Monday, May 31, 2004
To bury a child
Since I have been working at the graveyard, I have only buried one child. It was a baby girl that got shoked when she was being born. The umbilical chord got rolled around her neck. Doctors couldn't do anything to save her. It was unusual that she was buried, because most babies that die under those circunstances never get to the graveyard, but her parents insisted on it. I will never forget the face of the mother of that dead baby.
Today, a boy of seven years old was hit by a car when he was going to school. He arrived dead to the hospital. He will be buried tomorrow. The whole village is mourning him. I am mourning him.
Thursday, May 27, 2004|
"like a rock, like a planet,
like a fucking atom bomb,
I'll remain unperturbed by the joy and the madness
that I encounter everywhere I turn,
I've seen it all along,
in books and magazines,
like a twitch before dying,
like a pornographic scene,
there's a flower behind the window,
there's an ugly laughing man,
like a hummingbird in silence,
like the blood on my door,
it's the generator
oh yeah, oh yeah, like the blood on my door,
wash me clean and I will run until I reach the shore,
I've known it all along like the bone under my skin,
like actors in a photograph,
like paper in the wind,
there's a hammer by the window,
there's a knife on the floor,
like turbines in darkness,
like the blood on my door,
it's the generator"
Bad Religion, "Generator"
I know today that when I was 5 years old I was happy. My aunt that lives in London would come every Summer for a couple of weeks. She would bring us chocolates that we had never seen before. Me and my sisters would choose the time to eat them. It would the most important time of the day. We would eat them slowly.
They were the 4 persons that I most cared about in the world: my parents and my two sisters. My father died in the day that my childhood ended. Then, I am not sure about what happened. My mother abandoned life or maybe it was me that abandoned her. My sisters are far away. I have lost them all inside of me.
I had 3 meaningful relationships in my life. They are all completly over. Sometimes I feel that we wasted ourselves in them, but then I know that my current me wouldn't be the same if those days didn't happen. I don't want to believe that we have to waste ourselves in order to learn.
I miss my 2 sisters. I miss the days when they would call me by a name that nobody else ever called me. I miss when we smiled together and nothing, nothing was between us. I miss when we knew without words that we were true brother and sisters.
Now, you are the 1 person that I put all my hope in. I cling to the idea of you and, for a moment, my eyes are brighter. We are still knowing eachother. We hope that we may spend all our lives doing so. But we know more than we should know. I will never be 5 years old again. I will never be surrounded by the 4 persons that most loved me and that I most loved. I have failed 3 relationships that are like scars on my skin. My 2 sisters are far away. And you are the only 1.
We were born from zero. One day we will go back to zero. That is certain.
Monday, May 24, 2004
Rain returned to the graveyard. I feel it covering my face. I look at tumbstones covered with rain. I can't help to think that we are together on the way between sky and earth. I can´t help to think that maybe, rain never left the graveyard. Then I remember the laughter of children playing. Memory is always true. Truth is always bigger than now.
I am ok
It could be worse. In this exact moment there are one million people dying. And I stay here, not knowing what to do with life.
Pain gives place to emptyness. Tasteless emptyness. But it could be worse. In this exact moment there are one million people being raped. And I stay here, confused and vague.
It could be worse. In this exact time there are one million people feeling empty. It is time to let dead leaves feed the soil. It is time to feel roots growing from me. It is time to move on.
(Taken from a blue dog's journal).
Sunday, May 23, 2004
It is not that I care about soccer. I am curious about Euro 2004, just like any other portuguese person. We have been bombed with it everywhere: TV is obsessed by it, newspapers' main news are about it, plastic bags from supermarkets have "Euro 2004" printed on them. Kids are colecting stickers with pictures of the players. I used to do the same when I was a kid. Not that I cared about it.
This wednesday, the portuguese team FC Porto will play against Monaco in the Champions League Final. I have never supported Porto. Since I know anything about me that I support Benfica. I was about three years old when people started to ask me which team did I support. My parents and my sisters supported Sporting. I guess that is the reason why I chose to support their long-time rival, Benfica. But I never really cared.
I hope that Porto wins this wednesday, I hope that Euro 2004 ends up well and I hope that Portugal wins. But if they all loose, it will not be as if I cared.
Sometimes I try to explain impossible issues. I try, but I can't explain the shadows. I can't explain the clouds. I can't explain the night. I have been far from words during this last week. It wasn't painful. It was long and dull. It was grey. It was made of shadows, clouds and night. I was made of impossible issues that kept me from writing and from being alive. From here, now, I think about it as if was looking at it from the top of a hill. But, then, I prefer to look to the other side of the hill. There lies the future. There is a new week starting today. There is a new week starting now. I want to accept the meaning of words. I want to feel them as they touch my lips. I want to hold them between two fingers and know that my life means exactly the same as they do. I know that I am alive again.
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
It really seems like an excuse, but it's not. I just wrote a huge text. When I was going to publish it, my internet connection stoped responding. I tried to click the "back" button, but it didn't go back. It just showed the same report of error. I feel deeply that the time that I have spent writing it was irreplaceable. I feel that I wasted it. I can never write that same text, word per word, again. I don't feel like trying to write it again. Maybe it is just too late. Maybe I should just go to bed and hope that tomorrow will be a better day.
The text that I wrote was about me. I don't feel like trying to write it again.
Saturday, May 15, 2004
Sometimes, life teaches me things that I have learned before at some point of my life, but that I ended up forgeting. Only when life shows me those lessons again, I notice that I knew them once. When I think about how I forgot them, I don't have many answers. Maybe it was because, for a long while, I wasn't confronted with those issues, life changed, so I didn't have to think about them, I didn't have to use those lessons that I have learned the hard way. Then, when the same circunstances gather around me, I learn it again, again through the hard way, and that is when I remember that I knew it once. Then, I try to cling to those certainties. I try to hold them and never forget them again. But I always wonder if I am doomed to learn things the hard way and gradually forget them and learn them again, only to forget them again.
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
Whenever people referred her in a conversation, they would call her "the daughter of Chico Ranho". It would be easier to say "Gabriela". She was fourty-six years old. She was the same age as my older sister's husband. She always had leukemia. I remember her hands white and her nails blue. Before my sister, my sister's husband was her boyfriend for about two years. My sister was always divided between being jealous or feeling sorry for her. I remember the whitness of her face. I remember the cold touch of her skin. I remember passing by her on summer nights when I was on my way to the main square. She would be sitted in a small bench by her door. I would say "good night", she would say "good night" with the weakest voice. We all knew she was frail. There was one night, about five years ago, that she called me. I remember her eyes. As if we talked, we smiled. Her bedroom was dim. I can't forget my hands on her waist. Her skin was white and cold. After our breaths slowed down, the only words she said were "good-bye". For years, during summer, I took another way to the main square. Sometimes, I gave up on going because of that. I felt shy about her. I felt like a child. Today, in the morning, I called my sister's husband to tell him that she died. I don't feel confortable with him. I always showed him the respect that I show to older people. There weren't any right words to say it. I told him. Then, there was a moment when there was silence. I know that he was crying. On the other side of the line, I was crying too. On the phone, separated by two hundred kilometers, we were crying, in silence.
She died yesterday. I have spent the whole morning digging her grave. She arrived in a pinewood coffin, carried by four of her cousins.
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.
Monday, May 10, 2004
On the phone, my mother told me: "Never forget, son, there are three forms of nobility: blood, money and inteligence. But only the last one is worthwhile."
Sunday, May 09, 2004
One day you will die. Your children and everyone that ever met you will die. Every single person that ever thought about you will die. Every hand that once touched you will, one day, lie lifeless.
One day the roof that covers you will fall. The walls that surround you will fall. The ground where you stand will disapear.
One day you will die. I will die. And noone will remember that these words were once written.
Saturday, May 08, 2004
Newspapers make me sad. I usually try to avoid them. It is not that I want to avoid knowing what they report. I know the world can be cold, cruel and sad. The thing is that, when I read them, I can't help myself from imagine everything they report as if it really happened. "Really" is a very important word here. For example, if I read "eighty six people died today in a crash somewhere", I always tend to stay imagining how it really was for each of those people to whom everything ended at that moment of their lives. That thought leads me to imagine all the lives of each one of those eighty six individuals. Then I start to imagine how it must be for their relatives, at that moment of their lives, to loose their parents or their brothers and sisters. All those will have to live with that loss for the rest of their lives. I always imagine how their lives will be. Another example, if I read "president X declares something", I always imagine president X's real worries. How he sees himself being who he is and doing what he does. I always imagine where he was, how he was until that day in which he declares something whose real effect and extent he can't understand. The real effect of that declaration, whatever declaration might be, will never be confirmed, because there are no ways to trace every individual full life story that it touched and all the efects it provoked in future generations that had to live with individuals that were directly affected by president X´s declaration. It is completly diferent if you think that things really happened. "Really" is a very important word.
Friday, May 07, 2004
Here, at bars, cigarretes cost a bit less than two euros and fifty cents. One sandwish is about the same price.
Today, after work, I was at a bar, I had no cigarretes, I was hungry and I only had two euros and fifty cents.
I always postpone going to sleep. Accepting the end of the day is accepting another failure.
Thursday, May 06, 2004
My mother would ask me to go and check if my father's motorcycle was parked in front of Goba's. I should be about nine years old. It would be winter and night would come at around six o'clock. It would be already night and everything, the houses, the streets, would have the dark blue shade of the beginning of the night. I would see my father's motorcycle trown against the wall. When I was ten, I started to straighten it up myself. After going back home and telling my mother that he was there, I would stay playing on a blanket that lied on the kitchen floor with all my toys. Around nine o'clock my mother would ask me to go there and bring him for dinner. Again, the houses and the streets. I would cross the Goba's door and all the men, sitting around a wooden table, would turn their gazes to me. I am sure that I had eyes of childish embarrasement. My father was among those men, like a stranger. I would walk towards him. Like if he was talking to me, he would ask: "Your mother send you for me again". With low voice, I would say: "Dinner is ready". They would all laugh. Sometimes, my father would finnish his beer or his glass of red wine and would come with me. Sometimes, we would stay all night and ignore me. That was when he bought me cans of juice. Those were the first cans of juice that I ever saw. I would drink them enjoying every sip. I would listen to their talks. I would explore every possible corner of Goba's. Sometimes, when it was finally time to go home, my father was drunk. I would try to help him to go back on his motorcycle. After arriving home, it would be expected that he argued with my mother.
This is what I remembered yesterday before arriving for dinner at my mother's place.
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
"A cheap Saturday night took you down. You died stupidly and harshly and without the means to hold your own life dear.
Your run to safety was a brief reprieve. You brought me into hiding as your good-luck charm. I failed you as a talisman - so I stand now as your witness.
Your death defines my life. I want to find the love we never had and explicate it in your name.
I want to take your secrets public. I want to burn down the distance between us.
I want to give you breath."
James Ellroy, My dark places
It happened this last Monday. I was having lunch and, through the window of my shelter house, I could see her washing her husband's grave. I was looking at her just because she was the only thing in motion in the whole graveyard. I wasn't really interested. I was thinking about other things. Sometimes, she would turn her face to me. Her husband's grave is at the rear of the graveyard. I saw her looking in my direction, I held the fork still in front of my mouth, but I didn't think that she could see me. She is one of the widows that comes often. After a few months they all turned the same to me. If we talk, I always say the same things and they always answer the same sighs. I don't know much about her. I know which part of the village she lives. She must be about seventy years old. When she started walking towards the shelter house, I was peeling an apple. Her footsteps were long and steady. I have heard her voice asking: "may I come in?" When she entered, I greeted her in the way that I greet old widows like her. I speak to them the way that I used to speak to my grandmother and her old neighbours. I thought about mentioning the weather, but she just stood there in silence and, inside her eyes, I could see fire. She slowly rose her hands and let her hair loose. Then, both her hands stoped at the first buttons from her black wool jacket. Her eyes were always fixed on me as she took off all her black clothes that were pilled like dead pets in front her. Then, she started to take off her white cotton underwear. She could see my face. Then, she was all naked in front of me. Her arms were still, like silence, along her body. There was a moment of sadness. The motionless expression of her face slowly turned into tears. I didn't move as she put her clothes back on and left.
Monday, May 03, 2004
I like it when I feel empty. If I could, I would like to feel always empty. Silence is close to god.
(This is a work of fiction. All persons, places and events depicted herein are imaginary, and no resemblance to actual persons, places or events is intended.)
They used to meet at dawn. She was a small girl when they first met. He was sad and old when he first saw her eyes shining in the begining of winter. They used to sit by the fire-place. She would ask for stories. She would listen to the story of a small girl that lived alone in the woods. He would always tell the same story. It was an endless story. Sometimes he would add a wolves' hunter, a bad wolf or a princess, but he would never end the story because,at some point, he would always go back to the beginning.
Saturday, May 01, 2004
(At the bottom of these page there are a few devices that don't cease to amaze me. I am talking about both visitor's counters, the guestmap and the referrer's list. The visitor's counters never give the same information. I don't know which one of them is right. I don't know if any of them is right. The guestmap is nice: the pins, the small men and women. It seems like a plan to invade the world. Then, the list of referrers, like a statue of silence. The more I look at these devices the more I feel lonely.)
I have arrived earlier than I needed to the graveyard. I walked towards my shelter house. I have stayed there the whole morning. I remembered you. I remembered everything that we once planed. Life forgot our plans.
I told my secret. You didn't want it.
Today, time, like walls, invaded me.
I look at my hands, like windows, and
I know that, today, I can't exist.