El barrio(lage) desconocido by David Ting

Page 1

El barrio(lage) desconocido by David Ting ‘17 This poem was inspired by Augustin Hadelich and Pablo Sáinz-Villegas’s marvelous violin/guitar collaboration, titled “Histoire du Tango.” Their performance was an aural record of a fruitful, evolving friendship. The poem’s title is a wordplay on bariolage, a violin technique familiar to all ears, even if not by name. Wikipedia describes the technique: The bowed string instrument musical technique bariolage (French for “multi-colored” or … “odd mixture of colors,” from the verb barioler, “to streak with several colors”) … This may involve quick alternation between a static note and changing notes, that form a melody … The static note is usually an open string note, which creates a highly resonant sound.

Bariolage is split into two words: barrio, Spanish for “neighborhood,” and Lage, German for “place.” The barrio desconocido is the “unknown neighborhood” created by the music, that palpable but invisible and mysterious community in the concert hall. As for the connotation of Lage, Pablo’s guitar was made in Germany. Structurally, the poem resembles a bariolage. If reading alone, ignore the split between the columns and read across the lines as you would a page of prose. Alternatively, the two monologues may be read simultaneously by two readers.

Red button sealing his closed collar

Red handkerchief nested in his open collar

The only red they were wearing that evening I didn’t know that they’d be so handsome It is good to think of the two men (la red means “network” in Spanish) As a circuit They will show us the rooms Gleaming with grounded flamenco and airy folk We will forget what they’ve told us We will also forget That outside, there is moonlight And upon exiting the hall, you will want to The concert fuses night and daylight Excerpting an impossible moment From the fabric of history. What time of night is it in Richardson, really? The unknown neighborhood’s stucco walls Are being freshly plastered Like the heroism that is required To feel the nostalgia for an unknown home, Augustin exudes deep gratitude for the music, For all, and this moved me.

We didn’t think we would be spoken to this soon That neck belongs to the handkerchief Of a matador And we must continue, the concert must go on We cannot spend all night talking to them They must show their true colors And feel ourselves listen like never before. What dances in us when we do not rise? Marna told us that we were allowed To dance in the aisles with freed hands So the Manuel de Falla: The opening canción was El paño moruno, Or “The Moorish cloth,” paño being cloth Moruno is also a culinary term To think of Pablo cooking pleases everyone The guitar conjures twilit arabesques, and also Dusky neighborhoods, which will develop Like Polaroids at the performance’s end We will be shown pictures of home, We can be home in so many places Loved in ways crossing so many languages


That’s what Falla’s Jotas españolas did to me. I heard Augustin breathing with the bowing, and Against the draw. I tried breathing in tandem, I sensed an enlivening organism, Spine swaying while we remained motionless, Nodules of its perfume released like balloons Specking the golden sky of a fecund autumn, the Hopeful canvas for the unknown neighborhood. The plucked strings like bright blue wings The Sarasate brings a jaunt to the neighborhood. Then, all of the town lights on, brilliantly! Slivers of desert joined to maroon arabesques Night ending with a tenderer drone that Might’ve warmed into a vibrato, I can’t recall anymore, but I adore. And then Hadelich Readies himself, golem of shadow, For the Ysaÿe, such precision, the bow tracing Complex geometries, Parabolas of pitch, to serenade The most awake in the unknown neighborhood In this darkness which is cause for anticipation, Because we are at the cinema, thanks to Ashton.

Relax on the steps, and listen like us.

The Piazzolla I’ve been waiting for all night. Then how Augustin strides back onstage, gallant That Soul of the Tango album again. I know 1900 The violin crafts arrows of thyme and paprika

Recall the scents and rhythms of our families Wafts from the kitchens of the beloveds. It was probably the paella As the guitar strung a nest from moonbeams Digital pings sounded over its open mouth A professional sound I didn’t think was possible

Pablo tries to displace his good looks Into the sounds coming from his guitar But he only partially succeeds. Witness the panorama of the Andalusian town Strands of sunlight are quieting the hills Incandescent bulbs for a carnival, or wedding, Sequenced for romance, for kisses underneath Then for walks in peace, arms around shoulders

‘Feeling’ the audience really means to reject Language. To abolish words, and to have a Communion through the rhythms of the heart. In blood-red filters, he is as virtuosic As he is casual. Such precision, for the Dyens We wish he would not slice those staccatos so, Wish they were not so abbreviated, those nips Could instead be thrumming bites, or legato But that could’ve been the composer’s decision Although Pablo is excited to improvise. So he opens his heart to the sunset lights.

So I am looking forward to the Histoire du Tango, I grew up listening to Piazzolla, first Yo-Yo Ma I was in the bordello. I hear it again In the house of red lights


At the end of the lane, my childhood preserved And I remember the dreams I used to have Dreams caressed by a faithful and virtuous night Some drift out of the windows The unknown neighborhood continues untainted And thirty years later we step into the café The air is slow. We move at the pitch of dream. Someone’s turned on a plain white spotlight. 1960 gives me even more, but in indigo. Augustin plays the bridge, and the Strad. quacks! Everywhere else …. how he sings! For that last one, they improvised the most!

“Libertango” sneaks shoe-taps of melody in The guitar beds the violin’s barriolage Sinless and omnivorous lovemaking Pillows are thrown, clusters of feathers caught How could this be anywhere but home? Those sheets of stainless white in stasis Breathing. No caffeine to be had anywhere. It gives me hope. Pablo is showing us the way back. These two were our guides before we knew them. Pablo’s guitar has dreamed us, for decades! The last movement ends with a brotherly hug!

I could cry all over again. I have little to say about “Djangology,” except It reminds me of riding in the open back Of a pickup truck driving along a dusty road, Our hair parted by the wind. Going—home.

And so. I’ll tell you the truth about Hadelich watching that point of contact between Horsehair and metal. Or,

The slightest surfaces, The truth is that Love lives here. This is where the unknown neighborhood is.

The unknown neighborhood, and how to find it. Take, for instance, Villegas closing his eyes and sensing his fingertips Across the wires. The millimeters of contact, The truth is that Love lives here. This is where the unknown neighborhood is.