Upon cleaning out my effects from the locker chamber in Portland’s pavilion, I saw something that Jerryd Bayless had scrawled on the white board. In a fit of angry passion over our final loss, he had written, “Sh**! Piss! F***!!!”
“My friend,” I exclaimed, “you must be exhausted!”
But rest assured that I spoke in the admiration. For Jerryd had epitomized what we Spaniards call tener duende. It is a notion that has to do with the emotions and authenticity. For an American, tener duende might have the meaning as having soul. It is what gives your body a chilling reaction to the expressiveness of an artistic, athletic, or even profane expression!
When a three-point shooter has fires hot enough to burn, he has tener duende. When a flamenco dancer closes her eyes and her twirling litheness gives way to a deeper concentration, then does the elusive force of tener duende take possession of her form even as she captivates us all!
Not that I am paying particularly close attention.
How can tener duende be found? There is no map, there are no exercises, there is no one you can ask. Tener duende works on a basketball court the way that the hot winds blowing from Africa shape the sand dunes of the Spanish coast…and I thought that I saw tener duende at work here, in the unlikely form of these literary T-shirts. Behold, a delectable lady models a garment honoring Don Quixote himself!
“But is there a literary figure who models my número de cinco?” I wondered.
Sadly, there was…this sack of sadness modeling the number five for author Kurt Vonnegut!
I am not here to pass literary fashion judgment…but at first glance, it does not seem likely that either the model OR the writer possesses tener duende!
Jerryd Bayless from Basketbawful,
T-shirts from Novel-T.