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ALEJANDRA PIZARNIK - Last seconal, Last Tango, 40 years ago

Written by Henrik Aeshna on Wednesday the 13th of July 2016

ALEJANDRA PIZARNIK - Last seconal, Last Tango, 40 years ago (+ "Shadow of the days to come", translated from the Spanish by Henrik Aeshna) - March 26, 2012

"when it's night time, always, a tribe of mutilated words looks for shelter in my throat"


Following presentation & translated poem by Henrik Aeshna, Paris

Alejandra Pizarnik (Buenos Aires, 1936-1972). Woman. Bird. Cornered rat. Wandering jew. Ju-ju witch. Siouxsie & the Banshees. Limbless butterfly. - Poet. Angel. Suicide bomber. Pussy Riot. - What did she see in Antonin Artaud's shattered eyes? The madman, the saint, the plague? Her own double like a twin shadow burning at the stake? A sunflower field in flames? - Nowadays, our Joan-of-Arcs are burnt alive in microwave ovens, though. Like dolls, babies, birds, butterflies in a microwave oven, a solitary spotlight (Forget all cliches). And one way or the other, they die, while baking cakes or poisons, Russian doll candles drowning themselves in disaster, always on the verge of the abyss. Like Emily Dickinson. Like Diane Arbus, like Francesca Woodman, like Ana Cristina César, Elis Regina, like Lucha Reyes, like Danielle Collobert & Mireille Havet . Like Billie Holiday "Lady Day"*. Like Hamlet & Jesus Christ. Like Chantal Akerman in Saute ma ville (Blow up my city), Anita Berber tearing her heart out in a German brothel after the last cabaret, Virginia Woolf in the Ouse River, her pockets filled with stones & her head overburdened with ghosts, or then Sylvia Plath in a household gas chamber, definitely disillusioned with Oz, as well as Judy Garland; Who's afraid of Baba Yaga? Lady Lazarus' eyes are way deeper than Marilyn Monroe's, anyway - The world is a firegun. Woman is the trigger of the world: "Let's blow it up, baby, it's the weekend", would say Thelma & Louise before driving over the cliff & swan-diving into the Grand Canyon, the ultimate flip off & betrayal - and what a weekend!  ...Buenos Aires, Paris, New York, Paris, Buenos Aires, Madhouse, heaven & hell. A glass jar stuffed with pills, alcohol, hells, laughters, poems, confinements, umbilical cords, ether-soaked cotton clouds on fire, eclipses, crisis, chrysalis, gardens, mental asylum grease & stench, solitaries, seesaws, dollhouses, downers & a handful of broken rhymes, yeah, Lady Day has too much rain & too much pain** - life is quite a fardeau...; a secondhand princess playing on a seesaw with her pain, picking up the scattered pieces of an unsolvable puzzle then falling out of a sequoia, a helpless cry cuddling in the arms of night, endless nights - a larva, then a toddler, then a stubborn stalker, advancing stealthily through a fast-motion holocaust in pursuit of her prey, which is none other than... herself. Or an endless sleep, a sweet slip into Nothingness. It's the weekend. Whatever happened to the cotton dress girl? "Mustn't forget to commit suicide", she wrote, like a subtly silent kamikaze caterpillar in the spinning 'vagina monologue' of her microwave-like bedroom. No butterfly would ever emerge from that cocoon again. Her last tango in Buenos Aires was a silent bomb blast, a self-induced overdose of seconal. She had at last managed to blow up her city.


Shadow of the days to come
... For Ivonne A. Bordelois

they will clothe me in ashes at dawn
They will fill my mouth with flowers
I will learn to sleep
in the memory of a wall
in the breathing
of an animal that dreams


Sombra de los días a venir
a Ivonne A. Bordelois

me vestirán con cenizas al alba,
me llenarán la boca de flores.
Aprenderé a dormir
en la memoria de un muro,
en la respiración de un animal que sueña.

- text & translation by Henrik Aeshna, Paris, March 26 2012, sunrise

- notes:

* Lou Reed "
Lady Day ":
"After the applause had died down, and the people drifted away
 She climbed down the bar
 And went out the door
 To the hotel
 That she called home
 It had greenish walls
 A bathroom in the hall"

** Frank Sinatra "
Lady Day "