Muchos gracias to Maro Riofrancos for many of these translations, and to Pablo Exposito.
94: Padre Ignacio: Father Ignacio
263: descamisados: the shirtless ones, i.e., the working class
- [the following from an Argentine Pynchon reader, Pablo Exposito] The Descamisados are, as you say, the poor or worker classes, but in a very specific historical moment and political party: the Juan Domingo Peron times (around 1945). Peron was the one who gave them the name, in contrast to the ruling class who wear shirts and ties. That's why, when you use the word "descamisados" in Argentina, you're referring to a specific class: the Peronist workers. Explaining the ideology of the Peronist movement is very difficult, even for an Argentine (I'm not a Peronist, all the contrary), so I'll leave this for another message.
264: Pero ché, no sós argentino: But hey, you're not Argentinian
383: El laberinto de tu incertidumbre/Me trama con la disquietante luna:
"The labyrinth of your uncertainty/enmeshes me with the disquieting moon."
- [Pablo Exposito] Pynchon says that's from Borges, but I didn't find this poem in his works. In Spanish, the word "disquietante" doesn't exist (at least, in my dictionary). The correct word is "inquietante." Maybe it's a creation of Pynchon.
"Entangles me" is another possibility for "me trama" - "tramar" means weave, but also plot and scheme.
383: pitos: lit., "whistles"; coll., "cigarettes"; slang, "penises"
383: puchos: cigarette butts
383: caña: usually homemade potent distilled spirits made from either sugar cane or other, related wild plants
383: la tacuara: usually homemade potent distilled spirits made from either sugar cane or other, related wild plants
383: mamao: drunk
386: verdad: truth
386: payador: a trickster/clown
- [Pablo Exposito] I don't know the exact connotations of this word in English, but a "payador" is not a clown in the funny sense this word has. A payador is a songwriter who improvises all his compositions while he is singing. The most famous composition in the way of the payadores (only "in the way," because it's really a literary work) is "Martin Fierro," by Jose; Hernandez, as you maybe know. If you want to listen to some payadores style, try the works of the singer Jose Larralde ("Herencia pa' un hijo gaucho") who has a very close style to the payadores of the pampas.
386: bordona: the low strings on a guitar
475: curanderos: folk medicine practitioners (not necessarily of ill repute), "medicine men"
564: si me quieres escribir: "if you want to write to me" (a song from the Spanish Civil War)
605: Ya salimos de España....Pa' luchar en otros frentes, ay, Manuela, ay, Manuela: Now we are leaving Spain....to fight on other fronts, oh Manuela, oh Manuela
This is also from a song from the Spanish Civil War, "Viva la Quince Brigada."
- [Pablo Exposito] This, as you note, is a song from the Spanish Civil War, but not "viva la quinta brigada." The song is "Ay Carmela," and that's the woman's name, not Manuela, who maybe can be a confusion made by Pynchon (or a trick, I don't know). There are many versions of this song. One says something like: "Pero nada pueden bombas, rumbala rumbala rumba la!, pero nada pueden bombas... donde sobra corazõn ay Carmela ay Carmela...", and goes on whith different versions. If you want to know something of this song and feel, a very good taste of the civil war days, try the Spanish movie "Ay Carmela," by the film director Carlos Saura. It's not a real story, but a very good fiction around those times.
- "Viva la quinta brigada" was another song from the civil war, this time in English (except the chorus, who says "Viva la quinta brigada" in Spanish), remembering the Irish people (Jack Ryan, Dick Cody, etc.) who were in the International brigades (much of them from the anarchist movement) and fight against Franco. There is a version by Carlos Nunez (a "gaitero" from Galicia, Spain) in his CD "Os amores Libres."
607: puto: derogatory: homosexual/queer - more generally "prick" or "asshole"
607: sinvergüenza: shameless, without embarassment
- [Pablo Exposito] A "sinverguenza" is a shameless person, but with a negative connotation. As a sinverguenza lacks "verguenza" (shame), he doesn't have any problem with treachery, lies, forgetting friendship, etc.
613: boliche: any humble store that caters to a lower class clientele
613: pulperia: a sort of country store that also serves drinks and is a gathering place