The Life of the Living Room


Tamara Kamenszain first published this poem in 1991, at the age of 44, and it is tinged with the nostalgia of those first approaching middle age for the lost excitement of youth.

She's particularly good at the way she uses music - specifically, the physical details of an LP - to evoke 'the old days': those 'beatles in the grooves' (we left the spelling at is is) who were of such importance to 'the kids from the steamer' (presumably the one that travels from Buenos Aires to Montevideo in Uruguay). This mood is beautifully contrasted with the suffocations of 'the riveted married couple / plumping up the armchairs' who've lost so many friends. And yet evoking them produces this beautifully subtle poem, and leaves the poet in a 'trance / of haunted elation.'