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Burning the Boats to Hesperion

No reason and No rhyme

Burning the Boats to Hesperion

04
Nov17

Playground

jerome-myers-the-playground-1907.jpg

 

 

 

I think it was raining and I think it was cold.

No. It couldn’t be raining because they wouldn’t let us outside.

But it had rained, and our playground was all sand and mud.

And it was grey.

Yeah, I remember that.

 

I was in the third grade and Miguel Portela was the biggest bully around.

Not because he was the strongest, or the hardest,

but because he took the most pleasure from bullying.

 

I,

once,

Tried to fight him.

He was stronger than me and everytime I pushed him, he pushed me harder to the ground.

I kept getting up and taken down repeatedly,

until he started to laugh,

-”So, “Angry” do you want to try another time? Come at me again, “Angry”, see if you can take me this time.”

I tried and cried and failed miserably.

He kept taunting me, calling me “angry”

Every time I lost a little more of my confidence

my resolve grew diffuse,

until  I was slowly,

but surely,

wore down.

I retreated in shame.

 

From then on, he would see me and ask, “Hi “angry”! How you’re doing?”

I felt so powerless,

but,

I had no more fight in me.

I was defeated and knew it.

 

Months passed.

Enouhg time to resign myself to be made fun of by Miguel.

 

One Autumn afternoon the kids were playing football on our makeshift filed.

I was told that Miguel Portela got into an argument with one of the strong, popular kids,

and,

as things got heated,

he tried to punch him.

The other kid fought him hard,

methodically,

comprehensively.

When he stopped Miguel was lying in the football field,

sand sticking to his clothes.

crying softly.

 

And it was then that something magical happened.

 

Our playground was like any other.

Filled with the relentless movement and hollering of children.

We were left there to scream and vent

for as long as they would keep us outside.

 

But,

then,

In the football field,

a woundrous transformation occourred.

 

As the kids saw Miguel Portela writhing and whining in the dirt, they made a circle around him.

For a long time, he did nothing but cry.

The beating was so violent and final it’d cracked something inside him,

leaving him to sob into the mud.

 

This display of weakness didn’t go unnoticed by the other kids.

They stood above him as he blubbered, pleased to see him grovel.

When,

again,

he tried to get up,

someone kicked him down.

He whimpered

and cried some more in the sand.

 

After the first kick something changed.

Now everyone on the football field knew they could hurt him.

Shortly after the first, another cracked him in the gut.

The circle got tighter and there was a lull.

 

Slowly it dawned on everyone that what they had was something very precious,

which,

they knew,

should be kept from the teachers.

They had the school’s biggest bully squirming abjectly on the floor,

being,

at once,

A victim that invited punishment, and a bully, that justified it.

 

There was no rush,

No frenzy,

Just looking and waiting.

 

They watched him,

prostrated,

sniveling,

eyes closed,

hands opening and closing spasmodically.

 

When he,

again,

tried to get up, someone would kick him down.

Sometimes gently, sometimes not,

but always hard enough for him to understand where everyone wanted him.

Lying,

prone,

in the wet sand.

 

You could hear the silence in the football field.

And if the teachers were slow to react,

the other kids weren’t.

 

All around the playground, first, second and third graders, started to pick up on the absence and searched for its cause.

Quietly,

intently,

they poured into the field and thickened the circle around him.

They all had came to see Miguel Portela.

 

Tentatively they renewed kicking him,

now one kid,

now another.

He would just whine softly

and cry some more.

 

A stillness crept over the playground as the kids congregated around him.

Quietly they stood,

Immobile

reverent,

booting him down every time he tried to get up.

 

By then most of the school was in the football field.

 

Eventually the silence alerted the teachers that something was wrong.

When they finally got to the field they saw the circle,

By now, four or five people thick,

encircling Miguel Portela,

as the rain, the tears, and the snot coated him with wet sand.

 

It all ended then.

 

They made us listen to lectures about the terrible thing we’d all done,

But there was a deep dearth of contrition.

and

anyway,

there was just too many kids to punish.



Miguel Portela’s parents took him out of the school and we never saw him again.

08
Out17

Dog Days

Eric-Fischl-Artwork.-Image-via-deborahfeller.com--

 

The Party was relentless,

all kinesis and acceleration.

 

It took what it needed,

discarded the rest,

and sucked everything into its esurient maw.

Feeding us all to the crushing beat of psy-trance.

 

Boom, Boom … Boom.

 

I was there to see it born.

“We should do a rave in the abandoned slaughterhouse.”

Said César,

Eyes glinting with the dark anticipation of putting hippies dancing on a charnel house.

We all basked in the glow of seeing the “good-vibrations-vegan, set” slowly waking to the realization of where they were.

We saw it all and found it good.

 

It was Summer by the sea in Alentejo.

Some of us were on holidays, others had jobs on the beach and, most of us, were unemployed.

So we had time.

 

Someone got a generator,

Another a PA system,

Lights were produced from thin air

And in no time we had what we needed for the féte.

No money exchanged hands,

as there was none,

only goodwill and a feeling that fate was active in our endeavour.

 

As so many things,

It started with a whimper.

Two or three of us around the dj table

thrown over the stone where they cleaned the carcasses.

The music evolved from EDM to Death Industrial in less than two hours.

It suited the space,

and mores,

Better.

 

Some people came, looked, and went away.

We let them.

There was no mood to compromise.

Then.

 

The morning after, we were drinking in front of the small fisherman’s houses perched some 60 meters from the slaughterhouse.

César,

and all those  working in the beach,

were living in these cramped white spaces with benches outside

Where we would sit

and drink

and talk.

 

Someone left a cd running with Brighter Death Now in the PA.

It was around 7 in the morning and they had to go to work.

The day shone belligerently,

forcing us to sunglasses and thinking about the night before.

 

“-I think we should take the PA out of the abattoir.”

“-No! Don’t do that! It’s so fucking cool! We haven’t even done our band photos there!”

“- Yeah, but … I mean, the vibes, man. It’s just too negative.”

“- Yeah … I suppose.”

 

We brought the PA outside and got it ready to blare,

unimpeded,

To the clear, indifferent air of Alentejo.

 

We were far from everything.

The tarmac stopped at the beach.

From there two dirts roads started,

If you’d take the one closer to the sea for some 900 meters,

You would be where we where.

There was only farms, dogs and the perpetually drunk locals that the place vomits in the shape of old men.

 

Oh yes,
We fitted right in.

 

It started with ten people,

Maybe twenty,

But in what seemed like a breath,

Or three days, I don’t know,

there were thirty, forty people there.

I remember sitting  by the fishermen’s houses,

The one’s with the bench,

The one’s where we sat for eons

I remember being there and thinking;

 

-”Ah!”

 

And looking at people getting things from their cars,

Parked some 40 meters away from me,

coming, going,

Pissing against the lone tree,

Twoing and froing from the party,

And I thought:

 

-”Ah!”

 

As I drank from a Gin bottle someone gave me a while ago.

 

The place was managed by a Irish family.

Living some 100 meters from where we were. They were ok in the beginning, but then not so much.

I remember,

vaguely,

threats of telling what was happening to the owner,

somewhere in Ireland,

who was connected to the IRA and wouldn’t be amused.

Apparently César knew him also, and all the phone calls stopped when they couldn’t get decent arbitrage.

So the Party continued.

 

One week in, this turned into a local event.

If you were in a 50km radius you probably were there.

 

Sometimes, someone would come to get his PA or lights back and,

In minutes,

not hours,

There would be others to pump insanity into the dunes.

There was always,

Always,

booze and drugs...

Man, so much drugs!.

People came in a sharing mood,

and I seemed to be always close.

 

It was my third day there,

When my girlfriend asked:

-”Do you want another one?”

I looked at the whisky bottle I was nursing,

Not remembering what and for how long I was drinking,

And said:

“Yes please”.

She got into a car with some friends of ours and disappeared in the dust,

Towards the town, alcohol, and food and telling more people where we were.

When she came back I was drinking a liter of beer that someone gave me before going away.

Lots of people did that.

I was near the parking.

That’s why they gave me their spares.

 

As we sat there,

In the afternoon,

We saw him trudging along,

Sixty or seventy,

Coming through the dirt road,

Clearly drunk and looking quizzical.

 

He ambled along to where we were and someone said:
-”I Tí Manéli! Atão vájábenaviado?”

This is portuguese to say: “Hey old man, I know you’re drunk, we are drunk too. Do you want to drink with us?”

He leaned in the fence pole,

needing all the help he could get,

Looked at us,

Two glowing ravers

A hippie

A skinhead

And a overweight punk,

looked to the road ahead,
And said:

-”Ok”

He passed by us, to the Party and I don’t remember seeing him come out.

 

When I woke,

Not chronologically, mind you, as I can’t remember that much.

I was strewn amongst the feet of dancers.

One said:

-”Are you ok man?! You were sleeping, so I kept your glasses, just so no one would step on them.

Here. Take them.”
-”Ah, thanks man”

-”sure! No problem!”

And he danced away never to be seen again.

I got up,

and ascertained that the Party had grown to engulf me.

Now everything was the Party.

 

Tentatively up,

Surrounded by dancers,

I put my dusty glasses on,

And looked at the stars.

 

I think it was the second day,

Maybe the first,

Or the third,

I don’t know,

When Mónica told us we shouldn’t be there when his girlfriend came.

 

João, João Mónica,

was a spearfisher sleeping at the fishermen’s houses

where everybody was sleeping,

but in the house next door.

 

When it got cold,

Three or four in the morning,

everyone looked for a place to stay.

And in César’s place there was a room before his bedroom, where anyone that could squeeze, could sleep.

And you did it with your head over the feet of someone, and,

if anyone got up,

we would all move.

 

We slept like a pack,

although we didn’t knew each other,

we dreamt together

although we were all different.

But,

If this was the house of the Party,

Mónica was somewhere else.

 

He looked,

suspicious and wary,

at the growing party.

He had no appetite for this.

All he wanted was calm seas to fish near the rocks, catch one or three fishes,

get home

and get drunk.

 

The Party had nothing for him.

 

One day,

I can’t remember when,

Monica called us,

because he had something to say.

He said that he made peace with his girlfriend,

which we never knew,

that this was to be a new beginning,

and he wanted to do a nice dinner for her,

make a sweet and romantic evening.

And if we please!

Just please,

just for this night,

would stop the Party.

 

Off course we all said yes,

how could we not?

Mónica was such a good guy,

he deserved it,

and we were so eager to give it to him.

So we all said yes.

 

Unknowing at that moment that we were promising something what was not ours to give.

 

The Party continued regardless of our screams for silence,

quiet

peace,

In fact,

It seemed to get louder,

 

There was a point,

I don’t know what point but I remember it was a point,

where I sat by Cesar’s and Monica’s house,

tired of shushing people for reasons I didn’t remember.

When Monica came out his house,

baseball bat on hand,

screaming

“You motherfuckers, you bloody motherfuckers!””

 

He came out swinging, but the bat touched nothing.

Slowly, the mdma people learned enough to get away,

he screamed in the middle of the plain,

as everyone ambled for cover,

“Motherfuckers! You fucking motherfuckers!”

 

Then César and Leite got there.

César stopped in front of Mónica and said the kind of words that make a bull jump you.

Mónica left the bat on the floor and punched César on the face. Repeatedly

Leite was afraid for this two friends,

separated them,

and,

when they saw him,

started punching him instead.

 

When I woke, César and Monica were hugging, Leite seemed pleased and it was morning.

 

César passed by me and said,

-”It’s alright, It’s alright”

I believed it was.



I think it was late in the morning, early afternoon, when someone said:

-”We should do a big party!

“Something in the thousands. Something to remember.”


Someone went to talk to the Irish,

and explained why a bigger party,

with people buying for beer

and they getting a cut, could be a good thing.

They said yes.

 

I don’t know from fear or cupidity

but they said yes.

 

When I looked from my vodka bottle, the Party had changed,

It had moved nearer the house of the Irish.

There was a stage,

barrels of beer,

And music that churned menacingly on.

 

When it got dark, it exploded,

lights to be seen for miles,

music to be heard for further than that.

The Party got bigger.

 

Later

later on,

The police came.

Someone should have went,

that day,

To the police station and tell them that we were having a party,

But that kind of slipped through everyone’s fingers.

 

-”Do you have a permit?”

-”What?!”

-”Do you have a permit?”

-”A permit for what?”

-”For this!”

-”What?”

-”This party! Do you have a permit?”

-”Oh! A permit! Yes! I talked to you colleague that was there this morning.”

-”Who?”

-”You colleague.”

-”What his name?”

-”Well, his name was (noise, noise), and he said it was alright, and we should tell it to anyone who came here.

-”He said that?”

-”Off course”.

-”I’m going to call the precinct and check it out.”

-”Yeah, you do that.”

 

They were shuttled from person to person,

talking to everyone who would listen,

and waking up to terrible realization that no one was in charge.

This took them from two to 3 in the morning, until someone put their arms around the cops and said,.

-”Ok, you’re right. We should stop”.

 

We turned off the lights, moved the Party some 90 meters and resumed the festivities.

 

I remember staying for three,

four days at a time,

sometimes more.

I remember waking up in my house, 250 km away, and feeling empty.

Depleted of wants and reasons to be,

A physical and spiritual hangover.

As I tried to get my life back together, the phone would rang:

-”´sup?”

-”sup”

-”Wanna come here? Someone brought mushrooms and we've tripping for two days.”

...

-”´kay.”

 

By then I would find myself saying,

“Inês, we’re going to Alentejo again”.

-”´Ok. Do you want me to take the wine?

-”yes please”.

 

For four months that was what I did.

I went there for 3/4 days, it would get too much for me and I would go home.

Then someone would remind me of the Party, and I would think,

“The fuck am I doing home?”

 

Cold stopped the party.

As Summer went, so it did.

And,

As it formed,

It went away,

 

The Party wasn’t the result of our wanting, the Party was as present as the Anticyclone of the Azores,

We just happened to be there.

And it was,

In its way,

Beautiful.



 

31
Ago17

Porn

The-New-Doll.jpg

 

 

 

“-My computer is filled with viruses and porn."

-"Porn?"

-"Yes. Your nephews downloaded God knows what to my computer.

Now I have these porn sites popping up at all time."

...

I keep seeing men with huge penises … that's not real, is it?

“- Yes mother, it’s real.”

“-Oh.

Poor things…”



14
Ago17

Grandmother

old woman.jpg

 

 

 

I

 

 

“-You have to visit your grandmother. She’s weak now and won’t be with us for very long.”

said my father, while driving us in that December night.

I mumbled noncommittally and looked at the trees outside.

“She became frailer this last few months.

You haven’t seen her for so long, so you don’t know.

She looks like a little old lady.”

 

Which was something strange to say about a 85 year old woman.

 

But not so strange if you knew her.

upright

uptight

unmoving

unwavering

unshakable

 

wholly unlikable.

 

When we were evicted and my parents divorced,

because when it rains, it pours,

me and my sister went to live with my grandmother.

much to the chagrin of everyone involved.

But mostly hers.

 

Our time there was one of abuse, spite and confrontation,

and waking to the knowledge that the ones that should protect,

sometimes bite.

 

We were told that her house was not like our parents house,

that, in her house there were rules,

order,

and that, if we abided by them, all would be fine.

 

But this was a lie.

 

The rules were not there to rule the house,

but to change our behaviour.

which was seen as undisciplined

moorless

unfocused

weak.

 

All free time was an opportunity for sloth,

our interests were suspicious as they were chosen by us,

our achievements were not to be celebrated so we wouldn’t think too much of ourselves.

our parents were feeble, stupid,

And we should be grateful we didn’t live with them anymore.

 

This was our original sin,

the indiscipline of our parents,

and thus,

we were the result of bad stock and bad habits.

 

My father lived with us,

she was his mother,

and tried his damndest to see and hear nothing.

He resigned from fatherhood and became a son.

expecting cooked meals,

pressed clothes,

clean shirts

and no sons to disturb this second adolescence.

 

I hated him so much …

my sister still does.

But what I hated most of all was conceding to my grandmother

that he was,

indeed,

a coward.

 

Lost in himself.

forever blameless because forever 14,

an hedonist not out of love of life,

but because little boys don’t make plans.

 

Living there was a war that made me defensive and wary of people for years.

Cagey, afraid and suspicious of kindness.

Always on guard,

ready to bite and run

always alone and happy to be so.

 

When my mother got a rented room I went to live with her,

sleeping on the floor next to her bed.

 

As I was going out the door my grandmother touched me on the shoulder and,

as I turned,

slapped me twice on the cheeks.

 

“I know why you’re going away! So you would do what you want! Go be a failure like your father!”

 

Her eyes were wide,

hands taut and claw like.

She seemed eager to pounce.

 

I was twelve years old.

 

II

 

And then I didn’t see her for years.

My father would try to get me to come to her house,

remembering me that she loved me,

saying that all that I remembered,

all that happened,

was nothing more than lazy teens living with an old lady set in her ways,

Just that.

That,

sometime in the future,

I would look back and laugh at these cherished family memories.

And,

furthermore

I probably,should have heard some of the things she said to me,

as they were advice to be heeded.

 

Many years passed,

ten, maybe more.

I was in the car, with my father, on that December night.

 

I think it was my sister’s birthday and we were all going out to dinner.

My father roped me to go pick my grandmother.

and I …

by then,

didn’t feel much of anything.

Ten years passed,

everything fades to gray.

 

I remember it was cold.

The car heater was on and I had my overcoat,

but, if I pressed my face to the window,

I could feel the sting.

 

We parked outside her house, and he said:

“Go get your grandmother. She’s waiting for us.”

 

When I opened her door, a numbing chill came from inside.

the stale dusty winter of closed houses.

 

All the lights were out and I asked myself if she was sleeping,

or dead.

 

I called:

“Grandma! … Grandma! It’s Miguel Grandma!”

 

Silence.

 

I climbed the stairs,

my steps muffled by the garish carpet she liked,

dark

unmoving.

 

As I got up there I heard:

“Oh, it’s you. I thought that your father would pick me up.”

 

There she was.

 

Bent over on an unforgiving chair that was never used to sit, she sat.

In the dark,

by an open window,

letting in the street lights dim glimmer.

 

She looked frailer,

smaller,

distant.

 

“Grandma aren’t you cold?”

“Cold? No, not really. Why? Is it cold today?”

“Why are you sitting in the dark?”

“... well, I was alone here, I wasn’t reading … I saw no reason to waste electricity”

 

She looked vaguely at me,

as if it should be mine the next move,

as if she needed a prompt.

 

“Come on Grandma, I’ll help you get up”.

I took her arm,

she took her cane,

which I never seen her use,

and, as she leant on me, I felt the weight of nothing on my arm.

 

She was insubstantial

indifferent to the cold

and not really there.

 

“I thought your father would pick me up.”

She said again.

“He’s waiting in the car Grandma”

“Oh … ok”

...

“Where are we going again?”

“It’s Margarida’s birthday Grandma. We’re going to dinner.”

“Oh … Ok”

 

 

Late that night we came back from Lisbon,

through the “Marginal”,

winding from Lisbon,

to Cascais,

always hugging the sea.

 

My grandmother looked outside and,

for the first time that night,

she looked engaged.

 

“This is so pretty...

Maria."

Her eldest sister.

"Would love to see this…

I’ll tell her tomorrow.”

Maria had died ten years ago.

 

“Zé!”

My father

“Do you see the lighthouse?!”

“Yes mother, I do.”

“So pretty…

I’ll tell your father.”

My grandfather died 24 years ago.

 

She sat on the front of the car,

me and my sister on the back,

so happy to ride the Marginal,

 

“Grandma!”

Said my sister. Not one to leave well enough alone.

“Yes?”

“Aunt Maria is dead.”

“Yes. Yes she she is … Silly of me.”

 

She said nothing for a while,

but smiled…

at the road,

the night,

the sea

the trees

the houses

I don’t know.

She just seemed content

to see the world pass by,

my father by her side,

and her ghosts around her.

 

That night I gave my Grandmother for dead.

 

 

III

 

 

When she died,

really died,

it was much more kinetic and a lot less poetic.

 

I saw her again at a burial in Cascais cemetery,

where my grandfather was buried

and where she had bought a plot next to him.

 

We were burying a son from one of her sisters,

a 41 year old man,

prime  of his life,

cancer.

 

As the men started shoveling dirt into the hole,

I became more aware of my grandmother’s discomfort.

She would twitch nervously among the graves,

not knowing where to be.

 

She came next to us,

Tsk tsking,

as if the funeral was all wrong.

 

I think it was by the third time she went through the grave that my mother took her by the arm and asked:

“Mother, are you ok?”

“Yes … Yes … it’s just that, I’m so old, and this is my graveyard … I feel that I’m next.”

 

“Mother, don’t say that!

you look so well!”

My grandmother smiled thinly,

shrugged her shoulders,

and went near his grave.

 

Her sister was leaving

already by the exit,

crying and held by someone.

 We followed.

 

Behind all of us,

my grandmother stood looking at my uncle's freshly dug grave.

 

My sister sighed as she looked at her.

I said:

“I’ll get her”

“No …I will”.

 

She went to her side,

teetering above her nephew's grave,

and hugged her,

hard.

 

Her shoulders moved upwardly,

surprised to be held,

and let herself be touched.

For a while,

for a little while.

 

She patted my sister,

took her arm,

leant on the cane,

and pointed to the exit with her chin.

 

They moved from my uncle's grave

one cane held, the other looking at the ground,

through my mother,

who looked at me

wet eyed and empathizing,

expecting of me what this place took from everyone.

 

But me,

having no one but me to subsist,

being

then

so bereft of others

and stripped of warmth,

could only think:

“I must get away from here before they understand how much I don’t care.”

 

I looked at the gravel,

and hoped that my grandmother's trek through the graveyard would be as long as it could be.

 

The bitch.

 

IV

 

 

Have I talked about her dying?

Yes I did.

And then I remembered the death of someone else.

My mistake.

I apologize.

 

I will tell you

finally,

of her death.

 

I was sleeping at my girlfriends when she woke me,

shaking me softly:

“Miguel , Miguel, your grandmother just died. I’m so sorry”

 

“Who called?”

“Your mother. Your father tried to phone you but you didn’t answer.”

I looked at the phone

It was around 3h30.

My father called,

for the first time,

at 2h05.

I wasn’t very late.

 

I got up,

took a bath,

Shaved,

put on my suit,

a dark tie,

and my black overcoat.

 

I arrived and my father was crying.

“Miguel, I’m so glad you came!

please don’t go to your grandmother’s bedroom. There’s nothing to see there,

not anymore…

she died without her teeth and  her wig.

I just couldn’t let anyone see her like that.”

 

By then all had been done.

My father had welcomed the police and the 911.

they did what they do,

said how sorry they were for his loss

and went away.

 

Leaving him with his mother

under a sheet,

with her wig

and her teeth.

 

He saw me looking at her and said:

“She died in my arms.

I was sleeping when I heard her cry:

“Zé! Zé! Come here, I can not breathe!”

she was quivering uncontrollably,

her nightgown at her breast,

no teeth,

no hair.

she looked at me gasping for air.

 

I said:

“Mother, mother it will be all right!”

trying to stop her jerking.

but I couldn’t.

I craddled her head,

and squeezed her hand

gripping her close to my chest.

 

she moved, once

twice,

thrice,

and then stopped.”

 

There’s nothing of your grandmother to see in that bed.

Just a shell”.

 

He cried some more,

and I got curious about her corpse.

 

I moved

stealthily

to where she lied.

 

She was small,

she was always small,

but now she was just a bump on a bed.

 

I pulled the sheet and looked.

 

Her jaw jutted sideways,

as if it trying to leave her face.

the eyes looked upward, looking intently at the ceiling.

My father tried to closed them, but they opened again.

Hands were clenched around her breast

trying to move a weight from her chest.

 

I saw all this and thought

”God, I hope my father doesn't see this!”

But he did.

Alone

for a long time.

He put her teeth

and her wig on.

 

As he cried it dawned on me,

I can not help this man from the horror of the death of his mother.

but maybe, I can help him bury her well.

 

My grandmother now,

the cunt,

was so much of what she was in life,

dead weight and bad memories.

 

But maybe,

just maybe,

my father remembered something else,

and maybe,

I should respect this.

So I did.

 

The wake was a pleasant affair.

I went to wash my hands and saw that I was much thinner,

and that I looked good in my suit.

 

The rest of the day I mc’ed the event,

happy and self assured

safe in the knowledge of my handsomeness.

 

Some of my sisters' girlfriends came and commented on how good I looked.

It felt nice.

 

My father cried in a corner,

not able to navigate the social niceties

and me so eager to do it.

 

It was a long wake.

We were there at nine in the morning and came home at midnight.

All day in a tasteless chapel in one of the more nondescript places in Cascais.

If I wasn’t so pleased with myself it would have been unbearable..

 

The next day was the burial.

and if you’ve been to one, I’ve nothing more to add.

The same solemn steps,

the same hole,

that thud in your heart when you hear the dirt coming over the casket,

and the lingering feeling that,

all in all,

better them than us.

 

V

 

I wish I had an ending for this poem,

some kind of coda to wrap the story in a pithy summation.

But I haven’t.

 

The story is what I wrote,

even if I don’t know

clearly

what I intended to tell.

 

I read that some mathematical problems can’t be summated in a equation.

there’s no way to discern an underlying algorithm,

no way to summarize elegantly the unruly mess that are some questions.

Sometimes

the only way to explain them

Is going through all the calculations,

step by step,

painstakingly forbearing any intelligence,

and giving yourself,

freely,

to arithmetic.

 

And I think that is what happened here.

The story is the story,

void of morality and gnosis.

 

And that will have to do.

 

05
Ago17

Mário

Picasso-Death-of-Casagemas.jpg

 

 

“When your stepfather was dying in the hospital”

Said my mother

He would look at me and say:

“Save me! Save me!”

And I thought he was talking about the medication that caused him pain”

 

She took a sip from her glass and continued.


“But of course I was lying to myself.

He wasn’t talking about the medication…

And,

Yeah…

Not everyone dies well."



24
Jul17

Cat

 

 

 

The girl stood in front of the car screaming:

“No!

      No!

           No!"

 

There was a thud,

                         and then nothing.

 

Her friend stared

                           as she shouted at the driver:

                                                                      “Real nice M’am! Really, really nice!”

 

I looked behind me, to the cat in the road.

 

It was jumping and somersaulting spasmodically

In total silence

pirouetting in the air,

almost never touching the tarmac,

an acrobat of pain.

Not what you'd expect from a cat ran over.

 

But there he was,

airborne

contorted

kinetic

hurt.

 

Coiling and uncoiling at lunchtime.

12
Dez11

Death

 

 

Death is so unbecoming.

Cuts through today,
like a blunt knife through warm butter,

stops your breathing,
your heart and everything,
as pain reminds you,
for the last time,
of your body.


Oh wondrous transformation!

Death is a moment,
and,
as such,
it does not exist.

It’s the longing between nothing and something else,
between silence and disbelief.

What to say of the cessation of the voice of the narrator?
What should I write?
If anything...
on the demise of the story teller?

10
Jul11

In Europe the squares are full of people

 

 

-It will come,

He said, sipping his beer and fumbling for the lighter.
-What will?
I listened to every other word,

hoping that was enough,


It wasn't.


-This thing that’s happening in Tahrir Square. It’ll come here,
-Here?
-Yes.

To the south first then to the North,
Maybe not as dramatic as in Egypt, but it’ll come.
-You think?
-Oh yes,

we both have regimes that no one believes anymore,

ailing economies,

elites that represent only themselves …

these things are infectious,


Said my father,

blowing cigarette smoke through his nose and looking me in the eyes,
forcing me into attention.

 

I grunted my accord and looked at my glass,
feeling cheated of the contemplative beer buzz,

I felt,

deserved.

Not really sure of what to say,

I said what I was thinking:


-Better late than never, I suppose.
-Yes, this place needs a cleaning …

Off course here it wont be so … revolutionary.

The EU won’t let it go so far,

but people will fill the squares very soon.


-Soon?
-Yes, soon,
-Like what, four, five years?
-No! A year … maybe less.
My father looked intently to his cigarette.

Waiting for me to say something.


I zoned out as I felt the conversation taking a turn to the improbable.

 

Off course there’s reasons for people to be fucked with politics, politicians and government,

but we have years of rot before we see people on the streets.


This is Portugal,

we’re all beyond indignation and certainly over protestation.


I looked at my father, encouraging him to talk some more,
and ask me nothing.
I lwatched over the roofs of downtown Lisboa that,

4 months from then,

would see camped protesters on Rossio Square.

A five minutes walk from my house.
So close.
All this things that I chose to believe were in a manageable future,
are already here.

 

 

31
Out10

Maria

 

As I touched my daughter's hands,

small, clean and uncreased,

I heard a voice:

 

"Life is the elegance of leaving."

 

I held her tight,

 

and thought of all the time I won't have with her.

05
Abr09

Cassandra

 

 

These are the days of new beginnings,

and longing for  the ones that are not our own anymore,

and wont be missed.

 

These are the days of change and reinvention,

Of dead structure withering as dead leaves,

Of looking ahead to nothing known,

And living in the maelstrom of becoming.

Where we are just movement,

change,

and oblivion.


Some call it decay,

Others birthing.

We call it pain and confusion.

We call it, our lives.


These are the days of siren calls

Wailing their last warnings to deaf ears.

Everywhere we hear the Cassandra warning us about the demise of a life

That is already lost.

The death of the West,

Proclaimed for so long,

Is now an inexorable fact.


There are no ruins,

And there are no more men.

All the dreams are dead.

Sadder eyes and clearer heads are needed to live this becoming that engulfed us.

The past is no more a beacon,

As the future we’ve foreseen is no more there.

The plans of mice of men…

Are not plans but tropisms,

As men and mice are not agents but matter.

Nothing to do now but to contemplate the mill of history,

Grinding away at today

Replacing it with a future  that will frighten us all,

the Changing of the Guard generation,

or won’t be any kind of future.

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