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October 2018, vol 14 no 3

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Kim Peter Kovac

The Museum of Babel

Borges was my first poet-crush, though for his prose poems with magical realist underbeds disguised as fiction-cum-history, a rock star even if you didn't grok all the lyrics. The Jorge Luis action figure holds pride of place in my shelf-top gallery of literary tchotchkes, which includes Tintin’s dog Milou (aka Snowy) and an Emily Dickinson baseball card.

Though my fanboy fever dream began with The Library of Babel, recent study unearthed fissures in the entire philosophical geology. Was it because he was a librarian, or a man (or both) that led to creating an infinite world composed only of books and run only by men? I hate to say it, Mr. Borges, but you're either wrong, misguided, or of another era. Or all three.

all of knowledge –
far beyond books
and libraries

The beating heart of who we are is also toys, paintings, bridges, gardens, dolls, sculptures, musical instruments (from the extra-keyed Bosendorfer to the one-stringed rebaba), music itself, socks and jocks, baseballs, basketballs, footballs, cotton candy, used air filters, post-its, zip-lock bags, shekeres, totem poles, fuses, films, fishing lures, fingernail clippings, Tibetan prayer wheels, South Asian leather shadow puppets, opera libretti; not only the lists of objects that would fill the Library of Babel but all the objects themselves. Each by each lives within a gigantic geodesic dome (thanks, Bucky) presided over by multi-kulti, multi-aged, multi-talented women and children, who might even add a couple of men to their band of intrepid historian-curator-explorers.

girls and women
travelling without maps
on the verge

This piece was penned by a character named "Borges"created by a different "‘Borges," both inspired by the real Borges, the one who actually lived.

a bobble-head Borges
just delivered by FedEx –