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The Book of Being

As usual, the taxi driver takes me where I do not want to go. Once I was lost on Syria Street; another time I appeared in Retiro, four blocks from my mother’s house (when I wanted the Roxy disco in Manhattan). Now he has just announced that he will leave me in Tetropolis. But this time I don’t object. Just feel downhearted, uncertain; at my original destination (assuming such a place exists), would anything be different? The radio is playing strange music; politely I ask him what it is. He seems offended:

“This isn’t music; they are reciting the Koran.”

He leaves me in a luminous empty city, no doors or alphabets or cemeteries. A city of silence, insomniac, between dawn and Thuringia.

“You should know”-- says the driver -- “that the only book that matters has already been written and is sung without music and is the most laborious and untranslatable music in existence, like a death agony.”


1994, Maria Negroni. Translation 1997, Anne Twitty.

ARCHIPELAGO Vol. 1, No. 1, Spring 1997

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