The microfictions of Raúl Brasca

Jan 15, 2014 Comments Off on The microfictions of Raúl Brasca by

Raul Brasca

The microfictions of Raúl Brasca

Raúl Brasca (Buenos Aires, 1948) is an author of short stories, microfictions, and essays. In 1989 he founded, with four other writers, the magazine Maniático Textual, which was sold in kiosks and bookstores until 1994. He has compiled fifteen anthologies, eleven of them microfictions, some of them in collaboration with Luis Chitarroni. His fictional and essayistic work has been published in anthologies, magazines, and literary supplements in Argentina, Germany, Brazil, Colombia, Spain, Honduras, England, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Serbia, Switzerland, USA and Venezuela. In his country he has received, among others, the Fondo Nacional de las Artes prize from the Municipality of the City of Buenos Aires. The University of Carabobo (Venezuela) conferred on him the Order of Alejo Zuluoga. He has given talks at international congresses, dictated classes, workshops, and seminars at a number of universities in Europe and the US, and served as a jury member for national and international literary prizes. He created the ‘Jornadas Feriales de Microficción’ which have taken place annually at the Feria del Libro de Buenos Aires since 2009. He also writes for ADN, the cultural supplement of Argentina’s La Nación newspaper.

As one of the foremost practitioners of the microficción in Argentina, Brasca is master of a form that creates powerful images with an economy of space. Brasca sent English versions to Ventana Latina of a few of his works, which lie in the creative interstice between poem and short story.

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I drive the car through fog so thick I can’t see the road. I drive from an intuition for the road and, inexplicably, I don’t go wrong. I haven’t seen a pair of headlights for some time and have a feeling that the road exists under the car only because I believe it does.

Now the fog is starting to clear. The headlights illuminate only the undulating grey space in which I travel. First a gull and then a flying fish pass my windscreen. I keep believing in the road. I have to.



I was halfway down the block when I saw myself coming round the corner. I was clearly coming for myself, and my face was accusing me. As always in such situations, I was afraid of myself. And as always, I couldn’t pass myself or send myself back. Wretchedly, I handed myself over and pleaded guilty.



for José María Merino

When the steam cleared, he saw a detailed replica in the mirror of a bathroom identical to the one he was in, but not that bathroom. He saw the image of a naked man who looked just like him, but not his image. He saw the horror in the face in the mirror was identical to his own, but it was not his horror. And when he opened his terrified mouth to scream, he saw that the other was missing two incisors that he actually had.

‘Ah, gotcha!’ he mumbled. 

He calmed down after that.



For Luis Chitarroni

It is not the Fates who cut the thread, nor the illness nor the bullet that kills. We die when, by pure chance, we perform the exact action that life decided for us at the moment of our birth: we shed three tears in our left eye while the right sheds five, all in exactly forty seconds; or we catch exactly one hundred hairs with our comb; or we see the steel blade flash two seconds before it sinks into our flesh. Methuselah died after blinking eight times in perfect synchrony with three of his grandchildren.



For Miguel Gomes 

I’ve seen all the forests, deserts and icecaps on Earth. Alone, in the depths of the deepest cave, I’ve watched flowers die when light falls on them and heard the slow gurgle of invisible liquids, the world’s continuous digestion. Neither the monsters of abysmal pits nor the gelatinous, transparent beings of nearby planets are strangers to me. I was in my prime when I ran out of spaces for adventure. Then I discovered boredom, the despair at having seen it all.

So I set sail on the sea of time. I saw Sodom sink amid sulphurous clouds, saw the library of Alexandria ablaze, saw a man release fire while the glaciers demolished the landscape. I had noticed that, almost imperceptibly, things happened increasingly slowly, but initially I paid no attention. First my beard stopped growing, then the asp didn’t quite bite Cleopatra. Later I could follow the trajectory of a lightning bolt as if I were watching a plum tree grow at home.

Now I’m trapped in the eye of the whirlwind: in pure time. It’s a terrible thing for a spirit like mine, this state where nothing can happen: neither my flight, nor my death.



When their coexistence became untenable, two highly competitive brothers made a tacit but unbreakable agreement: wherever one of them triumphed, that field of success would be prohibited to the other, thus preventing any comparison between the two. The pact turned out to be more of a prison sentence than a release. In the race to appropriate the most gratifying triumphs and the least painful privations, the first to show his intelligence demoted the other to stupidity and donkey work. Consequently, when the dumb but handsome brute won over the ladies, the intellectual had to prefer men. But he made up for it by getting rich, forcing his brother into bad deals and bankruptcy. He wasn’t to know that so much poverty would make his rival long for death until it was his, thus snatching away that triumph from him. Ailing now, steeped in years, he bears his body’s ruin and clamours for a forbidden death.



VL English

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