* gabriel garcia marquez: a lyrical alignment

This week’s poem is a lyrical alignment from Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s prologue to his short story collection Strange Pilgrims.

In his prologue – entitled “Why Twelve, Why Stories, Why Pilgrims” – Marquez details the journey of his stories, how some have traveled with him for years and others arrived unexpected. I remember marveling at the openness with which he shared his patience with the ineffable act of writing as well as the depth of his memory. He finishes this “story behind the stories” with a short account of a dream he had. It is this account that I’ve decided to lyrically aligned. What moves me most about Marquez’s account of his dream is the innocence of the revelation on mortality he arrives at by the end.

I had a similar revelation while watching Terminator 2 as a kid. Another dream, this one on film: the main character, Sarah Connor, imagines herself standing at a chain-link fence, watching kids play. The entire scene is without sound. Then a nuclear explosion goes off in the distance, which she seems to be the only one aware of. The viewer watches as the blast from the explosion lays waste first to the playground, kids,  and then to Sarah, who screams to herself in silence. Young, I replayed this scene over and over before I slept, each time trying to imagine the nothing implied by the silence and black screen at the scene’s end.

Looking back on it, Marquez’s dream of a party is a better scenario 🙂

* cosas de rosas *
* cosas de rosas *

“…I dreamed I was attending my own funeral,” – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

a lyrical alignment from Marquez’s “Strange Pilgrims”

walking with a group of friends
dressed in solemn mourning
but in a festive mood. We all

seemed happy to be together.
And I more than anyone else,
because of the wonderful

opportunity that death afforded me
to be with my friends from Latin America,
my oldest and dearest, the ones

I had not seen in so long. At the end
of the service, when they began to disperse,
I attempted to leave too, but one of them

made me see
with decisive finality
that as far as I was concerned,

the party was over. – You’re the only one
who can’t go – he said. Only then
did I understand

that dying
means never being
with friends again.

***

Happy againing!

Jose

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4 thoughts on “* gabriel garcia marquez: a lyrical alignment

  1. This is lovely, Jose. Thanks for sharing. I, too, found that scene in Terminator 2 haunting. As many times as I’ve watched the movie, it’s the only scene I still remember.

  2. This is very nice! I’m going to remember this one. And now I’m just reached to my shelf for my copy of the book which, it turns out was re-titled “Strange Pilgrims” (English version). I’ll be re-reading the prologue soon, and likely the stories, too.

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