“Hablo de la ciudad” Jamex


“I speak of the city built by the dead.” Thus begins a poem that Octavio Paz dedicated to a friend, also a writer, Juan Gil-Albert. This poet from Valencia accompanied Paz since the celebration in 1937 of the II International Congress of Antifascist Writers in Spain, until his exile in Mexico, where he worked as secretary of Taller magazine for a few years, before travelling to Argentina in 1947.

Juan Gil-Albert was not only transplanted, but a driving force between the avant-guard Spanish writers and Jorge Luis Borges. Scenes of death congregated in his eyes, of letters and of cities that, among others, formed the city that Paz talks about in this poem.

According to Jamex, “the massive character and interconnectedness have been able to surpass all the cities of the world, casting doubt of what is left of the mystic nationalism that resides in small cities, and at the same time, has caused the loss of cultural peculiarities of the people that inhabit urban spaces. A strong idea of a global citizen grows like fire in drought and Mexico City is no exception.”


He continues describing the sighting report:

“Standing in the ecological park of Azcapotzalco (old refinery) is where I can see for the first time something I had been suspecting: Mexico City has a new skyline with a prominent masiveness. It starts in Santa Fe and goes down the mountains to Polanco II (“Azcapolanco”), crosses Polanco I. Continues through the now impressive Reforma Avenue that extends to the historic city center with the crowning and alignment of the rest of the buildings, up to the first tower, the Latinoamericana Tower (only applicable from this angle). I see an extension of various kilometers of high density that suggest a great amount of activities. If you turn your head a bit further north, you’ll see the “high building” with Tlatelolco die and the dark area of San Lázaro. In the distance, the volcanoes and the Chiquihuite hill will stand out (if it’s not polluted), once a small valley, now called Reclusorio Norte (prison), and behind it, the mountain range that misleads to thinking there isn’t another 30 km of urban area on the other side. However, the new landscape of Mexico City will continue its course and if the affordability of energy allows it, it will reach these remote places, although as of today, citizens that have something in common live there… I can’t recognize that “sábado, Distrito Federal” (Saturday in Mexico City) clearly, the one Chava Flores sang about, except as part of a much richer and open structure.”

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