Friday, 15 April 2011

Excerpts From the Scots Translation of Calvino's "Invisible Cities"

I read the edition translated into Scots by Wullie Weaver. Here are a few excerpts:

Repulsive Cities ∙ 2

The red brick edifices tower over the populace, signifers of a forgotten dream, of a thought abandoned in the ailing conscious of intrepid colonial adventurers. A range of hominids patrol the looming DSS office walls, dishing out abuse to obese mothers and wageless wanderers. This is a city of broken faeces, a city of cross-eyed big brothers, watching from the skies for a sign of salvation, something to lift this horrible land to a brighter plateau. In every repulsive city there is a gem, a signal: the kindly arms of naïve temptresses.

Backward Cities ∙ 5

In a field of obtuse posies I come across a farmer, tilling the field with his bent hoe, straining crops into order. “Quaint vassal, wherefore the heart of this green desert?” I ask. “In the shiny breasts of my daughter, that’s where, oh-lordy-aye,” he says. Across the road I spy a girl with the face of this man, his features as though transcribed on her red-rosied skin. All around me, a tissue of incestuous progenies, mixing their colours, discussing the fastest route into hell, where redemption no longer achieves the mythos of a dream.

Pretentious Cities ∙ 1

Among the golden buttresses sits a Lord, his luxurious grey beard brushing the bespectacled inhabitants, reading from the Great Works. Etched in history, the builders and planners, their names spelt in flashing neon clouds, passing through the streets, filling the people with words and ideas. Down the street a gemstone, doused in the milks of the Great Poets, where scholars feed from, where the fools are sacrificed at the altar of knowledge.

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