I still dont really get it. In one sense, the name of the group is a joke. At the same time, its completely in earnest. Many years ago there was a Mexican avant-garde group called the visceral realists, I think, but I dont know whether they were writers or painters or journalists or revolution-aries. They were active in the twenties or maybe the thirties, Im not quite sure about that either. Id obviously never heard of the group, but my ignorance in literary matters is to blame for that (every book in the world is out there waiting to be read by me). According to Arturo Belano, the visceral realists vanished in the Sonora desert. Then Belano and Lima mentioned somebody called Cesárea Tinajero or Tinaja, I cant remember which (I think it was when I was shouting to the waiter to bring us some beers), and they talked about the Comte de Lautréamonts Poems, something in the Poems that had to do with this Tinajero woman, and then Lima made a mysterious claim. According to him, the present-day visceral realists walked backward. What do you mean, backward? I asked.
Backward, gazing at a point in the distance, but moving away from it, walking straight toward the unknown.
I said I thought this sounded like the perfect way to walk. The truth was I had no idea what he was talking about. If you stop and think about it, its no way to walk at all.
Other poets showed up later on. Some were visceral realists, others werent. It was total pandemonium. At first I worried that Belano and Lima were so busy talking to every freak who came up to our table that theyd forgotten all about me, but as day began to dawn, they asked me to join the gang. They didnt say group or movement, they said gang. I liked that. I said yes, of course. It was all very simple. Belano shook my hand and told me that I was one of them now, and then we sang a ranchera. That was all. The song was about the lost towns of the north and a womans eyes. Before I went outside to throw up, I asked them whether the eyes were Cesárea Tinajeros. Belano and Lima looked at me and said that I was clearly a visceral realist already and that together we would change Latin American poetry. At six in the morning I took another pesero, this time by myself, which brought me to Colonia Lindavista, where I live. Today I didnt go to class. I spent the whole day in my room writing poems.
Copyright ©2001-2003 Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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