An Essay On Tango Composed While Listening to Adriana Varela
By Patrick Rosal
If like me you donít know well the cruel music of tango, then you donít know how its truths can haunt you Ė haunt you like a strange city and a strange woman shouting for you on a crowded avenue, haunt you like a late languish for too few afternoons sipping from the smooth shell of a shoulder, like coming back to where youíve lived your entire life, and then having no idea where you are going. It is the kind of song that will make you beg Gardel to reinvent your fool breath Ė and he will.
Because a beautiful woman once broke my heart without trying, Iíve spent long stretches of my life perfecting one amnesia after another, and Iím telling you someone is shouting my name on Avenida Santa Fé. She is calling from that lovely nowhere, and when a woman sings for you like that, how will you wander wherever you wish alone? How will you not want to go back to kiss her and have her taste an entire riverís silver soaked into your bones?
A New Jersey native and son of Filipino immigrants, Patrick Rosal is the author of My American Kundiman (forthcoming, Persea Books, 2006) and Uprock Headspin Scramble and Dive, which won the Asian American Writers Workshop Members Choice Award. His work has appeared in many journals and anthologies including North American Review, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, The Literary Review, and The Beacon Best. He is currently Assistant Professor of English at Bloomfield College.
Photo by Dinty W. Moore