Algo hermoso termina


  Todos los días del mundo
                                           algo hermoso termina.

                                                     Jaroslav Seifert

Duélete: 
como a una vieja estrella fatigada
te ha dejado la luz. Y la criatura 
que iluminabas 
                       (y que iluminaba
tus ojos ciegos a las nimias cosas 
del mundo)
ha vuelto a ser mortal. 
Todo recobra 
su densidad, su peso, su volumen, 
ese pobre equilibrio que sostiene 
tu nuevo invierno. Alégrate. 
Tus vísceras ahora son otra vez tus vísceras
y no crudo alimento de zozobras. 
Ya no eres ese dios ebrio e incierto 
que te fue dado ser. Muerde
el hueso que dan, 
llega a su médula, 
recoge las migajas que deja la memoria.

© 2004, Piedad Bonnett
From: Tretas del débil

  Every day of the world
                                                     something beautiful ends.

                                                                   Jaroslav Seifert

Suffer:
as if you were an old, tired star, 
light has left you. And the creature
you lighted
                 (and who lighted
your eyes, blind to the world’s
trivial things)
is now mortal again. 
Everything recovers
its density, its weight, its volume,
the poor balance that supports
your new winter. Be glad. 
Your entrails are now again your entrails
and not coarse food of anxiety. 
You’re no longer that drunk and uncertain god
that you turned out to be. Bite
the bone they give you,
down to the marrow, 
pick up the crumbs memory leaves behind.

© Translation: 2005, Nicolás Suescún

At the wheel…

 

…of a Chevrolet on the road to Sintra,
Through moonlight and dreams, on the deserted road,
I drive alone, drive almost slowly, and it almost
Seems to me, or I almost force myself to think it seems,
That I’m going down another road, another dream, another world,
That I’m going on without having left Lisbon, without Sintra to go to,
That I’m going on, and what is there to going on except not stopping, but going on?

I’ll spend the night in Sintra because I can’t spend it in Lisbon,
But, when I get to Sintra, I’ll be sorry I didn’t stay in Lisbon.
Always this groundless worry, no purpose, no consequence,
Always, always, always,
This excessive anguish for nothing at all,
On the road to Sintra, on the road to dreams, on the road to life

Alert to my subconscious movements at the wheel,
Around me, with me, leaps the car I borrowed.
I smile at the symbol, at thinking of it, and at turning right.
In how many borrowed things do I move through the world?
How many borrowed things do I drive as if they were mine?
How many borrowed things — oh God — am I myself?

To my left, a hovel — yes, a hovel — by the roadside.
To my right an open field, the moon far off.
The car, which seemed just now to give me freedom,
Is now something I’m shut up in,
That I can only drive shut up in,
That I can only tame if I include it, if it includes me.

To my left, back there, that modest, that more than modest hovel.
Life must be happy there: it’s not mine.
If someone saw me from the window, they’d think: Now that guy’s happy.

Maybe a child spying at the upstairs window
Would see me, in my borrowed car, as a dream, a fairy tale come true.
Maybe, for the girl who watched me, hearing my motor out the kitchen window,
On packed earth,
I’m some kind of prince of girls’ hearts,
And she’ll watch me sideways, out the window, past this curve where I lose myself.
Will I leave dreams behind me? Will the car?
I, the borrowed-car-driver, or the borrowed car I drive?

On the road to Sintra in moonlight, in sadness, before the fields and night,
Forlornly driving the borrowed Chevy,
I lose myself on the future road, I disappear in the distance I reach.

And in a terrible, sudden, violent, inconceivable desire
I speed up,
But my heart stayed back on a pile of rocks I veered from, seeing without seeing it,
At the door of the hovel —
My empty heart,
My dissatisfied heart,
My heart more human than me, more exact than life.

On the road to Sintra, near midnight, in moonlight, at the wheel,
On the road to Sintra, oh my weary imagination,
On the road to Sintra, ever nearer to Sintra,
On the road to Sintra, ever farther from me…

In The Collected Poems of Álvaro de CamposVol. 2 (1928–1935) . translated by Chris Daniels

 

Ao volante do Chevrolet pela estrada de Sintra,

Ao luar e ao sonho, na estrada deserta,

Sozinho guio, guio quase devagar, e um pouco

Me parece, ou me forço um pouco para que me pareça,

Que sigo por outra estrada, por outro sonho, por outro mundo,

Que sigo sem haver Lisboa deixada ou Sintra a que ir ter,

Que sigo, e que mais haverá em seguir senão não parar mas seguir?

Vou passar a noite a Sintra por não poder passá-la em Lisboa,

Mas, quando chegar a Sintra, terei pena de não ter ficado em Lisboa.

Sempre esta inquietação sem propósito, sem nexo, sem consequência,

Sempre, sempre, sempre,

Esta angústia excessiva do espírito por coisa nenhuma,

Na estrada de Sintra, ou na estrada do sonho, ou na estrada da vida…

Maleável aos meus movimentos subconscientes do volante,

Galga sob mim comigo o automóvel que me emprestaram.

Sorrio do símbolo, ao pensar nele, e ao virar à direita.

Em quantas coisas que me emprestaram guio como minhas!

Quanto me emprestaram, ai de mim!, eu próprio sou!

À esquerda o casebre — sim, o casebre — à beira da estrada.

À direita o campo aberto, com a lua ao longe.

O automóvel, que parecia há pouco dar-me liberdade,

É agora uma coisa onde estou fechado,

Que só posso conduzir se nele estiver fechado,

Que só domino se me incluir nele, se ele me incluir a mim.

À esquerda lá para trás o casebre modesto, mais que modesto.

A vida ali deve ser feliz, só porque não é a minha.

Se alguém me viu da janela do casebre, sonhará: Aquele é que é feliz.

Talvez à criança espreitando pelos vidros da janela do andar que está em cima

Fiquei (com o automóvel emprestado) como um sonho, uma fada real.

Talvez à rapariga que olhou, ouvindo o motor, pela janela da cozinha

No pavimento térreo,

Sou qualquer coisa do príncipe de todo o coração de rapariga,

E ela me olhará de esguelha, pelos vidros, até à curva em que me perdi.

Deixarei sonhos atrás de mim, ou é o automóvel que os deixa?

Eu, guiador do automóvel emprestado, ou o automóvel emprestado que eu guio?

Na estrada de Sintra ao luar, na tristeza, ante os campos e a noite,

Guiando o Chevrolet emprestado desconsoladamente,

Perco-me na estrada futura, sumo-me na distância que alcanço,

E, num desejo terrível, súbito, violento, inconcebível,

Acelero…

Mas o meu coração ficou no monte de pedras, de que me desviei ao vê-lo sem vê-lo,

À porta do casebre,

O meu coração vazio,

O meu coração insatisfeito,

O meu coração mais humano do que eu, mais exacto que a vida.

Na estrada de Sintra, perto da meia-noite, ao luar, ao volante,

Na estrada de Sintra, que cansaço da própria imaginação,

Na estrada de Sintra, cada vez mais perto de Sintra,

Na estrada de Sintra, cada vez menos perto de mim…

11-5-1928

Poesias de Álvaro de Campos. Fernando Pessoa. Lisboa: Ática, 1944 (imp. 1993).- 37

 

I chose part of this poem to say goodbye to someone today. I did not go the funeral. “Do you want me to go?”, I asked. He didn’t. I didn’t know his father, I have never met him, I heard stories of beautiful cars and saw fading photos of a once happy life.

 

Photo: Not really a Chevrolet at Bastelicaccia, Corsica, August 2018

Irrevocable condition

It has taken me half a lifetime and a little over 100 days to realize that this where I belong. Because I eventually had to come home.

Largo dos Leōes, Porto, April 2018

References

James Baldwin

The will to

I sing the will to love:
the will that carves the will to live,
the will that saps the will to hurt,
the will that kills the will to die;
the will that made and keeps you warm,
the will that points your eyes ahead,
the will that makes you give, not get,
a give and get that tell us what you are:
how much a god, how much a human.
I call on you to live the will to love.

CredoAlfred Kreymborg

 

Photo, Campo dos Mártires da Pátria (Porto, May 2018)

Lingering

Come to me in the silence of the night;
    Come in the speaking silence of a dream;
Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright
    As sunlight on a stream;
       Come back in tears,
O memory, hope, love of finished years.

O dream how sweet, too sweet, too bitter sweet,
    Whose wakening should have been in Paradise,
Where souls brimful of love abide and meet;
    Where thirsting longing eyes
       Watch the slow door
That opening, letting in, lets out no more.

Yet come to me in dreams, that I may live
    My very life again though cold in death:
Come back to me in dreams, that I may give
    Pulse for pulse, breath for breath:
       Speak low, lean low,
As long ago, my love, how long ago!

Echo, Christina Rossetti

Photo: Leça da Palmeira, after the storm (March 2018)

Soap bubble filter

And to me also, who appreciate life, the butterflies, and soap-bubbles, and whatever is like them amongst us, seem most to enjoy happiness.

Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Experimental

Porto through a different filter

The moment when …

after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,

is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can’t breathe.

No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round.

Margaret Atwood

 

Trying to remember Ithaka

M. bought this dress Monday morning (my time zone) and the rest of my day was spent trying to remember what seemed to have been long forgotten.

I can’t remember the last time I wore this dress, but I am sure I wore it during a chilly evening in the summer of 1997 at a concert in Montemor‘s castle. I remember who was with me and the theory that “villages with medieval castles are always cold” but I could not remember who was playing.

Trying to dig up something that you have forgotten to remember from the pre-internet era is not always easy. I tried to google what I did remember. The same artist was also a photographer who, probably in the same year, had an installation called “I could write a book” at Galeria Zé dos Bois in Lisbon.  Inspired by the famous jazz standard, specifically by Dinah Washington’s rendition of it (1955), the installation featured an unmade bed, photos and diary entries and little notes from the time the author lived, in love, in Tokyo because if someone had asked him, he could have written a book.

If they asked me, I could write a book
About the way you walk, and whisper, and look
I could write a preface
On how we met
So the world would never forget

But I did forget and, as the day progressed I felt more and more irritated at not being able to recall the name. Probably C. went with me to Lisbon so I decided to send an email explaining my quasi existential doubt of the day. He thought it was absurd and called me. He had no recollection whatsoever of such installation he most probably did go but couldn’t remember. We also saw this same guy at Labirintho, I said. Remember that? We went with another friend who got drunk and almost in trouble. Remember that? I even remember where we had parked the car and that we drove away and Cake’s Fashion Nugget was playing. He could not remember anything at all. It seems like we have done really interesting stuff together in the 90s, though.

By 8 pm I could recall some Greek connection and my Google search was “Californian musician, Greek ancestry, living in Lisbon in the 90s”. There it was an article about “the greatest Portuguese talents of the 90s”, about the great “unknown”, groundbreaking talent of Portuguese Pop/Rock and the growing popularity of Dance and Hip-Hop scenes. Finally Darin Pappas, aka Ithaka Darin Pappas aka Korvowrong and the album “Stellafly”, the most powerful and consistent national registry edited in 1997. That might help explain why I seemed to have travelled across the country to hear him even if now it doesn’t really make much sense.

But then again, C.P. Cavafy’s IthaKa is the conclusion that it’s never about getting there but always about the search, as long as you understand what the Ithakas mean.

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
 
Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.
 
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
 
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
 
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard

 

I texted the name and sent it to C. “wtf, who remembers that” was the answer. Right.

Now, the material trigger for all this is on its way to another hemisphere and I hope it will continue to inspire random thoughts, impromptu travels, silly theories and becomes someone else’s story.

The childhood of Cain

What men call the shadow of the body is not the shadow of the body, but is the body of the soul.

Oscar Wilde, A House of Pomegranates

 A Infância de Caim (The Childhood of Cain)

António Teixeira Lopes, 1890

Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis


 

Shadow

Movie Inspiration of the Week – India Song (1975)

I’ve forgotten the words with which to tell you. I knew them once, but I’ve forgotten them, and now I’m talking to you without them.
Marguerite Duras, Emily L.

india_song-01

 

india-song

 

india-song-1975-07-g

 

india-song-1975-03

 

india-2song

 

india-song2

 

india-song

 

A memory piece that calls up the dead, its heroine, Anne-Marie Stretter (Delphine Seyrig), dances with her lover, Michael Richardson (Claude Mann), in the ballroom of the French Embassy in Calcutta, where her memorial—a photograph, a stick of burning incense, some flowers—is already arranged on the piano. Time folds in on itself in India Song, and space is fractured by the huge mirror that nearly covers one wall so that the reflection of the room is a constant; it is always different, however, from the framing of the room by the camera, whether still or moving. The image created by Duras and cinematographer Bruno Nuytten is at once ghostly and eroticized, so delicately colored that it seems hand-tinted, and the closeness of the air, weighted by the insufferable heat, is palpable. India Song puts all the senses on high alert, and yet it is not in any sense realism. No one would be surprised to learn that it was shot on a set constructed in a crumbling mansion near Paris.

Amy Taubin

india-song_duras_plateau_02_c-jean-mascolo_delphineseyrig_601x456

 

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india-song-1975-05-g

I’m leaving tomorrow. This is my first trip to India and all the images I have are the ones that never show you India just the dreamlike state of decadence of what has been lost.

india23

 

Photos and References

http://kebekmac.blogspot.pt/2014/09/duras-1975-india-song.html

The Ghosts of Parties Past: Exorcising India Song