Giorno: 8 dicembre 2012

Mercy Street, tra Anne Sexton, Peter Gabriel e TW/Two Women – di Alessandra Trevisan

*Piccola nota al lettore e all’ascoltatore. Nel 1986 Peter Gabriel scrive e registra un brano dal titolo Mercy Street; il testo di questa canzone è una dedica all’opera e alla vita di Anne Sexton, che coglie con pochissimi tratti quella che è la poetica e la ricerca della grande autrice americana. A dieci anni di distanza dalla pubblicazione di 25 Mercy Street (che oltre ad essere una poesia è anche una raccolta postuma della Sexton, edita nel 1976), Gabriel trasforma un titolo e dei versi in leggenda: c’è tutto l’apparato di problematicità di cui vive la poesia di Sexton, dal visivo allo psicanalitico; c’è la poesia-di-cura che diventa canzone-di-cura. La lingua illumina a piccoli lampi, brevi, come sono i versi, come devono essere le parole in canzone; è una lingua del quotidiano che si intride di azioni e di oggetti (si veda La storia dei miei passi di Anna Toscano), di incontri e voci (o assenza di voce). Questa è anche la direzione che vuole prendere una canzone che ho scritto ad aprile 2012 per il mio progetto TW/Two Women – chitarra,voce,loop -, e che qui cito perché contiene i primi versi della lirica di Anne Sexton che hanno aperto mondi e suggerito altre parole, poiché la dimensione del sogno [e della poesia] questo fa, moltiplica le immagini.


45 Mercy Street, Anne Sexton in 45 Mercy Street (1976) – il pdf con traduzione, qui: 45 Mercy Street-eng:ita.

In my dream,
drilling into the marrow
of my entire bone,
my real dream,
I’m walking up and down Beacon Hill
searching for a street sign –
Not there.

I try the Back Bay.
Not there.
Not there.
And yet I know the number.
45 Mercy Street.
I know the stained-glass window
of the foyer,
the three flights of the house
with its parquet floors.
I know the furniture and
mother, grandmother, great-grandmother,
the servants.
I know the cupboard of Spode
the boat of ice, solid silver,
where the butter sits in neat squares
like strange giant’s teeth
on the big mahogany table.
I know it well.
Not there.

Where did you go?
45 Mercy Street,
with great-grandmother
kneeling in her whale-bone corset
and praying gently but fiercely
to the wash basin,
at five A.M.
at noon
dozing in her wiggy rocker,
grandfather taking a nap in the pantry,
grandmother pushing the bell for the downstairs maid,
and Nana rocking Mother with an oversized flower
on her forehead to cover the curl
of when she was good and when she was…
And where she was begat
and in a generation
the third she will beget,
with the stranger’s seed blooming
into the flower called Horrid.

I walk in a yellow dress
and a white pocketbook stuffed with cigarettes,
enough pills, my wallet, my keys,
and being twenty-eight, or is it forty-five?
I walk. I walk.
I hold matches at street signs
for it is dark,
as dark as the leathery dead
and I have lost my green Ford,
my house in the suburbs,
two little kids
sucked up like pollen by the bee in me
and a husband
who has wiped off his eyes
in order not to see my inside out
and I am walking and looking
and this is no dream
just my oily life
where the people are alibis
and the street is unfindable for an
entire lifetime.

Pull the shades down –
I don’t care!
Bolt the door, mercy,
erase the number,
rip down the street sign,
what can it matter,
what can it matter to this cheapskate
who wants to own the past
that went out on a dead ship
and left me only with paper?

Not there.

I open my pocketbook,
as women do,
and fish swim back and forth
between the dollars and the lipstick.
I pick them out,
one by one
and throw them at the street signs,
and shoot my pocketbook
into the Charles River.
Next I pull the dream off
and slam into the cement wall
of the clumsy calendar
I live in,
my life,
and its hauled up


Mercy Street, Peter Gabriel, in So (1986)

Looking down on empty streets, all she can see
Are the dreams all made solid
Are the dreams all made real

All of the buildings, all of those cars
Were once just a dream
In somebody’s head

She pictures the broken glass, she pictures the steam
She pictures a soul
With no leak at the seam

Let’s take the boat out
Wait until darkness
Let’s take the boat out
Wait until darkness comes

Nowhere in the corridors of pale green and grey
Nowhere in the suburbs
In the cold light of day
There in the midst of it so alive and alone
Words support like bone

Dreaming of Mercy Street
Wear your inside out
Looking for mercy
In your daddy’s arms again
Dreaming of Mercy Street
‘Swear they moved that sign
Looking for mercy
In your daddy’s arms

Pulling out the papers from drawers that slide smooth
Tugging at the darkness, word upon word
Confessing all the secret things in the warm velvet box
To the priest, he’s the doctor
He can handle the shocks
Dreaming of the tenderness, the tremble in the hips
Of kissing Mary’s lips

Dreaming of Mercy Street
Wear your inside out
Dreaming of mercy
In your daddy’s arms again
Dreaming of Mercy Street
‘Swear they moved that sign
Looking for mercy
In your daddy’s arms

Looking for mercy
Looking for mercy
Looking for mercy
Mercy, mercy

Anne, with her father is out in the boat
Riding the water
Riding the waves on the sea



Per l’ascolto, qui:

(c) Alessandra Trevisan