Serapes and ponchos

Mindful of you the sodden earth in spring,
And all the flowers that in the springtime grow,
And dusty roads, and thistles, and the slow
Rising of the round moon, all throats that sing
The summer through, and each departing wing,
And all the nests that the bared branches show,
And all winds that in any weather blow,
And all the storms that the four seasons bring.

You go no more on your exultant feet
Up paths that only mist and morning knew,
Or watch the wind, or listen to the beat
Of a bird’s wings too high in air to view,—
But you were something more than young and sweet
And fair,—and the long year remembers you.

Edna St. Vincent Millay, Sonnet 3

angelIt’s the time of year when you see ponchos and serapes on women of a certain age from north of the border. Friday morning there wasn’t a single Mexican (except for the owners) in the cafe I’ve been frequenting:  normally it’s perhaps a 50-50 mix of Mexicans and norteamericanos. The Writer’s Conference is in full swing and that’s adding to the crowds in town.

Overheard: an American man carrying a box that had been emptied of shoes he’d purchased online) from a store in the U.S. and which had been confiscated by Fedex or customs.  “You can’t have anything shipped [into Mexico] that touches the human body.” Hmmm.

Vendors were setup near the schools in hopes of selling Valentine sweets and novelties to the kids and flowers to the adults.

City of Angels has been on television this week, and the American remake of Wim Wender’s Wings of Desire has had me rethinking the Budapest decision.  After all, San Miguel is pretty cushy and I have it pretty easy here.  I might struggle with the language and complain about 30 or 40 nights of cool weather, but I’m leaping into a stormfest of not knowing anything that’s being said (and much of what’s written); most days here in San Miguel the weather is perfect with warm sun and pleasant shade and I’ll be trading that for Danubian tempests.  I wonder how long buyer’s remorse will last.


If an awareness is triggered, I start looking, and I see things everywhere.  I’d never seen a Hungarian movie on television, but there was Prima Primavera (2009) last night, a quirky crime comedy, which in its own way was a love story.

And then The Atlantic had an article for Valentine’s Day titled Do Americans Say ‘I Love You’ Too Much? How those three little words sound around the world, and, of course, it included a quote from a Hungarian. A woman living in Romania:

[Saying “I love you”] shows the weakness of the person who couldn’t control herself/himself and had to burst out. …

My partner is American who feels the urge of declaring his love to me verbally and nonverbally way too often. And he is hurt by my reaction or lack of response. It took me four years, but I learned that it is important to him, so I let him say it, and I say it back, surprisingly easily. English is not my first, second or third language, saying ‘‘I love you’’ means nothing to me. I wouldn’t dare say it in Hungarian to anyone…

I must say things are changing lately. For 30 years I only heard on TV anybody saying ‘‘I love you.’’ … Since I’ve been studying in the US, my father started to write me text messages on my cell phone ending in ‘‘I love you.’’ My Mom expresses the same in the end of her e-mails. It’s a huge step in my family and for my culture. They still don’t say it to my sister, who lives in the same city [abroad].

A breath of the freshest air

We aren’t beyond Beyoncé

Sean Trainor writes at Slate:

Here are some of my favorite commentaries to date:

Tiffany Lee, “If You Ain’t Got In-‘Formation,’” Black Girl Dangerous

Regina N. Bradley, “Before Beyoncé made ‘Formation,’ Zora Neale Hurston laid out her roadmap,” Washington Post

Dream Hampton, “Beyoncé’s ‘Formation’ Is A Visual Anthem,” NPRMusic

You can also consult Jessica Marie Johnson’s definitive compilation of “Formation” commentary on Diaspora Hypertext, the Blog.

Regina N. Bradley writes [in the article linked  above]:

In her 1928 essay “How It Feels to be Colored Me,” Hurston, the mother of country black girl magic, revealed a moment of clarity about her blackness and how it was not meant for everyone. She was enjoying a jazz performance – back when it was just black folks’ music and not “America’s music” – and had a sudden realization of what the music meant to a black woman after a brief exchange with a white jazz patron who was absent-mindedly enjoying the music.

Hurston writes: “Music. The great blobs of purple and red emotion have not touched him. He has only heard what I felt. He is far away and I see him but dimly across the ocean and the continent that have fallen between us. He is so pale with his whiteness then and I am so colored.”


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