Running aimlessly

I am not, nor have I ever been a focused person. My attention is always distracted by some real or imagined connection or possibility. This obviously means that I’m the least efficient person I know. I get things done when they need to get done because I do not like to disappoint those who depend on me getting things done and because I procrastinate until I really have no other option. But, in general, inspirational quotes and sayings on how “things will happen if you stay focused” do not resonate with me. Staying focused will not make everything happen. Or, maybe it will, I just haven’t tried it.

I am not even one of those “existentialist pessimists” who thinks that all hope is an illusion. No, I do cling to hope and believe things will get better. If I just wait. They don’t. They haven’t.

You are only excused for happiness and success if you generously agree to share them. But if one is to be happy, one should not worry too much about other people – which means there is no way out. Happy and judged or absolved and miserable.

Albert Camus, The Fall

And now that I realize this and that this certainty seems to occupy my mind whenever I’m awake and sometimes even in my sleep, I can’t keep on waiting because it would be absurd. Although I should, by now, be way past the age of existential crisis, it does appear that sometimes it takes too long to build up the courage to become who you are and own the mistakes you have made while trying to convince yourself that you were different.

No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life. There may be countless trails and bridges and demigods who would gladly carry you across; but only at the price of pawning and forgoing yourself. There is one path in the world that none can walk but you. Where does it lead? Don’t ask, walk!

Friedrich Nietzsche, Schopenhauer as Educator

Trying to stay focused on being ” my own story” seems to be hard enough at this point but it’s better than waiting or just refusing to see what went wrong.

Getting started, keeping going, getting started again — in art and in life, it seems to me this is the essential rhythm not only of achievement but of survival, the ground of convinced action, the basis of self-esteem and the guarantee of credibility in your lives, credibility to yourselves as well as to others.

Seamus Heaney

Photo: Words on Walls, Lisbon, September 2017 ( Running aimlessly is to wait in movement)

a song with no end

when Whitman wrote, “I sing the body electric”

I know what he
meant
I know what he
wanted:

to be completely alive every moment
in spite of the inevitable.

we can’t cheat death but we can make it
work so hard
that when it does take
us

it will have known a victory just as
perfect as
ours.

Charles Bukowski

A song with no end

Photo CPF (September 16, 2017). This was the last place, the exact last room where I saw O. for the last time. I don’t know if he liked Bukowski. I hope he did because I seem to be having a Bukowski moment and this poem made me think of him.

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

 

Au noir – Cinematic inspirations

Ascenseur pour l’échafaud, 1958

ascenveur

Les Amants, 1958

Amants

Les liaisons dangereuses, 1959

liasons3

La Notte, 1960

la notte2

Jules et Jim, 1962

jules et jim

Eva, 1962

3.3

eva-1962-001-jeanne-moreau-stanley-baker-bar-00o-192

La baie des anges, 1963

jeanne-moreau-style-bay-of-angels-6-e1331577009996

jeanne-moreau-style-in-bay-of-angels-e1331578608981

baie 3

Claude Mann (Jean Fournier) et Jeanne Moreau (Jackie Demaistre)

jeanne-moreau-bay-of-angels-e1331621617217

baie1

 

1468679918-026-jeanne-moreau-theredlist

 

The cliché is that life is a mountain.

You go up, reach the top and then go down.

To me, life is going up until you are burned by flames.

Life is an accomplishment and each moment has a meaning and you must use it.

Life is given to you like a flat piece of land and everything has to be done.

 I hope that when I am finished, my piece of land will be a beautiful garden, so there is a lot of work.

 

jeanne

 

Photos via

The Red List

Vogue UK

Classiq

New Wave Film.com

References

Like Acting and Loving, Honor suits Jeanne Moreau

 

 

 

No one thinks he’s going to die in the mirror. But sometimes it happens.

Narcissus

Once I was half flower, half self,

That invisible self whose absence inhabits mirrors,

That invisible flower that is always inwardly,

Groping up through us, a kind of outswelling weakness,

Yes once I was half frail, half glittering,

Continually emerging from the store of the self itself,

Always staring at rivers, always

Nodding and leaning to one side, I came gloating up,

And for a while I was half skin half breath,

For a while I was neither one thing nor another,

A waterflame, a variable man-woman of the verges,

Wearing the last self-image I was left with

Before my strenth went down down into the darkness

For the best of the year and lies crumpled

In a clot of sleep at the root of nothings all

Alice Oswald

Post inspired by Eduardo Lourenço’s interview (in Portuguese)

Photo: Me, myself and I by F.M.

By heart

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought

I summon up remembrance of things past,

I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,

And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste:

Then can I drown an eye, unus’d to flow,

For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,

And weep afresh love’s long since cancell’d woe,

And moan th‘ expense of many a vanish’d sight;

Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,

And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er

The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,

Which I new pay as if not paid before.

But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,

All losses are restor’d, and sorrows end.

Sonnet 30, William Shakespeare

 

My weekend was perfect because of Tiago Rodrigues’s play “By Heart”

My world is, after all, a place of beauty.

L.A. fragments

LAmerica
Cold treatment of our empress
LAmerica
The Transient Universe
LAmerica
Instant communion and
communication

lamerica
emeralds in glass
lamerica
searchlights at twi-light
lamerica
stoned streets in the pale dawn
lamerica
robed in exile
lamerica
swift beat of a proud heart
lamerica
eyes like twenty
lamerica
swift dream
lamerica
frozen heart
lamerica
soldiers doom
lamerica
clouds & struggles
lamerica
Nighthawk

doomed from the start
lamerica
“That’s how I met her,
lamerica
lonely & frozen
lamerica
& sullen, yes
lamerica
right from the start”

Then stop.
Go. The wilderness between.
Go round the march.

Jim Morrison, The Opening of the Trunk (fragment)

Late Monday Poetry

Photo (mine) Spring Street, DTLA June 2017

My nights are rarely unruly

Not for me a youngman’s death
Not a car crash, whiplash
John Doe, DOA at A&E kind of death.
Not a gun in hand, in a far off land
IED at the roadside death

Not a slow-fade, razor blade
bloodbath in the bath, death.
Jump under a train, Kurt Cobain
bullet in the brain, death

Not a horse-riding paragliding
mountain climbing fall, death.
Motorcycle into an old stone wall
you know the kind of death, death

My nights are rarely unruly. My days
of allnight parties are over, well and truly.
No mistresses no red sports cars
no shady deals no gangland bars
no drugs no fags no rock’n’roll
Time alone has taken its toll

Not for me a youngman’s death
Not a domestic brawl, blood in the hall
knife in the chest, death.
Not a drunken binge, dirty syringe
“What a waste of a life” death.

Not for Me a Youngman’s Death
By Roger McGough

when time from time shall set us free

in time of daffodils(who know
the goal of living is to grow)
forgetting why,remember how

in time of lilacs who proclaim
the aim of waking is to dream,
remember so(forgetting seem)

in time of roses(who amaze
our now and here with paradise)
forgetting if,remember yes

in time of all sweet things beyond
whatever mind may comprehend,
remember seek(forgetting find)

and in a mystery to be
(when time from time shall set us free)
forgetting me,remember me

e. e.  cummings

 

 

Photo: Warsaw, 2012

An ill fitting week

I wore this dress on Monday and the whole day I felt as if was in disguise. I thought I looked like a twenty first century flapper when I checked myself in the mirror before leaving the house, but the minute I got to work I looked as if I had borrowed the last available dress left in someone else’s closet. And that someone definitely didn’t  have a lot in common with me. I didn’t buy this dress. It was a gift from my mum who probably never abandoned the hope that, in the right outfit, I would look like a pretty girl. This dress is too pink for me, it’s either too short for me or I’m too tall for it, I am also too old to pull something like this off. Not being a mother myself, I am left with a daughter’s perspective on this strange relationship that sometimes infantilizes me in order to, so it seems, avoid confronting the inevitability of time.

Mondays are never easy and I have a horrible cold and the medication is making me feel like I’m living underwater and the weight of every single thought is too much to even consider taking any kind of action.

TUESDAY

I bought this jacket in Vietnam in November 2014. A text message received while I was in Hanoi let me know that my great aunt had died. I was there for work and alone and while I can’t really say that I have always depended on the kindness of strangers, I have found that sometimes, strangers make the best friends and know exactly what to do and how to help.

Stray people brought together by chance

WEDNESDAY

I have a weak spot for chinoiserie and I absolutely adore these pants. I think I bought them some twenty years ago and they have never made it to the error category.

I felt a lot better today. After work we went to Java, the usual hang out before theater, for dinner. The TV was showing the aftermath of the Westminster attack. The coffee shop was crowded and we are all seating at an uncomfortable closeness. The gentleman next to me is wearing a brown jacket and turns his head often in my direction. Maybe he’s getting irritated at the proximity. No, he starts talking about the news. I try not to engage. I studied political science and I have no idea how to comment on the historical, sociological, or political contexts of what we are staring at. I find it difficult to rationalize barbarity. He’s British. He goes on about foreigners and political correctness. For twelve years he served in the Royal Navy, like his father before him. His eyesight started failing. He’s now a civilian. He was born in Cornwall and grew up in Scotland, now he lives in Manchester because he can’t afford to live in London. He’s been in Portugal for two weeks on vacation, this was his last night. He’s wearing a black t-shirt with some very graphic expression of discontent written in Afrikaans. I’ve never been a big fan of clothes that are too explicit in doing your talking for you. We have to go, the play starts at 9. He says goodbye kissing our hands and thanking us for the company and patience. Whatever was said, I realize I missed that accent and the blue eyed frankness I have lived with for four or so years of my life.

The play is a Portuguese – Belgian co-production spoken in French, Portuguese and Flemish with subtitles in English and Portuguese. I like the set and love the wardrobe when Anna Karenina is the woman inhabiting them and their actions. Still, it’s difficult to focus on anything either than the text. Forty years apart in Lisbon and Antwerp two couples fall out of love, question the normal life people manage to live and read Anna Karenina in French. One of the characters hasn’t read it. He actually thought about reading War and Peace but there were too many pages.

How she dies. It’s not supposed to be about this particular written death but about how literature changes or makes us change our lives. So the author says in a number of interviews.

But she did not take her eyes from the wheels of the second car. And exactly at the moment when the midpoint between the wheels drew level with her, she threw away the red bag, and drawing her head back into her shoulders, fell on her hands under the car, and with a light movement, as though she would rise immediately, dropped on her knees. And at the instant she was terror-stricken at what she was doing. ‘Where am I? What am I doing? What for?’ She tried to get up, to throw herself back; but something huge and merciless struck her on the head and dragged her down on her back

 

THURSDAY

Last week there was a promise of an early Summer that has vanished during this week as temperatures dropped some twenty degrees and the news reported closed schools because of the snow. Not in Porto. I miss my second ballet class of the week and go to a conference on culture and citizenship. Friends and experts come together to pay tribute to the Poet. To Poetry. There’s a painting exhibition in the room. There’s this painting, A homage to Gaugin, it’s called, and there’s this amazing figure of a woman that could also be a man painted in the warm colours that live in Tahiti. It keeps me  from listening to most of what is being said.

FRIDAY

A lavender morning turned into a cold rainy afternoon. I took half the day off to seat at a open rehearsal of Macbeth at the national theater. They only started rehearsals on Monday so this is still the table-work phase of reading and exploring the text and the characters. There’s an English literature professor and expert in Shakespeare who has been invited to talk about the play, and the text, and the differences between the English original and the Portuguese translation. And there he was, academia at it’s very best, rethorical mighty with all its seductive power. And the words go on for five hours and I don’t feel tired or bored. There’s nothing more fascinating than being the witness to personal passions. Not to me, at least. The catastrophe of getting exactly what you want in life. Those who choose to loose everything and those who do. The fantasy of being whole and the prison it creates. And Sartre who could be very pedantic but also very intelligent.

We are left alone, without excuse. That is what I mean when I say that man is condemned to be free. Condemned, because he did not create himself, yet is nevertheless at liberty, and from the moment that he is thrown into this world he is responsible for everything he does.

In 2012 I did a course on Shakespeare at the University of Oxford. This was how I fell in love with Macbeth. My final essay was on the question of agency. My somewhat lazy conclusion stated that “Macbeth’s hamartia is not his ambition, as this is a character flaw, but his miscalculation of the personal consequences of assassinating Duncan and the inner torment that leads him on a murdering spree in the frantic desire for peace of mind. It is this tragic error that ultimately transforms his life in an empty mockery”. I’m often surprised and ashamed when reading what I have written.

SATURDAY

On Saturday I decided to revisit the rive gauche intellectual in me, ratty cashmere sweater and all.

Saturday is flamenco class day. I decided not to miss this one and take me and my cold for another session of trying to emulate Lola. It is not an easy, if at all possible, task to be a Lola. Either a fictional or a real one.

The rest of my Saturday is spent doing adult stuff, washing, and supermarket shopping, and other uninteresting errands. I sold a white Betty Barclay jacket. It’s going to Boise, Idaho.  At the end of all this I go and see Ana present a book on American cuisine. I’m only there for moral support. Cookbooks are basically useless at my house.

It took five songs of the weird (I like to think about it as eclectic but I suspect it’s just weird) driving playlist on my iPod to drive home:

Everybody knows

The famous blue raincoat

For once in my life

Girl, you’ll be a woman soon

Guilty

wp-1490479384225.jpg

I suspect rive gauche intellectuals didn’t care much for glitter ballet flats. Shoes off. I’m not going out, I decide that watching This Property is Condemned on TV is a much better option.

SUNDAY

Daylight saving time began at 1 AM. Outside it still looks like Winter.
I go to the only cinema we have downtown, one of the two movie theaters that is not a multiplex. Popcorn free zone, what a bliss. The movie is Aquarius with Sonia Braga. Two and half hours lost, gone forever. Such a grand actress deserved a much better movie. Great soundtrack, though.

I get home to this

 My next door neighbour is a sweet Lady.

References

Tolstoy

Tennessee Williams

Aristotle

Natália

AUTORRETRATO

    

Espáduas brancas palpitantes:

asas no exílio dum corpo.

Os braços calhas cintilantes

para o comboio da alma.

E os olhos emigrantes

no navio da pálpebra

encalhado em renúncia ou cobardia.

Por vezes fêmea . Por vezes monja.

Conforme a noite. Conforme o dia.

Molusco. Esponja

embebida num filtro de magia.

Aranha de ouro

presa na teia dos seus ardis.

E aos pés um coração de louça

quebrado em jogos infantis.


Again I wish I could translate poetry without committing some kind of murder. I can’t.

This is the self-portrait of a bird in exile, whose arms know that they are wings trapped in a human body. Whose eyes migrate but never leave. A ship stranded by cowardice and abjuration. A Woman. Sometimes a female, sometimes a nun.

From night to day.

Strong, fragile, beautiful, talented and contradictory. They said. Very dark and very tender. A force of nature is the appropriate cliché. Unjust for someone who lived like a true original. In full. Strident in controversy, provocative and original, strong, excessive and forceful.  Witch and Lark of the abolition of opposites.

My words could never come close

a heart of china

broken in childish games

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Era uma mulher inigualável. Nos caprichos, nos excessos, nas iras, nas premonições, nos exibicionismos, na sedução, na coragem, na esperança. Cantava, dançava, declamava, improvisava, discursava, polemizava como poucos entre nós alguma vez o fizeram, o somaram.

Fernando Dacosta

She was an unrivaled woman. In whims, in excesses, in anger, in premonitions, in exhibitionism, in seduction, in courage, in hope. She sang, danced, recited, improvised, discoursed, polemicized as few among us ever did and ever added.

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Acho que a missão da mulher é assombrar, espantar. Se a mulher não espanta… De resto, não é só a mulher, todos os seres humanos têm que deslumbrar os seus semelhantes para serem um acontecimento. Temos que ser um acontecimento uns para os outros. Então a pessoa tem que fazer o possível para deslumbrar o seu semelhante, para que a vida seja um motivo de deslumbramento. Se chama a isso sedução, cumpri aquilo que me era forçoso fazer.

Natália Correia, in Entrevista (1983)

I think a woman’s mission is to haunt, to amaze. If a woman does not amaze … Besides, it is not only the woman, all human beings have to dazzle their peers, they have to be an event. We have to be a momentous event for each other. So one has to do one’s best to dazzle one’s fellow human, so that life can be a cause of wonder. If this is called seduction, I accomplished what I had to.

References

NATÁLIA CORREIA – 10 anos depois