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1/30/2004

from an as yet untitled piece 

“I’ve come to see your King,
the man who killed a god with his hands,
he who wears his heart upon a sling,
and for this I’ve traveled many lands.
I’m here for him I have not met
I have another for him to slay,
the rules of good and evil are set
yet the immortals break them every day.”

The response came promptly.

“We have no one here by that description
we are a people victim of attrition.
Go back to the forest you call home –
go back and among the wild beasts roam.”

The doors would not open,
the bows and arrows drawn,
yet not one danced through the air,
for the creature,
peaceful as silence
turned his back and headed for the stones of grass.
There, where the virgins had once cried,
grass grew on rock hard as steel
and no one,
not even the wisest of sages, knew why.

1/28/2004

forever in debt 

when i think of fernando pessoa, i undoubtedly think of my freshman year at rutgers. the dead autumn leaves outside only hinted at other deaths; except unlike the leaves, these other dead did not change colors.

it baffled me that death could be so colorful when it’s a term that is usually applied to life and the living. i also didn’t understand why the new beginnings ushered in with the wind had to mean the end of so many other things that, long since ushered in themselves, i had grown to love and treasure. it was a time of change, and, by necessity, and for the survivors, that always means a time of adaptation.

i had always been an above average writer. all of my teen years, tumultuous as they were, had served to affirm in me the belief that for better or worse i was a poet. i had fashioned myself one without ever bothering to read much of what the world around me deemed i was good for. no one had told me to. i had just created poetry because it came to me easy enough, tangled in the heartache of the moment. now it had all caught up to me, even the small bits of faith i had come to have in my talent were being questioned. i couldn’t put a paper together. i couldn’t put a sentence together. my professor asked me, to my dismay, and before the entire class, no less, how on earth i had managed to get into an honors english course.

feeling alone, like i usually do when the novelty of things numerous overwhelms me, i took to the library. i don’t recall the exact day but it must have been october. that’s the month i most associate with Fall. on that day, whatever day it was, i walked into the library and took to the card index file where i searched for george carlin and dennis miller. see, back then i had the notion that if these two, for whatever reason, ran for the presidency i would personally go from door to door collecting signatures and registering voters. but i was out of luck (or maybe it was the luckiest day of my life, time will tell).

with nothing on file by either of these two I decided to search for fernando pessoa. i don’t know why. if it was a whim, or perhaps all the talk about saramago’s nobel prize and his regard for pessoa, i don’t know. i just searched through the file, found some titles, took the elevator to the second floor and made for the stacks.

i recall reading through “the book of disquietude” and coming across a passage where the protagonist describes the incident where he, as a child, and his mother were visited by family who had come to pay respects to the deceased father. the scene takes place in the kitchen, where the child is eating soup and does so without slurping in case the family members are watching.

i was hooked. pessoa had reached out to me, in his sorrow, to paint the perfect picture of how death really affects those who are left behind. yes, there were things, and people too, taking the proverbial fall all around me. and i, then, was the boy eating soup, a wretch who didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for him.

it is well documented that pessoa is often a teenage favorite for many young readers. his melancholy literature, stemming, quite likely, from his own oft lonely existence, manages to touch that part of us that thinks, whether rightly or wrongly, that the rest of the world is against us. or, even worse, that it couldn’t care less. this vision of the world, and of life in general, is expressed more fervently in the teenage stage. teenagers are more apt to react sensitively in light of their insecurities.

pessoa’s protagonist, bernardo soares, is but a child at the time of the incident and for that reason gets a pass on an otherwise selfish attitude. the real issue that matters at that table is the one who has fallen, the deceased, the father. the soup, even if it is being slurped, matters little if at all.

in retrospect, it all, and by all i mean the fall of ’98 and the fall of the protagonist’s father, comes back to me in slow motion. and i realize that while death was going on around me i couldn’t see how self-obsessed i was with whether or not i was slurping. rather than mourning, or embracing the new births, i was too busy worrying about the soup on my plate.

when i think of pessoa, and think of those days, i smile. inside i’m sad, but i can’t help but smile. as he said, “be your whole self in everything. put what you are/in the least you do./that way in each lake the whole moon/shines, because high it lives.” i still slurp my soup, and i couldn’t care less about who is or isn’t watching.

1/27/2004

good byes are a bitch, the memories are all that's left 

my grandmother’s visit is on its last few breaths. she leaves next week. much like it always manages to do, three months has flown by.

when I was young, my grandfather, who wasn’t actually my mother’s father but had raised her as if she was his own, would pull me along with my tricycle up the hill on the street where we lived. he’d tie a rope to it and tug us, boy and bike, along the sidewalk holding the rope over his shoulder.

yelled, “puxa, puxa,” and he did. once we reached the summit, he’d take the rope off and i’d speed ahead forgetting him completely until i reached the end of the sidewalk, at which point i’d turn and head back for him since i knew better than to cross the street without him.

now that i think about the time when my mother and father decided to come live in a foreign country, it strikes me as eerily similar to the days and ways of the tricycle being tugged up the street. it’s like someone took the rope off and i, innocent and unaware of what that meant, pedaled to the other side of the globe, leaving him and the tricycle that i had outgrown by then behind. here i made new friends. here i created a new family to last me where mine couldn’t reach. it wasn’t their fault. someone else had packed the bags and bought the ticket. i just sat in the plane as it took off.

my grandparents did come to visit and i’ll never forget how before they headed back home, my grandfather left $8 for my sister and i to split between us. my father, in his typical enforcer role, made us store the money. he said that one day, when i had grown to be a man and she into a woman, we’d look back at those $8 and while their monetary value would be significantly less, the emotional value would be more than we could handle. he was right.

i don’t know where that money is. it’s with my stuff at home, somewhere, but i’m not certain where. and it’s better that way. as long as i don’t forget i have it, i like it to be just like that. This way, when i’m least expecting it, i’ll find the envelope. i’ll probably be looking for socks, or a hat, or condoms, but the sight of that envelope will change everything. the emotion will double me over, and i’ll cry all the tears i fought so hard to hold inside when my grandfather died a month after my father.

1/26/2004

when the ball stops rolling 

feher
aqui não há clubismos. descansa em paz, miki.

hypocrisy has a long half-life (i heard someone say) 

i heard someone say it and loved it the minute it hit my senses. "hypocrisy has a long half-life." yes it does. it takes its time before biting you in the ass. i constantly caught my father in its web while he was alive. i thought i'd never be like him in that regard, and then one day i realized i too had a taste of it in my blood. i guess that's the hypocrisy of hypocrisies.

no one really taught me how to write. for some of you who aren’t fans, that probably explains a lot. but for those who appreciate my words, the ones i put together to frame thoughts, that might sound funny. i had teachers… but the overwhelming majority never sought to illustrate how to reach an audience and that, to me, is the essence of writing. i guess one really good example would have been all that was necessary, either that or a few that did a good enough job to get me to the next step.

i feel like i reached my current state, for better or worse, on my own. yes, i did have some who pointed me in the right directions here and there but for the most part, and i do mean most, my curiosity led me through and through. it was my curiosity that led me to seek out pessoa and he is the 'pessoa' i most credit with my writing. with a faint voice that managed to reach me nearly a century later, he taught me how to write a poem, how to approach prose, he taught me so many things that i could not repeat here because not only would it be unfair to the details i would certainly forget but also unfair to the things he continues to teach me.

i bring this up only for one reason. over the weekend i watched “cabin fever” and the end of the film kind of got me. i didn’t follow the humor in the last scene (i won’t ruin it for those of you who haven’t watched the film, but it involves a gun and the presumption of racism). it was a joke that probably would have worked elsewhere, but not in this context. the movie wanted to scare you, but in the end this particular movie shouldn’t seek to make you laugh. at least for the sake of what it wanted to accomplish; scare the audience. it was, after all, a horror film.

i don’t know who directed the film because i wanted no further part of it once the credits rolled, but I heard he was also the writer. i don’t know if his teachers taught him how to write. but if they did, and if he did, in fact, learn that the key to writing is the relationship with the audience, then he failed. just when his film began to draw you in it managed to change gears and ask you to follow a new thread. but if his teachers didn’t teach him that piece of information, and I gather they did not, than the failure isn’t his but the teachers’. and the missed opportunity isn’t his, but ours for we are the ones who missed out on what could have been a great film.

the concept (the disease) was great, but parts of the whole seemed as if they were parts of another whole, a different whole. the film had portions that were very good, but it had portions that were very bad.

perhaps i am wrong in holding a grudge against some of my former teachers for not helping me to develop in craft. they are only human, i know, but in a matter as close to my heart as this is it’s more than difficult to remain neutral. i understand that they could have only taken me so far, but even that little bit would have mattered.

as it stands, i have had only a handful of teachers, if that, who helped and/or encouraged my writings. all of them, i venture to say, were at the college level and all are people i think about on an almost daily basis. to them i am eternally in debt. there were others who helped me along the way, but the teachers, those who should have mattered more than any others in my life in this regard, are curiously absent.

i don’t know if you can teach art. even to those predisposed to the creation of a piece of art (read: talented) time and the rigors of life are what cultivates any underlying inclination. but, at least in my case, if they couldn’t teach me how to tell a story they could have told me to make sure i connect with the audience. i understand that this is something that perhaps even they have not learned. If that is so, i guess i am now the teacher. hopefully, i can serve them better.

but i doubt that. i am certain that if anyone at all looks to me as something of a teacher, and I do mean if, i will fail them somehow. this might be a bit hypocritical, if so i guess that only makes me one. or maybe, it's just our inability to see further ahead. it’s the human condition, i guess. it’s why art can be so beautiful. with all the forces working against it, the unlikeliness of it all, some times it manages to give us beauty in a world that is hardly ever so. this is why i love to create. this is also why if the guy who made “cabin fever” ever makes another film, i will certainly want to watch it. is that, too, hypocritical?

1/22/2004

forget the thorn 

i could probably be happy with the first petal that fell my way. i could love it for what it is, because there is beauty in everything, and admire it as it is without wishing it were something else. i would not compare her to others. she, and she alone, could make me happy, i am certain.

but i would be lying if i said that i would not be even happier with a fully-bloomed rose whose smell intoxicated me with passion. a flower that could change the world with intelligence and nurture; a delicate soul whose touch and gaze could calm a dying man while her ass made me think all the dirty thoughts i hope my poor mother never finds out i think. this would make me smile twice as much as my already smiling smile smiles with the falling petal. i cannot deny this.

my happiness would not be able to be contained. it would pour out of my cheery eyes and into the streets and gutters, flood the world and contaminate the hardest of hearts.

but how would I explain this to the lonely petal without breaking her heart? how could I do that to her after I rushed to get in her pants?

1/21/2004

Other Poet's Poems 

Following the footprints of a shadow
the ground is red and soaked
and not an eye is left open to weep for the dead
There is no luster left in their green eyes
the blue isn't so sky-like
Everything is different
everything except the pain

blog of the union 

last night’s state of the union address served, like it does pretty much every year, to inform little while displaying some downright foolish approaches we have to legitimate government affairs. the bipartisan divide that i have commented on in the past, is one of the most ridiculous scenes on television. it is almost sad. i laugh because i can think of no other worthy reaction. watching as one half of the room forms a standing ovation while the other half shakes their heads disappointedly, i laugh. i sit home in my flannel pajama pants, pick my nose, and alone, i laugh hysterically.

still, i like watching because with a grain of salt and a sharp enough knife (read: ear) one can discern the fillers (this is the rhetoric utilized to spark interest and serves to make the individual feel like something has been accomplished – words like “must,” “pursue,” “ensure,” and “unless,” are often used) from the underlying, and implied, themes and goals that are truly at the core of what is said. weren’t it for the second night of american idol and a great special on barbarians that played on the history channel, i might very well have sat through the whole thing. as such, i watched a bit between commercials and caught the remainder this morning in the paper.

president bush’s address did hit on some important topics. some of these seemed to me of particular interest.

one of these was his championing of high home ownership rates. but with home ownership rates at their highest levels ever, the crutch we have leaned on to define and create a middle class is beginning to limp itself. what is the effect on the middle class? is it growing or disappearing? it is foolish to think that it will remain as it is when the main factor we have used to measure the class is transforming at so high a rate.

this is great for the individual. Home ownership is a grand achievement. the problem lies in understanding that the middle class is changing, not only in size but in demographic as well, and that we must recognize where it is going.

something that went nearly unmentioned was the unemployment rate. what will happen in the years to come if jobs continue to leave this country? how will hardworking individuals afford their mortgages if they can’t keep their jobs? the jobs that have left aren’t coming back. we need new jobs. new opportunities. our society is evolving at an alarming rate. technology is constantly pushing us beyond our limits of comfort, so perhaps there is some hope in that. new gadgets mean new comforts, but also mean new problems. more specialists will become necessary.

but more so, back to last night’s speech, the rising home ownership rates are frightening not in their own right, but rather because of the surrounding factors in our faltering economy. we continue to push on, but at what cost? we have flown our soldiers halfway across the globe but we can’t afford all the tools they need to fix that falling house. we have given tax cuts at home but can’t afford to give more to education. we have money to go to outer space but none to fix our healthcare problems. we consume and consume and consume, but when will the plastic (read: credit) run out? how can we move forward if we are yet to correct these ills? a building with shaky foundations will never stand. and if it does, it won't be for long.

president bush did make some points I agree with regarding education. increasing pell grants for students who prepare for college by taking demanding high school courses, inviting leaders from the private sector to teach part-time, and even the jobs for the 21st century initiative, all look like progressive ideas; yet we must wait to judge on how they are implemented. i am also against his ‘no child left behind’ program because it is too broad and generalized. different kids need different help. it’s a good start, but it’s not the answer.

the hope i see in the future for this country is my hope in the innate good of some of humanity. for all the destruction and evil we can bestow, we are also able to do immense amounts of good. today, for instance, news of the $1.5 billion donation to the salvation army by the mcdonald’s heiress brings a smile to my face. there is hope, because hope is the last to die. but there is also legitimate reason for concern, and that is what we should never forget.

1/20/2004

it's (usually) good to be the king 

(with my deepest sympathies to rodrigo)

one of my biggest pet peeves is sitting down for a #2 only to realize it’s actually a #1. is there a lower point in a grown man’s life? i dare hold nay. other than overflowing the toilet during a house party, this may very well be the pits of hell for an adult. especially when we take into account that the #1 disguised as a #2, we shall call it the “defecation mystification,” is a different type of low from the house party incident since it occurs while one is alone.

the level of embarrassment is directly proportional to the number of people who witness the event, and not by the actual incident. this means that pound for pound, the defecation mystification is quite possibly the most embarrassing event in the life of an adult male.

almost as disturbing are the questions and confusion that arise from such an incident. do I wipe? i didn’t go a #2, but what if there is some residue? this is what is commonly referred to as the “cautionary wipe.” i say, better safe than brown-tread-marks-on-your-boxers sorry.

peeing sitting down just isn’t meant for men. we need to get as much urine as possible on the seat. the goal is not to get it in the toilet, but rather to be as creative as possible with where we can hide it. it’s like marking our territory, but with a pirate’s twist; we also want to hide the gold.

so for all those out there who feel they are making a difference by diagnosing our ills, and seeking to eradicate cancer and other diseases, do us all a favor: turn your attention instead to the ever-deceiving male intestine, and make sure that our "droit du seigneur" is guaranteed for good. the sit down at the toilet is sacred, but only when done for the right reasons. let us not cheapen it. let us not play victim to our own intestines’ chicanery. no man should be forced to sit to pee. it’s just not fun.

1/19/2004

Adeus, de Eugénio de Andrade 

Já gastámos as palavras pela rua, meu amor,
e o que nos ficou não chega
para afastar o frio de quatro paredes.
Gastámos tudo menos o silêncio.
Gastámos os olhos com o sal das lágrimas,
gastámos as mãos à força de as apertarmos,
gastámos o relógio e as pedras das esquinas
em esperas inúteis.

Meto as mãos nas algibeiras e não encontro nada.
Antigamente tínhamos tanto para dar um ao outro;
era como se todas as coisas fossem minhas:
quanto mais te dava mais tinha para te dar.
Às vezes tu dizias: os teus olhos são peixes verdes.
E eu acreditava.
Acreditava,
porque ao teu lado
todas as coisas eram possíveis.

Mas isso era no tempo dos segredos,
era no tempo em que o teu corpo era um aquário,
era no tempo em que os meus olhos
eram realmente peixes verdes.
Hoje são apenas os meus olhos.
É pouco mas é verdade,
uns olhos como todos os outros.

Já gastámos as palavras.
Quando agora digo: meu amor,
já não se passa absolutamente nada.
E no entanto, antes das palavras gastas,
tenho a certeza
de que todas as coisas estremeciam
só de murmurar o teu nome
no silêncio do meu coração.

Não temos já nada para dar.
Dentro de ti
não há nada que me peça água.
O passado é inútil como um trapo.
E já te disse: as palavras estão gastas.

Adeus.

mlk jr. day and our polarized society 

today, on martin luther king jr. day, a federal holiday, i am at work. i work for one of the 15th largest newspapers in the country, and yet i am expected, not forced, but expected, to be here as i would on any other day. mlk day is not observed by this circulation department.

now, i probably have no basis for creating a pseudo-mutiny here since were i to have stayed home i would have done little else than vegetate around the house. i would have probably rubbed off a few and watched old dvd’s. still, i feel it’s wrong nonetheless to require people to report to work on this day. mlk is second to no one in american history in helping to improve race relations, and the blatant disregard for this day, set aside in his honor and memory, is symbolic of other minutely alarming factors in our society.

i realized, as i read the paper over breakfast and looked through an article claiming that whites and blacks are still not viewed equally in our society, that even today we are still bound by our biases. we have come far, but we have even further to go. this article sought to prove that there continue to exist disparaging differences in the ways blacks and whites are treated. to generalize in these terms and classify all whites alike, and all blacks too, as this article did, is almost as dangerous as the racism mlk sought to purge from our society. people are different. period. we are not all alike because our skin tone characterizes us as such.

it’s almost fitting that the iowa caucus falls on this day. as polarized as our political parties have become people tend to forget that things aren’t merely black or white. they’re also gray, and yellow, and red, and brown. there are more than two options (democrat or republican) for the problems our society faces. often, the option we should seek falls somewhere between both of these without favoring either, but in our rush to be part of a larger part we forget to remember that the world is very complex and can’t be merely reasoned over by two ever-sparring fronts. or rather, it can, but only by fools.

what happened to the democracy the forefathers envisioned, with multiple parties vying for power? we pride ourselves in our democracy, but in that regard europe is a lot more democratic than we are. their countries tend to have numerous, at times too numerous, parties and beliefs brought forth in their forms of congress. not merely two sides sparring back and forth over who will have control of the house and who has done what with it. see, they have 4, 5, even 10 parties sparring over issues. doesn’t that make a lot more sense? grown men yelling at each other; believe it or not, that's how shit gets done.

while we continue to lead the pack, unless we change this bi-partisan approach we might not be the alpha-nation for much longer. we need to be multi-partisan. i want to see alliances being formed in order to get legislation passed. i want parties going back and forth, bartering one minute and squabbling the next. but mostly, i want to end this cycle of democrat-republican leadership that forces people to associate with either one or the other.

things aren’t just black and white.

this all goes back to the issue of spending mlk jr. day at work. the article i mentioned earlier featured a graph that asked people whether blacks and whites are treated equally in new jersey… but what about all the other peoples who make this state their home? don’t they deserve consideration? isn’t this the type of overlook in mentality that mlk sought to rid our culture of? i think that, in a large part, we have oversimplified our problems and that is why we are yet to form solutions.

with that said, this is still the greatest country on the face of the earth, make no doubt about it!

but moving on to the impending issue of the day, did you see that eagles game last night?

1/17/2004

a meeting with the past 

the thing about the past is that when it comes back to you it is so distant it almost appears foreign. and then, it comes to you as so much more than how you remembered it. a slap in the face, a wake up call, of sorts. the memory you held of it was but one in a long album. the world is so much more complex. so much more than you remembered. even an album fails it.

some times, this echo returning like a boomerang will divulge the unheard tears that had gone un-cried in your understanding. you didn’t hear them and so you didn’t remember they were cried. you couldn’t have. the feelings others felt so profoundly were unbeknownst to you. they are now abundantly clear, almost too much so. nearly overwhelming, it digs at your conscience, itches at your sense of self. and you wonder how you could have been so blind. and you’re thankful that you’re no longer that person. and you’re so thankful that now you can see everything and know everything. you’ll never make that mistake again, never realizing you continue to do so.

contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t haunt you. if it did, it would make for better prose. rather, it hangs in your memory for a minute. eventually you forget again. another snap shot lost in the winds of time.

1/15/2004

diaraqi 

watching diary on mtv last night, i almost forgot how much i hate gideon yago as a reporter. he’s probable a cool guy to hang out with and all, but i don’t want to see him on mtv doing the news while that hot ass marinella chick from fuse tv is relegated to 2nd rate shows. but following gideon as he travelled to iraq made me appreciate him more as a tv personality.

when gideon arrived in baghdad, he went to meet young iraquis so that they might take him around town. with gunfire ringing in the background, they walked through the ruins of the iraqui olympic committee building, through roads congested with traffic due to a lack of working traffic lights and police, just a mess all around.

but more importantly, what i took away from the show were the ironies that currently consume that country. the american soldiers aren’t there by choice, they’re there under the impression that they’re doing the right thing. the iraquis are glad that saddam has been ousted, yet they don’t want an american force to function as a new dictatorship of sorts. both sides have legitimate concerns, yet i doubt whether, on our end, at least, the people pulling the strings are conscious of this. i really have doubts.

anyway, i can't wait to see how mtv handles the cribs episode at saddam's palaces.

a proud canadian 

the one constant about traveling outside the U.S. is that americans are sure to be viewed with a biased look. yes i, like so many others, am the victim of bias! the stare that follows, dare i generalize, any american in a foreign country is not rooted in the, shall we label it so, usual suspect we have grown accustomed to blaming for the reactions we receive abroad; jealousy.

contrary to the popular american belief that the rest of the world is jealous of us, not every foreigner who disagrees with us suffers from envy. it’s ok to disagree, which we obviously do, about any number of things. people who disagree with us aren’t necessarily jealous of us.

our recent foreign policy has put numerous world leaders on the defensive. due to disagreements over the course of action, people outside the union seem to have a different interpretation of our intentions. to these people i might say, and with all due respect, you didn’t have a plane flown through your windows.

in france, for instance, president chirac was quick to speak about his ideas and ideals in regards to military action in iraq. the exchange that followed resulted in a resolution that might live in infamy as one of the most useless pieces of legislation ever to cross the desks of our leaders. changing the term “french fries” to “freedom fries,” and altering the names of other objects and goods from “french” to “freedom,” only detracted attention from any sensible reasons our country may have had for going to war. it shadowed our intentions, which i, for one, felt were coming from a good place even if they seemed to come out distorted. conscious of that old saying describing the road to hell, the legislation accomplished nothing. no one ceased to eat fries. and no one ceased to call them french, either. they’re not even made in france!

like france, other countries were quick to dispel our actions and label our advances as wrong, for lack of a better term. while many were quick to join us in what president bush labeled as the second step in the war on terrorism, others were skeptical. the fact is much of the world sees us as an oppressor, not a leader. we are not seen as a brother willing to help, to many we have taken on the role of wicked stepmother. their opinions and their validity aren’t being called into question here because that is not the goal of this piece. i am merely the messenger.

the true views of america and americans are as varied as the eyes that follow our every move. having traveled somewhat, i have witnessed first hand the treatment americans receive at the hands of people from other countries. in many a place, not only do the prices fluctuate depending on where you’re from but some services won’t even be made available to you if you are from a particular country or region. once again, there are also many people who are more than happy to have you visit their country as a tourist.

general statements of this sort are usually dangerous, but I dare say that the world doesn’t hate us. they have a fear of what we might do with the power we have. that’s not hate… that’s apprehension. if we learn to understand this, perhaps we can cultivate better relationships with the international community.

of course, and let this suffice as my disclaimer, everything stated up to this point is theoretical. when traveling abroad, it might still be a good idea to tell them you’re canadian.

1/14/2004

a evolução do nosso imigrante 

a natureza da imigração está em fluxo constante. mas conforme mudam as razões das partidas e chegadas, também mudam as mentalidades e acções do imigrante. estas evoluções mentais são mais importantes do que as raízes que originaram a imigração. é que falando de coisas que estão sempre a mudar, a mudança diz-nos mais do que a própria origem.

enquanto se escreve bastante sobre a natureza do imigrante, ouve-se muito pouco sobre o dia-a-dia de quem se sente forçado a deixar a pátria. a natureza do imigrante no que respeita de onde vem, ou até porquê, não consta com as pequenas batalhas diárias. não! essas ficam esquecidas.

a saudade que o imigrante sente pelo país que deixou é parecido aos truques que a memória prega aos apaixonados. é que nada neste mundo pára. a evolução do imigrante é apenas uma das eternas e variantes mudanças que se constam na equação da vida e do mundo que nos rodeia.

a triste realidade é a seguinte: o imigrante que volta de férias à terra natal não é o mesmo que partíu, e a terra que o espera também não é a mesma.

o imigrante que se defronta com uma cultura, e muitas vezes idioma, diferente do seu nunca emerge igual ao que era quando primeiro imigrou para a sua nova “casa.” há uma evolução no imigrante. esta evolução é raramente identica, mas é quase sempre parecida em imigrantes que se deslocam para outro país relativamente na mesma altura.

a evolução do imigrante perante a evolução da sociedade em que reside é sempre atrasada porque as suas raízes são outras. esta evolução é então um jogo do “apanha” em que o imigrante corre constatemente atrás da sua cultura adoptada. num país como os e.u.a. as portas estão relativamente abertas. apesar da tragédia do 11 de Setembro, a população imigrante neste país contínua em paz. deve-se dizer, claro, na maioria dos casos. claro que a população imigrante muçulmana neste país sentiu mais as mudanças desde esse dia do que a portuguesa, pois a nossa cultura tem-se mantido, pela maiora, como estava.

houveram bastantes perdas em termos de liberdade mas as escolas americanas continuam abertas aos nossos filhos e, graças às relações políticas entre os dois países, o português continua a ter a liberdade de aqui entrar e saír desde que a sua papelada esteja em ordem.

ora, um evento como o 11 de setembro marca tanto o imigrante recém chegado como um americano aqui nascido. assim, o imigrante passa a compartilhar essa parte da cultura do novo país porque a viveu. há aqui uma evolução que junta imigrante e cultura. o imigrante não passou a ser menos português por isso, mas passou a ser mais americano.

a evolução do imigrante português nos e.u.a. é uma corrida atrás da cultura que tanto escapa. uns correm atrás dela com mais prazer que outros, alguns até são empurrados, mas todos a seguem. não é por acaso que passados alguns tempos algumas palavras começam a escapar do vocabulário do imigrante e o novo idioma, neste caso o inglês, serve de bengala para a língua.

ao mesmo tempo que estas evoluções se destacam no novo país também se constam mudanças, umas maiores que outras, no país natal. o que acontece muitas vezes é que o imigrante a voltar de férias reconhece pouco da terra que deixou e a terra conhece pouco dele. darwin dizia, na natureza, nada se perde, nada se ganha, tudo se transforma.

existem também as invejas, mas isso é conversa para outra altura.

a evolução do novo país não foi uma própriamente só desse sítio, o mundo inteiro está constantemente a evoluir, a mudar. por isso, é natural que também se tenham dado alterações na pátria, na terra. a evolução é um constante, e como constante que é, talvez seja bom que se mude de ares de vez em quando, porque ainda não tenho a certeza da diferença, se é que ela existe, entre quem deixa a aldeia pela cidade e de quem deixa o seu país por outro… a saudade é identica!

1/13/2004

put me to sleep (a fable) 

the old man had found a unicorn, and because he had never had anything so beautiful, he decided it would be fine if he kept it. no one he knew had ever seen one. he, himself, hadn’t heard of unicorns since he was a small child and needed help falling asleep.

he was so happy to have it he didn’t want anyone else to take it, because to him, the unicorn symbolized happiness, and there was so little of it in his life that it just would not be fair to allow someone else to take it away, even if only partly so. he kept it, fed it, washed it and grew to love it.

one day, after some time had gone by, the unicorn began to get sick. the old man feared for his keepsake and called the town vet, informed him of the anomaly lying ill in the next room, and only after the good doctor had sworn secrecy was he allowed to see his patient.

the unicorn was, in fact, very ill. His horn had shrunk and his until then white fur had given way to an unhealthy yellow. the vet tried as best he could to restore the unicorn back to health, but only time would tell. he was still very weak. he could not even manage to stand up, spending most of his days sleeping, in the corner, his horn shrinking steadily.

the vet came in secrecy every night to check on his patient, but nothing could be done. the unicorn was deteriorating and keeping him alive would only make his pain worse.

convinced that there was nothing else to do, the old man contacted the local reporters, figuring that at least he might make some money from the exposure. but by the time they arrived, with their cameras and pads, the unicorn was already dead. his unicorn had shrunk completely and his fur was a dark brown so that he looked like a regular horse and no longer like the source of magic he once was.

the distraught old man tried in vain to revive it, but it was too late. the unicorn was dead. the town thought the old man senile. nothing else to tell, only tales with which to put children to bed.

1/12/2004

80’s action stars saved the ‘real’ world 

while lying in bed the night before last waiting for sleep to overtake me, i dawned upon the realization that 80’s action movie stars saved the world. i’m not talking about the world as it is on film (i.e. the matrix) but rather about the real world where i, like so many others, ridiculously pay $5 for a cup of coffee and sit through endless episodes of the bachelor because my girlfriend thinks of it as ‘quality time.’

i was reading through ESPN the magazine when i happened on an article where the writer professed his editor’s dismay at some of his ideas for columns. thinking that the magazine has an inherent integrity to uphold, his editor, according to the writer’s account, constantly shoots down ideas that might not be of interest to readers (or anyone else). one of those ideas the editor shot down was an article discussing how rocky was responsible for the fall of russian communism. luckily for you, this blog doesn’t have that kind of integrity to uphold.

as i was lying there, i began to consider the possibility and arrived at the conclusion that rocky, while a crucial figure on the international stage, is not solely responsible for the feat. a slew of other action stars is also to commend for their efforts. before there was illegal file sharing and kofi annan at the head of the u.n. and rumsfeld’s re-hashing of the once forgotten roman phalanx, might made right and the sheriff in charge was the american renegade. think of commando; that guy knew how to kick ass!!!

arnold schwarzenegger (i might have misspelled his name) is the clearest example of an action hero whose success extends beyond the silver screen. his current go-around as a governor of the illustrious state of california illustrates the american ideal of success through perseverance. even in real life, arnold was not afraid to stand up for what he believed and as such was able to defeat the rufian gray davis and his slew of over-taxing liberals. featuring an endless caché of ammo and a gun that defied conventional reloading techniques, arnold pounded through adversaries like the t1000, the epic “predator,” and even managed to show off his acting chops by carrying danny devito on his shoulders with a flawless performance in “twins.” jesse ventura is another example of hollywood brilliance turned american pride. after co-starring in “predator” with arnold, and tossing around koko b. ware and rick “the model” martel like a puppet in the squared circle, he, too, found prominence through civic duty as the lord of the land of 1,000 lakes, minnesota.

rocky, he who is the muse and origin of this article, also played a vibrant role in the eventual capitalist victory over communism, yet he wasn’t alone. how can we overlook the actions undertaken by john rambo in afghanistan? rambo single-handedly stopped the red invasion of that country! he was the original ‘operation anaconda.’ had the cia allowed his covert operations to continue and not intruded in his gig in an early 90’s altercation that went inexplicably devoid of video footage, perhaps even 9/11 could have been averted. had we more heroes like john rambo, perhaps the terrorists would not have won!

then there is also the american ninja, played by various actors. the american ninja was responsible for instilling a sense of urgency in adopting martial arts in the good ol’ u.s. of a. and inspired an entire army of american martial artists. people like jean claude van damme, the karate kid, don “the dragon” wilson, and the unforgettable cast of “three ninjas” and “three ninjas kick back” (wasn’t that lawrence boy just adorable?) all found success and inspired confidence in our national safety. the cast of “the best of the best” deserves an honorable mention here because of their defeat of the koreans through use of said martial techniques. yes, they lost in points, but the moral victory spoke volumes over any medals. given the current situation in north korea, their small steps for kung-fu proved to be a giant step for uncle sam.

with their selfless acts of courage, imposing physical might, and, at times, defiance of international policy, they made the world safe for hamburgers and reality television… huh, i mean capitalism and individual freedom. do you think there would be hot chicks hooking up with each other in the jacuzzi at the real world house if the russians had won the cold war? i don’t think so. yes, 80’s movie stars did save the real world, and i’m proud to live in it. don’t you forget your debt to the proud courageous action stars of the 1980’s…

1/10/2004

everything that has already been said, but not here, about the war 

another day, another batch of dead soldiers to mail home from iraq. since may, it’s all i ever read in the front page. i wonder what for… what is anything for?

it’s nearly impossible to attach a value, any value, to a life, in general. at least for me. a wall street-type approach (not that i have anything against that crowd) might be able to arrive at a monetary amount, but would certainly fail to include all the intangibles to which no dollar amount can ever be attached. things like love, care, etc., can’t be dealt with in this manner because they mean different things to different people. they hold different value in different scales. like gold and water, for instance. they can be identical in weight yet if i’m stranded in the desert, what good is the gold? everything is relative!

think of danny pearl’s family. do you think our involvement in the middle east holds the same weight in their eyes as in mine? i mean, i’m pretty interested in the events as they develop but you can’t compare that to losing a son. or a husband. as it relates to this, i’m one of the fortunate ones.

this all goes to show that the true dollar value of the war in iraq, not the currently discussed $97 billion, might never be known. i might have said the war against iraq, but it’s not a war against the country. i might also have said the war against saddam but we’ve caught saddam and yet the conflict persists. obviously, it’s a war against something else as well. for matters of clarity in the generations to come, those reading about this in the future, we might have called it the war against saddam and his boys, but the white house p.r. guys were against it. i guess we’ll go with operation iraqui freedom, even though all we’ve managed to free the iraquis from thus far is running water and electricity.

a war fought for no true end can have no true end. i would not argue that the world, overall, was better off with saddam in power. yet i would not also argue that america is safer for it. our borders are just as porous. our terror-alerts just as high. our fear is just as real. and the true enemies, those with the will and desire to truly harm us are still at large.

i’m not making any arguments that haven’t been made before. everything stated here is apparent to anyone abreast of international politics (except, perhaps, the part about the monetary value of human life, i’m pretty sure that’s original). yet i don’t think enough voices that are heard (read: have access to national media) are touting this argument. it makes me sick to think that people in a position to do something about the condition would remain idle. it makes me sad that they probably do. hey, it’s the politics of politics. some things you never say, i guess. i’m like that, too. except when I don’t say something it’s because i don’t feel it or think it. if i don’t say it, it’s because the memory eludes me. i get the feeling that ‘the idle’ don’t say anything because it’s a smart move, for the career or otherwise. i’m dumb and heavy-hearted today, and because of the former, you should probably not have read this.

1/08/2004

um beijo que trago comigo há oito anos 

saí ontem à noite com uma antiga paixão minha, uma paixão que entre os meus 15 e 16 anos me ocupou algures entre 20 e 24 meses de angustia mental e emocional. saí com ela ontem porque depois destes anos todos já me esqueci de como me sentia naquela altura, vulneravel, sem piada, um shmuck qualquer. por isso não existia razão para não sair com ela. e se houvesse, passava-me ao lado.

naqueles dias mal-esquecidos, qualquer desencanto seu me servia de dor e o seu mais subtil sorriso na minha direcção era um arco-iris no meu céu. perdi 2 anos nesta pseudo-paixão que naquela altura me parecia o amor da minha vida. excusado será dizer que este nem foi nem é o caso. a paixão que tanto me consumia passou, encontrei outras razões para chorar.

para mim ela era a miuda mais bonita da escola, e por isso, do mundo inteiro. ontem à noite realizei que é, em facto, muito bonita. mas sou capaz de me ter deixado enganar naquela altura. já ouve, desde aí, mulheres muito mais bonitas na minha vida. beldades jamais esquecidas, embora não amadas.

ontem à noite fui buscá-la a casa. parei lá fora o nissan e enquanto esperava por ela lembrei-me de a vir visitar naqueles (não tão) velhos tempos. ficávamos sentados ali nas escadas da frente, a bicicleta da minha irmã encostada à parede, e conversávamos perdidos nas horas das tardes. antes de escurecer fazia-me a caminho de casa, do outro lado da escola. chegava a casa como um rei victorioso de volta ao castelo depois duma batalha vencida. era o galã mas nem sequer havía conseguido um beijo. nunca o consegui. nem ontem.

enfim, pelo que dizem são destas pequenas derrotas que se fazem os homens.

mas eu ontem não queria o beijo. pensando agora bem, e indo pelas memórias traiçoeiras que consigo juntar daquela altura, nem o queria naqueles dias de galã enganado. não, nunca o quiz. apenas queria saber que o podía ter se o quisesse; e queria-o mais por isso do que pelo próprio desejo de a beijar.

após esta descoberta, realizo que houveram muitas a quem eu quiz beijar não por o beijo em si mas só para saber que o podia, em facto, ter. e enquanto houve muitos outros beijos que não me escaparam é sempre o que não me chegou aos lábios que me vem à memória.

enfim, pelo que dizem são destas pequenas derrotas que se fazem os homens.

1/07/2004

mãe preta, céus sem folhas 

i was once again looking through lfb's postings and came across another of his late night entries regarding a mulatto son with his black mother and white father. lfb describes the scene quickly and efficiently, and mentions how the proud-smiling parents took a picture of the child with rossio serving as a background. and suddenly, i began to long for my childhood, and those innocent moments when i thought everything would always be fine.

i'm not depressed, or anything. actually, my day has gone fine. it's tomorrow i'm worried about.

kind of like the trees they took down on my street... leaving me to feel like i grew up somewhere else. but that's a story for another day.

poop 

looking back over what i posted last night i realize that maybe what i really needed was a good fart joke...

1/06/2004

i hate diaries 

this is my diary that isn't really a diary because i don't like diaries. but if i did like 'em, this would be mine. but since i don't, i guess this will have to be my pseudo-diary. a blog, we'll call it. (i think i'm so clever)

today i got to work in the morning, sat down at my desk and began my day by looking at a blog (desejocasar.blogspot.com). i came across it by accident, really, kind of like most good things that happen to me. my grandmother was watching tv and i overheard someone in the box speaking about it, but that plays no role here, really. it was an accident, that's what matters here.

i found the blog by accident and couldn't stop reading it. between interruptions from my boss, co-workers, phone calls, even e-mails, (not all work-related, i confess) i lost myself in words with heart. now, i read quite a bit so literature (more on this later) with heart is nothing new to me. the surprise came because most blogs i've read fluctuate, with no rhyme or reason, between what some guy keeps in his fridge and some clear sort of agenda (political, personal, whatever). point is, i found something i could read and, get this, some of it was written by a guy i have actually met.

the blog is kept by a group of friends who utilize it to communicate back and forth about things that might otherwise go unnoticed and unspoken. the forgotten thoughts we leave in the subway, or in the shower, in the forgotten corners of the forgotten places we know only through habit.

as i read i realized that this is what i want to do. i want to connect with people. i want people to know something. to find, both me and the audience, even if by accident, something real. i have no desire to keep a diary... that type of thing always seemed crazy to me for some reason or another. but a blog, in the nature of the ones i encountered today, are what i aim to realize. to write, not for the sake of being funny or smart or philosophical, but for the sake of writing. writing for the heart, the soul, the things that matter. even when they are, or appear to be, invisible.

i work for a newspaper and read it daily. i also read tons of periodicals. i occupy much of my time surfing across pages with tons of words that say little. i find lots of information about whatever the topic is, but very little about the writer. i find myself trying to picture this guy or gal, the writer, partly because i work with some of these people.

i read some of these articles and wonder why these people write? for a paycheck? habit? i don't know. maybe i'm just too idealistic.

that's why i call what i read earlier this morning literature. because it said something, stood for something. because i can get all the information i need from the news yet find no emotion in it. because this might be the new medium for literature. the overlooked medium. i don't know. much like someone was once thought a rebel for conceiving and writing a sestina, a play, a novel, perhaps we overlook valuable work here. perhaps the biggest mistake anyone can make is ignoring their heart. if my eyes and heart serve me correctly, what i read earlier this morning is literature. it's literature because it grabbed me. it touched me. and thanks to this site it is here for anyone to see.

so i guess from now on i'll try to find a home here. i say i'll try because you can't make something what it is. i want my words to flow freely, and here i'll try to make them do so.
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