A World of Names
Translated by: Eloína Prati dos Santos
Artwork by Alfredo Aquino
There is no news from Ghardaia. We do not know what life is like in Sandoa. There must be a starry sky in Marbat, a dazzling woman in Kandalaksha, the soul of a poet in Jayapura. It may be that to this day each person in the Banks Islands uses a private song as a letter of recommendation to the afterlife. Some delicateness must exist in Nanjing, some pleasure in Puerto Deseado, some fresh late afternoon breeze in Buenaventura, small but extraordinary things that do justice to the beauty of these names.
What we know of little towns, islands and villages which suddenly occupy the world news is something else. We learn about Leogane, Port Prince and Carrefour because the earth moved there and their wound of misery was unraveled to everyone’s eyes. We remember Beslan because the name evokes a massacre and one hundred and eighty six candles alight, one for each child. News from the Island of Honshu arrives after a tsunami occurred there. We know of Strasshof since a girl disappeared on her way to school and reappeared, flying from captivity, more than eight years later. Dogo Nahawa would very probably remain a village hidden in a map if hundreds of field workers had not been hacked open by knives there. Nor would we have heard this soon about Abbottabad if twenty soldiers had not descended there with their machine guns one Monday at dawn.
When these previously unknown musical names become the talk of the day it is not due to their cherry gardens, their peacefulness, their harvest songs, their dark or white lands. They are names pronounced because of an excess on a worldwide scale. Not because they speak of those little but extraordinary things which whisper that there is no world. There are worlds.
Mariana Ianelli is a poet, essayist and literary critic from São Paulo with an M.A. in Literature and Literary Criticism. She has contributed to anthologies, literary journals, and newspapers and has published several books. Treva Alvorada (Illuminuras, 2010) received an Honorary Mention for the Casa de Las Americas Prize.