Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Stamperia Valdònega

Lela struggled to stay asleep, her eyes heavier than cast-iron skillets. On rainy nights she slept facing west, on hot summer nights facing east and on cold winter nights she slept with her head under the blankets facing neither north or south. Die Zimtläden they said. Slonim das good she said. People spoke in her head. These people that spoke spoke in tongues. ‘atún de boleto de sahleedah ahdorno de pahdreh behrdeh’ said one voice clamoring. ‘pwehrtah de mostrador de facturaci’ said another. ‘Ón té Vuel Os Recogida de salidas de llegadas’ said a third drawling cacophonously. The summer Lela spent with her grandparents in the country she found a box under a hollyhock bush, and in the box she found a pair of silk women’s gloves, the fingers cut off at the second phalanx. Carefully she unwrapped the gloves, for they were ensconced in tissue paper, the tissue delicate and paper-thin, and held the gloves one at a time on the upturned palm of her left hand, her right hand outstretched steadying her torso against the branches of the hollyhock bush. Admiring the gloves, her eyes straining to see the delicate stitching and wrist hemming, Lela sighed, the insides of her mouth, for she had two, like a cow has two stomachs, strep with cankers. ‘I will buy a bottle of tanner’s oil’ she said quietly, not wanting to disturb the hobo asleep under the railway trussing. ‘Caw caw caw’ heckled a crow from its roost on the branch of a fichus bláin with dead-rot.

Before loosing his legs the legless man tested shoes for the shoemaker Oberg Moon. Each pair of shoes was tested for durability, comfort and style. On Mondays and Tuesdays Giovanni Mardersteig worked out of the Officina Bodoni office, the remainder of the week, except for Saturdays which he took off, he worked out of the Stamperia Valdònega office. Known far and wide for his Dante shoes, fashionable among the fur-clad gentry and those with an eye for quality craftsmanship, Giovanni Mardersteig lived the ‘life of Reilly’. Lela recalled seeing something painted on a plank of cherry-wood over the door to the Bodoni office. Later in life, when she learned to read and write, Lela returned to the office and read the plank over the door. “Love brings to light the noble and hidden qualities of a lover - his rare and exceptional traits: to that extent it conceals his unusual character”.
-Friedrich Nietzsche

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"Poetry is the short-circuiting of meaning between words, the impetuous regeneration of primordial myth". Bruno Schulz

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