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PRINT September 1984

ASTRAL AMERICA

I TRAVEL THROUGH THE U.S. as a soldier through a battlefield not his own, and over which clouds fly in the opposite direction. One conference a genuflexion, two, three conferences an uphill climb, a fleeting reflection in a New England mirror, I am the aeronautic missionary of silent majorities and fatal strategies, leaping catlike from one airport to the next, now the kindled woods of New Hampshire, yesterday the vertical sweetness of skyscrapers, tomorrow mellifluous Minneapolis, with its spidery suite of vowels half Greek and half Sioux evoking an auroral geometry at the edge of ice floes, at the horizon of the inhabited world.

Wanting to preserve his vision of America, he had forbidden himself to thoroughly understand English, linguistic strangeness (the irony, the softness, the cruelty of any foreign tongue) being part of his imaginary realm. . . . One day, he had had enough: he learned

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