Les réponses d’Arturo Desimone


interview in french translated by Marie Moore

Originally posted on La revue des ondes:

Jurez de dire la vérité toute le vérité rien que la vérité autant que vous le pouvez. Levez la main droite et dites : je le jure.

Doit on connaitre le mensonge pour dire la vérité?

La réponse appartient à l’émissaire du roi ou du vizir joueur de trompette de la réalpolitik – ou bien à la stratégie de l’information avec quelque chose de temporaire et de relatif pour les politiciens.

La vérité est liée à l’Art, la vérité vient après tous les bruits. C’est le fruit d’un arbre qui lève ses branches vers la bouche de l’empereur qui le gagne avec ses lèvres fatiguées et sa langue desséchée.

Est-il préférable de la connaitre, la vérité?

Pour celui qui ne se sent pas concerné par la vérité, il sera trop tard. Comme dans mon judaïsme secret où il n’y a pas de convertis.

Votre mémoire est-elle à vous?

Peut-être la…

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Venezuela Street hierophanies

The Polish writer Witold Gombrovich lived in Venezuela Street, short walk from my apartment in Constitución, today one of the more notorious neighborhoods and red light districts of Buenos Aires. This was the last home of my nomadic grandparents. The old sinister building of Banco Nación is around the corner, maybe the Polish exile Gombrovich worked there (on the same street a few decades later, Rodolfo Walsh was gunned down by military police, but few of us admit we care less for Walsh’s realist writing than for his politics, I prefer being both utopian in politics and non-realism in literature) Today I am re-reading a book I recently wrote. I had help in the mysteries of the editing process with a Polish editor, Ewa appearing through skype hierophanies from Krakow.

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Poem of Nowheres and the fear of ending nowhereless

I fear the never-attainment of nowhereness
of being nowhereless,
even worse than being without a woman
even worse than becoming a father
or as my manuscripts continue to sweat
in obscurity
as my name and youth turn to vinegar
before the mud-and-newspaper-heeled parade 
of daily compulsory 99 celebrations of everyone
worse is to never have existed by ending this death
and to never exit the iron teeth of isolation
I want to fight on a road of sunlit, con-decorated warriors

 our heads full of ideas, and the true mind is bedrock  fount of passions under the throat
on our way to found the dictatorship of mysteries, of nowheres
but I continue in obscurity, neglect, loneliness
a poor freedom
hoping to begin my path to elegant nowheres
at once futuristic and archaic
born of my noble ignoble savage’s imagination
and a dream made flesh

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the art I make is political, it comes from an urgency that is nothing merely to do with politics. This is entirely different from the many artists who do politics over the insulted body of Art, an art of apologies for itself and its investment, an anti art that admits it has no real urgency and instead should make way for politics and the vapidly politicized. I have political causes, and  have Art as another cause, a sacred one. I despise those artists who would say that this beloved need instead become a form of social work or public therapy in order to be useful, to be progressive: that is precisely the ignorance of the right wing who judges art as uneconomic and these vapid social workers serve none other than the business class. 


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April 1, 2014 · 5:45 am

Short story in Hamilton Stone Review

My short story A Day at Boca with Anahi is in the new issue of Hamilton Stone Review, link here  http://www.hamiltonstone.org/hsr30fiction.html#desimone

Thanks to the guest editor Carole Rosenthal for publishing my story.


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poem about sanity _ poemsane


the first line I write after the morning cup

of metal straw hot in my mouth

then walking past Tucuman bus station,

day is lined up with the dark  cafes

 one or two dead men at the tables, musk

 many boys with red caps staring at football field in raging television

, rageovision makes noise,  count the terraces, at the  terrace seven the game loss announced, bloodless and phosporless match

the channel changes to Tucuman folklore and tapirs grazing, the wound songs from mystic reeds, tambors, the dances

the red caps at the tables turn  to the odd foreigner who looks as if from Buenos Aires,

or maybe one of the odd breeds from Entre Rios, Moisesville

  travelling in Tucuman and Argentinean countryside

 no boat except the one whose propellor is cut in sky wheel

firm wound in cloud buttock has an anchor pinned in my neck nape

 it is not the time to load up on intervisible screens at  slow hostel computers

my political essays and comments on how

The Boston Review of Ivy League Ideas has misrepresented

Argentinean populism,

or on Azerbaijan and the dissident movement

being threatened by a right wing singer with a centipede under his octopus tongue

and a gun in his eyelid to shoot away teardrops for Armenians and their mournful poet Sayat Nova

There is no time for Orient when I was born already in the after lands, Europe was our Orient

I yearned to be Russian, Polish, a matchmaker in St Petersburg to bring me to a young wife or two,

a boat from Odessa to Italy, I felt I was this, an Oriental,

and then I found a political dream, being again Latin American,

sanity means remember the torrential rain in summer that ate my shoes

was maybe prayed for by another,  by one whose hands were withered in youth,

and that I need not argue my wounded and denied identity with the poor

who are always black, even when they are white

It is not time

to hammer my seventh tongue to pieces with politics

none of my seven tongues are powerful politricians with their own much deserved magazine columns

and all of my eight arms carry the burden

of my disorganization and the sadness of my diasporic ancestors

Sanity would mean

Jesuit ruins, Indian sculptures of wine-wrath gods and snake-women

walking with a scorpion in each of my shoes

and two iguanas sitting, mating on top of my head.

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update: collaboration with Reynolds/Bryx in the JEMCS 14 vol. 2

dibujo 320121210132009_001

Every so often I receive a skype-call from my friends the philosophers Bryan Reynolds and Adam Bryx , requesting that I draw a companion-piece to one of their essays on cultural and literary theory. One of these collaborations made the cover of the Journal of Deleuze Studies, edited by Gary Genosko, published by Edinburgh Press in 2012 (order the book here)

The most recent collaboration is for their provocative article criticizing the current state of Shakespeare Studies. Here on the blog you can see the drawings in full color, in the journal for some reason they appear in black and white . The  diptych is titled “URLy Modern Conquests” When I heard at the last minute from the manager-publisher that these drawings  (despite the importance of color in the diptych) could only be allowed to appear  in black and white,

I felt obliged to sing   that I presume it is about printing costs.

I envied Goya, who was scolded by obsidian-frocked Jesuit lectors, Catholic physicians and budget-fraud inspectors

who said Francisco, surely a Jew

needed paint over with black tar only the erect giant prick of his Saturn , in “Saturn devouring his son,”

as the cock of  Father time-is-money Xhronos

might have angered constituencies

of monastic students concerned with identity politics,

conceptual martyrdom on their domes, with hysteria, flak, threat

strain the red pencil of  campus president who budgets

the Vatican Bank’s proud cashflow pipeline that penetrated

tamed asses of  Valladollid  and up learned

and nuanced hemorrhoids of Via Dolorosa.

I prefer to draw my own gallows

than to make myself useful to the unsmiling unvirile correctors)

Look at the diptych below, then please rush to  read our collaboration in  the carefully crafted  JEMCS 14 , Journal of Early Modern Cultural Studies from Pennsylvania U Press  2014  available at most English department libraries.


dibujo 320121210132009_001

Diptych lower half, lovers from the right: Iago, Othello, Desdemona, Tamara getting a neck rub from Lavignia.

Diptych lower half, lovers from the right: Iago, Othello, Desdemona, Tamara, Lavignia, URLy modern conquistadors/academic hipsters.Upper half: Romeo, Juliette, hidden merchant of Mantua, Cleopatra




One of my favorite paintings by Francisco Goya. It was recently discovered that the church later commissioned an auxiliary craftsman to  carefully paint over the erection of Saturn with a black void in Goya’s work.

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