Borges and Ice

Posted by @ 12:20 am on October 27th, 2012

The other one, the one called Borges, is the one who skates at the Place de la Concorde on blocks of ice. I walk through the streets of the 8th Arrondissement, and stop for a moment, perhaps touristically now, to look at a book of old photographs; I know of Borges from the posters for sale at German websites. I like the Champs-Élysées, its cafes and guillotines and obelisks; he shares these preferences, but swishes by, vainly, a total showoff. It would be an exaggeration to say that ours is a hostile relationship, as in the Reign of Terror; I live, I escape the fate of Marie Antoinette and Danton and Robespierre, so that Borges may contrive his skating, and this skating justifies me. It is no effort for me to confess that he has achieved some valid figure eights, but those maneuvers cannot save me, even if he makes the Olympic team. Perhaps his perfect 10 form belongs to no one, not even to him, but rather to whomever has coached him, or posed him for what upon careful review is clearly a posed photograph. Besides, I am destined to perish, definitively, while he will end up for sale online, or hung up in a physics classroom in a high school in Philadelphia. Little by little, thus, by means of confusion, I am becoming him, lassoing cars, and scooting along behind them, much like in Back to the Future, a film I will never see, as I will go blind—not to mention, die roughly one year after its theatrical release, which means that one can assume I never saw it, as I had by that time moved to Switzerland to die from liver cancer, and the IMDb doesn’t record a Swiss theatrical release (though Argentina got it right after Christmas, the bastards). (I did see Citizen Kane, and King Kong, for what it’s worth, and I reviewed them.)

Marty McFly knew that all things long to persist in their own time—otherwise, you disappear from the photograph. Heavier shredding will be appreciated by the children of the children of 1955, but not any sooner. And Biff Tannen should not get his hands on a sports almanac, and thereby alter the timeline. Me, I shall remain a mystery, somehow present and not yet present in this scarfed and skating Borges, who would be riding atop a hoverboard, no doubt, had they already been invented (despite it now very nearly being 2015—and won’t it be terribly sad when that year comes and goes without witnessing that tech, not to mention businessmen wearing two ties simultaneously).

As for me, despite my brain injury, I recognize myself less in this photograph, which was genuinely taken at the Place de la Concorde and not just Photoshopped. I have no doubt that that very spot will someday be the home of the offices of the President of the United Federation of Planets; it is a place of remarkable history, having years before been the site of the execution of Louis XVI—but I doubt Gene Roddenberry knew that, or was making any kind of political statement. But even had he relocated the Office from the “Place de la Révolution” to, say, the suburbs,  well, those suburbs also belong to riots, not to mention daily executions, being the present home of the motorcar, arguably the most destructive invention in all of history. I went for a walk there once, dodging drivers, and Borges, whoever he is, once again went whizzing by on his oversized ice cubes, crying “Huzzah!” And so I was forced to return to the relative quiet of a library in Buenos Aires, where I wrote all this down. Thus my life is a flight, albeit flight by means of dry shoes. I write and I lecture, and I lose everything to the blogosphere in time, or to Getty Images.

I no longer know who has written this blogicle.

[With sincerest apologies to Jorge Luis Borges, who was truly one of the greatest.]

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