grave digger
Thursday, April 29, 2004

Don't go swimming in the ocean, Mother said,
right after you eat lunch. You could get
a cramp, & drown. You can't expect
the lifeguard to save you. He may not
have noticed that you went into the water,
he might have been too busy trying to remove
the sand from his hair. We may never find
your body, it could drift further out
into the sea, & not come back with the tide.
But I'll still get a tombstone for you,
& make it look like you're in the grave.
I just won't tell anyone that you're not there.

Hal Sirowitz, Mother said


The empire of keys
Senhor Moreira is an undertaker that does a lot of funerals in this village. Sometimes we talk and laugh. He is a nice person to talk with. Once he offered me a ride to Elvas, a city near the spanish border. He went there to get the body of a man that died in jail. We both entered the gates of jail and, while he was taking care of the body, I was in the yard smoking a cigarrete with a convicted man of about sixty years old. I remember his eyes. I can still recall his mild voice. He told me that he was writing a book called "The empire of keys".
Today, I arrived to the graveyard's gates and when I was about to open them, like I do everyday, I noticed that I couldn't find the key. The main gate's key is huge. I always leave it in my coat's pocket. I do it without thinking. Today it wasn't there. It wasn't in my car. I went back home and, after turning it upside down, I was sure that it isn't there either.
I drove to the town hall. I don't like going there. Usually, I just go there once a month to get my pay check. Dona Chica is the person that takes care of everything related to the graveyard. Even if I just say "good morning", she answers back like if I did something wrong. Today, when I told her that I couldn't find the graveyard keys, she opened her eyes wide and there was a moment of silence and rage. Then, she must have thought that she finally got all her rage justified and, after walking to the cabinet where she keeps all the keys, she held the graveyard's key in her hand and said a few senteces containing the word "irresponsable". I listened to her like if I was a child that broke a window while playing soccer in the street. It took her a while to say everything she wanted to say. Irresponsable. When she placed the key in my hand, I tried not to touch her fingers. Then, I turned her my back and left. As I walked away, I could still hear her voice and her contempt. While I drove back, I remembered the conversation that I once had in Elvas with a convicted man. I couldn't help to think that I would love to read a book called "The empire of keys".

Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Sometimes I like to put on the speakers of my computer and watch some toons.

I wonder if we are different because we live in different places. We see different things from our windows. As children, we ran in different backyards. I wonder if we are different because we speak different languages. When you say "mother", I say "mãe". When you say "life", I say "vida". I wonder if we are different because I am here and you are there. When I get there, you are somewhere else. Then I say "come here", but you never come, you are always there.

The previous lines were translated into portuguese in http://dictionary.reference.com, then they were translated back to english using the same translator engine. Here is the result:

I want to know if we will be different because we live in different places. We see things different of our windows. As children, us we function in different yards. I want to know if we will be different because we say different languages. When you the "mother" says, I says "mother". When you she says the "life", I I say the "life". I want to know if we will be different because I am here and you are there. When I start there, you I am in some place another one. Then I say "come here", but you never come, you you are always there.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

"If you ask her what is a favorite story she has written, she will hesitate for a long time and then say it may be this story that she read in a book once: an English language teacher in China asked his Chinese student to say what was the happiest moment in his life. The student hesitated for a long time. At last he smiled with embarrassment and said that his wife had once gone to Beijing and eaten duck there, and she often told him about it, and he would have to say the happiest momment in his life was her trip, and the eating of the duck."

Lydia Davis, Samuel Johnson is indignant

Elephant man
He is a person. He has been standing for years in a corner of Rossio square in Lisbon. He shows his identification card and begs for money. People call him "the elephant man". There are all kinds of stories about him. A few years ago, I have seen on TV a report about him. I remember his mother saying that, when he is at home, he usually stays for hours in his bedroom with the windows' shades completely closed. Since then, whenever I hear about him, I can't help to imagine him in his completely dark bedroom. I imagine what he thinks about. I imagine the extent of his pain.
When I was small, I would travel to Lisbon with my parents and my sisters. We would go early in the morning. My mother and my sisters would walk from one store to another trying clothes. Me and my father would walk around, going to hardware stores and coffee shops where my father would drink consecutive draft beers. The elephant man would be in his corner of Rossio square. My father would always walk towards him and give him a coin. I would try to close my eyes, but the temptation was always bigger and I always ended up with a character for my childish nightmares. Back then, the elephant man's face was only starting to get the shape that it has today. He suffers from a genetical disease called proteus syndrome.
A friend sent me an email with a link to a picture of the elephant man. I just saw it with a mist of horror and still the same temptation that I used to have when I was small. I wanted to close my eyes, but I couldn't. I wanted to click on the return button, but I couldn't. I guess I am attracted by his gaze. He is a person. Don't forget that. It is an highly chocking sight. Do you really want to see it? Just don't forget that he is a person. Do you really want to see it? Do it at your own risk. The link to his picture is here.

Monday, April 26, 2004
JR (1944-2004)
Everybody knew Ti JR. He owned a small grocery store near the elementary school. I guess that every person under thirty-five in this village got a candy from him at one point or another. He was a gentile but sober man. Every kid liked to carry a coin and enter his grocery store. Most times, he would leave with two candies, instead of one; three candies, instead of two. Ti JR was a generous man. The more we grew, the more we could tell he saw his joy in our joy.
His face was always perfectly shaved. His hair was always perfectly combed. He had two sons that are about the age of my sisters. Both of them are also perfectly shaved and perfectly combed. They both live in Lisbon. Ti Rasquete spent his life behind the counter of his grocery store.
Sunday morning, after his wife left for the mass, Ti JR locked all the doors in the house. When his wife arrived, she found all the doors locked and, after knocking for half an hour, decided to get help from the neighbours. They knocked and called Ti JR for one hour before deciding to break in. They found him hanged in the basement with barbed wire.
The priest refused to perform the ceremony unless the family signed a paper stating that he was mentally disturbed. The family refused to sign such a paper.
He would turn sixty years old in a week. His burial was dark and sad.
With all respect, I hope that he may now get all the freedom and all the peace. I am sure that he was much more than his story. Still, I leave it here in the form of these simple words so that we may know that he once existed among us.

At six o'clock in the afternoon the coffin of Ti JR arrived to the graveyard.

Sunday, April 25, 2004
Today, it is the thirtieth birthday of the "carnation revolution". I will be thirty years old in September. The celebrations of this holiday have been less and less enthusiastic as years go by. Today there were some speeches on TV. The heroes of the revolution were uneasy. There are less and less people that actually witnessed the revolution.
Thirty years ago, I was in my mother's belly. I have only celebrated my birthday once and that was when I turned five. I remember all the neighbourhood kids arriving with their mothers. We were small and embarraced. We were all the same age. Today, we are all apart. We live in different places. We don't have each others' phone number. We would be uneasy if we were condemned to meet once a year.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

So many women
and noone is you.

In Sarajevo
two hundred thousand women
and noone is you.

In Europe
two hundred million women
and noone is you.

In the world
two thousand million women
and no one is you.

Izet Sarajlic (1930-2002)
Translated by me.

Why do you insist that people should place a pin in your ridiculous guestmap?
Because it helps to keep my ilusion alive.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004
In the morning, when I arrived to the graveyard and opened the front gate, I noticed footsteps of kids in the main path. It is not the first time that it happens. The footsteps led me to a grave where two bottles of whisky lay empty. The first thought that came to my head was: these kids do it because they don't imagine that one day they will be dead too. But then I thought that some day I will die too and I wouldn't mind that some kids would party on my grave.

Today I have spent the afternoon watching the smoke that rose from the cigarettes that I held burning between my fingers. Beauty needs quietness.

My life
My friends went back to Germany.
My toothache is completelly healed.
The weather is almost cold.

True poet
I have a friend who is a true poet. Sometimes, when I write him an email he replies with a poem about what he felt by receiving my email. Once, we had lunch together at a restaurant. Before ordering the food, he wrote a poem about the feeling of someone who is at a restaurant about to order food. While we were waiting for the food, he wrote a poem about someone who is at a restaurant waiting for food. He writes about what he feels and he writes about what he feels when he feels. I believe that he is a true poet.

Monday, April 19, 2004
I always have the best ideas when I am stoned, but I always forget them.

My german friends are Frank and his girlfriend Julia. After they arrived we were speaking for a while in the livingroom. I have known Frank from before but this was the first time I have ever met Julia. I can't help making judgements. Frank didn't change much. He is still lost. As far as Julia, when I first saw her I got the impression that she was a wise old man traped in the body a twenty-something years old girl. Then, they went to their room for a few minutes. I have waited for them on the couch. Julia arrived alone. Then she looked like if she was an abandoned small girl traped in the body of a twenty-something years old girl. Frank arrived and we laughed for a while. Julia couldn't understand most of the jokes because she didn't know most of the people we were talking about. At dinner, we exchanged silent gazes. She seemed a just borned baby or a dying old woman traped in the body of a twenty-somenthing years old girl. I didn't think anymore about her up till now. I have just notice that all twenty-something years old girls are a wise old man, an abandoned small girl, a just borned baby and a dying old woman. I have just noticed that we all are.

When are you comming over for dinner, Ze?
I don't know, mother.

Sunday, April 18, 2004
To lie
I have just realized that, for the first time in my life, I am lying to a doctor. The other day, the dentist told me not to smoke for a week because of the tooth healing. I told her that I would stop, but I am still smoking.
I wonder if I will ever lie to a doctor again. I wonder which will be the circunstances.

Saturday, April 17, 2004
Cleaning up
Some friends from Germany will arrive tomorrow. I met them in Lisbon about three years ago and I have visited them once in Frankfurt. They will stay for a couple of days. They will stay at my place. I don't have much room for all of us but I think we will manage. We haven't seen eachother for quite a while. I am sure that we will be strangers in the first minutes. Today, I will be cleaning up my place. I hope that they will feel confortable here.
The graveyard is all cleaned up. The sun is shining and spreading life all over the village and the surrounding fields. I hope that nobody dies while my friends are here.

(Check out the "guest map" at the bottom of this page. It would be nice if you placed your pin there. Thanks.)


It's not enough that I had to suffer
terrible labor pains, Mother said,
to bring you into this world, but
looking at you bloodshot eyes
I can tell you've been taking drugs,
& you'll probably die before I do,
& then I'll have to mourn you too.
I thought you would at least have
the decency to die after me, so
you can put flowers on my grave,
& light memorial candles for me.
But I see that I'll just have to
find someone else to do that for me.
And even if you do happen to survive me,
you probably destroyed so many brain cells
that you won't be able to find
the cemetery that I'm buried in,
because they're usually in out-of-the-way places,
since people don't want to be reminded of death.

Hal Sirowitz, Mother said

I know that you are there. My eyes are looking at you from a place that you can't see. Look around. Feel the chair that you are sitting on. Sometimes, when you stop noticing the chair, I hold you on the palm of my hand.
I would like to see through your eyes now. I would like to reach the innerplaces in you that are reached by these words. To you, I am the voice that says these words in your head as you read. I am here. I am saying these words inside you. And I am here. My hands are tired. My fingers are long. My nails are dirty.
Between you and me, there is this screen of light. Pass your finger across this screen. Feel the cold, smooth surface of this screen. Put your finger on the exact word where my finger is right now. Let's link: here.

Friday, April 16, 2004
"I" is a strange word. It only means "I" when pronounced by me. If you say "I", you will be meaning "you". I will never know exactly what you are saying when you say "I" because, for me, you will be saying "you" and "you" is so different from "I". On the other hand, you can't understand what I mean when I say "I" because you understand "you" and only you know what you understand when you look at me and think that "I" is "you".


"At the family gathering, the great-grandmothers were put out on the sun porch. But because of some problem with the children, at the same time as the brother-in-law had fallen into a drunken stupor, the great-grandmothers were forgotten by everyone for a very long time. When we opened the glass door, made our way through the rubber trees, and approached the sunlit old women, it was too late: their gnarled hands had grown into the wood of their cane handles, their lips had cleaved together into one membrane, their eyeballs had hardened and were immovably focused out on the chestnut grove where the children were flashing to and fro. Only old Agnes had a little life left in her, we could hear her breath sucking through her mouth, we could see her heart laboring beneath her silk dress, but even as we went to her she shuddered and was still."

Lydia Davis, Almost no memory

I have spent the whole day on a chair, pressuring the palm of my hand against my cheeck. I know that my eyes were open, but now I just feel that I had them shut all day. I woke up at 7 a.m. with a sharp toothache that didn't give me any rest and that, right now, doesn't let me sleep.
It seems that all the thoughts I had today were empty. I was held inside pain. When in physical pain, there is no other life, there is no other world. I have spent the whole day without feeling myself.
It is as if I woke up to be a different me. My feet touched the ground but I didn't feel it. People named all sorts of things but there are no names for pain. This world in which I am now is only mine and impossible to share. There are no names for every different shade of pain. We know them throughout our life. We ignore them for most of the time and, when it happens, when it is happening, in the moment that our world is pain, we always feel that nobody ever succeeded in describing pain, maybe because there are no words to describe it, maybe because we don't believe in the words that describe it.
I remember my father near the fireplace. He would pass my hand on his belly, I would feel the roundness of his tumors and he would tell me: "they are getting bigger". We all knew that nothing could save him. I remember putting on the lights on my parents' bedroom. My father was lying in bed. I knew that he was in a different world. My parent's bedroom had the horrible stench of profound and lasting pain.
Pain is like a blade of light that comes from far away to trespass you. It sounds like the shrill that it going to deafen you. It tastes like having the mouth full of blood.
I have a toothache. Tomorrow I will go to the dentist. I remember my father. I wonder how it was the pain that my father felt when it was all his body that hurt, when morphine stopped having any effect at all and when he knew that, besides pain, all that was left for him was to die.
Am I ready for such a pain?

Thursday, April 15, 2004
Unless we all believe in beauty...

Wednesday, April 14, 2004
BESCPC (1929-2004)
In the village, everybody knows the name of Dona Bia. I have spent the whole day opening the grave in which she now lies. She was the richest person in the village. Well, maybe she wasn't the richest since there are about five or six families that own a lot of land, but, to the poor, she grew to be the icon of rich people. I guess that must have happened because she did a lot of things that nobody did before her. Being an orphan at the age of twenty-two, being an only-daughter, she took possession of a huge amount of money at young age. She was the first woman to smoke publicly and to drive in our village. Even when shocked, people could always sense her feminity. I only saw her once, I was ten and sensed it instantly.
The parents of the boy that sat near me in school worked as butler and maid at Dona Bia's house. She lived in the center of the village. Her house is bigger than ten regular houses. It has a huge garden, swimming pool and tenis court. Once my friend invited me to her house. He told me that nobody was there except his parents. We were in the fourth grade. We only had classes in the morning and I remember the hours we spent in the library where they kept the cartoon books of Dona Bia's sons: two men with children of their own. Prior to being there, I had never allowed myself to dream something like that. To my eyes, the library was endless. Then my friend invited me to play tenis. To me, tenis was something that only existed on TV. So, I have returned all cartoon books to their shelves and I jumped towards the door. We went out and, when were headed to the tenis court, Dona Bia's car entered the open gate. She was smoking and wearing really big sun glasses. Her face was her lips and her sun glasses. Me and my friend were silent and montionless. We watched her getting our of the car, geting her purse and disapearing in the stairs that lead to the front door. Me and my friend walked towards the gate. That would not be the day that we would play tenis. I have never played tenis in my life.
A few months after the revolution in 1974, some people close to the Communist Party, which represented most of the people, went to her house because they wanted to evict her. She refused to leave. A crowd stood in front of her house for three days. She refused to leave. The crowd in front of her house was becoming smaller and smaller when the last man gave up.
She was married at the age of thirty. She was the mother of two boys and she was the grandmother of five children. She was a widow for the past decade. Her body arrived at graveyard carried by her sons and two of her grandsons. There were many people in her burial. Her family stood apart and never looked around at other people's faces.
With all respect, I hope that she may now get all the freedom and all the peace. I am sure that she was much more than her story. Still, I leave it here in the form of these simple words so that we may know that she once existed among us.

I can feel that Spring arrived mainly because of birds. Sparrows cross the skies like whips. Pigeons draw long circles. When they pass near me, I can hear the sound of their wings holding on to the air. Through the whole afternoon, Pigeons continue their perpetual circle. Soon, storks will arrive. I will see them floating, with branches in their bills, headed to the electric post where their nest waits. I can already imagine how it will be to feel that Summer arrived.

Dona Bia
Yesterday, at about 10 am, Dona Bia died. She will be buried today. They said I can expect them to arrive at about 7 pm. At this time of the year there is daylight up till about 8:20 pm.

Monday, April 12, 2004
My mother arrived early in the morning at my doorstep. I have heard her knock. I know that I will be able to recognize her knock throughout all my life. I remember walking across the corridor. I could hear her breathing across the door. My hand touched the door knob. When I opened the door, I stood in the silence and in the big watery brown eyes of my mother. Again, she dreamt that my father was hugging her.


Borrowed from www.collide.net. Check it out. It is a beautiful site from a beautiful band.

Protect your children
It is worth reading.

"The dangers of goth"

How far can ignorance go?

Sunday, April 11, 2004
2 women
Yesterday, after opening the graveyard gates, I went back to the village and I went to the vegetables' market. Besides a few men that were selling vegetables, there were only women and me. On Saturday mornings, men work on their vegetable garden, or they stay talking with eachother in the main square, or they go to the barber. I went to the market.
A few years ago, in the market, a woman whose husband was sleeping with other woman, threw the content of a plastic bag full of her own shit all over the woman that slept with her husband. Later, she said that she shat for a week in a plastic bag. Every now and then, there are women that fight in the vegetables' market. When it happens, nobody tries to break it up. People move aside and the women involved pull eachother's hair and scream and cry. I have seen it many times. Yesterday, it happened again. The fight was between two women of about fourty years old. It seems they were fighting because one of them said that the husband of the other is a crook. He is a carpenter. She said that he overcharges people. They called eachother "puta" ("whore"). After grabing eachother's hair, they were nervous and tired. The half scared, half childish expression on their faces was covered with sweat and uncontroled tears. One of them said: "és uma puta" ("you're a whore"). The other one answered: "tu é que és uma puta" ("you are the one who is a whore").
At this point, I left. I bought onions, patatoes, spinashes, borecoles and eggs. I went back home. If nobody dies, I don't have to stay in the graveyard till Tuesday. It is Easter holidays. I just have to go there in the begining of the morning and in the end of the afternoon to open and to lock the gates. I went back home and I thought about all the possibilities that began when I went out with my friend Mariana and all her friends on Friday night.
I didn't talk much with Mariana. I have spent most of the evening talking with Raquel and, later, with Tatiana. Mariana didn't mind because she spent most of the time speaking with other people too. I loved to be for the first time at that little bar where they usually go. I loved to meet both Raquel and Tatiana. They are a bit different, but they are both nice. Raquel gave me her phone number and said: "call me". Tatiana gave me her email address and said: "write me". I don't want to be too enthusiastic about it. I will call Raquel and I will write to Tatiana, but it will take some time till I believe that something is really possible. There are possibilities, but I am affraid that it might be impossible possibilities again.


Well you wonder why I always dress in black
Why you never see bright colors on my back
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone
Well there's a reason for the things that I have on
I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down
Livin' in the hopeless hungry side of town
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime
But is there because he's a victim of the times. (...)
Well we're doin' mighty fine I do suppose
In our streak of lightning cars and fancy clothes
But just so we're reminded of the ones who are held back
Up front there oughta be a man in black. (...)
Well there's things that never will be right I know
And things need changin' everywhere you go
But till we start to make a move to make a few things right
You'll never see me wear a suit of white
Oh I'd love to wear a rainbow every day and tell the world that everything's okay
But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back
Till things're brighter I'm the man in black

Johny Cash, Man in Black (House of Cash)

Saturday, April 10, 2004
Home again
I have arrived home. There is the possibility of a tea. There is the possibility of a joint. I have arrived home. There is the possibility of dreaming. There is the possibility of imagining. I have arrived home. Today is the first day of all possibilities.

(I believe that this has to do with the fact that this blog is getting more and more important to me. I have been all this time thinking about my last post. All I want to say is: I respect all kind of religions. I respect people that celebrate Easter. I respect people that celebrate Ramadan. I respect every form of religious belief. The french writer Margerite Duras once said in an interview: "I don't believe in god but I believe in the people that believe in god." I am a bit like that. Also, I believe in nature, in the widest sense of the word. Yes, it is true. This blog is getting more and more important to me.)

Friday, April 09, 2004
Jesus died
Today, it is a national religious holliday here. It seems that the majority of people in this country believes that Jesus died in this day a few years ago. I am not so sure about it. Still, it is nice to stay home, being lazy in the couch, smoking joints, watching some tv movie where Larry King plays himself and eating what is left of two-days-ago dinner.
I had to wake up at the same time of everyday though. I drove to the graveyard, I opened the gates, I drove back and I went back to bed. Some old widows go there on every holliday. Some of their daughters, sons, daughters-in-law and sons-in-law go there too. They came from Lisbon to spend the holliday and the week end here. These are the kind of people that go to the graveyard today. While I was laying in the couch, I could see them in my mind. If I wanted to, of course.
I just came back from closing the gates. I will take a shower now. In the afternoon, I got a phone call from my friend Mariana. She invited me to go out with her and some friends. It feels great to be remembered. I will drive to meet them at the city. About fifty kilometers away from here. Jesus died. I will take a shower now.

Are you really a grave digger?
Yes. I am really a grave digger.

Thursday, April 08, 2004
Still alive
Before, I started working in the graveyard, the job belonged for more than fifty years to one man called Joao Cruz. People used to call him senhor Cruz. Some people believed it to be a nick name since "cruz" means "cross" in portuguese. But it wasn't. Joao Cruz was his real name.
Before I took the job, I stayed working with him for a couple of weeks so that he could teach me how to do it. There wasn't that much to learn. Still, I apriciated a lot the time we spent talking when all the work was done. Senhor Cruz would tell me all kind of stories. Some of wich I believed to come right out of his imagination. With time, my opinion changed. Today, I believe that most his stories were true.
He used to tell me about hearing voices, cries that would come out of recent burried bodies. He used to tell me that he took out of their coffin, six people that had been declared dead and that were already burried. Senhor Cruz never got married. When he gave up the job, he was about eighty years old. He died in his house a few months after the two weeks we spent together working in the grave yard. I was the one that opened his grave.
In a few ocasions, when I went to dig out some graves to collect the bones that I would move to the marble shelves where all bones end up, I noticed that some of those bones were not in the same position that they were left.
Last July, in a very hot afternoon, an old women was being burried. People were saying that she died with an heart attack induced by diabetes. All her family and mourners were dressed in black and drops of sweat were falling from everybody's faces. Some women were holding umbrellas. The priest was getting ready to start with his speech when the undertaker opened the casket so that the family could look at her one last time. When he did so, the relatives started to cry. Then, the women opened her eyes like if she was waking up. She rose her chest and remained sitted in the coffin. Some people started to run. Women threw their umbrellas and run. One could only hear people sreaming. The old woman, sitting in her casket, couldn't understand what was going on and she smiled. Later, she told someone that she believed to be dreaming. She must be around ninety years old now. She is still alive.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004
Long black leather jacket
The days are longer now. It was about seven in the afternoon when I went to the grocery store to buy eggs. I was wearing my long black leather jacket, black pants, black shirt and sun glasses. There were some children playing in the street. When they saw me approaching, they all started to run away.

"And the devil in black dress watches over
My guardian angel walks away
Life is short and love is always over in the morning"

Sisters of Mercy, Temple of love (Some girls wonder by mistake)

My parents
After lunch, my mother walked all the way from her house to the graveyard. She came to wash my father's grave. I have told her many times not to worry. I may wash it. I spend all day in the graveyard anyway. She tells me that she needs to go there. If not to wash the grave, then just to see it, to talk to the photograph. She prefers the ride to be usefull in someway.
I understand her. That is why I don't get upset when she talks to me like if she was talking to an uncapable child. But I worry about her sometimes. Today, when she arrived at the graveyard, she was breathing heavily, as if her chest was full straws of and her ribs were made of old wood.
I gave her the bucket and she filled it with water. The sound of the water falling from the tap into to the bucket is different when it is my mother the one who is doing it. My father's grave is in the bottom of the graveyard. From the place where he lies, he can see the fields over the wall.
My mother spend some time leaned over the stone of my father's grave. After washing it, she stood there. This is just what I notice while trying not to notice anything. To see my parents in this situation is embarassing. It is too intimate.
When my mother was about to leave, I offered to take her home by car. She didn't accept it. I insisted. She didn't accept it. The birds were silent in the cypresses when she walked in the direction of the gate.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004
This time of the night
At least one year passed sinced I last felt this lonely. A year ago, I met you. I remember everything: your hands, your eyes after we first kissed, all the plans and all the vows.
At this time of the night, I would call you. We would talk for hours. I could imagine you in bed. You could imagine me. Your lips. My lips. I remember your voice.
I will stay here, my fingers chosing words that can't say the deepness of my loss and feeling each one of them like wells of black water him my chest, for I have noone to call at this time of the night.

(Check out the "Links to other blogs". As I couldn't post the links in the sidebar, I came up with this solution. I hope it suits everybody. From times to times, I plan to add more blogs.)

Monday, April 05, 2004
There is time. I am the one who lost empires.
I forgot the words that could save us. I know
there is time. The land has witnessed all the past.
Sometimes,I am the land.There is time,you say.
Cities were built and burned on my skin. I have
failed all my ages. I look at you.

I look at you. I feel frail roots burried in my heart
and I know that time is longer than our eternity.

Saturday, April 03, 2004
Sometimes I imagine that I am someone else that imagines to be someone else just like me.


swans die in the Spring too
and there it floated
dead on a Sunday
circling in current
and I walked to the rotunda
and overhead
gods in chariots
dogs, women
and death
ran down my throat
like a mouse,
and I heard the people coming
with their picnic bags
and laughter,
and I felt guilty
for the swan
as if death
were a thing of shame
and like a fool
I walked away
and left them
my beautiful swan.

Charles Bukowski, Run with the Hunted

MERCE (1921-2004)
People arrived at about six o'clock in the afternoon. Her casket entered by the front gate. It was carried by her grandsons and by two of her sons. She was an heavy woman. One could notice that it was hard for the sons to carry the casket. Some men offered to help. They refused. One of her sons said: "that is all I can do for her now".
Ana Tomásia, a neighbour of my mother, told me that Maria Ermilinda's parents were the owners of some land. She said that they were well respected and, fifty years ago, people would consider them a wealthy family. It seems that Maria Ermelinda fell in love with a boy that came from the north to work on the weath fields. When her parents knew, they closed her in her room. Her father and uncles chaced the boy out of the village. Soon after, her mariage was set with a boy from another family of small land owners. Maria Ermelinda was seventeen. She was married with him for about fourty years. They had two boys and two girls plus three children that died still infants.
When her husband died, Maria Ermelinda never went out of her house again. She lived for about twenty five years alone. The baker, her family and the women from the grossery store would take her everything she needed. People say that the women from the grossery store would take her a weekly suply of red wine botles. Nobody speaks about it openly. Maybe it is not true.
She died in her bed. She will now lie next to her husband. It is a beautiful white marble grave with a white marble angel. The cerimony didn't take long.
With all respect, I hope that she may now get all the freedom and all the peace. I am sure that she was much more than her story. Still, I leave it here in the form of these simple words so that we may know that she once existed among us.

Thursday, April 01, 2004
(One should never play with templates. That's a lesson that I have just learned. In an unfortunate move, I lost all comments made to previous posts. I am sorry.)

The church bells toll
In the end of the morning, when I was taking care of some flowers that I planted last week, I heard the church bells toll, anouncing the death of someone. Ding ding, dong; ding ding, dong. It was a woman. If it were at man, the beels would go dong dong, ding.
It came to my mind the people that are in the city hospital. Joana da Cortiçada, a woman in her fifties that had a stroke. My mother told me that she heard Joana´s daughter say that she was recovering well. Old Maria da Felicidade. It could be her. She lives alone in the last house of rua do palheiro street. She is one of the oldest in the village. Constantina, my cousin in third degree, her grandmother was first degree cousin of my grandmother. Constantina opened her wrists. I din't believe that it could be her. It was the third time that she opened her wrists. I never believed that she really wanted to kill herself. She knew her husband would arrive and she opened her wrists a few minutes before that. I can imagine her husband driving her to hospital. Just a few metters before the city hospital, they crashed against other car. I can imagine the paramedics surprise when they arrived at the car crash and found a woman that bumped her head and had her wrists open. She stayed in hospital because of the head bump. I never believed that she really wanted to kill herself. She just wants her husband to notice her. She is just sad.
I went back to the shelter house and called my mother. I knew that she already had time to go to the front door and ask about who died to all the women that were at their front doors also trying to know. After the church bells toll, every woman comes to the front door and the name of the person who died flies on their lips through all the streets of the village. My mother told me some name. She told me that I couldn't know her. She didn't left her house for the past twenty five years. I know her children, her grandchildren and her great-granddaughter. Her children are older than my mother. She spent twenty five years without going outside. She didn't go to the weddings of her grandchildren: two boys almost the age of my sisters and a girl one year younger than me. Twenty five years. Her great-grandaughter is the only child of Fernando Estorninho.
Tonight this women will lie inside a coffin in the Chapel of Sao Pedro. People will be sitting in chairs and stools around her rest. Tomorrow, before the end of the afternoon, she will arrive here. Before that, I will have work to do. I hope it doesn't rain.

Abandoned dog
Sometimes abandoned dogs arrive alone at the graveyard. I don't usually pet them. We look at eachother like strangers. Usually they stay at a distance. They look at me like if they were injured in the heart. I respect their pain.
Today, one of such dogs arrived. When I noticed him, he was approaching me. His steps were light. He held his tongue as if smiling. I could hear his tail waving. When I reached my hand to touch his head, he jumped back in a joyful way. He wanted to play.
Sitting in the chair of my shelter house, I read the spanish translation of the bosnian poet Izet Sarajlic. Here goes my attempt to translate a small poem:


The poems that can be read
by everybody except you,
may they still be called mine?

The spanish translation:


Los poemas que pueden ser leídos
por todos menos por ti,
pueden seguir llamandose míos?

To read the poetry of this man is a duty. It is a profession of faith.
Sometimes I stoped reading and I looked at the fields after the wall. I always ended up thinking about dinner at my mother's. She told me all the stories of all the women her age in the village. My mother needs to talk. It is like breathing. If she doesn't find anyone to talk, her eyes become darker. I enjoyed it too. I needed the sound of a human voice. I needed words being shaped in the air.
The dog stayed all afternoon sleeping in front of the shelter house. He wanted to come in, but I couldn't let him in because of lice. When I was going to leave, when I was locking the shelter house door, I looked around and I didn't find him. I looked around. I tried to do the sounds that people use to call dogs. But nothing. He went way. Behind him, on the marble surfaces of the graves, on my face remained only a thin, almost unoticeable, breeze.
2.23 a.m, I would to sleep now. I would like to go to bed and sleep. I am tired and yet my heart is awake like a lighten lightbulb. Yes, I still think about you.


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