ours but friends with Facebook… I could also make this guy climb over the fence, drive him close to the abyss and make him feel all mixed up with so much Babel stuff –and I would then be coherent with the teachings that we usually get from so many educators in their school outlets…

Come see with me. We have the guy here, a step from the edge of the abyss, it’s night-time, nobody will realize of his jump. It is even possible that no one will even notice by day-time that he is no longer here. But if I do this to him, I do it to myself and to you. And I don’t know if there’s someone there, listening to me right now, but let’s do something else -because when you “do something”, you ought to do it to “make yourself better off”.

People say these days: “Either you kill or you get killed.” And maybe that’s why good people are so prone to suicide… And so let’s do something, and the guy delves again into thinking, and he thinks about Babel and about confusions –velocity and speed, power and energy, giving and sharing, you and I- and only then, eventually, we get the guy to smile. The guy smiles as he thinks: you and I. “I am not worried about confusions.” And he guy also thinks: “you and I, all mixed up, are like a “Babel paradigm” –a kind of Babel eroticism, the mixture of tongues –yours and mine, your kiss, our kiss.”

Listen. Let’s also do this… The guy turns round and goes back his steps. The guy walks back some blocks along Italia Street, up to a corner he knows so well. Very well. And at that corner the guy says to the night in a loud voice: “Do not hate yourself for doing. It is necessary to love oneself in order to keep one’s life. When you do something, you ought to do it to make yourself better off.”

And so you can say: “he was just a guy, an ordinary guy.” It’s true; he was just a guy of a regular kind –a guy and a stereotype. But you know what? It is always worth winning the battle against sadness and solitude, even if it was only once in the night of a night. And if, besides everything else, there is someone there listening to me and willing to rewrite my stories of sadness and solitude, please do come. Come here, let’s walk along Italia Street, let’s go see the river, let’s do something to make ourselves better off.

Come on. I’ll bring the mate and you’ll keep me company...

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