Never trust a poet

Carl_Spitzweg_-_Der_arme_Poet_(Entwurf)
This talk of equality
sounds so very beautiful
but would you not sell them all out
for a brick of French cheese?

Would you not chop up their toes
and toss them in a stew
if someone offered to serve
your head on an album cover?

You speak to me of
challenges you’ve faced
I believe you
I do

But challenges come cheap
in this fucking world
and some people have a pile
a goddamn mountain collection

Maybe one day you’d give up the cheese
and the vinyl
but would you relinquish a suffering past
fucking would you?

We’re all Superman in our heads
we may even rage like Batman
but in our hearts, our stubborn little hearts
we’re still trembling knights of banality

When the queen is dead
we’d probably be moved to tears
but we’d sooner fight for prestige
than honor

We’d sooner lock ourselves in a cage
than free the world
and we’d rather live off death
than die living

It’s too cold out for odes to equality
so put a jacket on
and go back inside
or you’ll catch something

Far from books and desk
shivering, is no place
to long to be clever or original
it’s why they say: Never trust a poet!

Owl of Freedom

Jean Francois was the first black to rebel in Haiti
Take me to Haiti
I wish I was there now
put me on a boat
throw me on a plane

send me off to Haiti
Papa
send me off to Haiti
my mind is too weak

I couldn’t say how
I wish I knew how
something in the breeze
I feel it shaking in my heart

sweet airs of freedom
free me from the weak
and cowardly face
looking out of a mirror

I don’t see how
courage will find me
but it might, Papa
when I set foot in Haiti

like an alligator standing in a forest grove
waiting for the blessed blood of the future
I’m shivering, Good God
and the owl of freedom eludes me

as they play the drums
boom boom
as they play the drums
took took in the mountains behind the mountains

paint me a picture of Haiti
sing me a sweet song from Haiti
that’s all I have left, Good God
an image, a sound, a poem, a dance

a dream, my dream
or yours?
What are they worth?
What am I worth?

a student, a pilgrim, a loafer or a thief?
am I lying to you and myself?
no matter, leave some rum at the crossroads
and wait

hearing the train go by
hearing the wind go by
hearing the rain tap tap
and longing for Haiti

tell me again about victory
Papa, tell me again
I am nothing alone
we are nothing alone…

Kabuki Sundays: Dancing on a Big Wave under an August Summer Moon – Act II

Kuniyoshi_Utagawa,_The_actor_20
(Click here to read Act I)

Esmeralda and Diamante both enter from stage right in a hurry. Esmeralda takes off her blonde wig revealing short brown hair. She slips out of her black gown to reveal a white t-shirt and black and purple shorts underneath. She takes off her high heels and slips into a blue pair of flip-flops.

Esmeralda: My name isn’t really Esmeralda, it’s João.

Diamante: I didn’t ask.

João wanders back over to the bench, sits down, crosses his legs, places his elbow on his thigh and his chin in the palm of his hand and lets out a sigh. Diamante takes off her wig as well, revealing slicked back black hair. She tosses her dress and socks to the side, so that she is now only wearing a snug sunga bathing suit and quickly runs her hands down her body.

Diamante: My real name is Filippe.

João: Grand!

Filippe: I didn’t ask.

João: I was staring at the moon the other night.

Filippe: You shouldn’t do that.

João: Why not?

Filippe: I dunno, the light or something. It’ll make you go blind.

João: I’m pretty sure that’s the sun.

Filippe: If it were the sun, then that’s what I would’ve said.

João: Ok. Well, I was staring at the moon and it got me thinking…

Filippe: This isn’t going to end well.

João: Can I finish?

Filippe: I wish you wouldn’t.

João: Filippe!

Filippe: You’re so sensitive sometimes.

João: I was thinking, well, you know how beautiful the moon is right? I don’t have to say it, do I?

Filippe: No, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the moon before. Please tell me what it looks like.

João: You’re a gas, you know that, Filippe?

Filippe: That’s not how I would describe you…

João: So it’s so beautiful, and I was thinking romantic thoughts, and suddenly it hit me: I should get a new job!

Filippe: I told you this wouldn’t end well.

João: I was thinking maybe that’s just what I need. A new career, a new start, a new…

Filippe: Who would hire you?

João: I’m a very talented young man. Want to see what I can do with my tongue?

Filippe: Ewww, pass! Why would I want to see that nasty thing?

João: And you know how passionate I’ve always been about money. This could be the break I need!

Filippe: And what kind of work did you have in mind exactly?

João: Oh, that part doesn’t really matter, does it?

Filippe: Umm…

João: Ohh, I know, a star! I’m going to work as star!

Filippe: Maybe you should think about something that’s a little more in demand at the moment.

João: Good idea! I could be a computer star!

Filippe: Of course…

João: Filippe! Go get out your phone and start filming!

Filippe: You were serious?

João: Hurry up!

Filippe sighs and pulls his phone out of his pocket. 

João stands up and turns his back to Filippe. He puts his right hand on his head while extending his left hand outwards, twirling it around his wrist. His hips slowly start rocking back and forth, up and down. Gently he brings his hands back down, brings them up and down, back and forth in waves until his whole body becomes an ocean, moving at the whim of distant lunar objects, moving to the call of a clarinet.

João’s hips thrust forward and then stop. His hips thrust to the left and stop again.

João touches the top of his head with his left hand as his right hand nearly floats away.  First his left than his right leg fly out to the side and come back. His knees contort into fantastic angles and come back. He throws his left shoulder down to his hips and comes back. He throws his right shoulder down to his hips and comes back. Then he lowers both of his hands back down again and stops suddenly. 

His head drops all the way down to his knees, and he sweeps the ground with his hands. The tambourine and drums start, and then he really gets into. He slowly raises himself again grinning, tears off his t-shirt and lets go altogether.

His hips go wild. His arms just barely stay out of the way. This is when his chest and shoulders start: POP-boom-boom, POP-boom-boom! They’re out of control; they’ve got a mind of their own. João is still grinning. 

Doesn’t he notice? Isn’t he at all concerned? What if his hips go this way and his chest goes that way, and they completely detach from each other? But João doesn’t look the slightest bit worried. 

As if this weren’t enough, his legs go flying out from under him again, first one then the other and he starts spinning in circles. Each part of his body seems completely independent from and uninterested in what the other part is doing. His stomach looks like it’s caught in a never ending earthquake; he bends backwards and shakes his short hair so that it almost scrapes the ground, then suddenly he vaults forwards into a front flip and lands in a split raises his arms into the sky and screams out with joy. 

Life is beautiful!

Filippe doesn’t say anything. He turns off the camera and puts it slowly back in his pocket.

They’re both silent for a few minutes.

Filippe: Hey, João! What school did you go to?

João: What do you mean?

Filippe: I mean where did you study?

João: How should I know?

Filippe: Because you went there!

João: It was a long time ago…

Filippe: You’re not that old, João!

João: I’ve had more important things on my mind!

Filippe: I doubt it… Why don’t you check what you put on your resume?

João: My what? I don’t speak French, Filippe!

Filippe: Your resume! Jesus, João, you do have a resume, don’t you?

João: I’m a beautiful young man in my prime, and everybody loves me! What more could I possibly need to get a job? A suit? Do you think I need a suit, Filippe?

Filippe: I don’t think that’s your first priority.

João: I bet I’d look good in a suit, don’t you think? Where’s a mirror when you need one?

João gets up from the bench and starts looking around in bushes, behind trees and in a trashcan.

Filippe: If you find where I left my ouzo, let me know!

João: I know I left it around here somewhere…

Filippe’s phone starts ringing.

João: Don’t answer that! It might be Leon! I can’t talk to him like this.

Filippe: That’s great… Did you find my ouzo though? Try checking if I buried it in the grass behind the water fountain.

Filippe’s phone is still ringing. Filippe looks at it calmly before answering.

Filippe: Hello? Yes? Yes? Uh huh. Really? One minute. Yeah. Sure. Yeah. Ok. Hold on. Yeah. Uh huh. I’ll go get him. He motions to João. It’s for you!

Filippe tosses the phone to João who almost drops it and glares at Filippe before answering.

João: Hello? Yes? Uh huh. This is he! Uh huh. Yes. In five minutes? Uh uh. Yeah. Sure. Where? Yeah. Yeah. What? Ok. Ok. Ok. Ok. Thank you! Ok. Ok. Ok. Great! Bye.

Filippe gets up from the bench, crouches down on all fours and starts looking around.

Filippe: This is going to drive me crazy.

João: This is crazy. I don’t know how they found me.

Filippe: I couldn’t have drank it all, could I have?

João: Do you think they saw the video you posted on youtube? Does this mean I’m going to be rich and famous?

Filippe starts digging up dirt with his hands and tossing it aside. João is pacing.

João: I’m kinda hungry… Oh, but I can’t wait! I can’t wait!

Filippe’s head is now buried in the grass and his elbows are pointing out to his sides.

João: Filippe? …FILIPPE!!

Filippe turns his head slightly towards João.

Filippe: Yeah?

João: What are you supposed to say at an interview?

Filippe: How should I know? Just don’t be too honest, ok? Make yourself look good.

João: I can’t lie at my job interview!

Filippe: Look, like the French poet Steve Jobs once said: Earnestness is for books.

João: I don’t get it.

Filippe lifts himself up from the grass, walks over to João and calmly but forcefully slaps him.

João slowly shifts his gaze from Filippe to the sky behind him.

João: Ummm… I gotta go. Bye!

Filippe: Bye!

João starts walking towards stage left. Two green lights appear in the sky and get bigger and bigger. As the lights get closer, it becomes possible to make out what appears to be the dark outline of a spaceship.  

Filippe’s head is back in the grass again. The lights on the stage dim.

Thoughts on an Old Man

Francisco_de_Goya,_Saturno_devorando_a_su_hijo_(1819-1823)

I think about the old man a lot lately
What must have been going through the head
of that desperate wrinkly hairy sweaty mass
shoveling flesh of flesh blood of blood down his gullet?

Was he thinking about the taste, neither salty nor sweet?
Was he struck by the texture on his teeth?
Was he pondering the world gradually slipping away?
Was he overcome with jealous paranoid relief?

Relief that the future wouldn’t overcome the past
Relief that the taste wasn’t so bad
Relief that the babe hadn’t made too much noise
Relief that salvation exists for those willing to seize it

Did he know who or what he was eating?
Or had he just grown accustomed
to thoughtless alimentary consumption?
there’s no time to look anymore — down it and go

Or had he done it for their own good?
The world belongs to the strong and the brave after all
kids have to learn the facts early on
or they’ll never make it

They’ll never make it
they’ll never make it…

…maybe I’ll ask him one day when I’m strong and brave
after slicing his belly open and tossing him in a cage

Kabuki Sundays: Dancing on a Big Wave under an August Summer Moon – Act I

Kuniyoshi_Utagawa,_Women_30
The curtain opens revealing the figures of Esmeralda and Diamante on stage. They are standing on a stone path holding beautiful umbrellas with intricate colored patterns and images. The artwork on Esmeralda’s umbrella depicts a giant fish leaping out of the water after a smaller fish that’s already in the air. On Diamante’s umbrella there is a purple plum tree in full bloom. Esmeralda is wearing a long elegant black ballroom gown with sequins. Diamante is wearing a short bright red strapless dress and bright blue socks.

Esmeralda is about to speak when a turkey enters stage left gobbling loudly. The animal struts in front of the the two characters, staring them down, before sprinting off stage right. A stage hand appears stage left panting and chases after it off stage right.

A light mist falls from above.

ESMERALDA: This rain is bad for my health.

DIAMANTE: Ok.

E: No, I’m serious. I can already feel a cold coming in the back of my throat.

D: Hmmmmm.

E: What do you mean ‘hmmmm’? Do you think I’m making it up?

D: Hmmmmm.

E: Diamante!

D: Well…. HRECH HRECH HRECH!

E: Sorry?

D: I said… HRECH HRECH HRECH!

E: What?

D: You smell bad, Esmeralda.

E: Diamante!

D: Putrid.

E: DIAMANTE!

D: VILE!

Esmeralda yanks on Diamante’s dress and rips a piece off, which she proudly waves in front of the audience. Diamante claws at Esmeralda, but she jumps aside. Diamante slaps her hard in the cheek. Esmeralda giggles and then sits down on a bench. Diamante moans, and then sits down shortly afterwards.

D: I do wish you’d take a bath though.

E: So do I. It sounds nice.

D: Yeah.

E: Yeah.

A phone rings. Esmeralda struggles to locate the phone before yanking it from underneath Diamante’s legs. Diamante sticks her tongue out at her and Esmeralda bats her away. She answers.

E: This is she.

D: I like shoes.

E: Hello?

D: I’m a beautiful woman normally, but with the right pair of shoes… wow, just wow!

E: You bastard, fuck off and die!

D: Esmeralda! That’s no way for a lady to talk.

Esmeralda looks at Diamante with a cold grin.

E: Fuck you, too!

D: What’s the matter with you?

E: It’s a mystery.

D: What do you mean?

E: Some bastard keeps calling me and hanging up before I can answer.

D: Maybe it’s Leon.

E: It’s not Leon.

D: You never know, it could be.

E: It’s not Leon!

D: Maybe you should let me answer next time. You’re probably scaring him away.

E: It’s not… You barely know him anyways.

D: He’s so beautiful!

E: I told you not to fall in love

The phone rings again. Diamante snatches the phone out of Esmeralda’s hand and runs away giggling and hides under a bush.

D: Hello? Hello? You gorgeous devil, are you there?

E: I should buy you your own phone so you stop taking mine.

Diamante, still crouching down, stares at the cellphone and frowns.

E: I told you it wasn’t Leon!

D: Why doesn’t he want to talk to me?

E: It’s not Leon! They probably want my credit card information.

D: So give it to them already! You might win a SmartCooker!

Diamante stands up and paces in front of Esmeralda, who massages her eyelids.

E: I’m not going to ask.

D: Haven’t you seen the videos on Youtube? You can cook an entire chicken and it will come out tasting like a fish!

E: It’s quite a time we live in!

D: It’s quite a time to live!

Inviting brass notes break in from offstage. Calling and responding to each other. Diamante looks at Esmeralda and nods, and they both stand up. Esmeralda sprints to a nearby trashcan, tosses her arm at her side and gallops back with periodic jumps. A drum line sounds. Esmeralda tosses her arm towards Diamante and nods again. Diamante dashes into Esmeralda’s arms, who proceeds to toss Diamante into the air, catch her again and spin around in a circle. An entire orchestra is now playing in the background. The drum is getting louder and louder.

Esmeralda puts Diamante back down at her side, they step apart, Esmeralda raises her right arm and Diamante raises her left, and they gaze off to God only knows where. The orchestra is getting faster and faster: BOOM-bah-bah! BOOM-bah-bah! Esmeralda and Diamante switches places and hold hands. They take two steps to the left and jump in the air, then they take two steps to the right and jump in the air. Then they jump backwards and throw their hands in the air.

Their steps are getting faster and faster. It’s hard to keep track of where their feet are at any one moment. They grab each other around the waist with their right arms and spin in circles. Faster and faster and faster and faster and…

The phone rings again. The music cuts. They stop suddenly and Esmeralda falls to the ground. Diamante hands her the phone.

E: Never mind I’ve got to get to work.

D: Me too!

Esmeralda places the phone on the bench and they both exit off opposite ends of the stage. The phone is still ringing after they’ve left.

(Click here to see Act II)

Pindock

Magura-cave-pictographs
I was sleeping when Pindock came. Although it can be hard to say sometimes what’s awake or asleep. I was sleeping, and the flames had long been out. I was sleeping, and the bones and scraps were still lying next to me. It must have gone dark before I could put things in their place.

I had a strange dream. The walls were shaking and roaring, but I was not afraid. I said, oh, the walls are shaking, and I went outside. Outside the wind was blowing, but I was not afraid. I grabbed my other arm, closed my eyes, tightened my grip and went further out. The trees were shaking, the bushes were shaking, the waters and rocks below suddenly did not look so far, but I was not afraid. I said, I want to eat a kirxid. I am hungry.

I went to where the kirxid graze. I climbed down on my knees in the tall grass and crawled and crawled and crawled. I did not want the kirxid to hear me. I lay flat on my belly and crawled and crawled and crawled until even roots, sticks and mud gave way. I did not want the kirxid to see me.

The sun was enormous, the size of two richtipods, the size of the gorge beyond the green, the size of the big red hole in the ground at the center of the world. The sun did not seem angry, indeed, quite the opposite. It was overflowing with happiness that would not be contained. This must have been the cause of the winds. This must have been the cause of the roars. I looked at the sun and smiled.

It was time. There was a lone kirxid standing apart from the others, its head sunk into the ground as it searched for roots. I threw my other arm, which the air swallowed whole before it could reach its target.

Then I heard a voice shouting from above the trees and the rocks, the waters and the bushes. I said, who are you shouting like that, but I knew it was Pindock. You always hear Pindock, before you see Pindock, as though thunder came before lightning.

A voice replied, I am the shout of the storm, I am the crack of the wave, I am the cry from the other side.

I smiled, and quickly responded, I know you not. If you were a storm, I could feel your rains. If you were a wave, I could feel your oceans. If you were a side, I could reach over and turn you around. You must be mistaken. Who are you really?

The tall grass quivered, and the voice bellowed, I am the snake that devours. I am the wolf always hunting. I am the lion guarding its den.

I am Pindock, and if you don’t know me yet, you’ll soon tremble in your understanding.

You must be confused, I replied, what you’re saying makes little sense. Show yourself, so I can see with my eyes who you are. I know not your ragged voice.

Then the earths opened up, the fires erupted out and enveloped all in their licking flames. I saw a dark figure taller than the tallest trees emerge momentarily bathing in the burning night of day before disappearing again. I covered my mouth so Pindock would not hear my cry.

Are you then a star? But you are not so bright. Are you then a mountain? But still I must bend down to see you. Are you then an unspeakable name? And yet, I’m sure I could pronounce it if only you would tell me what it really is.

Foolish man, must I wake you from your slumber, must I knock the walls in before you crouch down in recognition?

If you won’t tell me then your truth must not be worth my empty belly. I laughed terribly as though my other arm had struck a kirxid which was now sinking into the mud. I laughed terribly and walked away.

I laughed terribly and woke up.

What a strange dream to have tonight of all nights. What a strange dream to have knowing that in few hours the other arms of other men will be flying to meet me.

And I am hungry, but what could I eat? The kirxids are long gone.

Waiting for Kafka

Prince_Yinzhen_(the_future_Yongzheng_Emperor)_Reading_a_Book
Nobody reads Kafka. It’s a terrible state of affairs. I must be the last man on Earth that’s read him. Just look at this fellow walking by with his dog. Anyone could plainly see he doesn’t read Kafka with a stupid face like that. Or look at the woman in skates covered head to foot in protective gear. She certainly doesn’t read Kafka. And our big men with square chins in glass houses. Although they proffer the occasional sermon on cockroaches, they haven’t read Kafka either.

There’s no refuge from it anywhere.

Not with the coworker you sometimes get a ride from who inexplicably left early today, not with the bus driver who says you need 15 more cents. Not with the little boy who drops his plastic chew toy on the ground and won’t stop crying — there’s no doubt he would sooner gnaw on a book than read one. Not with the girl sitting next to you who gives you a look like you just slurped up a bowl of feces with a spoon after you smiled at her. You can be sure not one of them has read a solitary word of Kafka.

Would they fight wars in the desert if more people read Kafka? Most assuredly not. What about the rain storms? And the starving children? And the perverts? The worms that live in your intestine? All gone, ciao, adios, if only people would read Kafka.

OUR WHOLE WORLD IS GOING TO FUCKING HELL AND WE DON’T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT AND IT’S ALL BECAUSE NOBODY READS ANY FUCKING KAFKA ANYMORE FUCK AIOPHGFEISP(URT{“$)W#*U11!!

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Um tal país do sexo

 

criança-viada
“Travesti de lambada e deusa das águas”, de Bia Leite, 2013. Obra que estava na exposição ‘Queermuseu’. DIVULGAÇÃO

Brasil não é (apesar do que muitos gringos pensam) e nunca era o país do sexo. Num país do sexo de verdade, se discutiria coisas mais interessantes do que como um sexo heterossexual sabor de baunilha é bom, ou se a traição é culpa do traidor ou do traído. Se discutiria coisas mais interessantes do que se alguém está fazendo sexo com todos ou não está fazendo sexo com ninguém. Se encontraria palavras mais interessantes e mais adequados para descrever o sexo do que ‘natural’. Se discutiria o que significa sentir atraído por uns e não por outros e por que, além de alguma estética supostamente universal ou o bom senso de quem nos curte e a falta de bom senso em quem não. Se discutiria porque um ato entre dois vira da conta de todos e acaba construindo ou destruindo capital social. Se discutiria como fazer um sexo que enaltece e não rebaixa. Se discutiria a inevitabilidade de pessoas diferentes terem gostos diferentes e a obrigação de conviver com isso no âmbito social. A arte pode ajudar a fomentar essas conversas mais interessantes, mas somente se as pessoas estiverem dispostas a conversar.

Sim, certas coisas não deveriam ser aceitas como a pedofilia, a zoofilia ou o estupro mas sem a capacidade de sequer conversar sobre elas, se desvia o olhar do mal, se perde a capacidade até de dizer o por que e de onde provém, se inventa qualquer desculpa fácil e mais alguns inocentes se fodem.

Não podemos perder de vista que viver numa sociedade necessariamente significa ser exposto a cada conversa sem noção com cada pessoa tão nada a ver que nenhum de nós consegue imaginar todas — para senti-lo é só dar uma olhada na música tosca no playlist da pessoa ao lado ou os videos idiotas que assistem antes de dormir. Ou tomamos isso como uma oportunidade para renovarmos nosso pacto com o amor alheio, criarmos novos laços e construirmos uma sociedade melhor ou o usamos como justificativa para a crueldade interna de cada um.

O país do sexo morreu. Viva o país do sexo.

Apology of a Dragon Rider

Kircher-drachen
“I like to ride dragons. The breeze in my face. The warm scales below my butt. What can I say? It’s an experience everyone should live at least once.

“Some people might say it’s wrong, but they’ve clearly never been on a winged-beast going 350 kilometers per hour. Or seen a monster breathe fire onto a truck until it burst into flames. Or devour the charred remains of — well, sometimes it’s hard to tell what it was.

“Don’t tell me that dragons belong in the wild. What does that even mean? Is there such a thing as a flying reptile’s natural habit? Or better yet, is there anywhere that isn’t? Who am I to say? Mankind always wants to interfere in nature’s business and for what?

“The truth is the opposite. It’s humanity that belongs in the wild. We could stand to lose the smattering of societal pretensions that hold us down. Our true self can’t be found sitting at a desk or a table or walking a dog or driving past countless indiscernible street-tied banalities.

“But serpentine flight can take us there.

“Haven’t you ever felt that your life could be so much more?

“Lock me up if you must to justify the fear burrowing into your guts, but don’t call it abuse, don’t say I didn’t love and do everything I could for the creatures. Don’t call me a criminal! I let them fly where they wanted, eat what they wanted, kill, mame or burn down the world itself if it pleased them. They were taken care of.

“The feeling was mutual.

“I discovered who I am and what I’m truly capable of? Have you?”

He was led away slowly to await the jury’s decision — they found him guilty of course! Did you expect a different outcome? That poor child was dead after all.

On the appropriateness of knives in cathedrals

La_Madone_de_São_Paulo_painting_by_Alexis_Diaz_and_INTI_in_São_Paulo_downtown

I don’t know what you mean
you mean
It’s like
Can’t feel my spleen
I’m bleeding

Came up to me
Said you wanted to worship
Feel free
But it hurts though
Like a dagger in the thigh though

Don’t know what you even mean
you mean
My pain is thirsty
For company to snort it up
Just playin

You’re looking worried
Worried
Don’t mean to hurt you
Just trying on words
Searching for that right fit

Fuck it
Fun is the wrong word
I’m trying to survive
Down on my knees
If it please you

Let go
And I’ll show you what I mean
I mean
I’m not what I seem though
There’s more I swear

It’s not much
But it’ll eat you up
Rawness
Is the name of the game
Or just skin rubbed red on the floor

Why can’t I feel the floor?
Beauty is overrated
When the sun is burning it off
Your prayers are outdated
Open your eyes

Faith in God
And revolutionary dreams
Funny shapes and the color green
It’s why I’m not dead
Busy looking for that tickling breeze