by Javier Gomez

Desenterrar, profundizar
es la forma más simple
de iluminar, de luz llenar
las grietas de mi alma
-Massacre, El espejo (Reflejo I)

She lights one in the dead of night, the sudden flare shattering the murky quietness. The air is crisp outside, but the rooftop is the best spot to think. A dog howls in the distance. The last kiss still stings on Nadia’s lips. That guy Leo was so unexpected and charming and true. Honest, funny. None of that raw aggressive crap she’s had to face in the past few months. Looks like she’s free now. Her foot plays idly with an old plant pot that her mother left on a rusty stool. The plant and its vessel are both weathered down, rough sailors in a storm of constant exposure to the city’s changing mood. Her black combat boot prods the rim of the pot, little kicks like droplets of rain. Can’t stop thinking, can’t shake the feeling that something’s off. She touches her upper lip with her tongue and sighs. An accidental last movement sends the plant on a suicide mission towards the floor. The crash is not so loud despite the silence, but a small clump of dirt adorns a corner of the rooftop, crowned by a curious jungle of roots and leaves peeking through the soil like undead hands. She shrugs and whispers “fuck.” No worries, she’ll say it was the cat. Tomorrow is a clean slate and maybe nothing will break. She goes to bed, though she doesn’t want to sleep. The whole first half of NIN’s The Fragile plays on her headphones before her eyelids fall.

It’s raining. Of course, it is. She has to work today.

Nadia spends the first minutes of the day sitting on her bed and leafing through a battered down Sandman paperback for the umpteenth time. “You get what anybody gets – you get a lifetime.” She likes to read that quote once in a while when she feels different and worlds apart from everyone else. She’s not so special, only a bit lost. And she has time. Perhaps that’s why she runs five or ten minutes late every morning, but the manager doesn’t even notice or doesn’t care. One of the good things about working in a coffee shop bookstore is that it’s busy at a steady pace pretty much all day long. That’s also one of the bad things, you can’t get a smoke break longer than five minutes before a wealthy dickhead asks for some pre-chewed Daoism or Buddhism disguised as modern self-help shit with an inane title. Her boss is not even there today when she arrives and goes straight to the back of the shop, ignoring her co-workers’ hellos and powering through the ensuing boredom. Having to turn off the post-punk playing on her headphones is almost painful, but you have to be able to listen. The only kind of satisfaction she gets in a job like this is convincing people to buy something better. Once in a while, someone comes in looking for a best seller and ends up leaving with Poe or Borges or Atwood. A small victory. Changing the world one book at the time, as her friend Julia says with nonchalant sarcasm. She misses the daily humour, but Julia left the bookshop a year ago to teach English and she does not regret it. They still hang out, but nothing beats eight straight hours of conversation with a thinking person. The remaining staff is alright, but they have less interest in whatever Nadia has to say. She’s a discordant voice there but she’s used to it, high school was the same. Elementary school too. Her mind recedes into her five-year-old self, asking teachers if they also had a pussy. She laughs a lot about it now, but it was a major crisis when it happened. She had to sit down with her mother and the principal, who were desperately trying to find out where she had read that word at such a young age. The thought of a kid having fun with the dictionary was impossible to them, so they kept asking if she had borrowed “inappropriate material” from older girls. The world is full of short-sighted people. Shit, her house too. But at least there she can listen to what she likes all the time. Here, it’s generic world music or any other crap that her boss deems appropriate for customers. She has this theory that people who never had an emotional connection to any band or artist end up liking whatever mixture of ethnic sounds over programmed beats get enough radio airplay, especially when they are in their 40s or 50s. Having no identity means you can rent one from the current mainstream landscape. From the alternative sphere too. She knows plenty of zombies who put themselves in neat little boxes labelled punk, goth, metal or any other convenient label. But studs or black eyeliner or a band T-shirt can’t make you. They are ornaments, like flowers. They can come and go, fade, wither, get replaced. Roots are what count, and they can’t be seen…

(…to be continued…)

2021: Conceived – Volume 2 of a Contemporary Transadaptation

January: The Pack – Alejandra Baccino (Uruguay)

February: The Pink Shirt – Talia Stotts (America)

March: Dragging the Past out into the Light – Kate Korneeva (Russia)

April: Looking Forward to Spring – Marilin Guerrero Casas (Cuba)

May: Every Little Thing – Gennady Bondarenko (Ukraine)

June: The Girl Who Chased the Rainbow – Toni Wallis (Sarah-Leah Pimentel) (South Africa)

July: Another World – Jonay Quintero Hernandez (Spain)

August: Life after Nare – Nane Sevunts (Armine Asryan) (Armenia)

September: Meeting My Homeland – Rayan Harake (Lebanon)

October: Catching Water (Part Two) – Javier Gomez (Argentina)

November: Remember – Seyit Ali Dastan (Turkey)

December: Los Caminantes – Veronica Cordido (Venezuela)

Background – Context

In the Middle – Prelude to a Contemporary Transadaptation, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2020)

Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)

L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)

From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)

Emblems and stories on the international community

Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from around the world


Photo: Buenos Aires, Argentina – From the rooftop – shu (Shutterstock)
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

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