In Search of Borges
Art Exchange VOL.01/2014|By Ge Fang

   

The Most Beautiful Strait

Indian Indigenous People

 

Yes, I was searching, searching for one person, Jorge Luis Borges, the great writer and philosopher. He poured so many sentiments into this city. He enjoyed the dusk, suburban desolation and melancholy of Buenos Aires, while aspiring for the morning, urban area and tranquility. He would like to walk around aimlessly by himself, or focusing on the road in a hurry, or studying map, thinking slothfully in the coffee house. “Nobody knows who he is and nobody is somebody by the essence.” He tended to think by self-denial. 

I could picture his features, timid, melancholic, slightly nodding on one side with a pair of clean hands. He is a typical old Argentina gentleman, just like the man whom I met in the elevator of California Hotel. He extended his hand as a sign of Lady First. When he realized that I came from Asia, he struck up a simple conversation with me in English, smiling, nodding and bidding goodbye. 

Walking out of the hotel, I found the azure blue sky filled with warm sentiments. It was December right now in Buenos Aires, the bright summer time. Beautiful colored skirts and purple lilacs lent luster to each other and the fragrant scents permeated in harmony. It occurred to me that in my childhood, I managed to memorize the name of this city with the longest translated Chinese characters in my geographic course and came up with the mnemonic verbal combination, which helped me to picture a princess in the fairy tale swirling herself alone on tiptoes in a colored skirt to vent her upsetting. Later, I knew that this name was based on the following anecdote. At the beginning of the 16th century, a Spanish exploration fleet from afar entered the mouth of River La Plata. At the sight of vast expanse of green land bathed in sunny sunshine amid the brisk air, a seaman could help exclaiming, “Buenos Aires!” (Spanish “What fresh air!”) This exclamation became the name of this city that was constructed later. Now, I inhaled a deep, deep breath, while just like a boundless dreamland, the street and market provided countless possibilities for my sojourn in this city. 

I was at Tucuman Street. I felt a little scorching hot under the sunshine. An Argentina girl with curvy shape was talking with a man in the green foliage, holding a tea in hand and wearing the skirt. I got a glimpse of that small building, where there was a tranquil and deep courtyard inside with vines planted and tortoises swimming in the cistern. Perhaps, it should be the ancient house of Borges. That year, he was born into the house of his grandma. It was in winter, clammy and cold. This truly-born boy of Buenos Aires inherited his father’s typical deformity and diseases, viz. myopia and blindness. “Blindness is the forbidden darkness and I am living in the center of lightening haze.” He walked in the darkness and recited loads of poems and prose to fight against the darkness. For him, streets were his maximum liberty. When his vision still allowed him to stroll alone, he desired to be slightly rushed by women carelessly in order to gratify “the desires of eyes”. At the center of the desolate streets, he touched this tranquil city with his inner feelings. “In my dreams, I used to and will live always in Buenos Aires.” 

Sitting on a chair, I was sipping a cup of coffee for 30 pesos. I imitated whom I ran after to hang down my head, contemplating. I had taken the flight of more than 30 hours, from the east of Asia to cross Europe via the boundless Atlantic Sea to the South America with the coverage of thousands of miles. Because of fog, my plane stayed in Uruguay for half of hour. It was the plane of Lufthansa Airlines with a German airhostess whose outlook resembled to the heroine of the film The Reader. In the novel, that 15-year-old boy got the scarlet fever and bumped into Hanna, the conductor of more than 30 years on the bus. Right, their names were similar as well. Therefore, the reading of life unfolded itself within this immoral love. The boy was always clouded by the sex, the initial phase of life when he entered the adulthood. With a tall nose bridge, melancholic eyes, he read the books with dancing rhythms between words and voices. Sex, Germany, the Second World War, the redemption, the revival of humanity, all of them were interwoven together and set the unique tone of this novel. A German boy sat next to me, it was rather a pity that we had not exchanged our ideas. I only sat there, enjoying the music of Flying Eagle Band, whose slightly hoarse voices carried the elongated silvery melodies to accompany me all along. The darkness had silently fallen and I had no idea where I was. When I woke up, the far end of the southern hemisphere was just under my feet. To the south, to the south, to the farthest southern tip of the world, it was no longer an untouchable dream after several days of journey. Affected by the air flow, the plane experienced slight bumps. Two Argentina cities, Buenos Aires and Ushuaia were waiting for me silently. Walking along the end of world, I could think nothing and sit by the beach enjoying the sunset quietly. At that moment, nothing was in trance and the world was empty with the far-reaching clarity.  

In Buenos Aires, I was here at this moment. The statues stood tall proudly around the corner. They were Argentina national heroes and remembered by their posterity because of their devotion to the independence and liberty. I could only recognize whether I had walked this road or not by these statues. On the buildings, various patterns were painted. To strike and demonstrate, it is a common practice. People were verbalizing their ideas vehemently on the streets and some media were busy interviewing. Some couples were embracing each other passionately under the purple locust trees as well. Argentina people had rich or exaggerated facial expressions with vigorous gestures. To put myself in this totally new but extremely rhythmic language context, I developed a very special feeling. It seemed that I could follow all their words, what they wanted to express were noting but love, liberty, life, blue sky, the inner loneliness and the meticulous emotions. 

The streets converged towards me. I raised my hand and took a boat floating to my dreams. Reading the poems of Borges, I kept on strolling. “When the twilight/slinks into all the windows to the east/ a cry for morning prayer/ from a lofty tower/ to the skyline of dawn/ to announce in the city of the Immortals/ the loneliness of God.” 

The starlit night woke up the long-repressed power within myself, the lonely pursuer. I shook off all the trammels by the common ideas and enable my soul to take a fatal flight with the view to reaching the pure and empty world. In Buenos Aires, this special city, I tightened my shoelaces and attempted to pass through all the streets and dusk like a wind in the hope of engraving all the mirrored images in my mind, trees, flowers, buildings, crowds, scents, loneliness, literature and art. I wished to implant all the unattainable images into my cerebral cortex. Even if it would last instantly, it would cling to the divine spirits all the way.   

I was standing in the center of water pool, toward which five or six streets converged, it reminded me of a blossoming lotus with thousands of petals swaying and dancing in the soothing breeze. I had no idea of which direction I should take. The dusk of Buenos Aires was filled with the aroma of coffee and faint scent of refined tea. The high purple locust trees were rustling, while the flowers were bent on weaving out the stunning beauty. Strolling alone, I didn’t clearly remember which road I came along and didn’t know how to express which direction I shall take. Argentines passed by me, speaking Spanish. This language was totally strange to me, however, it burst out like splendid fireworks in the midnight with its rhymes, rhythms and emotions stretching towards the direction of streets and forming a mirroring trance. 
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