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Burning the Boats to Hesperion

No reason and No rhyme

Burning the Boats to Hesperion


The mouth of babes






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.







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.





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 this because I’m black?

But you don’t know.

Not really.

It can be for so many reasons


        Yeah; but I think about it.”






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.











This afternoon was sound and movement.

      bangs, clarions and hisses

              the din of lovers who creep and crawl to each other.


It rained,

      a cold splatter, here and not here,

we talked,

      ravenous in our presence

the words of others surrounded us,

      like dishes touching dishes,


       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


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,


you understand the biggest noise was your heart.


Boom - boom - boom.








All people have a geography and,

If you’re a interesting person,

your space is of interest to others.


They care about “your town”

“your streets”

“Your routes”

“Your ways”.


These people

   Those of interest

   Players of History

   Known by children

   And read by the multitudes


Are object of geographical study

Each step a direction

All gestures pregnant with volition

Going, always, with intent,

And in all moving, wanting…

Making of their lives an open easy book, understood by all.


This is the idea behind the idea of history, literature, religion and all that binds us.

All must be read by all.



I think

All men have a geography.

Although there might be nothing else to distinguish them.

Although they’re the  nothing but the  silence of history,

Their routes exist,

in ways known only to themselves,


And what do we know

To say these voyages are worst than any other?


What do we know when,

Grabbing their lives

flattenning their shades

Smoothing their contradictions,

Explain their silences

and smother their explosions?


We make of their lives, narratives.

Explaining all,

knowing nothing.


Today I make this pronouncement

   Who but me?

   What time but now?

   Where but here?

That all paths of men  are to be seen.

There are no geographies more important than others,

And that,


      There’s no knowledge where there’s no hierarchy,

There will always be stories that are more interesting than others.


And I suggest here,

For the very first time

The hypothetical existence

Never seen because never studied

Of a man’s route that,

If absent of history

Exulted in geography.


Routines made of subways, trains and trams,

   The things that move

Cross lines in the skin of the city,

Mandalas made of walks to the gym and work.

Sigils born from bathroom breaks in the bar

And cosmogonies explained by your holidays in Caparica.






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.

She seemed nervous…

Immense, tense brown eyes



As the hands clasped and unclasped.


And I,

I loved her with the violence that you love what is dead and done

knowing I’ll won’t it love anymore.


I found her in a small town

In the dream


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.

But that is not what I remember.


None of that was enough to tell you what I  dreamnt,

    Is there anything more boring than talking about dreams?

    Surely not

What made it special;

Was this:


In the dream they asked me if I,


              wanted to stay in the town.

Which was

In fact

So small.



As I answered,

I felt a swelling like a tide,


And said



She’s the love of my life.”




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 best way to explain the present.


In this world there are no master plans,

No strategic visions,

Great lines,



In this way of seeing, all that there is, is, because of all the little steps before.

No other truth but the path,

Steps taken,

And 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 higher value,

A total explanation,

An holistic reason

For the path that is each and everyone of us.


And here we stand,

With no reason or explanation,

In our own timelines

Frail and complete,

Only in it teleology

Only in it aesthetics,

Only in it the possibility of redemption.


And for all this,

And because of this,


Is why that a man,

At 44,

Can dream about the beginning of his life

with people that don’t exist anymore,

And wake up

One morning,

With his heart full of songs.





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




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,



and free.


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,

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.


As progress liberated us from all languages of understanding,
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.

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.







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,
as a creation of passing time.



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,
teaching their children to be good in different ways.

My building is multicultural,
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,


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.



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,
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...


in Mouraria,

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


It's the Portuguese.







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.

more importantly,
irregardless of our degree of readiness.

We will be dragged to enlightenment.

Most of us kicking and screaming.

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