Anny Ballardini

About Ducks, or of the Importance of a Category

I belong to a category. It is logical that I project myself into the next category upward, while I represent the backward category for those who project themselves onto me, or compare themselves with me. I don’t like to be categorized, but that is what people do to me, they set me into a box. And since I am boxed in, I think I am in the following box, say the green instead of the yellow or the yellow instead of the green. Why, I am asking myself, why don’t I like the green box when they project me there, or the yellow one when I am filed there? This has to be asked to someone else, it belongs to psycho_social practices that I well know but that escape me when I have to apply them to myself. You see, as each one of us I think I am unique. The box therefore becomes right there a coffin because it levels me down with the other people. Which is like being dead. I also know that in order not to be categorized I have to produce something that nobody else has ever produced. And that is where I spend the majority of my time. Not in the box. But outside thinking. Thinking while walking, while working, while eating, while sleeping. It is quite tricky, because if I deny the most visible fact, or what people say is most natural, i.e. that I belong to a category, nobody will love me anymore and I will end up being alone. Which I am. Always. But I would be more alone than the alone that I am. Because I would be commonly identified as an uncategorizable person by everybody. I therefore cherish to be boxed while I hate to be boxed. Two opposite and equally intense feelings. Let’s look at it objectively, I have come all the way here to be categorized. I have worked in all seasons, day and/or night indefatigably. I’ve stated full of pride that I have worked so hard. I would feel lost without a category. A category is a mirror, better, one of those curved mirrors – be them concave or convex - that so enchanted people at the fairs with a circus and all sorts of fantastic unseen things, and on which a deformed image of your [high supreme] self is reflected. My category and me. I have to walk my category, I water my category. The gap of recognition resides into which. Which of the myriad of mosaic-like categories do I feel I belong to? And which do I feel I do not belong to? It’s a question of identity. From the center count 375 right, go 38 down, slide 14 diagonally and finally climb up 1,088… What a simple question, it depends on the point of view, that point of view will set you magnificently into a well framed category, a category as stable as marble – and if that point of view is deprived of continuous curiosity, you will majestically rot in that position forever and ever, amen. But there is a roughly rounded category, a superior one, the one that envelops them all broadly alike – let’s define it the category of the short sighted, blurred vision, and that is the category given to you by the majority. Being my case I cannot use the term ‘mass’ – usually so despised by common beings deprived as they are of an access to it, since the radius of my circle is quite limited, even if studied through X-ray crystallography, I would end up restricted and almost invisible, compared to – say – other categorizable beings, beings that go around with a capital B that would have been depicted by surrealists with fedora hats, a cigarette (if a woman) or a cigar (when a man) holder – those were times when if you smoked you were someone, you belonged right there to a better category. Just by the mere fact of smoking and of wearing certain clothes. Clothes that I like, but now they would project me into a completely different category, way astray. I therefore wake up, and ask myself when I look at myself in the mirror, first thing in the morning, to which category do I belong? This every day. It has become a repetitive self-congratulatory gesture, like thinking that I deserve to rest for a while, or other similar kind whispers that once in a while I generously throw my way just to show myself that I do fundamentally care. With the logical counter-reaction that I do not need to rest, if I rest, I will never step up to the next category… it’s imbedded. What can I say.

Anny Ballardini lives in Bolzano, Italy. She grew up in New York, lived in New Orleans, Buenos Aires, Florence. A poet, translator and interpreter (simultaneous interpreter for English, French, Italian), she teaches high school; edits Poets' Corner - Fieralingue, an online poetry site; and maintains a blog, Narcissus Works. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from UNO, University of New Orleans, Chair and Director Bill Lavender. Besides various full length publications of translations, to be mentioned are her two collections of poems, Opening and Closing Numbers, published by Moria Editions, 2005, and Ghost Dance in 33 Movements, published by Otoliths in 2009. A detailed CV can be found here.

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Blogger Unknown said...

Categorically brilliant!

6:31 AM  

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