La Petenera or poontang . . . (update)

by bookindian

Back when I was in San Francisco at the SF Art Institute beating my way around Columbus Street down to the Mission District I remember seeing a screening of the “Poontang Trilogy” (1964) at the Institute. Mostly I remember the grainy black and white clip of a woman with a film superimposed on her naked torso and that left a serious dent in my psyche. I lived for a while on Leavenworth in the Tenderloin, just up from Mission . . . hooker bar across the street and the landlords were a couple of gays, said they liked having an “artiste” in the building.

I was looking at Ferlinghetti’s “A Coney Island of the Mind – Pictures of the Gone World (1955)” and it just reaffirmed the fact that I am a holdover of the Beat Generation – I still think like Kerouac and Ginsberg and Burroughs . . . and, oh yeh, can’t forget Pound, although I don’t think he was considered a “beat”, just a traitor for hanging out in Italy and broadcasting what was considered seditious manifesto . . .

Somehow this all leads to Jenner Street in the desert and to Federico Garcia Lorca, Spanish poet murdered – “It is thought that Garcia Lorca was shot and killed by Nationalist militia on 19 August 1936”.

POON

I wrote wild crazy words in the Mojave Desert, filling the empty spaces with the capricious banker’s wife . . . and later . . .

But before this I was in the Spanish town of Santa Fe nueva Mexico, lost in the adobe maze, standing mute in the rust-stained sundown by the Agua Fria, looking up at the mountains, imagining the Blood of Christ . . .

The “Sleep of Reason . . . ” – Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (dibujo preparatorio,1797).

POON

The following is from the poem “Romance Sonambulo “(Ballad of the Sleepwalker) by Federico Garcia Lorca:

Green, how I want you green.
Green wind. Green branches.
The ship out on the sea
and the horse on the mountain.
With the shade around her waist
she dreams on her balcony,
green flesh, her hair green,
with eyes of cold silver.
Green, how I want you green…

POON

Illustration by Federico Garcia Lorca from Poeta NY.

Verde que te quiero verde.
Verde viento. Verdes ramas.
El barco sobre la mar
y el caballo en la montaña.
Con la sombra en la cintura
ella sueña en su baranda,
verde carne, pelo verde,
con ojos de fría plata.
Verde que te quiero verde
…”

POON

“Maja Urbana” Francisco de Goya y Lucientes.

La esposa precoz” was the “muse” in the waning months of summer, 1968 . . . amante vestida y desnuda . . . she writing poems in Spanish, introducing me to “Everything that has black sounds in it . . . duende.” – the joys and sorrows, the emotional ‘blackness‘ or shadow of life. Now I see my fascination with the work of Goya y Lucientes, Picasso, Dali, Garcia Lorca, and Miro . . . la esposa was La Petenera . . . in disguise.

POON

PetenerasCarlos Saura. This link doesn’t work, so copy and paste the following onto your browser to get the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6szfza4SQM”>Carlos Saura – enjoy.

“I’ll be sentenced to death
if they see me talking to you . . .

MAJA

I’ll be sentenced to death
if they see me talking to you . . .

My killers can, oh mother of my heart
My killers can get their knives ready

MAJA

I’ll be sentenced to death
If they see me talking to you

Ay, I’m tough as stone
Ay, I’m tough as stone

I’ve been through so much
Torment and pain,
Oh my lover
So I wouldn’t feel,
So I wouldn’t feel
The wounds in my heart . . .

MAJA

Ay, I needed to be so tough.

Since I don’t speak the Andalusian dialect of Spanish, a rough translation will have to suffice – the video is sub-titled (poorly) – however, I give you this:

A popular theory sustains that this palo originated in the town of Paterna de Rivera in the province of Cádiz. According to a legend, the name of the song refers to a cantadora called “La Petenera“, who was born there. She was reported to be the “damnation of men”. AND, “as suggested by Hipólito Rossy, the petenera originated in the songs of Sephardi Jews . . . assuring that Sephardi Jews in the Balkans still sang the lyrics containing the verse of the Petenera as the “damnation of men” . . . I leave that up to you.

I used my Retro Camera app for the screen caps of la maja desnuda that I inserted in the “song”. for a more intimate “look” at the maja . . .

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