She still teaches piano. I studied Arabic for a year and returned to Morocco, this time alone. I leave you a roomful of memories do what you want with them. Babouche Impromptu is a book of memories. The sketches are not unlike those Christopher Isherwood produced in Berlin Stories. Hassan the receptionist woke up when he heard me dragging my luggage down the stairs. His eyes were puffy with sleep. I thanked him and walked to the square. The grounds had been cleaned. Puddles of water reflected the early morning light. A couple of snakes and men idled at their usual spot.
They were the only remnant from yester-night. A taxi was waiting. The driver approached. I asked him how much it would cost to go to the bus station. I shook my head and kept walking. Another taxi pulled up. This time I told the driver through the open window how much I would pay. He nodded and I got in. The prose is simple, direct. The sketches are always charming, easy to read, filled with interesting details.
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There is even a sprinkling of Arabic throughout the book. Babouche Impromptu concentrates on the other , and if, at least in part, the initial appeal of the other is its exoticism, Hsu works hard to diminish that exoticism, to bring the other into the realm of deliberate human interaction. Yet there is another, more lyrical strain to Babouche Impromptu. Your air is perfumed with incense mixed with the smell of grilled meat.
The strain also surfaces in the subdued theme of eroticism which echoes throughout the book. Here is one instance:. His husky and seductive litany touched a darkness that was lurking as I saw myself coming upon a solitary adobe hut, small, round, ashen against the night. He was now whispering, urging. Our eyes met. I stepped back. There is of course always an erotic element to travel, to encountering the other—so, while surprising, the chapter does connect with the general theme of the book.
A recent poem describing a Turkish religious festival concludes,. Inside a hotel five beers two friends and a night mistress blond hair, red streaks, sturdy as an ox. The encounter with the other postulates a self to which the other has reference. In her most recent work, Clara Hsu seems to have moved away from that mode—though she has certainly not abandoned it. Boy bouncing up and down on the automatic walkway. Gulp it down. Tall, Grande, Venti, whatever—lifestyle, sophistication—they mean.
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Line forming. Into the tunnel of no return. All we like sheep, have not gone astray Old man with breasts. Backpack, shorts, tennis shoes. You passed. How many affairs do you need? Have I passed? Am I a poet now? The corridor is strangely quiet. Like the heart. It knows. Slippery when wet. The body is an extension of the mind and it is beautiful.
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See how the local inhabitants open their hearts to a stranger. Discover a masseuse's generosity, a sorcerous story-teller, an obliging old street musician, and the rectitude of a young girl. Visit a fatherless boy who must grow up quickly in order for his family to survive.
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Find out what Moroccan hospitality really means. Every moment a story unfolds. Beneath the veneer of a different language and culture, we savor the common bond of human connection. About This Item We aim to show you accurate product information. Manufacturers, suppliers and others provide what you see here, and we have not verified it. See our disclaimer. Discover a masseuse's generosity, a sorcerous story-teller, an obl. Specifications Publisher Poetry Hotel Press.
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