Monday, May 15, 2006

Marta E Davide

In 2002, I was doing my mandatory early-twenties bounce around Europe thing. In Sicily, on one of the gloriously begrimed streets of Catania, two Swedish friends I'd met found a mysterious journal (pictured above). Each left hand page features some variation on the legend MARTA E DAVIDE TIAMO, headed by dates that never quite make sense. Most right hand pages feature the sort of obsessive scrawl you can see above, pages and pages of this, heavily featuring the phrase MARTA E DAVIDE TIAMO and a phone number. Upon registering my excitement over the artifact, the Swedes soon ceded the journal to my care (thanks, Julia and Moa). I showed it to some Sicilians and they couldn't translate much of it - they said it seemed as if it had been written by a child, or a mentally impaired adult, although there was something strange about it that neither of these explanations fully resolved. There was something in it about a motorcycle accident, and much repeated expression of devotion. It seems likely that Davide was the author of the journal - whether or not he actually knew Marta is unclear. Maybe he was obsessed with her from afar. Maybe there wasn't ever a Marta at all. At any rate, after carting the thing around for years, waiting until the time to do something with it was ripe, I've begun work on an at least chapbook-length poetic transformation of the text, using the F7 process I've been developing for the past two years. Since I don't speak Sicilian, and since much of it is just gibberish anyway, I have a lot of leeway when transcribing the text for F7 fodder. I'm keeping the incantatory nature intact, and sticking as close to the original formatting (in terms of font size, spacing and so forth) as I can. As such, the repetitions form a sort of soil bed from which flowers of deviation bloom - one page contains five blood-red circles going down the right margin, for instance, and sometimes, the block format pictured above lets out into what looks like fractured lists, a transformed example of which I posted here a few days ago. This journal has intrigued me for years - I was reading Paul Auster at the time I found it, so I was very open to the possibility of metaphysical mystery heaving into view at any moment. I like working against rigid and logical yet superfically inscructable frameworks, of which this is an ideal example, and the urgent humanity coursing through the text transcends the language barrier and any mutations to which I subject the text. Excerpts from Marta E Davide have already been picked up by two journals and I anticipate spreading it about even more as I make progress, so keep your eyes peeled for more.


Blogger greg said...

the da vinci code!

11:20 AM  
Anonymous SUBU said...

Also note the accented "E" on the left hand page, thus suggesting that "Marta IS Davide". Possible dissociative identity (and gender)disorder there.

10:02 AM  

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