|"Zaira, City of High Bastions," courtesy|
behance.net (click this!)
- This first sentence, I think, captures the whole reason behind the Great Khan's fascination with Polo's descriptions. However, do such subjective descriptions do him any good?
- According to the rest of this first paragraph, what then is the relationship between the "measurements of its space" (physical locations or landmarks (?)) and the "events of its past" (memory)?
- What do you make of "...the usurper, who some say was the queen's illegitimate son, abandoned in his swaddling clothes there on the dock." Does this offer a window into either Calvino (or is he too shrewd to so expose himself) or at least one of the two characters?
- "...but contains [memory] like the lines of a hand." Palmistry? Forget divination for a minute; what's the connection here, and can the memories therefor be "read" at all? Or is there an issue of magic at hand here after all? Is memory and its ties to things a mysticism or conjure?
- Moving, relocating, is an engagement that sparks the memory. Packing up items, sorting through boxes for treasure and trash, reorganization, etcetera bring past the hands and eyes items--landmarks--that hold in their essence, that trigger, memories. Those memories are written like so many scars into the collections of junk we accumulate. Do we throw away those memories, as certainly the runes of their recording are gone, when we throw away the landmarks? I haven't thought about my Boy Scout days in ten years, but sorting through that old box because we've got to trim the fat down to naught, I encountered stacks and stacks of long-hidden memories. But as Zaira absorbs like a sponge the waves of memory that happen within it, are those memories ever available to any of those who walk past the chink in a wall or who were not present when the hole appeared in the net? Or does each citizen have access to an adequate number of memorial artifacts that those of others don't matter? What do you make of the very physical, earthy, and private nature of the memories of Zaira? Or do I have it wrong and all is shared by all?
- So, the "high bastions." If the city is swollen with memories--even built entirely of memory--it stands to reason that the bastions would be so tall. But a "bastion" is a defense. Thoughts?
|castle bastion at Copertino, Italy|