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Something Like The Persistence of Water w/ Bitsy Knox feat. Mayra Rodríguez Castro

11 March 2021

In this special 30th episode of Something Like, we look at the glistening, darkened, persistent paths that water carves, producing new life in the process. A year into recording Something Like from my bedroom in Kreuzberg, we’ll also look into the cyclical quality of water, and so its place in memory. We’ll return to the observance of its dual states: wetness and dryness, high tide and low tide, the shore and the depths of a pool. To navigate all of this, we have Alejandra Pizarnik’s 1962 poem Caminos des Espejo as a guide, this time read by the poet Mayra Rodríguez Castro from her current home in La Esperanza, Colombia—one of the rainiest places in the world.

  • Special thanks to Mayra for her contributions to this episode!
  • Thanks as always to Roger 3000 for providing us with Something Like’s jingle
  • The music behind my voice in this episode is from Toshiya Sukegawa’s (助川敏弥), Bioçic Music Aqua (バイオシック・ミュージック 「水」),1993

Mayra A. Rodríguez Castro is a poet and translator. Rodríguez is the editor of Dream of Europe: Selected Seminars and Interviews (Kenning Editions, 2020). Her translations include the Pornomiseria Manifesto by Luis Ospina and Carlos Mayolo (2017) and Ecogenoethnocide by Santiago Arboleda Quiñonez (2018). Here is an interview with Mayra speaking about Audre Lorde, Dream of Europe: Selected Seminars and Interviews, a book that Mayra edited and released with Kenning Editions last year. 

Ladan Osman is a poet, born in Somalia and raised in Columbus, Ohio. She earned a BA from Otterbein University and an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin’s Michener Center for Writers. In 2014 her poetry collection The Kitchen Dweller’s Testimomy won the annual Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets. Osman lives in Chicago. Read her poem Water at Narrative Magazine.

Alejandra Pizarnik was a poet, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1936. She studied philosophy and literature at the University of Buenos Aires before dropping out to pursue painting and her own poetry. She lived in Paris from 1960–64. She published eight books of poetry before her death in 1972 at age 36, by suicide.

Here is Lydia Merriman Herrick’s English translation of Caminos del Espejo from the Spanish:

Paths of the Mirror

I

And above all gazing with innocence. As if nothing were happening, which is true.

II

But I want to look at you until your face moves far from my fear like a bird on the sharp edge of night.

III

Like a little girl drawn with pink chalk on an ancient wall suddenly erased by the rain.

IV

Like when a flower opens up and reveals the heart it doesn’t have.

V

All the gestures of my body and my voice to make an offering out of me, the branch that leaves the wind on the threshold.

VI

Cover the memory of your face with the mask of the one you’ll be and frighten the little girl that you were.

VII

Their shared night dispersed with the fog. It’s the season of cold nourishment.

VIII

And thirst, my memory is of thirst, I below, in the bottom, in the well, I would drink, I remember.

 IX

To fall like a wounded animal in the place that was going to be revelatory.

 X

Like someone who doesn’t want something. Not a thing.

Sewn mouth. Sewn eyelids. I forgot. Inside, the wind.

Everything closed and the wind inside.

XI

Words turned golden in the black sun of silence.

 XII

But silence is certain. That’s why I write. I’m alone and I write.

No, I’m not alone. There’s someone here who trembles.

XIII

Even if I say sun and moon and star I refer to things that happen to me.

And what did I want?

I wanted the perfect silence.

That’s why I speak.

 XIV

Night takes the form of a wolf’s howl.

XV

The pleasure of getting lost in the premonitory image. I arose from my corpse, I went looking for who I am. Wanderer from myself, I’ve gone towards she who sleeps in a country to the wind.

XVI

My endless fall into my endless fall where nobody awaited me, since upon seeing who was waiting I saw none other than myself.

XVII

Something was falling in the silence. My last word was I but I was referring to the luminous dawn.

   XVIII

Yellow flowers in a circular constellation of blue earth. The wind-filled water quakes.

XIX

Glare of the day, yellow birds in the morning. A hand unleashes darkness, a hand drags the hair of a drowned woman who doesn’t cease passing by the mirror. To return to the memory of the body, I have to return to my grieving bones, I have to understand what my voice says.

Playlist

Sun Ra Arkestra, Sea of Darkness / Darkness, Swirling, 2020

Mayra Castro Rodríguez reads Alejandra Pizarnik’s Caminos del Espejo, 1962

Dorothy Carter, Along the River, Waillee Waillee, 1978

The Growth Eternal, V. My Storm at Sea, Bass Tone Paintings, 2020

Laila Sakini, The Potion in the Pool (Flora Yang Remix), 2020

Flesh & Bone, Ocean Song, Skeleton Woman, 1992

Nobue Kawana, あのとき限りの私たち (A no toki kagiri no watashitachi), Nobue’s Sea, 1975

Ana Roxanne, Venus, Because of a Flower, 2020

Né Ladeiras, Húmus Verde, Alhur, 1982

Fred Simon & Liz Cifani, Time and the River, Time and the River, 1995

Rock & Waves Song Circle, I, Rock & Waves Song Circle, 2016

Brian Bennett, The Sea, Nature Watch, 1982

O Terno, Profondo/Superficial, , 2019

Ursula K. Le Guin & Todd Barton, A River Song, Music & Poetry of the Kesh, 1985 (2018)

Kay Gardner, Atlantis Rising, Emerging, 1978

Cris Williamson, Waterfalls, The Changer and the Changed, 1975

Mayra Rodríguez Castro, lluvia, 2021

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