Showing posts with label Texts in English. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Texts in English. Show all posts

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Windmill farm

it was summertime when they crossed that border. half-empty packs on their backs, they came across the windmill farm. not a graveyard. Instead, a promise of lighter mornings behind those hills. Brighter, these dreamed promises appeared, although embroidered in much longing for a land they would not see again in their lifetime.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

last highway

at the end of the road, the sky was still pretty blue.

Laying there, I had a feeling of a continued fall, the world slowly turning around, while Nepomuceno walking away unabashed, never turning back to look at the spot where we had splashed, not once slowing the pace to smell that scent of freshly wet grass in a summer morning, unabated by the threads and "laces" of all those low growing bushes wrapping around his feet while he walked back to the road, to the worn out pavement still reflecting last night's rain, while my eyes letting me know they were about to close again, one last time.

I could see we'd reached the end of things, the last illuminated point at night, after which all that blue started  slowly to melt away, impossibly pixelating on faded grays, the pavement dying at a distance, exposing stones and dried mud where no electricity would ever reach. A silence of bits and of a smile-only cat figure sitting on a pole, the scent of palm wax on recently cleaned wooden floors, so many years ago that it had become just a fleeting glimpse, a faded gray:  a life I had no idea, anymore, full of cartoons watched on technicolor, the Saturday mornings' truck selling eggs and vegetables. The windmill of a lifetime slowly swirling around that blue sky, further exposing those interrupted cables. What a jump - I barely heard me say, what a splash this had been. And as it were I could not move, and it had finally come to me.

And why on earth my last thoughts were going to this middle-aged woman dancing at a disco in the Philippines, in the eighties of my budding years? Slowly dancing at a feminine voice, "here lies love, here lies love.."

Friday, April 2, 2010


Leonora had seen winters there, all right. impatiently waiting, she had seen snow falling for longer than she could remember. All those months during which the lake turned into ice and ancestral paths were reestablished between the island and the house. Ice skating, illegal fur traders, bricks heating bed covers, and the view from the balcony, which had now grown interrupted.

Long evenings, she thought, get me down. I wish I could sit outside and Rashid, ah, Rashid, would arrive at once. Bringing news of my sister. A photograph, perhaps just enough to show her face once more, swimming miles at that time of year on warmer lands. Here, a decaying doll silently longing for her return.

But what, now that the weather is warm and Rashid is gone? Through my opened window, I think of freshly squeezed lemons and of a Martinique I am not about to see again. And of Marion.

Lenora's mind is failing. Her age weights on her body, frail fingers pressing long gone ivory keys in the afternoons. Most of the time she forgets things. Except for intervals of clarity each time growing shorter, balcony, island, lake, floral arrangements, the world, are all involved on a ever thickening haze. A slumber  she has learned to compare to sleepwalking, and which grows heavier with time.

Dressed in lace and silk, She wears cameos and keeps her hair tightly held on the back.

Sometimes she thinks about the children she did not have, on how they would have looked lovely running on the balcony, or through the grassed patch leading to the lake. Perhaps - no, certainly - they would have been as beautiful and charming as those Marion had had. Or did not she? Perhaps Marion did not have children either after all, although, like herself, she had married many years ago, soon after they left the boarding school. And then, also as Lenora, outlived her husband.

Perhaps she also kept the pictures they took during the school years. All those pictures which, although faded, still filled the room with perfume and slowed down her heart a little. As if despite all these years it could still wiggle and weight, gently expanding and irradiating warmth through her body.

"Yes," Lenora thinks sometimes, during rarefied moments of clarity, "we could have had beautiful children."    

Sunday, March 21, 2010

marbles, fables, and other paths

He worked for years behind those walls. Silently, landed pins on shoe soles, tied leather knots, crunched peanuts during burning seasons. I had never walked by those factory walls before. All those water lilies impossibly blooming in august, under no sun to be seen. Silently.
Giaccomo had a wife and three daughters. Arrived there before the war, silently, weary, but holding some hope. Manzinni, se chiamava il padre suo. Era morto da anni. Had not ever dreamed he would meet Marta, and so soon, after all.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

four o'clock, before the rain

each day waitin' for the rain. The silence of lilies and daffodils entertaining insects. We were all at the tipping point of the cape: further west there was only water.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Depois de tanta solidão

não volte. (...)
[Kamil had this motorcycle he insisted in driving around with. Centuries old, it seemed sometimes.  Pilot cap on his head, he mostly rode on this impossibly running Sokol with a tripod and a camera on a saddlebag which seemed to be about to come apart. Long roads. Sunshine catcher, moon chaser, he used to say he was.
Before digital cameras and cellular telephones. I wondered how he managed to keep that bike running. But he did. ]

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lunch break

Peter used to look at the illuminated altar three times a week. Between one and two, on sunny afternoons, the light was best. Silently he thought about crocodiles, elephants, a backyard in Luanda he had not seen for ages, but which refused to leave, day or night.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cold outside

["You can sleep while I drive," she said. But that was long before the rain, ages before the streets of buenos aires engulfing our last dollar bills, before the tenor falling from stage at Corrientes, el olor del café y tantas medialunas slowly swallowing her back to the city, a rediscovery of your earlier - and only? - roots, a call desde las calles de San Telmo, and the Rio de la Plata slowly widening between us, then Colonia del Sacramento and all the Uruguayan ranchos, and later the vastitude of Brazil before more water, oceans, and our lost voices.
I slept, baby. I did. And you drove smoothly, nicely. A couple of times I remember vaguely to hear you sing. As you drove. Quietly you sung, I want to believe, all night long..]

"Você pode dormir enquanto eu dirijo," ela disse. Mas isso foi muito antes da chuva, séculos antes das ruas de buenos aires reclamando nossos últimos dólares, antes do tenor cair do palco em Corrientes, el olor delcafé y tantas medialunas lentamente lhe reclamando de volta à cidade, uma redescoberta de suas raízes primeiras - e únicas? - um chamado desde as ruas de San Telmo, e o Rio de la Plata lentamente se alargando entre nós, então Colonia del Sacramento e todos os pampas Uruguaios, depois as vastidões do Brasil antes de mais água, oceanos, e nossas vozes perdidas. 
Eu dormi, baby. Dormi. E você dirigiu suavemente, sem sobresaltos. Em duas ocasiões eu lembro vagamente de te ouvir cantar. Enquanto dirigias. Você cantou calmamente, quero crer, a noite toda..

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.

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]

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.]

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.]

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.]

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.]

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.]