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Burning the Boats to Hesperion

No reason and No rhyme

Burning the Boats to Hesperion

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,

as if poised to lift her leg in dance.

 

As my Uber sped to never see her again,

I thought of Shiva

the Cosmic Dancer,

And It’s strange and fleeting avatars.

 

“Sanctity is a form of attention.”

I heard once on the radio.

 

 

 

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 snippy with me in a bar,

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

- “Yeah”

- “Then I think, are they like 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.”

 

I drank my beer, he smoked his blunt. And we talked about something else.

 

 

 

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.

a time of bangs, clarions and hisses,

onomatopoeias of want and regret,

the din of lovers who need, but do not touch.

 

It rained,

Pitter, patter, pitter patter,

we talked,

Woof, woof! Woof woof!

the words of others surrounded us,

thsshshshsshsshshssh,

and,

when we spoke,

our hearts were full of sound.

 

Rrooommm, buzz, clang, clink, pfshhh…

 

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.

11
Mar17

Poem

 

I

 

Todos os homens têm uma geografia e,

se fores um homem de interesse,

o teu espaço é do interesse dos outros.

 

Preocupam-se com “a tua cidade”,

as “tuas ruas”,

os teus “roteiros”,

os teus “caminhos”,

 

Estes homens,

os de interesse,

protagonistas da História,

conhecidos pelas crianças,

e lidos pela multidão.

 

São objeto de estudo geográfico,

como se fossem uma campanha militar,

cada passo uma direção,

todos os gestos prenhes de volição

indo, sempre, com intenção,

e em todo o agir, querer...

o que faz das suas vidas um livro fácil,aberto, e por todos entendido.

 

E é esta a ideia por trás da ideia da história, literatura, religião e tudo o que nos junta,

tudo tem de ser lido por todos.

 

Mas,

            digo eu,

todos os homens têm uma  geografia.

Apesar de não terem nada que os distinga,

apesar de serem o silêncio na história,

os seus roteiros existem,

Têm passeios só deles,

imagens de lugares colados a pessoas,

emoções vertidas em locais,

e caminhos que são só seus.

 

E, que sabemos nós

para dizer que a sua viagem é pior que outra?

 

O que sabemos nós quando,

            agarrando nas suas vidas,

achatamos as sombras,

alisamos as contradições,

explicamos os silêncios,

apagamos as explosões?

 

Fazemos das suas vidas, narrativas,

explicamos tudo e sabemos nada.

 

Hoje eu afirmo aqui,

            Quem senão eu?

            Que outra altura mas agora?

            Que outro sítio senão este?

Que todos os caminhos dos homens são caminhos dignos de leitura.

Que não há geografias mais importantes que as outras,

e que,

muito embora,

não haja hierarquia onde não há conhecimento,

haverá sempre,

histórias mais interessantes que outras.

 

E sugiro aqui pela primeira vez,

a hipotética existência,

            nunca vista por que nunca estudada,

do roteiro do homem que,

            se ausente de história,

exulta em geografia.

 

Rotinas feitas de metros, comboios e elétricos,

estas coisas de agir,

cruzam linhas na pele da cidade,

mandalas feitas de caminhos para o emprego e o ginásio,

sigilas nascidas de idas à casa de banho no bar,

e cosmogonias explicadas por férias na Caparica.

 

II

 

Ontem sonhei com uma rapariga que amei aos 11 anos.

E no sonho via-a agora,

mas velha, mais magra … um bocado gasta,

mas ainda linda.

Parecia nervosa...

            tensos e  imensos olhos castanhos;

                        atentos,

                                   bailarinos,

e mãos que fechavam e abriam.

 

E eu,

e eu amava-a com a violência com que se ama algo fechado,

e com a certeza  de quem já não tem tempo para amar muito mais.

Queria, e querer era novo e velho.

 

Encontrei-a numa terra de província

            no sonho

e,

depois de ela desaparecer dizendo-me muito pouco,

soube que aquela era a terra onde teria que viver.

 

Depois sonhei sobre os amigos dela, a terra e de como ficar.

Mas não é isso que lembro.

 

Nada disso é suficiente para vos contar este sonho,

            haverá coisa mais aborrecida que ouvir contar um sonho?

            surely not

O que o tornou especial;

foi isto:

 

No sonho perguntam-me se queria, de facto, ficar na terra, que era

            afinal

                        tão pequena.

E eu, ao responder, sinto-me encher como uma maré,

cavalgando a praia, as casas, os carros…

 

e por isso disse:

 

“Sim,

é o amor da minha vida.”

 

 

III

 

Há um conceito chamado “path dependence”, que diz que as tuas decisões atuais são limitadas pelas anteriores.

Que tudo o que acontece resulta de o que fizeste, por muito longínquo que seja.

E que este passado é a melhor forma de explicar o presente.

 

Neste mundo não há grandes planos,

visões estratégicas,

grandes linhas.

Não.

Neste modo de ver, tudo o que é, é, por causa de pequenos passos atrás.

Sem outra verdade que o caminho,

            os passos dados,

                        e mais coisa nenhuma.

 

Nesta visão o roteiro é tudo,

é a causa e a explicação,

a necessidade e a resposta.

 

E talvez seja por isto que todas as geografias são importantes.

Porque não há um valor maior,

uma explicação total,

uma razão holística

para o caminho de cada um de nós.

 

E assim ficam

            sem razão ou explicação

as nossas linhas de tempo,

completas e frágeis,

só elas capazes de teleologia,

só elas capazes de estética.

Só nelas a possibilidade de redenção.

 

E é por isto,

e devido a isto,

 

Que um homem

            aos 43 anos,

pode sonhar o início da sua vida

em pessoas que já não existem,

e levantar-se uma manhã,

com o coração cheio de canções.

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 are 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.
10
Jan11

Looking Inward

 

As days go by...

As days go by, I,

and all the others,

grow increasingly distant from the world.

As I grow older,
day by day,
things around me seem less clear than their image inside.
Which is not an image,
or a representation,
but a foggy, cursory feeling of something else,
something simpler yet darker,
clearer but evanescent.
The blueprint of reality, seen fleetingly through closed closed doors, eyes and hearts.

Everyday I,

and all the rest,

learn our part in the world by rote … but not by heart.
Knowing it so well that it is now,
all tropism and inertia.
A fluid give and take of forces and masses that determine a psychology best described by the equations of physics.


The Outside is left to its own devices. A garden of powers engendered by complexity and the will of the young,
who were

still

not summoned to inspect this strange vision,

begotten by action and living,

and existing as something else entirely.

And as time passes I,

and everyone else,

feel this inner truth to be a little clearer, and the Outside,

a little distant,

a little dimmer,
more remote.
Increasingly foreign and threatening.

This is called growing old.

This small nugget of knowing that we believe we glimpsed is evermore enticing.
Still incomprehensible,
distant of words and wary of grammar,
it seems to stand still if looked from the corner of your eye,
but if you try to stare at it …
it’s not there anymore.

And,
as time passes,

as it surely will.

This hunt becomes path, motion and goal for those who have more years than time.

Slowly the Outside gets evermore abstruse and incomprehensible,
full of change and movement caused by nothing and going nowhere.
And,

as it gets increasingly difficult to understand,
we loose the words and refuse the meanings that perpetually mutate to survive.
For we haven't
looked Outside for so long,
and retreated to the other truth that needs nothing but us.

This silent knowledge,
devoid of language and requiring only unerring attention,
grows to encompass all experience.
And when I,

and all of you,

don’t forget,

have become nothing but watchers of a truth that requires no dialectic,
there’ll be no need for words,
for seeing,

for duality …
and for watchers.
For a watcher that has no Outside watches nothing, and cannot exist.

Then I’ll die,
and disappear to the place where there’s no more Truth or Reason.
And these words will have meant nothing.

 

 

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