in Native Foreigners
by  Sara Giannini
De Appel, Amsterdam
Saturday, April 22, 2017

Audio edition by
Arif Kornweitz | Jajaja Nee Nee Nee Radio

Listen to all the program



1. Transition-in

  • Son Jarocho La bruja (extract) Nuevo Son Trio.
    Mix . Ulises Carrión’s phone call 

2. Intro

  • Saludos México. Good evening Athens- Goed Nacht Netherlands
  • Reason of my invitation 
  • What  are we gonna do?
    My personal story with the story with the text?


During my research of Ofrenda voor Ulises in 2015. I asked my friend Memo Morales in Mexico city to look for information about Ulises published work in the library of the National University of Mexico. This effort brought, his thesis in and two other books: La muerte de Miss O, and De Alemania. My other dear friend Susana Santoyo who was studying her master at the faculty of philosophy scanned some stories for me. She couldn’t borrow the thesis and the books. And at the end she sent me 3 diverse stories, one was “De regreso a Amsterdam” Back in those days she advice me, you ll love the story. She was right I love the story,  furthermore, I think it is a great lecture for all travelers.

I will give a small summary of the story and read a 3 passage from the book.

Thanks to Sara for the invitation to this initiative. Thanks to Nell and De Appel for coming with this great idea about reading this here with you

Special Thanks, Susana Santoyo  for bringing this story to this table and her support  

3. Summary:

De regreso a Amsterdam is a short story telling published at De alemania in 1970. It is Ulises Carrion’s second book.

The story is a friend’s journey, Tomas and Ulises, who went on vacation to Europe where they met with Julia, Toma’s ex girlfriend, in Amsterdam.

Julia came with the new that she was pregnant and wanted to practice abortion. Subject that triggers a moral struggle between all friends and eventually put forward the mysterious disappear of one of them

4. Abstracts 

Todavía hoy, a los veinticuatros años, soy el niño consentido de mi mismo: me lo perdono todo, todo me lo celebro. Pero ahora no me avergüenza confesarlo porque también es verdad que mi cariño se ha vuelto más severo, y cuando me perdono es con una mirada dura y resignada, y me celebro sólo con una sonrisa íntima,cada vez más cerrada, a punto de desaparecer; no tengo ya estallidos de alegría de hace algunos años, años cuando admiraba mi amor por mis amigos, y quería mi inteligencia, y me veía una luz en la frente, en cada naciente arruga, en el espejo.

Today, at my 24 years old, I still find myself being the spoilt child: I forgive myself for everything Every thing is a celebration for my self. Yet now I am not ashamed to confess this because it is also the truth of my own affection that has become severest: when I forgive my self, it is with a hard and resigned vision . When I celebrate my self it is just with a discreet smile, every each time smaller, at the point of disappearing.I don’t have that blast of joy from some years ago,

When I admired my love for my friends and I loved my intelligence. And I saw a light in each wrinkle reflected in the mirror

2. Porqué, ¿cómo puede alguien desaparecer en Amsterdam, o cualquier sitió?¿Cómo es posible no dejar detrás su sombra, un zapato o un brazo, involuntariamente? Si uno encuentra la muerte en un callejón, ¿Cómo no hay una vieja insomne asomada en la ventana, un vagabundo vigilante, que nos haya visto doblar la esquina y recuerde que, en ese preciso momento, sonaban las once de la noche? Si uno decide suicidarse en un hotelucho de mala reputación y figura , ¿ puede demorar más de un año, más de tres dias, el velador que abra la puerta , nos descubra colgados del techo y diga “Me los sospechaba”? Si uno se hecha de cabeza en un canal ¿es posible que el cuerpo no salga a flote un día, que no haya niños que encuentren jugando una mano y pegado a ella un hombre entero ?¿O qué uno puede deshacerse en el aire como una palabra? ¿Cuál es la fuerza capaz de hacernos invisibles? ¿Qué cosa llena el espacio que dejamos vacío, de que esta hecho? ¿Y a donde van adar los ojos, el pelo, las orejas? ¿Es un castigo?¿O es un premio esa capacidad escasa para no dejar huella sino la pregunta que todo mundo de hace acerca de nuestro paradero y que nadie responde ?¿No es cierto que en estas suposiciones negativas hay gato encerrado? ¿Que hay siempre una vieja, un vagabundo, unos niños, un pedazo de carne?¿Que siempre termina por descubrir el cuerpo, y la fecha, el lugar exacto , las causas, los fines, los medios , de la desaparición que creyó durante muchos días inexplicable ? Si no nadie saldría a la calle. Si no viviéramos siempre frente a la cámara fotográfica que registrará el momento en que nos convertimos en nada. Si no ni para que empezar a contar historias.

Why, How does somebody disappear in Amsterdam or any other place? How is it possible to not leave behind your shadow, your shoes or an arm, involuntarily? If one finds death in an alley  How is there not an old woman with insomnia perched at the window, a vigilant vagabond who had seen us turn the corner and remember, that, at that precise time it ran 11 at night? If one decides to commit suicide in a hotel with poor reputation and standing Can it delay more than one year, more than three days, until the night watchman opens the door, discover us hanged from the roof and says : “I suspected it”. If one throw himself to the canal, it is possible that the body doesn’t float a day, that there are not children playing that finds a hand with a sticked body on it  Or can someone dissolves in the air as words? Which is the force capable to make us invisible? What thing fills the space that we left empty, what is it made of? And where does the eyes are going, the hair, the ears? Is it a punishment? Or it is a prize, that scant capacity to don’t leave a trace yet the question that everybody is asking about our location and nobodies answer? Isn’t it true that in all those negative suppositions there is something fishy? That is there always an old women, a vagabond, some kids, or a piece of meat? That does it end up by discovering the body and the date, the precise place, the causes, the aims, the ways about the disappearing that we believed all those days with any explanations?  Otherwise, nobody would be outside on the streets. If not, we would be living in front of the camera that will register the moment when we become nothing? If not, why not to start storytelling?

3. Hay una luz opaca, increíblemente plana y sin reflejos, en Amsterdam: ciudad a la que no volveré nunca.

There is opaque light, incredibly plain and without reflection, in Amsterdam: a city where I ll never return.


First, what captured my interest about De regreso Amsterdam was the last paragraph, where Ulises affirmed: “Amsterdam, a city where I ll never come back”. Later, He just spent the rest of his life in this cloudy city. It might me a coincidence or another Ulises’s prophecies. The writer who writes his own will. The writer who whites his own destiny. A writer who plays with the structures. 

Next, the story is full of the symbolic idea of disappearing: The mysterious absence of a friend – Tomas–  the original friend who one day just disappear with any clue or trace to find him.   Then, the rupture of a promise life, a baby who never gets birth, an abortion. Finally, a friend who vanished in what we perceive as reality, Juliette fades out from Ulises’s memory. They were friends just during the story because they never met again.

As a parallelism, immigration could be seen as a constant absence from the original hometown yet also from the host society where the individual lives,  what is better known as the “in-betweens”. I am not here I am not there.

Every day could be seen as a constant rupture from what it seems to be“a promise life“ . An abortion from reality. I am not where

The constant changing reality is a constant goodbye from the new and old friend. I am a cloud.

I find De regreso Amsterdam Ulises’s self-reflexion, as the adult who admits to saying goodbye to old and new friends and accept reality as a journey.   

Ulises the disappeared, He is alive every time our thoughts bring him alive.

“–¿Que pasaria si nunca muero ?

Y no tuviese la oportunidad de nacer de nuvo –
te vas te vuelves  ..”


Music ( C_Machete) Mix Amores Perros  , “Aparece “ (?)   ||  Mix “Perhaps  Cake 





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