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Burning the Boats to Hesperion

No reason and No rhyme

Burning the Boats to Hesperion

05
Nov17

Traveling

 

 

I

 

All people have a geography.

Even if beggared from anything else,

they exist in space,

and their pattern in it

is wholly their own.

 

We all have a topology,

although there might be nothing to distinguish us,

although we may be silent in history,

our paths exist,

despite being known only to ourselves,

 

Today I make this pronouncement

That all paths of men  are to be studied.

That all geographies are important,

and I suggest here,

for the very first time.

the hypothetical existence

Never seen because never studied

Of a man’s trek that,

If absent of history,

exults in topography.

 

Routines made of subways, trains and trams crossing lines in the skin of the city,

mandalas built of boozy nights spent bar hopping,

sigils born from trips to the drugstore in the corner,

and cosmogonies explained by holidays at the beach.

 

 

II

 

 

Yesterday I dreamt of a girl I loved at eleven.

And in the dream I saw her, now.

Older, thinner … a little gaunt,

But still beautiful.

Immense brown eyes

   attentive,

   restless,

   and tense.

 

And I,

I loved her with the intensity of a eleven year old.

 

I was elated by this gift of feeling love like the first,

for a second time.

 

I found her in a small town

In the dream

And

After she disappeared saying very little,

I knew that that was where I would live forever.

 

Then I dreamt about her friends,

       the town,

            and how to stay there.

 

In the dream they asked me if I,

       really,

              wanted to stay in the town.

Which was

In fact

So small.

 

And I said

 

 “Yes.

She’s the love of my life.”

 

III

 

There’s a concept called “path dependence”, that says that your current decisions are determined by latter ones.

That all that happens results from what you did, no matter how remote,

and that the past is the solution to the present.

 

In this world there are no master plans,

no strategic visions,

guiding lines,

No.

 

In this way of seeing, all that there is, is, because of previous actions.

No other truth but the path,

steps taken,

nothing else.

 

In this vision the route is all.

It’s the cause and the explanation,

the need and the answer.

 

And maybe it’s for this that all geographies are important.

Because there’s no teleonomy

teleology,

escathology,

to illuminate the path that is us.

 

And here we stand,

In our own timelines

frail and complete,

Only in them, ontology

Only in them, aesthetics,

Only in them, the hope of redemption.

 

And for all this,

And because of this,

 

a man,

at 44,

can dream about the beginning of his life,

and wake up the next morning,

happy,

with a heart full of songs.

 

15
Ago17

The mouth of babes

b4d832695b854ca7674e56ec9ae56757.jpg

 

 

 

 

Dad! You have to remember we're not in the twentieth century anymore!

I opened my mouth to speak

and found only remembrances of 79, 85, 95...

Pointing my finger at my daughter

I paused to say something,

and said nothing.

 

Then my wife laughed.

23
Jun17

Dancing

 

 

 

 

I saw her through the car window,

as she started to dance for the pigeon on the sidewalk.

Looking vacantly at the bird,

  smiled thinly as she raised one arm,

      and pointed the other to the ground.

She stirred,

     poised to lift her leg in dance,

                      an impossible position,

                               precariously one footed.

As my Uber sped to never see her again,

I thought of Shiva

the Cosmic Dancer,

and It’s strange and fleeting avatars.



 

 

 

11
Abr17

The Question

 

It was night and we were drinking in the garden by the church.

I looked at my friend and asked him,

- “Di, are you always aware that you’re black?”

- “No, not really. Sometimes I think about it, if someone is weird with me in a bar,

or on the street … people looking at you funny, know what I mean”?

- “Yeah”

- “Then I think, is it because I’m black?

But you don’t know.

Not really.

It can be for so many reasons

    …

Yeah; but I think about it.”

 

 

 

 

01
Abr17

First thoughts after reading the Rig Veda

 

Oh bounteous Sun! Giver of warmth that belies winters,

Thy boons are yours and through you alone.

As we bask in your most munificent glow,

We’re reminded of the fleet footed horses

That bring the day and occlude the shade.

 

Oh beauteous rays of light!

Oh, form unseen!

Oh God so giving,

favour our right sacrifice.

 

We stand here in attention!

Full of awe,

And respect

 

Oh Sun, your generosity is like that of a overflowing river!

Constant, fast and plentiful.

and to you, Oh my mighty King,

I send my prayers of wealth and days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

25
Mar17

Celebration

 

 

This afternoon was sound and movement.

      bangs, clarions and hisses,

lovers creeping

   crawling

to each other.

 

It rained,

      a cold splatter, here and not here,

we talked,

      ravenous

the words of others surrounded us,

      like dishes touching dishes,

and,

       when we spoke,

our hearts were full of sound.

 

Vrooommm, buzz and kill…

 

Words were thrown at me,

and I heard them as applause

Clap, clap, clap

reassurement

Purr, purr, purr,

or confrontation

Pow, pow, pow!

 

All lost in the clang of the kitchen, the people and the cars outside the restaurant.

 

But still it was clear what I heard,

“I love you”

“Thank you for being here”

These are much better times”

“I’m happy that you’re with me”.

 

All the sounds that passed between me and my father.

Not because we don’t talk,

As we talk so much

Not because we don’t express emotions,

They come like voluble torrents of lava, violent and hearing only their sound.

Not because we don’t understand each other,

so, so much

 

But because,

some days are noisier than others,

full of streets, wants and longing,

 

and the loudest is the coming together with another.

 

All the bedlam drowns you

As you try for  love to pierce through.

 

And when you go away,

finally,

you understand the biggest noise was your heart.

 

Boom - boom - boom.

08
Jun13

Aging

 

Let us go forth,

once more,

into this new day.

Let us sail

unafraid and undaunted

to new beginnings.


Morning beckons a fresh light.

New, clean unbroken,

radiant and beaming.

Gleaming and pure,

full of rage, fire and movement.


But Dawn calls out for its kin,

the young and the naked,

not the old and the weathered.


I was skinned and stoned,

so many times,

by choice and chance,

that I’m known only by my scars

bruises, aches and the longing for deeds not done.


Before me I see the New Dance,

Taught to the new and hidden from the old.


Living is made of the anger, pain and cum of the newly born.

All the rest is not of this world.


The present is Time’s gift to youth,

showering it with now and,

promising it a future.


For them alone,

not me.


I have wore out my welcome,

the Stream runs with the blood of others,


but still I live...


surely not by Nature’s wish,

it’s lustful drunkenness for childhood,

and its never ending begetting of youth,

are boons that are bestowed to those shorter in years.


And certainly not for

wisdom,

knowledge,

philosophy

and all other icy comforts of aging.


I live bereft of reasons to be.


The Gods don't need me anymore,

Aging set me free from purpose and destiny.


So I am,

now,

alone

and free.

24
Jun11

The Sweet Hereafter

 

 

The future stains the horizon.

Not a time for plans and projects,
dreams and wanting.
But the moment where all present movement will end,
and go no further.

Hope was jettisoned to the sea, to keep the raft of the tomorrow afloat.

Not for lack of dreaming,
not for lack of wanting something different,
but because becoming is so pregnant with the unstoppable flow of yesterday,
tomorrow will only fit its end.

A future as the answer to the equation of the present,
its propositions explained,
its terms understood,
all its possibilities made fact,
palpable,
conclusive.

This sea of becoming is not ours to command,
only to sail,

on the edge of sinking,

the waves of causation,
in the hope of being delivered,

trembling but alive.

to the future that’ll belong to no man,
no reason,
no volition,
only to time that devours time,
for no other reason that, that, is its nature.

And if the future won’t suit us,
and it won’t,
we must take solace in the knowledge that,
whatever tomorrow may be,

it wont be our fault.

II

As progress liberated us from all languages of understanding,
Science,
Religion,
Art
Philosophy,
the rest,

we were brought forth to watch,
on the best seats of the house,
the spectacle of humanity moving without reasons to explain it.

For the first time in a long time,
we saw the effervescence of Men with the same eyes that follow the bustle of ants.

And still...
we move,

now that we know that there’s no will guiding it,

evermore faster.

Maybe it was always like this,
Maybe we just didn’t knew it.
Maybe there’s nothing new in this flux that we witness.
Maybe.

But now we know it doesn’t need us,
that we’re not needed to decide our end.

This is the true end of history,
when we avert our eyes from the deeds of men,
to watch only its moving,
forever void of direction.

Trapped in the eternal present,
We see ourselves through the eyes of the Gods.

Transparent.

05
Mar11

Mouraria

 

I

 

My building is made of flaws and asymmetry.

My building,

is a place of impossible angles and fortuitous stairs.
Time, need and chance are its bricks and mortar,
contingency and happenstance were its architects.
And there it stands,
With the understated confidence of the things who need no reason to exist.

Unencumbered with purpose,
Free from design,
It stands,
whole,
as a creation of passing time.

 

II


In it dwell several families of variable geometries,

countries and pigmentations,
who pray, (or not),

to different gods,
listen to their own music,
and have jobs that the others ignore,


speaking all languages,
eating all foods,
and,
all,
teaching their children to be good in different ways.


My building is multicultural,
multiracial,
and,
much more than tolerant,
it is accepting.

We accept that,

some of us,

will leave garbage on the stairs,
that the women will clean it,

eventually,

That we’ll greet each other on our respective languages,
That our affairs are our own,

and that at night there'll be silence,

because we all have children who need to sleep.

 

III


My building is in the wrong side of town.
The natives are poor, belligerent,
and live a life of drug dealing and petty crime.
This is viewed as local folklore by everyone.

They are the new iteration of the Third State,
a class of european have-not’s, that shape their worldview through the lens of a 50 Cent video.
Here, they emulate the ethos of the American ghetto and its caricature of achievement and respect.

But enough on the natives.

 

Lets talk of the foreigners that are so many that the neighbourhood has their name,
Mouraria its called.

Since the middle ages that is a unsavory and unregarded place inside the city.
In the beginning was a ghetto for the Moors,
and now its the same for the poor.

It’s funny how,
although, through time, we picked different outsiders,
we always put them in the same place.

Mouraria is known by their Chinese,
Indians,
Pakistanis,
Africans, (not the ones from the ex-colonies. The real foreigners),
and a unsavoury brand of Portuguese that it sires much to the disgust of all others.

They lay about street corners,
selling drugs,
stealing on occasion,
working when needed,
talking about football, fights and more football.
Huddling near the stores of the Pakistanis and Indians,
drinking beer and discussing the art of car tuning.


The Chinese stores await customers with belligerent efficiency,
The Ukrainian supermarket is open for business,

The African hairdressers blare out music calling their clientelle,
several Internet stores are there to link Asia with Portugal,
and the Brazilian and Chinese loaders take bales of goods to the stores as they chain-smoke and talk to each other.


In the middle of all this move Portuguese old ladies,
slowly intent in reaching the Portuguese bakery, where they’ll buy bread in the morning as it'll close in the afternoon.


The natives see all this from the walls they lean against all day...
seeming vaguely bemused by all the bustle that doesn’t concern them.
Intent only on the cars that stop in front of them, and screech away guiltily.

Only the foreigners seem to have a goal and a reason to exist,
all the rest just seem to … be.


Maybe that’s the privilege of living in your own land,
the only place where you can be, without justification...

Here,

in Mouraria,

you realize that is not Portugal that is only fog...

 

It's the Portuguese.

 

 

10
Jan11

Quiet

 

 

Dead days and still nights flesh out a living made of absence.
Not the quietus searched by the men of God,
but the listlessness of those who stopped looking.

Inside this nothing made time
movement is broken in moments,
and thoughts are like photographs,
each one clear and self sufficient,
isolated and engraved in now.

Carpe Diem, they say,
the eternal present, they say,
but if they ever lived a second here, all their voices would still,
and in their place...
paralysis and aphasia .

Forever trapped in the moment...
finding no relief,
no wisdom,
no satori,
no calm,
no detachment.

Only terror and constriction.

Some say this happens to those who are not ready for this state of being.
Not pure enough,
wise enough,

prepared, if you will.

But if this is so,
this gift is given most freely by the Higher Power,
for the number of those who think are in Hell far outnumber those who think are in Heaven.

Maybe the Buddhists are right.
That all will make the trek to the Living Beginning,
sooner or later,
whether we like it or not.

And,
more importantly,
irregardless of our degree of readiness.

We will be dragged to enlightenment.

Most of us kicking and screaming.

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