Twilight in Barcelona. Roberto Bolaño.
Bolaño's verse carries itself with grace and beauty, almost in spite of itself. No Spanish speaker myself, the effect of the original is lost on me, but the translation enchants me. I have never been to Spain; I knew nothing of Santiago Rusiñol or Erik Satie before Googling them and finding that Satie was a Turn-of-the-Century bohemian composer in the French district of Montmartre, somewhere else I have never been. Maybe this poem preys upon my ignorant wanderlust, casting a spell over me with foreign names and unfamiliar tongues. But maybe, upon finding an image of Rusiñol's painting of Satie, I recognize the germ of Bolaño's line The magnetic Barcelona twilights are like that, like Satie's eyes. Living in a city on the bay, one where our own twilights drown into the sea, I imagine we can resonate with Bolaño's own charmed reflection on the few passing moments between day and night, a gratuitous secret, indeed.