Elegy for Joseph Cornell

María Negroni

(Cotillion, 1940)

Children are false models, unfinished stories. Here they are in a 1950s dining room at a party, surrounded by balloons, paper horns, and streamers. Soon they will: Fish a floating apple from a metal tub, using their teeth; fall asleep; drink sodas or pin the tail on the donkey—their gestures somewhat untidy. A child always brings his own piece of the world into the world so that reality exists. One might feel afraid of his white ankle socks, and of his vitality, which borders on cruelty. Joseph Cornell works here, on that edge where the apple is about to fall from the boy’s mouth—so he can keep playing. All through life, this same gesture: Capturing and losing, capturing and losing. The child a lonely hunter: His heart eludes him, and in that absence, destiny conspires; immensity is illuminated.

人人人人人    人人人人人人

人人人   人人人人人  人人人人人  人人人人人

                 人人人人人  人人人人人   人人人人人   人人人人人   人人人人人

     人人人人人   人人人人人   人人人人人   人人人人人   人人人人人

              人人人人人   人人人人人   人人人人人

                                                            人人人人人人人人人  人人人人


Toward a silent poetry: To think is to guess. I do not know if I will manage to find a future idea that way, but am willing to try. The important thing now is to tend the void (without passion, travel itinerary, or attachment to anything concrete), to combine what is common with eroticism and culture. To discover a form based on an absence of form. Is this even possible? Oh! If only I could become a swirl of arabesque smoke with its rising disorder—a swarm of gods in a workshop open to incoherence, as if in an afterlife state.


*  the stars  *  




There is a wall. And behind this wall are stars, hidden behind still other stars. Perhaps they were once fires—high visual echoes heading into ash. Who knows, distance is dazzling, just as Novalis’ odes dazzle us. Everything is happening at once—even the sky, the very low sky, where we burn—with one foot in eternity and the other in mud. The fact is that there is a wall, and real stars behind the other stars. What more is love? A girl drifts past, naked, brandishing a transparent secret.


a small






translated from the Spanish by Allison A. deFreese