Budapest formed when Buda (on the west bank of the Danube) joined Pest (on the east bank of the Danube). At least this is what I learned from the dictionary when I highlighted Budapest in this story I’m reading by Jorge Luis Borges. It’s a story about an imaginary country. Actually it’s a story about an encyclopedia article about an imaginary country. It’s a fiction about nonfiction about fiction. I had no idea Budapest was in Hungary—it sounds rather Persian to me—or Turkish. It sounds rather fictional. It sounds no more real than Uqbar—but the Danube I know. Definitely in Europe. And blue (because Strauss tells me so). Geography is not really my forté. I think it might have something to do with my traumatically confusing experience in 8th grade history class. All year long I pedantically labeled blank maps of mysterious countries—I assumed they were real—but not once did I see these countries in the context of the globe. In short, I had no idea where they were. I had no idea where they were in relation to me. Nobody gave me a bridge, a door, a way in. I assume Budapest has a few stable bridges—so people can get from Buda to Pest. It’s all so very simple. Anyway, I found myself empathetic when Bridget Jones was dumped by that wonky man—I don’t remember his name?—Daniel?—because she doesn’t know where Germany is. I mean Bridget has enough on her plate with losing 15 lbs. Why should she be required to pinpoint a country with no relationship to her?
- Nettie Farris
Nettie Farris is the author of Communion (Accents Publishing, 2013), Fat Crayons (Finishing Line Press, 2015), The Wendy Bird Poems (dancing girl press, 2016), and the micro-chapbook Story (Origami Poems Project, 2016). She also writes book reviews and the Spotlight on a Press feature for Blue Lyra Review.