Friday, December 25, 2009

In 1956 I had opened that door

[We had almost two feet of snow. I spent most of the morning shoveling it out of the uncovered porch and the pathway that led to the cabin. Later in the afternoon, Jemime appeared from across the lake. I could not believe she had made that far. With a book in her hand. Eyes almost impossibly green...]

Monday, December 21, 2009

Chromotherapy - Colored cups

[On a window sill, water-filled colored glasses sit through the day: Violet for meditation, elevation, these subtleties; Blue for words and throat; Green for lungs and heart; Yellow washing liver, intestines, calming anxiety; orange and sex; and finally Red, centered on the sill, more exposed to the sun. Red for the structure of my path. Legs and feet. My armchair, my walking stick, my road diverging in two.]

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

He used to live there, Joshua

Two o'clock on a July afternoon. Mary had not yet got up. It was so hot, your ears heard these estalos sometimes, as if crickets were all around you.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Macarroni e Pizza

[Doppo il pranzo, ci era andato verso il mare. C'erano tante nuvole. Faceva freddo. Nessuno aveva mai visto il sole quel giorno. Rassegnati, marciamo in silenzio, con il vento in faccia che, per il marciapiede, faceva vortici sui sacchetti di plastica]

Friday, December 11, 2009

Garden in the rain

[Uma estória de camafeus, gato no parapeito da janela, chás e camaleões impossíveis pelo quintal coberto de um capim espesso.

Emily de cabelo preso, quase cega, que conhecera Capote, conheceu o menino que um dia partira para uma cidade perdida entre charcos e cigarras na Louisiana - não muito longe, ela disse, de Lafayette.

Que viu o marido morrer sobre a cama, paralitico até a fala depois de um tiro de revólver pelas costas num bar de Oil City. Que comprara ações da empresa de petróleo quando a primeira tubulação trouxe gás do campo de Caddo até Shreveport. Que perdera a plantação da família e os descendentes de uma centena de escravos, e fora a primeira na cidade a deixar negros beberem nos copos da casa.

Emily que muitos anos depois de 1964, mudou-se para Morgan City, e viveu até o final numa casa em John Street, saía para recolher o leite, o cabelo de um branco de nuvem preso num coque e um camafeu no pescoço, seguro por uma fita de renda.]

[A story of cameos, cat on windowsills, tea and impossible chameleons across a backyard covered with thick leaves.

Emily with her hair on a bun, almost blind, who met Capote, knew of a boy who one day left to a city lost between marshes and cicadas in Louisiana - not too far from Lafayette, she told me once.

She saw her husband dying on a bed, crippled up to his speech after a gunshot on the back, in a bar at Oil City. Who bought stocks from the oil company when the first pipeline bringing gas from Caddo field to Shreveport begun to operate. Who lost her family plantation and the descendants of one hundred slaves, and was the first woman in the city to allow negroes to drink in the house glasses.

Emily who, many years later, moved to Morgan City and lived the rest of her life in a house on John Street, went out every day to collect the milk, her hair white tied in a bun, wearing a cameo held by a lace tape around her neck]

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Other conversations

[Pereira was a long time friend of that sidewalk, the shade of that almond tree. He also knew the smells that would come from the sewer, if the weather was too hot. Recognized the breeze that, on cooler days, would bring scents from the market two blocks down to the south, with its many stands selling spices, cheese, codfish, oils, and which fully supplied the whole universe of fancy restaurants in town.

Pereira had grown up through those streets. In the afternoons, he would wear out his voice announcing through his lungs unbelievable deals on fake leather bags, colored cotton socks and men's underwear. His grandfather sat on a leather stool as old as the place - this tabouret, he repeated often, had sat foot there with him the first day he opened those doors for business.

When electric trolleys still moved around, he sold fine fabrics, silk and Egyptian cotton. But business went sour, old residents moved away from the area and that part of downtown was filled mostly with street sellers during the day, catering for people who walked by the area, in and out of work, and homeless people - at night.

By the time the economy sunk really low - in the early eighties - his neighbor Jeremiah sold his business, gathered his things, and moved back to Santana. The building remained closed for decades, until it was sold, torn down, and a parking lot opened in its place. For forty-five years Jeremiah sold glasses. Reading and sun glasses. He passed away not long ago. A few months after Pereira's grandfather died, Joachim.

He drank coffee every afternoon, with cheese bought at the market two blocks down the street. Even when it was very hot - february afternoons were worse. At least he had the shade of the almond tree to cool down, a little, the hot breeze - when there was a breeze.

Pereira saw that tree grow old. He sold many leather bags, under its shade. And cotton socks. And saw and flerted with many women there. Some would stop to buy something, just to talk to him. Others would look at the business, and then at his dark brown eyes, smiling back and shining high on his large face, its skin darkened by the sun.

He never married, although had known many women. Pereira had a large smile, a soft but firm voice - that dropped to a deeper resonating tone when he screamed leather deals - and dark thick hair. Women liked his voice, the smile on his face and his way of looking always sure of what he said. He knew them well, liked them all, but went always back home alone.]

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

Shaky Brazilian Congress, at night

Camera shaking, no tripod available. It was lightly raining.
t was about 10pm. There was yet lots of rain to come, that night.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Nada, hoje.

[Não choveu. O sol estava forte e o céu de um azul claro, intenso.
Não vi mais além disso.
Como se, apesar de tanta luz, estivesse meio escuro. Ou muito escuro.
Pitch black.E o que houvesse fosse um silêncio de catedrais.]

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hidden garden

[Behind the gate, a summer garden. Plants of an extravagant size, sided by earth-beds of cultivated herbs: the scent of rosemary right behind the wall waking up a collection of tea-making weeds, dispersed throughout the impossible back yard: clove, artemisia, cardo bento, garden mint, jessamine, coriander, lilies, basil, chamomile, snapdragon, lion's mouth, rue, herb-of-grace, sandalwood, dragon's blood.

Fruit trees on the back of the patio: guavas, sapotis, mangos flowering: bats have nightly parties, here. I could smell the scent of recently moist soil, footprints of this gardener following bays and channels across the vegetable garden to the right, leading back to an early walk by an orchard.

On a window sill, water-filled colored glasses sit through the day: violet for elevation, these subtleties; blue for words and throat; green for lungs and heart; yellow washing liver, intestines, calming anxiety; orange and sex; and finally red, centered on the sill, more exposed to the sun. Red for the structure of my path. Legs and feet.
My armchair, my walking stick, my road diverging in two.

Hunger, real hunger, was left on this side of the wall.]

Monday, November 30, 2009

A porta de Janaína, seu bisavô, e Pero Vaz

[Onde vai dar? De onde traz? "Um milharal apertado no quintal da casa," ele disse. O terreno onde Janaína viu tantas vezes, descampado, o cachorro Pero Vaz dançando no terreiro, desenterrando tatu, comendo as pitangas que caíam em Abril. O muro ainda baixo dava a cara para o largo onde as mulas desacansavam.

O muro baixo construído por um bisavô que comandou, na cidade, o destacamento de polícia, caçou escravos fujões, transportou carne seca e sal até Minas Gerais, traficou diamantes, e colocou a pedra primeira da matriz do largo novo, cuja porta da frente podia ver da janela da sua sala. 

Pero Vaz Já se foi, a tempos. E também Janaína. Ficaram a porta fechada, as janelas olhando o capim crescendo, o muro recoberto por novas pedras, outras telhas, e escondendo do lado de cá, a visão do largo de paragen de arreiros, transformado em rua, calçada, retocada, como as frentes de igrejas matrizes devem ser.]

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Old city in Goiás

Na casa da minha avó a luz havia sido cortada por falta de pagamento. De esquina, a casa era situada num alto de onde podiamos ver as luzes da ribeira e as luzes dos autos pela carretera que levava a Sintra la embaixo. Naquela noite, uma agua clara escorria pela porta de entrada, recobrindo o assoalho, os móveis, os discos na vitrola e a foto de Caetano sobre a mesa da sala de jantar.

Minha avó de pernas finas terminava de descascar batatas sob uma luz impossível àquela hora da noite, cabelos pingando daquela água de roupas estendidas em varais pela casa. Numa cidade onde água desaparecia das torneiras depois da sete, aquele movimento febril dentro da casa contrastava com a quietude das pessoas na porta de entrada.  Meu primo Orlando sobre a cadeira olhava a rua que parecia não ver. José de barba aparada e bigodes cerrados segurava um candeeiro e dizia resignado que não sabia mais de onde puxar a luz. Não viria. Ficaríamos no escuro.

Seu Deodoro chegou num fusca antigo, abrindo a porta e entrando pela casa com a água quase a lhe dar nas canelas. E perguntou à minha avó de levava parte da roupa para secar em casa, onde havia luz. Ainda não havia dado oito horas.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The picture I saw - A vila da fundição

[Bats were nozing in the air. No calor daquele verão, o cheiro das frutas caídas, explodindo sob as árvores altas, um verde escuro: mangas, sapotis, graviolas. Besouros dançavam no ar. Um zumbido de moscas, continuamente perdidas em incontáveis teias de aranhas estendidas entre as folhas.

Dois carros de boi passaram, em fila, as rodas deixando sulcos fundos na terra molhada. Lá atrás, a fundição produzia sua dúzia diária de itens: pregos, estacas, postes para a ilumiação pública. A ferrovia chegava até ali perto, mas terminava do outro lado, atrás da fundição.]


Sonhei esse casal numa praia de seixos, em sua noite de núpcias...

More storms. And trees.

It did rain, after all..

[During the last two years I've lived in the white building on the back, in a small apartment with lightly gray walls - except for the kitchen, with white tiles and terracotta floor. The day of the accident I followed my usual routine: woke up at 7, coffee, went out for a run - Bonny was with me, juice, shower, heard the news, kissed Bonny, said goodbye and left. On my bike.

I was at work when the news arrived the plant had just spilled all of its contents in the air. It was a rush, people got crazy. I did not expect that, the accident, neither the choice of who would get in the buses going out of town. Some people I worked with managed to get a place. I could not leave Bonny behind. I liked the way the sunlight hit the living room wall and made it appear to sparkle softly. So did Bonny, I know. We would just sit side by side, sometimes, watching that quiet color mutation, the last direct hits only lightly touching the upper levels of the wall right below the ceiling. We had a clear view in front of us. The open field extended for miles, sparingly dotted with trees that bloom beautifully early May, but that by late November, and especially with this cold arriving sooner, had only a few remaining leaves, and were mostly asleep, it seemed, waiting for a colder winter to come and go, before they shine once more.

So we could see far away. And the plant was not under our view. Its white clouds would usually come from behind, sometimes in large patches, dotting the usually blue sky with softly white patterns. Cotton like.

After the spill the clouds kept coming, mostly dark. I could not reach Bonny. Could not make it to the apartment, they sealed the area. The ravine was mostly poisonous, they said. Everything everywhere probably had become, I thought. I could not make it there. And have not seen Bonny, since.

I kept coming back, for weeks. My hope falling along with my hair, my nails, oh, such pain! I miss my living room, that soft sparkle on the wall, the scent of fresh grass, coming from the ravine in front of us. Bonny. I miss Bonny so much.]

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Fotografie - O una storia di occhi chiusi

[Aveva i capelli lisci, neri e non molto corti, che battevano sul collo quando si muoveva. Non parlava molto, ma aveva gli occhi neri che, grandi, sembravano talvolta scintillare sotto le ciglia anche scure e che si progettavano improvvisamente, cosi quasi troppo. Un pò magra, aveva le braccia lunghe per la sua altezza di un metro e sessanta e pochi centimetri, e portava sempre solo un piccolo anello nel terzo dito della sua mano sinistra. Non aveva cicatrici visibili né rughe ma, come se fosse un tatuaggio, usava sempre un cammeo sulla carnagione chiara della pelle, eredità di una nonna che non aveva conosciuto mai. Le sue labbra cambiavano colore, quando sorrideva molto. Diventavano un rosso piu scuro.

Aveva ventidue anni, già tanti anni fa, quando ci siamo conosciuto nell’università nel nord-est del Brasile. Portava sempre con se una macchina fotografica. A quel tempo lei aveva già abitato in alcuni paesi del Sud America con la sua famiglia, accompagnando il padre che si trasferiva tante volte per lavoro. A volte mi ha parlato dei suoi viaggi e mi ha mostrato molte fotografie. Poche erano dei luoghi e delle città che aveva conosciuto. La maggior parte mostrava solo piccoli oggetti, e molte volte appena parte d’un oggetto: una vecchia porta, uno cancello semiaperto, uno vaso di fiori, i marciapiedi vuoti. Svilupava e stampava le foto. Bianco e nero. E mi parlava di tutte quei pezze di cose. Aveva un’immaginazione.

Non le piacevano molto le attività sociale. Le piaceva stare da sola o con pochi amici. Amava bere l’espresso. Macchiato. Noi conversavamo. Lei mi incantava.

Sono dieci anni che non ci parliamo, ma mi inviava una foto ogni anno, con una breve storia scritta sul retro.
Sono tre anni che non ricevo nulla.]

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Playing ahead of the storm

...but the place was newly done.
A year? Two?
Maybe that storm should just really fall.. and hard, on us..

 [The construction started a few years earlier, and had never been finished. The green mossy lawn initially projected was left undone and weeds took over the unpaved area, growing wild during the raining season, stalks as high as five feet suffocating the lower shrubs and almost hid the court behind their leaves.

During the summer months, still punctuated with sudden storms that darken the sky and in just a few minutes pour incomprehensible amounts of water, the court was used more often, kids playing soccer or skateboarding on the neglected cement, a lighter patch of half-hidden terrain.

The abandoned court was in disarray. The cement tint mostly washed out and faded, the low metal fence surrounding the court was broken in patches, wires untied and rusting in the air, the net behind the goalposts torn and shredded, fraying out and mostly gone. The backboard was reduced to a group of disarranged, swollen sheets, its basket sacked, and yet shone absurdly half-covered with spray marks.

I kept going back each afternoon, making my way through the risen-again shrubs, and deliriously sitting at its center, waiting for the roaring storm, madly waiting for the half-naked tree to make its swift move, two steps to the right.]

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hammocks for sale.

Under the shade, on a sunny day.
Hammocks and an almost cool breeze.
An a view of vast horizons..

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Reading on the bus. for free.

Livros nas parades de ônibus. Você pega pra ler, devolve noutra parada.
Ou tras um para doar.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Trees at the avenue. Árvores no eixo

You would expect fancy views...
Sometimes, I all see (of all I looked at the entire day) is not much after all.
Perhaps, that's how we live most of the time: blindly looking and seeing so little

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cidade de amplos horizontes.

Grande arquitetura. Vastos horizontes.
Por outro lado, pouco calor humano.
A distância física entre as coisas se imiscuindo entre as gentes..

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Zen e o cerrado

Ela gostava de ver o reluzido polido do cromo.
O barulho que dilatava tímpanos.
A vibração do motor sob o assento.
O roçar proximo do asfalto, as irregularidades do terreno.
Gostava de imaginar o calor do seu corpo em contato ao dela, num abraço que era também uma promessa de permanência, uma repetição de estórias tantas vezes recontadas.

Ele gastava horas polindo o metal brilhante.
Se imaginava limpando impossíveis carburadores, trocando pistões,
acertando o bater de válvulas invisíveis, o cheiro da gasolina impregnando
seus dedos.
Pensava em estradas de uma California mítica, o calor do deserto, o ruído de muitas
máquinas em viagem, as paredes do Canyon, sendo assim como um cowboy reinventado,
de uma tribo que ainda não existia quando lobos ainda corriam em grandes grupos por aquelas montanhas.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A visão do ministro: Três, quatro, dois poderes ?

Pleno dia de sol. Todo o cerrado desse país em construção...
[From the Highest Court, you check Legislative and Executive, on a clear sky]

Friday, November 13, 2009

Árvore ou Caminho? Albero o un percorso?

Essas vontades conflitantes..
Diferente daquele caminho que "diverged on a yellow wood," a questão é se páro ou continuo em direção a um outro lugar...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Subúrbios no centro da capital.

Essas duas horas da tarde, sem sesta...
Saudade de um Goiás que nunca conheci.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dia de relógios na parede

Um dia de chuva.
Aqui dentro, alguma saudade. E uma vontade de outros licores