Revisiting

Não há nada que resista ao tempo. Como uma grande duna que se vai formando grão a grão, o esquecimento cobre tudo.

Ainda há dias pensava nisto a propósito de não sei que afecto.

Nisto de duas pessoas julgarem que se amam tresloucadamente, de não terem mutuamente no corpo e no pensamento senão a imagem do outro, e daí a meia dúzia de anos não se lembrarem sequer de que tal amor existiu, cruzarem-se numa rua sem qualquer estremecimento, como dois desconhecidos.

Essa certeza, hoje então, radicou-se ainda mais em mim.

Fui ver a casa onde passei um dos anos cruciais da minha vida de menino. E nem as portas, nem as janelas, nem o panorama em frente me disseram nada. Tinha cá dentro, é certo, uma nebulosa sentimental de tudo aquilo. Mas o concreto, o real, o número de degraus da escada, a cara da senhoria, a significação terrena de tudo aquilo, desaparecera.

Miguel Torga, “Diário (1940)”

Nothing can stand the test of time. Like a great dune, growing with each grain of sand, oblivion covers everything. I’ve been thinking about this for days, I do not know prompted by what type of feeling or affection.

Take the case of two people loving each other so madly that they did not have in their bodies and thoughts anything but the image of the other, and in a half-dozen years they will not even remember that such a love existed, when they walk past each other without any shudder, like two strangers.

This certainty, today, has become even more rooted in me.

I went to see the house where I spent one of the crucial years of my boyhood life. And neither the doors, nor the windows, nor the landscape in front spoke to me. I had in me, of course, a sentimental nebula of it all. But the concrete, the real, the number of steps on the stairs, the face of the landlady, the earthly meaning of all that had disappeared.

The translation is mine and it doesn’t do the original any justice. I saw part of this text written on a wall in Leiria two weeks ago, yesterday I felt what it meant. I walked through the streets of Viana do Castelo as a tourist. It didn’t feel like the city that was almost my second home at a time when I too seemed to be “madly in love”. No emotion, and the “sentimental nebula” was just the sad realization of that void. I walked to the theater to buy the ticket for the opera recital. The lady in front of me was asking a lot of questions, she was afraid she didn’t know her way around the building anymore. She had danced on that stage when she was young. Her memories felt comforting.

Photo: Teatro Sá de Miranda, Viana do Castelo

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

 

Neither map nor discipline

To help us seek duende there is neither map nor discipline. All one knows is that it burns the blood like powdered glass, that it exhausts, that it rejects all the sweet geometry one has learned, that it breaks with all styles.

Federico Garcia Lorca

From Theory and Play ( Function ) of the Duende

Para buscar al duende no hay mapa ni ejercicio. Solo se sabe que quema la sangre como un tópico de vidrios, que agota, que rechaza toda la dulce geometría aprendida, que rompe los estilos…

Federico Garcia Lorca

Teoria y juego del duende

It makes me realize that I will most probably not find it. I just pretend.

Photo by C.

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.

I am full of questions

This poem had the human contribution of Ursula Andkjær Olsen, and my intervention while sort of dancing with an old book with a black question mark on the cover but, is was composed by the Turn on Literature Machine.

After a week of immersion into the depths of Electronic Literature I am none the wiser. I am left with questions.

Our phones can speak to us (just as a human would). Our home appliances can take commands (just as a human would). Our cars will be able to drive themselves (just as a human would). What does “human” even mean?

Now they are people

And I’m in awe of all the possibilities of moving within words of seeing them transform into a physical experience. But still.

 

 

References

If an Algorithm Wrote This, How Would You Even Know?

Feathered

Hope is the thing with feathers 

That perches in the soul, 

And sings the tune without the words, 

And never stops at all, 

  

And sweetest in the gale is heard;         

And sore must be the storm 

That could abash the little bird 

That kept so many warm. 

  

I’ve heard it in the chillest land, 

And on the strangest sea;        

Yet, never, in extremity, 

It asked a crumb of me.

 

Hope is the thing with feathers (254)

Emily Dickinson, 1830 – 1886

 

Photo: AgitaÁgueda, Carnaval Fora de Horas

A Dream Deferred

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore —
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over —
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

 

Langston Hughes, Dream Deferred in The Panther and the Lash May 1967

Photo: workers at cashew nut processing  unit, Goa, 2016

Q & A

  
What is Worth Knowing?

That van Gogh’s ear, set free
wanted to meet the powerful nose
of Nevsky Avenue.
That Spain has decided to help
NATO. That Spring is supposed to begin
on the 21st March.
That if you put too much salt in the keema
just add a few bananas.
That although the Dutch were the first
to help the people of Nicaragua they don’t say much
about their history with Indonesia.
That van Gogh collected Japanese prints.
That the Japanese considered
the Dutch to be red-haired barbarians.
That van Gogh’s ear remains full of questions
it wants to ask the nose of Nevsky Avenue.
That the vaccinations for cholera, typhoid and yellow fever
are no good – they must be improved.
That red, green and yellow are the most
auspicious colours.
That turmeric and chilli powder are good
disinfectants. Yellow and red.
That often Spring doesn’t come
until May. But in some places
it’s there in January
That van Gogh’s ear left him because
it wanted to become a snail.
That east and west
meet only in the north and south – but never
in the east or west.
That in March 1986 Darwinism is being
reintroduced in American schools.
That there’s a difference
between pigeons and doves, although
a ring-dove is a wood-pigeon.
That the most pleasant thing is to have a fever
of at least 101 – because then the dreams aren’t
merely dreams but facts.
That during a fever the soul comes out
for fresh air, that during a fever the soul bothers to
speak to you.
That tigers are courageous and generous-hearted
and never attacked unless provoked –
but leopards,
leopards are malicious and bad-tempered.
That buffaloes too,
water-buffaloes that is, have a short temper.
That a red sky at night is a good sign for sailors,
for sailors…..what is worth knowing?
What is worth knowing?

What is Worth Knowing? (1986) 

Sujata Bhatt 

Photo by J M P , Venice (2012)


 

 

 






 


Mirrored

 There are no lies 
in the morning
no cheating of age

an illusion of eye
smoothing skin over bone.
No portrait hidden away becoming skeletal and demanding release.
Another day to face, my confessor, so laugh at this charting of years.
Mirror by Adrian Greene
Photo: dresses by Gilbert Adrian at the LACMA

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

Blinding bright lights

I could never have dreamt that there were such goings-on
in the world between the covers of books, 
such sandstorms and ice blasts of words,,, 
such staggering peace, such enormous laughter, 
such and so many blinding bright lights,, ,
splashing all over the pages
in a million bits and pieces
all of which were words, words, words,
and each of which were alive forever
in its own delight and glory and oddity and light.

Notes on the Art of Poetry​,  Dylan Tomas


Photo at The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles, June 29 2017