On the One-Way Street, Girl With a Dog

On the One-Way Street, Girl With a Dog

Asja P, the girl with a dog: sometimes I meet her
walking her beautifully trained Irish
setter. Her father was a philosopher, a well-known university
professor, so I suppose he named his only daughter
after Asja Lacis, who used to be the director
of the theater in Riga. It was passionate love for
Asja Lacis that made the Jewish mystic Walter Benjamin
leave his wife and take an interest
in the idea of radical communism. He dedicated to her
his ONE-WAY STREET, a melancholy treatise
about liberating life, discovering health and body,
and finding peace with nature. Asja Lacis – a reference point
in the sensibility of a whole generation, who
set out along the one-way street in search of its
lost youth. It set out, alas, went along
the street of no return. The father of the girl with the dog,
Professor K. P., was a prominent member of that
generation, which makes my supposition
quite possible. And shattering.

Asja P, we must mention, is very
beautiful. The last time I saw her was at a stand
with video games that her dog had taken her
to. I felt a tenderness for her, so unready,
so embarrassed, and wanted to write her a love letter,
to test my hypothesis, but her friends wouldn’t
let me have her address. Stupid jerks.

Translated by Wayles Browne – © 2008 Wayles Browne

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