LIFE WHILE-YOU-WAIT

Life While-You-Wait.
Performance without rehearsal.
Body without alterations.
Head without premeditation.

I know nothing of the role I play.
I only know it’s mine. I can’t exchange it.

I have to guess on the spot
just what this play’s all about.

Ill-prepared for the privilege of living,
I can barely keep up with the pace that the action demands.
I improvise, although I loathe improvisation.
I trip at every step over my own ignorance.
I can’t conceal my hayseed manners.
My instincts are for happy histrionics.
Stage fright makes excuses for me, which humiliate me more.
Extenuating circumstances strike me as cruel.

Words and impulses you can’t take back,
stars you’ll never get counted,
your character like a raincoat you button on the run ?
the pitiful results of all this unexpectedness.

If only I could just rehearse one Wednesday in advance,
or repeat a single Thursday that has passed!
But here comes Friday with a script I haven’t seen.
Is it fair, I ask
(my voice a little hoarse,
since I couldn’t even clear my throat offstage).

You’d be wrong to think that it’s just a slapdash quiz
taken in makeshift accommodations. Oh no.
I’m standing on the set and I see how strong it is.
The props are surprisingly precise.
The machine rotating the stage has been around even longer.
The farthest galaxies have been turned on.
Oh no, there’s no question, this must be the premiere.
And whatever I do
will become forever what I’ve done.

Wislawa SzymborskaPoems New and Collected 1957-1997, trans. S. Baranczak and C. Cavanagh

Perspectives

nothing can better cure the anthropocentrism that is the author of all our ills than to cast ourselves into the physics of the infinitely large (or the infinitely small). By reading any text of popular science we quickly regain the sense of the absurd, but this time it is a sentiment that can be held in our hands, born of tangible, demonstrable, almost consoling things. We no longer believe because it is absurd: it is absurd because we must believe.
Julio Cortázar, Around the Day in Eighty Worlds

Scale (ing) down Porto

Is this then a book

Os Livros

É então isto um livro,

este, como dizer?, murmúrio,

este rosto virado para dentro de

alguma coisa escura que ainda não existe

que, se uma mão subitamente

inocente a toca,

se abre desamparadamente

como uma boca

falando com a nossa voz?

É isto um livro,

esta espécie de coração (o nosso coração)

dizendo “eu” entre nós e nós?

Manuel António Pina

Books

Is this then a book,

this, how shall I say? murmur,

this face turned to the inside

of something dark that doesn’t yet exist,

that if touched

by a suddenly innocent hand

opens helplessly

like a mouth

speaking in our own voice?

Is this a book,

this kind of heart (our heart)

saying ‘I’ between we and us?

Translated by Ana Hudson

Why would you walk?

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“But ballet itself – it’s important. Dance is important. It’s that language that everybody understands. It’s a powerful tool to open people’s minds. It’s some subconscious thing, a connection we all have. Kids dance before walking. It’s our truest nature of being. It’s true spirit.” He pauses. “And then, slowly and slowly, as we grow older, we get more and more baggage and life changes you. We are more scared of things, more fearful. So how to eliminate that? We have to go back to how we were as a kid, because that’s our truest nature. And with ballet, that is how I’m trying to come back to this state of mind. Because that’s the purest state. Tribes dance. Every country has a national dance. In the clubs we dance, we dance at weddings. Dance is a language. It’s a language that we need, like music, to survive.”

Sergei Polunin interview Another Man Magazine

If you could be dancing

Photo: Street Milonga in Porto (2013)