A Beautiful Mind

18 Apr

Of the three people I have admired, perhaps inordinately, as an adult, two are still living— Cynthia Ozick and Eduardo Galeano (Howard Zinn, as you probably know, has passed away). This outsized admiration takes the form of serious devotion to their work and activities.

Eduardo Galeano with Robert Birnbaum's hound, Rosie

Uruguayan Galeano has published a panegyric to Montivideo the capital of his native land at the Daily Beast:

Every day I walk the city that walks me.

I walk through her and she walks through me.

At the edge of the river-sea, river as broad as the sea, the clear air clears my mind and my legs stride on while stories walk inside me.

Walking, I write. At a stroll, words seek each other and find each other and weave stories that later on I write by hand on paper. Those pages are never the final ones. I cross out and crumple up, crumple and cross in search of the words that deserve to exist: fleeting words that yearn to outdo silence.

Born on the path of a cannonball, Montevideo is swept by breezes that cleanse the air. Before there was a church or a hospital, this point of rock, earth, and sand had a café. It was called a pulpería, the first house with a wooden door amid the huts of mud and straw. They sold everything there, from a needle and a frying pan to a pack of tobacco, while men sitting on the floor drank wine and told lies.

Practically three centuries later Montevideo is still a city of cafés.

The poem continues here

Devotees of Eduardo Galeano can look forward to the publication of his forthcoming book Children Born of the Days.

Currently reading The Wet Engine by Brian Doyle (Oregon State University Press)

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