Torea Frey

Editor, writer, photographer, observer on the street.

Leaving the Atocha Station, Ben Lerner

Lerner's meditation on artistry and displacement, translation and mistranslation, recalled for me the time I spent in India, to a degree. Not belonging there, but also not not belonging there, fills you with a sense of possibility. "I had the endless day, months and months of endless days," the narrator reflects, "and yet my return date bounded this sense of boundlessness, kept it from becoming threatening. I would begin to feel a rush of what I considered love, first for the things at hand: the swifts, if that's what they were, hopping in the dust, the avenues of old world trees, the stone statues of kings and queens with whom the tourists pose."

The most deeply felt, though, was something else: "... most intensely [I loved] that other thing, the sound-absorbent screen, life's white machine, shadows massing in the middle distance, although that's not even close, the texture of et cetera itself."

In coming and going, feeling lost and struggling for words, there is a great deal of ambiguity; still, great things can come of that muddling through.

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