José Araujo de Souza
How can I
that I love
i call them
one by one
It is an almost
José Araujo de Souza
How can I
that I love
i call them
one by one
It is an almost
I worked at a popular newspaper as a police reporter. An interesting crime has not happened in the city in a long time, involving a rich and beautiful young woman from society, deaths,
disappearances, corruption, lies, sex, ambition, money, violence, scandal.
Such a crime, even in Rome, Paris, New York, said the newspaper’s editor, we are in a bad phase.
But soon it will turn. The thing is cyclical, when one least expects one of those scandals that gives material for a year. Everything is rotten, at the point, just wait.
Before it burst, they sent me away.
There is only a small merchant killing a partner, a small bandit killing a small merchant, the police killing a small bandit. Small things, I told Oswaldo Peçanha, editor-in-chief and owner of the newspaper Mulher.
He also has meningitis, schistosomiasis, Chagas disease, said Peçanha.
But outside my area, I said.
Have you read Woman ?, Peçanha asked.
I admitted not. I like to read books more.
Peçanha took a box of cigars out of the drawer and offered me one. We light the
cigars. In a short time, the environment became unbreathable. The cigars were ordinary, it was summer, with the windows closed, and the air conditioner didn’t work well.
Women are not one of those colorful publications for bourgeois who are on a diet. It is made for the class C woman, who eats rice and beans and if her luck gets too bad. Take a look.
Peçanha threw a copy of the newspaper in front of me. Tabloid format, blue headlines, some photos out of focus. Photonovela, horoscope, interviews with television artists, cut-and-sewing.
Do you think you could do the section From Woman to Woman, Our sentimental office? The guy who did it said goodbye.
From Woman to Woman was signed by one Elisa Gabriela. Dear Elisa Gabriela, my husband arrives every night drunk and …
I think I can, I said.
Great. Starts today. What name do you want to use?
I thought a little.
Nathanael Lessa? said Peçanha, surprised and shocked, as if I had said an ugly name, or offended his mother.
What’s the matter? And a name like any other. And I’m paying two tributes.
Peçanha puffed on the cigar, irritated.
First, it is not a name like any other. Second, it’s not a Class C name. Here we only use Class C names, beautiful names. Third, the newspaper only pays homage to those I want and I don’t know any Nathanael Lessa and finally Peçanha’s irritation gradually increased, as if he was taking advantage of her – here, no one, not even me, uses a male pseudonym. My name is Maria de Lourdes!
I took another look at the newspaper, including the office hours. It only had a woman’s name.
Don’t you think that a male name gives more credibility to the answers? Father, husband, doctor, priest, boss – there is only one man telling them what to do. Nathanael Lessa takes it better than Elisa Gabriela.
That’s what I don’t want. Here they feel like they have their nose, they trust us, as if we were all like dres. I’ve been in this business for twenty-five years. Don’t come up with unproven theories. Woman is revolutionizing the Brazilian press, it is a different newspaper that does not give old news from yesterday’s television.
He was so angry that I didn’t ask what Woman was up to. Sooner or later he would tell me. I just wanted the job.
My cousin, Machado Figueiredo, who also has twenty-five years of experience at Banco do Brasil, says that he is always open to unproven theories. I knew that Woman owed money to the bank. And on top of Peçanha’s table was a letter of recommendation from my cousin.
Upon hearing my cousin’s name, Peçanha paled. He took a bite of his cigar to
control, then closed his mouth, looking like he was going to whistle, and his fat lips trembled as if he had a peppercorn on his tongue. Then he opened his mouth and tapped his nicotine-stained teeth with his thumbnail as he looked at me in a way that he must have considered meaningful.
I could add dr. to my name. Dr. Nathanael Lessa.
Rays! Okay, okay, snarled Peçanha between his teeth, you start today.
That’s how I became part of the Women’s team.
My table was next to Sandra Marina’s table, who signed the horoscope. Sandra was also known as Marlene Kátia, when doing interviews. He was a pale boy, with long, thin mustaches, also known as João Albergaria Duval. I had recently left the school of communication and was always regretting, why didn’t I study dentistry, why?
I asked him if anyone had readers’ letters on my table. He told me to speak to Jacqueline on the expedition. Jacqueline was a big black boy with very white teeth.
It’s bad for me to be the only one in here who doesn’t have a woman’s name, they’ll think I’m a fag. The letters? There is no letter. Do you think Class C women write letters? Elisa invented them all.
Dear Dr. Nathanael Lessa. I got a scholarship for my ten-year-old daughter at a high school in the south. All her classmates go to the hairdresser, at least once a week. We don’t have the money for this, my husband is a bus driver on the Jacaré-Caju line, but he said he will do extraordinary work to send Tânia Sandra, our little girl, to the hairdresser. Mr. don’t you think that children deserve all the sacrifices? Dedicated Mother. Vila Kennedy.
Answer: Wash your little girl’s head with coconut soap and put paper bags on it. It looks just like the hairdresser. Anyway, your daughter was not born to be a doll. In fact, neither is anyone’s daughter. Take the money from the extraordinary and buy something more useful. Food, for example.
Dear Dr. Nathanael Lessa. I’m short, chubby and shy. Whenever I go to the fair,
in the grocery store, they pass me by. I am deceived in weight, in change, the beans are
bug, moldy cornmeal, things like that. I used to suffer a lot but now I am resigned.
God is watching them and in the final judgment they will pay. Resigned Domestic. Penha.
Answer: God is not watching anyone. You have to defend yourself. I suggest you scream, put your mouth on the world, make a fuss. Don’t you have any relatives in the police?
Bandit will do, too. Turn you around, chubby.
Dear Dr. Nathanael Lessa. I’m twenty-five years old, I’m a typist and a virgin. I met this guy who said he loves me very much. He works at the Ministry of Transport and said that he wants to marry me, but that he wants to try it first. What do you think? Mad Virgin, Lucas Parade.
Answer: Look here, Mad Virgin, ask the guy what he’s going to do if he doesn’t like the
experience. If he says he kicks you, give it to him, because he is a sincere man. You are not
gooseberry or jiló stew to be tasted, but there are few sincere men, it is worth trying. Faith and foot on the board.
I went out to have lunch.
On the way back Peçanha sent for me. I had my story in hand.
There’s something here that I don’t like, he said.
What? I asked.
Ah! My God! the idea that people make of Class C, exclaimed Peçanha, shaking his head thoughtfully, while looking at the ceiling and making a whistling mouth. Those who like to be treated with profanity and kicks are the women of Class A. Remember that English lord who said that his success with women was because he treated ladies like whores and whores like ladies.
It’s ok. So how should I treat our readers?
Don’t give me dialectics. I don’t want you to treat them like whores. Forget the English lord. Put joy, hope, tranquility and security in the letters, that’s what I want.
Dr. Nathanael Lessa. My husband died and left me a very small pension, but what worries me is being alone, at the age of fifty-five. Poor, ugly, old and living far away, I’m afraid of what awaits me. Lonely Santa Cruz.
Answer: Engrave this in your heart, Solitaire of Santa Cruz: neither money, nor beauty, nor
youth, not even a good address gives happiness. How many rich and beautiful young people kill themselves or
lose in the horrors of addiction? Happiness is within us, in our hearts. If we go
just and good, we will find happiness. Be good, be fair, love your neighbor as yourself, smile at the INPS treasurer when you receive your pension.
The next day I asked Peçanha and asked me if I could also write the photo soap. We produce our own photonovelas, Italian fumeti is not translated.
Choose a name.
I chose Clarice Simone, there were two other tributes, but I didn’t say that to Peçanha.
The soap opera photographer came to talk to me.
My name is Mônica Tutsi, he said, but you can call me Agnaldo. Are you ready with the porridge?
Papa was the soap opera. I explained to him that I had just received the task from Peçanha and that
he needed at least two days to write.
Days? ha, ha, he laughed, making the sound of a big, husky and domesticated dog, barking at the owner.
What’s the fun? I asked.
Norma Virgínia wrote the novel in fifteen minutes. He had a formula.
I also have a formula. Take a walk and appear in fifteen minutes that you will have your novel ready.
That idiot photographer thought of me what? Just because I had been a police reporter, it didn’t mean I was a beast. If Norma Virginia, or whatever his name was, wrote a novel in fifteen minutes, I would write it too. After all, I read all the tragic Greeks, the ibsens, the o’neals, the beckets, the Czechs, the sbakespeares, the four hundred best television plays. It was just a matter of sucking one idea here, another there, and there you go.
A rich boy is stolen by the gypsies and presumed dead. The boy grows up thinking he is a real gypsy. One day he meets a very rich girl and the two fall in love. She lives in a rich mansion and has many cars. The gypsy boy lives in a cart. The two families do not want them to get married. Conflicts arise. Millionaires send police to arrest Roma.
One of the gypsies is killed by the police A rich cousin of the girl is murdered by the gypsies. But the love of the two young people in love is greater than all these vicissitudes. They decide to flee, to break up with their families. In the escape they find a pious and wise monk who sacraments the union of the two in an old, picturesque and romantic convent in the middle of a flowering forest. The two young men retire to the nuptial chamber. They are beautiful, slender, blond with blue eyes. Take off your clothes. Oh, says the girl, what gold chain with a diamond-studded medal is that one on your chest? She has an equal medal! They are brothers! You are my missing brother! screams the girl. The two embrace.
(Attention, Mônica Tutsi: how about an ambiguous ending? Making a non-fraternal ecstasy appear on their faces, eh? I can also change the ending and make it more sofoclean: the two only discover that they are brothers after the consummate fact; desperate, the girl jumps out of the convent window and smashes down there.)
I liked your story, said Mônica Tutsi.
A dash of Romeo and Juliet, a little spoon of Edipo Rei, I said modestly.
But I can’t shoot, boy. I have to do everything in two hours. Where will I get the rich mansion? The cars? The picturesque convent? The flowering forest?
This is your problem.
Where am I going to get it, Mônica Tutsi continued, as if she hadn’t heard me, the two slender blond young men with blue eyes?
Our artists are all means for the mulatto. Where will I get the cart? Do another one, boy. I’ll be back in fifteen minutes.
And what is sofocleano?
Roberto and Betty are engaged and are getting married. Roberto, who is a hard worker, saved money to buy an apartment and furnish it, with color television, stereo, refrigerator, washing machine, waxing machine, blender, mixer, dishwasher, toaster, electric iron and hair dryer. Betty also works. Both are chaste. The wedding is scheduled. A friend of Roberto’s, Tiago, asks him, are you going to marry a virgin? You need to be initiated into the mysteries of sex. Tiago then takes Roberto to the Superputa Betatron house. (Attention, Mônica Tutsi, the name is a bit of science fiction). When Roberto gets there he finds out that the Superputa is Betty, his fiancée. Oh! heavens! terrible surprise! Someone will say, maybe a porter, to grow is to suffer!
End of the novel.
Always write, Pedro, I know this is not your name, but it doesn’t matter, always write, count on me. Nathanael Lessa.
Fuck, said Monica Tutsi, I went to do your drama and they told me that it sucks from a movie
Scoundrels, niggas, babysitters, just because I was a police reporter are calling me a plagiarist.
Calm down, Virginia.
Virginia? My name is Clarice Simone, I said. What more stupid thing is to think that only Italians’ brides are whores? Well, look, I already knew a really serious bride, she was even a charity nun, and they went to see her, she was also a whore.
Okay, kid, I’m going to photograph the story. Can Betatron be a mulatto? What is Betatron?
You have to be red-haired, freckled. Betatron is a device for the production of electrons, with great energy potential and high speed, driven by the action of a magnetic field that varies quickly, I said.
Damn! That is the name of a whore, said Mônica Tutsi, with admiration, leaving.
Understanding Nathanael Lessa. I have been wearing my long dresses gloriously. And my mouth has been red like the blood of a tiger and the breaking of dawn. I think in
put on a satin dress and go to the Municipal Theater. What do you think? Now I’m going to tell you a
great and wonderful confidence, but I want you to make the biggest secret of my confession. You swear?
Ah, I don’t know if I say it or not. All my life I have suffered the biggest disappointments for
believe in others. I am basically a person who has not lost his innocence. The perfidy, the good-natured, the shameless, the stupid, I am very shocked. Oh, how I would like to live in isolation in a utopian world made of love and kindness. My sensitive Nathanael, let me think. Give me time. In the next letter I will tell you more, maybe everything. Pedro Redgrave.
Answer: Pedro. I await your letter, with your secrets, which I promise to keep in the arcana
inviolable from my hidden conscience. Keep it up, facing jealousy and
insidious malice of the poor in spirit. Adorn your body thirsty for sensuality, exercising the challenges of your brave mind.
Are these letters true too?
Pedro Redgrave’s are.
Strange, very strange, said Peçanha tapping his nails with his teeth, what do you think?
I don’t think anything, I said.
He seemed concerned about something. He asked questions about the photonovela, without
interest in the answers.
How about the blind letter? I asked.
Peçanha took the blind man’s letter and my answer and read it out loud: Dear Nathanael. I cannot read what you write. My beloved grandmother reads to me. But don’t think that I’m illiterate. I am blind. My dear grandmother is writing the letter for me, but the words are mine. I want to send a word of comfort to your readers, so that they, who suffer so much from small misfortunes, look in my mirror. I am blind but I am happy, I am at peace, with God and with my fellow men. Cheers for all. Long live Brazil and its people.
Ceguinha Feliz, Unicorn Road, Nova Iguaçu. I forgot to say that I am also paralyzed. Peçanha lit a cigar. Touching, but Unicorn Road sounds fake. I think you better put Estrada do Catavento, or something. Now let’s look at your answer. Ceguinha Feliz, congratulations for your moral strength, for your unwavering faith in happiness, good, people and Brazil. The souls of those who despair in adversity should be nourished by their uplifting example, a beam of light on stormy nights.
Peçanha returned the papers to me. You have a future in literature. This is a big school here.
Learn, learn, be dedicated, don’t give up, sweat your shirt.
I sat on the machine:
Tésio, bank employee, resident of Boca do Mato, in Lins de Vasconcelos, married on second nuptials to Frederica, has a son, Hipólito, from his first marriage. Frederica falls in love with Hipólito.
Tesio discovers the sinful love between the two. Frederica hangs herself on the mango tree in the backyard. Hipólito asks his father for forgiveness, runs away from home and wanders desperately through the streets of the cruel city until he is run over and killed on Avenida Brasil.
What’s the seasoning here? asked Monica Tutsi.
Euripides, sin and death. I’ll tell you something: I know the human soul and I don’t need any old Greek to inspire me. For a man of my intelligence and sensitivity, just look around. Look at my eyes. Have you ever seen a more alert, more awake person?
Mônica Tutsi looked at my eyes and said I think you are crazy.
I quote the classics just to show my knowledge. As I was a police reporter, if I don’t do that, the bastards don’t respect me. I read thousands of books. How many books do you think Peçanha has read?
None. Can Frederica be black?
Good idea. But Tésio and Hipólito have to be white.
Nathanael. I love, a forbidden love, a forbidden love, a secret love, a hidden love. I love another man And he loves me too. But we cannot walk on the street hand in hand, like the others exchange kisses in the gardens and in the cinemas, like the others, lie embraced on the beach sands, like the others, dance in the nightclubs, like the others. We could not get married, like the others, and together face old age, illness and death, like the others. I have no strength to resist and fight. You better die. Bye. This is my last letter. Tell me to say a mass. Pedro Redgrave.
Answer: What is it, Pedro? Will you give up now, that you found your love? Oscar Wilde suffered the devil, was ridiculed, ridiculed, humiliated, prosecuted, condemned, but he put up with the bar.
If you can’t get married, love yourself. Make a will for each other. Defend yourself. Use the Law and the System to your advantage. Be, like the others, selfish, disguised, relentless, intolerant and hypocritical. Explore. Spill. It is self-defense. But please, don’t make any crazy gesture.
I sent the letter and the reply to Peçanha. The letters were only published with his visa.
Monica Tutsi appeared with a girl.
This is Monica, said Monica Tutsi.
What a coincidence, I said.
What a coincidence what? Asked the girl Monica.
You have the same name, I said.
Is he called Monica? Asked Monica pointing to the photographer.
Monica Tutsi. Are you also Tutsi?
No. Mônica Amélia.
Monica Amelia was biting a nail and looking at Monica Tutsi.
You told me your name was Agnaldo, she said.
Outside, I’m Agnaldo. In here I’m Monica Tutsi.
My name is Clarice Simone, I said.
Monica Amelia watched us closely, not understanding anything. He saw two circumspect people, too tired to play. disinterested in the name itself.
When I get married, my son or daughter will be called Hei Psiu, I said.
Is it a Chinese name? Asked Monica.
Or Fiu Fiu, I whistled.
You are becoming a nihilist, said Monica Tutsi, leaving with the other Monica. –
Nathanael. Do you know what two people are if they like it? It was the two of us, me and Maria. Do you know what two perfectly attuned people are? It was us, Maria and me. My favorite dish is rice, beans, cabbage from Minas Gerais, farofa and fried sausage. Imagine what was Maria’s? Rice, beans, cabbage from Minas Gerais, farofa and fried sausage. My favorite gemstone is Ruby. Maria’s, you see, was also Rubi. Lucky number 7, color Blue, day Monday, film, from the West, book O Pequeno Príncipe, drink Chope, mattress Anatom, club Vasco da Gama, music Samba, hobby Love, everything just like me and she was wonderful. What we used to do in bed, boy, is not to brag, but if it was at the circus and we charged entry we would get rich. In bed, no couple has ever been taken by such resplendent madness was able to perform as skillfully, imaginatively, originally, pertinaciously, splendidly and satisfyingly as ours. And we repeated it several times a day. But that was not all that connected us. If you didn’t have a leg I would still love you, she would tell me. If you were hunchbacked I wouldn’t stop loving you I would reply. If you were deaf and dumb I would still love you, she said. If you were cross-eyed I wouldn’t stop loving you I
answered. If you were paunchy and ugly, I would still love you, she said. If you were all branded with smallpox I would not stop loving you, I replied. If you were old and powerless I would still love you, she said. And we were exchanging those vows when a desire to be real hit me, blow it with a stab, and I asked her, and if I didn’t have teeth, would you love me? and she replied, if you had no teeth i would still love you.
So I removed my dentures and put them on the bed in a serious, religious and metaphysical gesture.
We were both looking at the dentures on top of the sheet, until Maria got up, put on a dress, and said, I’m going to buy cigarettes. Until today it has not returned. Nathanael, explain to me what happened. Does love suddenly end? Are some measly little pieces of ivory worth that much? Odontos Silva.
When I was about to answer, Jacqueline appeared and said that Peçanha was calling me.
In the Peçanha room was a man with glasses and a goatee.
This here is dr. Pontecorvo, which is – what are you really? Asked Peçanha.
Motivational researcher, said Pontecorvo. As I was saying, first we do a
survey of the characteristics of the universe we are researching. For example: who
Are you a Woman reader? Let’s suppose she is a woman and from Class C. In our previous research we have already raised everything about the Class C woman, where she buys her food, how many panties she has, what time she makes love, what time she watches TV, watching television, in short a complete profile.
How many panties does she have? asked Peçanha.
Não farei nenhum gesto tresloucado, prometo que…
A carta terminava aí. Tinha sido interrompida no meio. Estranho. Não entendi. Havia algo de errado.
Fui para a minha mesa, sentei, e comecei a escrever a resposta ao Odontos Silva:
Quem não tem dentes também não tem dor de dentes. E como disse o herói da conhecida peça Papo Furado, nunca houve um filósofo que pudesse agüentar com paciência uma dor de dentes. Além do mais, os dentes são também instrumentos de vingança, como diz o Deuteronômio: olho por olho, dente por dente, mão por mão, pé por pé. Dentes são desprezados pelos ditadores. Lembra-se do que Hitler disse para Mussolini sobre um novo encontro com Franco?: Prefiro arrancar quatro dentes. Você teme estar na situação do herói daquela peça Tudo Legal se no Fim Ninguém se Ferra -sem dentes, sem gosto, sem tudo. Conselho: ponha os dentes novamente e morda. Se a dentada não for boa, dê murros e pontapés.
Eu estava no meio da carta do Odontos Silva quando entendi tudo. Peçanha era Pedro Redgrave.
Em vez de me dar de volta a carta em que Pedro me pedia para mandar rezar uma missa e
que eu havia lhe entregado junto com a minha resposta falando sobre Oscar Wilde, Peçanha me entregara uma nova carta, inacabada, certamente por engano, e que deveria chegar às minhas mãos pelo correio.
Peguei a carta de Pedro Redgrave e fui até a sala de Peçanha.
Posso entrar?, perguntei.
O que é? Entre, disse Peçanha.
Entreguei a ele a carta de Pedro Redgrave. Peçanha leu a carta e percebendo o engano que havia cometido empalideceu, como era do seu feitio. Nervoso, mexeu nos papéis sobre a sua mesa.
Era tudo uma brincadeira, disse depois, tentando acender um charuto. Você está aborrecido?
A sério ou a brincadeira, para mim tanto faz, eu disse.
Minha vida dá um romance… disse Peçanha. Isto fica entre nós dois, está certo?
Eu não sabia bem o que ele queria que ficasse entre nós dois, a vida dele dar um romance ou ele ser o Pedro Redgrave. Mas respondi:
Claro, só entre nós dois.
Obrigado, disse Peçanha. E soltou um suspiro que cortaria o coração de qualquer outro que não fosse um ex-repórter de polícia.
“Feliz Ano Novo” de Rubem Fonseca, Editora
Artenova. s.a., 1975.
We liked the house because, in addition to being spacious and old (the old houses of today succumb to the most advantageous sales of their materials), it kept the memories of our great grandparents, the paternal grandfather, our parents and all our childhood.
We got used to Irene and I to persist in it alone, which was crazy, because in this house eight people could live without getting in the way. We did the cleaning in the morning, getting up at seven o’clock, and, around eleven o’clock, I left Irene the last rooms to go over and went to the kitchen. Lunch was at noon, always on time; since there was nothing left to do but a few dirty dishes. We liked to have lunch thinking about the deep and silent house and how we managed to keep it clean. Sometimes we even thought that she was the one who wouldn’t let us get married. Irene dismissed two suitors for no major reason, I lost Maria Esther just before our engagement. We entered the forties with the unexpressed idea that our simple and silent marriage of brothers was a necessary closure of the genealogy settled by our great-grandparents in our home. There we would die someday, lazy and crude cousins would stay with the house and send it down to enrich it with the land and the bricks; or rather, we would bring it down in all fairness ourselves, before it was too late.
Irene was a young girl born not to bother anyone. Aside from her morning activity, she spent the rest of the day knitting on the sofa in her room. I don’t know why I knitted so much, I think that women knit when they consider that this task is a pretext for doing nothing. Irene was not like that, she knitted things that were always necessary, winter coats, socks for me, shawls and vests for her. Sometimes he would knit a vest and then undo it in an instant because something he didn’t like; it was funny to see in the basket that pile of curled wool resisting losing its former shape. On Saturdays I went to the center to buy wool; Irene trusted my good taste, took pleasure in the colors and never had to return the locks. I took advantage of these trips to take a walk around the bookstores and ask in vain if there was news of French literature. Since 1939 nothing valuable arrived in Argentina. But it’s the house I’m interested in talking about, the house and Irene, because I have no importance. I wonder what Irene would have done without the knitting. One can reread a book, but when a coat is finished it cannot be repeated without scandal. One day I found white, green, lilac shawls, covered with naphthalene, in a drawer in the dresser, stacked as in a haberdashery; I didn’t have the courage to ask him what he planned to do with them. We didn’t need to earn a living, every month money came from the fields, which was always increasing. But it was just the knitting that distracted Irene, she showed wonderful dexterity and I spent hours looking at her hands like silver spikes, needles coming and going, and one or two baskets on the floor where the balls were constantly agitating. It was very beautiful.
How can I not remember the distribution of the house! The dining room, a living room with gobelins, the library and three large rooms were in the most distant part, the one that overlooks Rodríguez Pena street. Only a corridor with its massive mahogany door isolated this part of the front wing where there was a bathroom, the kitchen, our rooms and the central hall, with which the rooms and the corridor communicated. The house was entered through a tiled corridor in Mallorca, and the door to the gate was at the entrance to the hall. So that people entered the corridor, opened the gate and went into the hall; there were the doors to our rooms on the sides, and in the front was the corridor that led to the furthest part; advancing down the corridor, the mahogany door was crossed and a little further on, the other side of the house began, you could also turn left just before the door and follow the narrow corridor that led to the kitchen and the bathroom. When the door was open, people realized that the house was very big; because, on the contrary, it gave the impression of being an apartment for those who are now building, you can hardly move; Irene and I always lived in that part of the house, we almost never reached beyond the mahogany door, except for cleaning, as it is incredible how dust is added to the furniture. Buenos Aires can be a clean city; but this is thanks to its inhabitants and not the other thing. There is too much dust in the air, there is barely a breeze and the dust is already felt on the marbles of the consoles and between the rhombuses of the macrame towels; it takes work to take it out well with the duster, it flies and is suspended in the air for a moment and then deposits itself again on the furniture and the pianos.
I will always remember it very clearly because it was very simple and without useless circumstances. Irene was knitting in her room, around eight in the evening, and suddenly I had the idea of putting the kettle on the fire on the fire. I walked down the hall until I was in front of the ajar mahogany door, and was making the turn that led to the kitchen when I heard something in the dining room or library. The sound came in faint and deaf, like a chair falling on the carpet or a muffled whisper of conversation. I also heard it, at the same time or a second later, down the hall that led from those rooms to the door. I threw myself against the wall before it was too late, slammed it shut, supporting my body; luckily the key was placed on our side and I also passed the big lock for more security.
I went into the kitchen, heated the kettle and, when I came back with the chimarrão tray, I said to Irene:
– I had to close the hall door. They took the back part.
She dropped her knitting and looked at me with her serious, tired eyes.
– Are you sure?
“So,” he said, picking up the needles, “we will have to live on this side.”
I prepared the chimarrão very carefully, but it took her a moment to return to her task. I remember that she was knitting a gray vest; I liked this vest.
The first few days seemed painful, because we had both left many things we liked in the taken part. My French literature books, for example, were all in the library. Irene thought of a bottle of Hesperidin from many years ago. Often (but this happened only in the first few days) we would close some dresser drawers and look at each other sadly.
– Is not here.
And it was one more thing that we had lost on the other side of the house.
However, we also had some advantages. The cleaning was so simplified that, although we got up much later, at half past nine, for example, before eleven o’clock we were already folded. Irene got used to going with me to the kitchen to help me prepare lunch. After thinking hard, we decided this: while I was preparing lunch, Irene would cook the dishes to eat cold at night. We were happy because it was always uncomfortable to have to leave the rooms in the evening to cook. Now it was enough to set the table in Irene’s room and the platters of cold food.
Irene was happy because there was more time to knit. I was a little lost because of the books, but, in order not to upset my sister, I decided to review my dad’s stamp collection, and it served me to kill time. We had a lot of fun, each with their own things, almost always together in Irene’s room, which was the most comfortable. Sometimes Irene said:
– Look at this point I just made up. Does it look like a drawing of a clover?
A moment later I was the one who put a small square of paper in front of his eyes to look at the merit of some Eupen and Malmédy stamp. We were doing very well, and little by little we started not to think. One can live without thinking.
(When Irene dreamed aloud, I lost sleep. I could never get used to that voice of a statue or a parrot, a voice that comes from dreams and not from the throat. Irene said that my dreams consisted of big shakes that sometimes made the blanket fall. Our rooms had the lounge in the middle, but at night there was something in the house, we heard our breathing, coughing, we sensed the gestures that brought the hand to the light switch, the mutual and frequent insomnia.
Other than that, everything was quiet in the house. During the day it was the domestic rumors, the metallic brushing of the knitting needles, a creak as the sheets of the philatelic album passed. The mahogany door, I think I already said, was massive. In the kitchen and bathroom, which were leaning against the taken part, we spoke in a louder voice or Irene sang lullabies. In a kitchen, there is a lot of noise from dishes and glass so that other sounds erupt in it. Very rarely was silence allowed, but when we returned to the bedrooms and the lounge, the house was quiet and dim, we even stepped slowly so as not to disturb us. I think that was why, at night, when Irene started to dream out loud, I was soon sleepless.)
It is almost to repeat the same thing except the consequences. At night I feel thirsty, and before going to bed I told Irene that I was going to the kitchen to get a glass of water. From the bedroom door (she was knitting) I heard noise in the kitchen or maybe in the bathroom, because the curve of the corridor drowned out the sound. Irene’s attention caught my sudden way of stopping, and came to my side without saying anything. We listened to the noises, clearly feeling that they were on this side of the mahogany door, in the kitchen and bathroom, or in the corridor where the curve began, almost beside us.
We don’t even look at each other. I squeezed Irene’s arm and made her run with me until the door cancels, without looking back. The noises were heard louder and louder, however, on our backs. I slammed the gate closed and we stayed in the corridor. Now nothing was heard.
“They took this part,” said Irene. The knitting hung from his hands and the threads reached the gate and were lost under the door. When he saw that the skeins had been on the other side, he loosened his knitting without looking at it.
– Did you have time to pick up something? – I asked him uselessly.
– No, nothing.
We had the clothes on. I remembered the fifteen thousand pesos in the bedroom closet. It was too late now.
As I still had the watch, I saw that it was eleven at night. I linked Irene’s waist with my arm (I think she was crying) and we went out into the street. Before I left I felt sorry, I closed the entrance door and threw the key down the sidewalk. Were it not for some poor devil to have the idea of stealing and entering the house, at this hour and with the house taken.
Son of a diplomat father, Julio Cortázar was born by chance in Brussels, in 1914. At the age of four he went to Argentina. With the separation of his parents, the writer was raised by his mother, an aunt and a grandmother. With the title of normal professor of Letters, he started his studies at the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters, which he had to leave soon after, due to financial problems. In order to live, he gave classes and several schools in the interior of that country. As he did not agree with the current dictatorship in Argentina, he moved to Paris in 1951. Author of short stories considered to be the most perfect in the genre, we can quote among his most recognized works “Bestiary” (1951), “Las armas secretas” ( 1959),), “Rayuela”, (1963), “Todos los fuegos el fuego” (1966), “Ultimo round” (1969), “Octaedro” (1974), “Pameos y Meopas” (1971), “We want both Glenda (1980), “Salvo el crepilight” – posthumous (1984) and “Papers unexpected” – posthumous (2010). The writer died in Paris of leukemia in 1984.
The above text was originally published in “Bestiario” and extracted from the book “Contos Latino-Americanos Eternos”, Bom Texto Editora, Rio de Janeiro – 2005, p. 09, organization and translation by Alicia Ramal.
My name is Boffer Bings. I was born to honest parents, in a very humble lifestyle. My father was a manufacturer of dog oil, and my mother had, at the foot of the village church, a small office, where she eliminated unwanted babies. In my childhood, I learned about industry processes. Not only did I help my father by looking for dogs for his cauldron, but my mother also frequently entrusted me with the mission of getting rid of the spoils of her work in the office. In order to perform this task, I sometimes needed all my natural intelligence, since all the agents of the neighborhood law were opposed to my mother’s business. Since the agents had not been elected by the opposition, the issue never had political injunctions: they simply did it for the sake of doing it.
Naturally, my father’s job – making dog oil – was less unpopular, although the owners of missing dogs sometimes looked at him with suspicion, which, to some extent, was reflected in me. As partners, on the sly, my father had the doctors of the city, who almost never issued a prescription without it appearing on what they proudly called “Ol. can. ”, the most valuable remedy ever discovered. But most people are not willing to make personal sacrifices for the afflicted, and it was evident that many of the fattest dogs in the city were forbidden to play with me. This hurt my youthful sensibility and, once, they turned to me to play pirate.
Looking back on those days, I cannot, at times, avoid repentance, since, indirectly leading my dear parents to death, I was the author of the misfortunes that profoundly affected my future.
One night, as I passed my father’s factory, when he came from my mother’s office, carrying an exposed, I saw a guard who seemed to be watching my movements closely. Although I was quite young, I had already learned that the guards only came to the most reprehensible facts, so that I dodged it, slipping into the oil factory through a side door, which happened to be open. I locked the door at once and was left with my dead man. My father had already retired. The only light of that place came from the oven, which burned intensely under one of the cauldrons, spreading a deep light and casting red reflections on the walls. In the cauldron, the oil was boiling indolently, occasionally pushing a piece of dog to the surface. I waited for the guard to leave. I kept the little child’s naked body in my lap and tenderly stroked his silky short hair. Ah, how beautiful it was! Even at that young age, I loved children very much, and when I looked at that little angel, I almost wished in my heart that the little red wound on his chest, the work of my dear mother, was not deadly.
What I intended, as usual, was to throw the child into the river, which nature had wisely bequeathed to us for that purpose, but that night, afraid of the policeman, I dared not leave the oil factory. “After all,” I said to myself, “I don’t think it would matter if I spill it in the cauldron. My father will never distinguish his bones from the bones of a dog. And the few deaths that could result from the administration of another type of oil, in place of the incomparable ‘Ol. can. ’, will not be noticed in a population that grows so quickly”. In short, I took my first step towards crime, which brought me unspeakable suffering, and I poured the child into the cauldron.
The next day, to my surprise, my father, rubbing his hands in satisfaction, informed me and my mother that he had obtained quality oil never seen before, and that this was the opinion of the doctors to whom he had taken samples. He added that he had no idea how he achieved such a result, as he had treated the dogs as he had always done, in all aspects, and they were of a common breed. I thought it was my duty to offer them an explanation, and I would certainly have contained the momentum of my tongue if I could have predicted the consequences. My parents, lamenting their previous ignorance about the advantages of combining their duties, took steps to repair the error. My mother moved her office to a wing of the factory building, and my work duties have ceased. They no longer needed me to get rid of the little superfluous and there was no need to attract dogs to condemnation, because my father completely renounced them, even though they still held the honorable name in olive oil. So, suddenly attracted to idleness, one might expect me to become a vicious and dissolute person, but that is not what happened. My sweetheart’s holy influence always fell on me, protecting me from the temptations that beset youth, and, moreover, my father was a deacon of a church. Woe is me! Through my fault, these esteemed people would evolve to such a cruel end!
When experiencing a double advantage with her businesses, my mother gave herself to the mister with an assiduity never seen before. Not only did he get rid of the unwanted babies delivered to him, but he flocked to the streets and alleys in search of older children and even adults he managed to attract to the factory. My father, too, in love with the best quality of the oil produced, supplied his cauldrons with diligence and zeal. The conversion of their neighbors into dog oil has become, in short, the passion of their lives. An absorbing greed invaded their souls and took the place of the hope that they had to reach paradise, which, in their turn, also inspired them.
And they threw themselves so vividly into the company that a public meeting was held, in which resolutions were adopted that severely censored them. He was summoned by the president: any incursions against the population would be met with hostility. My poor parents left the assembly with a broken heart, desperate and, I believe, not completely healthy. I considered it prudent, in any case, not to enter the oil factory with them that night and went to sleep outside, in a stable.
About midnight, some mysterious impulse ordered me to get up and peek out of the oven room window, where I knew my father was already asleep. The fire was blazing, as if waiting for an abundant harvest the next day. One of the huge cauldrons simmered slowly, endowed with a mysterious aspect of self-restraint, as if waiting for the moment to overflow its full energy. But my father was not in bed. He had got up and was wearing his night clothes. He made a knot in a vigorous rope. From the looks he directed at my mother’s bedroom door, I fully understood the purpose he had in mind. Mute and immobile, full of terror, I was unable to do anything in terms of prevention or warning. Suddenly, my mother’s bedroom door opened quietly and they faced each other, both apparently surprised. The lady was also wearing a nightgown, and carried her work tool in her right hand: a long, narrow-bladed dagger.
She was also unable to deny herself the profit that the citizens’ hostile attitude and my absence allowed her. For a moment, they looked at each other in flaming eyes and then launched themselves with indescribable fury at each other. Like demons, they fought for the whole room. My father cursed. My mother was screaming. She was trying to pierce the dagger. He forced himself to strangle her with big hands. I don’t know how long I had the misfortune to observe this unpleasant moment of domestic unhappiness, but, after all, after an effort more vigorous than the ordinary, the opponents suddenly parted.
My father’s chest and my mother’s gun showed signs of contact. For a moment, they looked at each other in the most hostile way. Then my poor and wounded father, feeling the hand of death over him, jumped forward and, making little of the resistance that my mother offered, took her in his arms, leading her to the boiling cauldron. And, gathering his last strength, he jumped with her! In a moment, both had disappeared and added their oil to that of the citizens’ committee that had summoned them, the day before, to the public meeting.
Convinced that these dire events obstructed all paths to an honorable career in that city, I abandoned it in favor of the famous village of Otumwee, where I wrote these memories with a heart full of remorse for an act so reckless and involving a truly catastrophic commercial disaster. .
Translation: José Jaeger
I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
and what I assume you must assume,
for every atom that belongs to me belongs to you too.
I take pleasure and invite my soul,
I lie down and enjoy watching
a spear of grass in the summer.
My tongue, every atom of my blood,
formed from this soil, from this air,
born here of parents here born of parents similar in this and their parents too,
I, now thirty-seven years old, start in full health, hoping not to stop until death.
Potential beliefs and schools,
away a little bit, which is enough for what they are,
although not forgotten,
I shelter good and evil,
I allow myself to speak in any circumstances,
confrontation with the original force.
Play with me on the grass, loosen the lump in my throat,
neither words nor music nor rhymes I want, neither custom nor lesson, not even the best,
I just want the quiet, the murmur of your valve voice.
I believe in you my soul, the other that I am must not
stoop to you, and you don’t even have to stoop to the other.
I think of how we stretched once
lying on a transparent summer morning,
how you forced your head on my hips
and gently turned on me
and you ripped my shirt off my chest bone
and stuck your tongue in my naked heart
and you went like that until I felt my beard
and you went like this until my feet felt.
Sweetly grew and peace spread around me
And knowledge beyond all land arguments,
and I know that the hand of God is the promise of mine,
and I know that the spirit of God is my brother
and that all men already born too
are my brothers,
and my sister and lover women,
and that a reinforcement of creation is love,
unlimited are the dry leaves or falling in the fields,
and brownish ants in the little holes
slime plates on the cracked fence, piles of stones,
wild flowers, moss and hawthorn.
Did anyone think it was lucky to be born?
I hurry to inform him or her
how lucky it is to die, and I know that.
I spend death with those who are dying
and the birth with the newly washed babies,
and I don’t feel caught between the hat and the shoes,
and handling objects in different ways,
nor two equal and each better,
the good land and good the stars,
everything that goes for them is good.
I am neither a land nor a land function,
I am the colleague and companion of people,
all of them as immortal and inexhaustible as myself
(don’t know how immortal, but I know).
Each species for itself and for itself,
for me male and female,
for me those who were boys and love women,
me the man who has his pride
and you know how it hurts to be disregarded,
me the girlfriend and the old virgin,
mothers and mothers of mothers,
the lips that already made me laugh,
eyes that have already brought tears,
me children and child-rearers.
Find out! They are not guilty, for me,
neither bad nor marginalized,
I see through wool or cotton clothes whether yes or no,
and I stay around, stubborn, acquisitive, indefatigable,
and I can’t be sent away.
Twenty-eight young men bathing on the beach,
twenty-eight boys and all so friendly;
twenty-eight years of a woman’s life
and all so lonely.
And owner of the beautiful house on the way up the ravine,
she hides nice and well dressed
behind the window flags.
Which boy does she like best?
Ah the most homemade of all for her is the most beautiful.
Where are you going, my lady?
For I see you, you dive into those waters,
despite stopping like a stick in your room.
Dancing and laughing on the beach line comes the bather
twenty-ninth, the others did not see it
but she saw and loved them.
The young men’s beards shone
drops of water,
falling out of their long hair,
small streams of water ran down his body.
An invisible hand also passed over their bodies,
trembling down from the foreheads and hips.
The boys swim on their backs, clear bellies in the sun,
without asking who is reaching out to them,
they don’t know who fills their chest
and gives up with wavy and wobbly eyebrows,
nor does it occur to them that they are saving anyone
with the water they splash.
These are really the thoughts of all men
At any time and place, they are not my originals,
if they are not yours as mine
don’t want to say anything, or almost nothing,
if it’s not the question and the question solution,
Does not mean anything,
if they don’t get as close as they seem distant,
are worth nothing.
This is the grass that grows wherever there is land
and there is water,
this is the common air that bathes the globe.
With strong music I come,
with my horns and drums,
I don’t play marches only for established winners,
I play marches also for beaten people
Haven’t you heard it was good to win the day?
I say that losing is also good,
battles are lost
in the same spirit with which they are won.
I beat and beat the dead,
breath in my mouths the highest
and I can be happier for them.
Live to those who have failed!
And those whose warships have sunk in the sea!
And those who personally sank in the sea!
And to all the generals who lost in the maneuvers
and they were all heroes!
And the countless unknown heroes
equivalent to the greatest heroes known!
Who goes around – restless, rough, mystical, naked?
How do I extract strength from the meat I eat?
What is a man, anyway? What am I? What are you?
Everything I point out of mine you can take as yours,
time is not wasted listening to me.
I don’t cry what the world cries too much,
that the months are empty and the mud floor
Moaning and cowering full of dust for the disabled,
conformism looks good for fourth graders;
I put my hat on as I want,
in or out.
Why should I pray?
Why should I show respect and perform ceremonies?
Having inquired into the strata,
analyzed up to a hair,
consulted doctors and calculated accordingly,
I don’t find any sweeter substance
than the one connected with my own bones.
In every person I see myself,
neither more nor less a grain of barley,
and the good or bad I say about myself I say about them.
I know I’m solid and healthy,
for me converging things flow perpetually
of the universe,
they are all written for me and I have to know
what writing means.
I know I have no death,
I know that this orbit of mine cannot be crossed out
by a carpentry compass,
I know I won’t get through like a child’s wart
taken at night with a burnt pin.
I know that I am superb,
do not disturb my spirit to show your worth
or to be understood,
I see that the elementary laws
they never make excuses.
(I recognize that, after all,
I don’t proceed with pride
beyond the height at which I build my house.)
I exist as I am, that is enough;
if no one else in the world takes notice,
I feel happy,
and if each and everyone becomes aware,
I feel happy.
There is a world that takes notice
and that is by far the biggest for me –
the world of myself;
if I myself arrive today, or ten thousand from now
or ten million years ago,
I can reach it now in a good mood
or with equal disposition I can wait.
The place for my feet is plowed
and set in granite;
I laugh at what you call dissolution,
I know the breadth of time well.
I am the poet of the Body and I am the poet of the Soul,
the delights of heaven are in me
and the horrors of hell are in me,
the first one I graft and enlarge around me,
the second I translate into a new language.
I am the poet of the woman as well as the man,
and I say that there is so much greatness in being a woman
as in being a man,
and I say that there is nothing greater than the mother of men.
I sing the song of expansion and pride,
we’ve had enough avoidance and criticism,
I demonstrate that size is just evolution.
Have you overtaken the others? Are you the President?
What trifle: will do more than arrive
and still go ahead.
I am the one who goes with the tender and growing night,
I invoke the land and the sea half taken by night.
Tighten up more, bare-chested night!
Tighten up more, magnetic nursing night!
Night of the south winds – night of the few
Night still to bow – hallucinated naked summer night.
Smile, O voluptuous land of cold breath!
Land of dormant and liquid trees!
Land of the Sunset Away – Land of the Hills
covered in mist!
Glassy land dripping from the full moon just blue paint!
Land of brightness and gloomy encounter
in the floods of the river!
Land of clear gray clouds
brighter and clearer
For my taste!
Land of great bids found – rich land
Smile, because your lover is coming.
Prodigal, love you have given me – so I give you love!
Oh unspeakable passionate love.
Endless unfolding of the words of the times!
For me a very modern word – the word Massa.
A word of faith that never changes,
here or from now on is always the same,
I understand Time in absolute terms.
She is the only one without spot, it involves and completes everything,
the amazing mystical wonder
alone completes everything.
I accept Reality and I dare not question it,
impregnation of materialism from beginning to end.
Long live positive science! Live the exact experience!
Take the stone plant together with cedar
and branches of lilac,
here is the lexicographer, here the chemist,
here what did a grammar of old parchments,
here sailors who took your ship
across dangerous and ignored seas,
here the geologist, here who handles the scalpel,
and here a mathematician.
Gentlemen, initial honors are always for you!
Your deeds are useful, and although
they don’t concern me,
I just walk over to them without leaving the area
that concerns me.
Except those who recall properties
they told me my words,
and more those who remember the unexpressed life,
freedom and overflow,
and take little account of neutrals and castrations,
and favor men and women
and make the gong of revolt resound, and make point
with fugitives and those who plot and conspire.
Be in a way – what is it?
(We spin and spin, all of us, and we’re
If nothing had evolved more,
the oyster in its warm shell should suffice.
I’m not a callous shell,
I have conductive snapshots all over me,
whether walking or standing still,
learn each object and take it without harm
I just get excited, feel, feel with my fingers,
and I’m happy, playing with someone else’s
it is almost as much as I can resist.
All truths are waiting in all things,
nor do they rush their own birth
nor are they opposed to it,
do not lack the surgeon’s obstetric forceps,
and the insignificant for me is as big as everything
(which is less or more than a contact).
Sermons and logics never convince,
the weight of the night shuts much deeper
in my soul.
(Only what is proven to any man or woman,
is that it is;
only what nobody denies, it is.)
A minute and a drop of me solves my brain,
I believe that clods of clay
can become lovers and lamps,
and a compendium of textbooks is meat
that feeds a man or woman,
and at a glance there is a feeling for each other
and should branch out beyond the boundaries of that lesson
until it passes everyone
and until an e, everyone can delight us, and us to them.
Now I tell what I learned in Texas
in my youth
(I won’t count the Alamo take,
no one escaped to tell about the taking of Alamo,
those one hundred and fifty are still speechless at Alamo):
this is the story of the cold-blooded murder
of four hundred and twenty young men.
In retreat they took the formation of an empty square, with the luggage as parapets,
nine hundred lives of the enemy that now besieged them,
nine times what they had in number,
was the price they charged upfront,
their colonel was wounded and the ammunition was gone,
negotiated honorable capitulation,
received sealed and written paper,
deposited their weapons and marched
prisoners of war.
They were the glory of the race of rangers,
without riding rivals, rifle, song, meal, gallantry, huge, turbulent, generous,
proud and lovable, bearded, sun-roasted skins, dressed in the free manner of hunters,
none of them was over thirty years old.
On the second Sunday morning
were taken in groups and massacred,
it was a beautiful summer morning,
the work started around five-thirty and by eight it was over.
None of them followed the order to kneel,
some tried to run crazy and to no avail,
some got hard on their feet,
a few fell over at once,
with shots in the forehead or in the heart,
living and dead stretched together,
the mutilated and undone digging the ground,
the newcomers saw us there,
some half dead tried to get out of tracks,
these were dispatched to bayonets or crushed
a young man not more than seventeen
grabbed his executioner until two others came to loosen him,
and the three were all torn and covered with blood
of the boy.
At eleven o’clock the burning of the bodies began.
This is the story of the murder of the four hundred and twenty
It’s time for me to explain myself – let’s stand up.
what is known I leave,
I call all men and women
forward with me by the Unknown.
The clock indicates the hour – but what does eternity indicate?
So we have exhausted trillions of summers and winters,
there are trillions ahead, and trillions ahead of them.
Cradles brought us wealth and variety,
more cradles will bring us wealth and variety.
I don’t say that one is bigger and one is smaller,
what fills your time and place well
is like any other.
The jealous human species will have shown itself
or murderer for you, my brother, my sister?
I’m sorry, no killers
or jealous of me,
everyone has been cordial to me,
I do not account for regrets.
(What would I do with lamentations?)
I am a vertex of things done, an enclosure
things to do.
My feet hit a top of the stairs,
age bundles on each step,
and bigger bundles between the steps,
everything from the bottom up properly, and I go up
and go up still.
Aurora after dawn behind me
down far away I see the great initial Nada,
I know I was there,
I waited without being seen and always,
and in the lethargic mist I slept,
and I used my time,
and no harm has been done to the fetid carbon.
For a long time I’ve been curled up – long longer.
A lot had been my preparations,
confident and friendly the arms that helped me.
Cycles made my cradle navigate, paddling and paddling like cheerful boatmen,
to make room for me stars have deviated from their sockets,
influences were sent to spy on what would stay with me.
Before I left my mother’s womb,
generations guided me,
my embryo was never numb,
nothing could cover it.
For that the nebula was sustained in orbit,
the long slow strata huddled together
to nest it, huge plants gave it sustenance,
monstrous saurians carried it in the mouth
and put it down carefully.
All forces were readily used
to complete me and to delight me,
now at this point i get up
with my robust soul.
I have said that the soul is not more than the body,
and I have said that the body is no more than the soul,
and that nothing, not even God, for anyone is greater
than the person himself,
and who walks two hundred yards without will
has been doing his own funeral dressed in his shroud,
and I eat you penniless in my pocket
I can buy the best in the world,
and take a look or show a pod
on its branch confuses everyone’s learning
the times, and that there is no profession or job
that the young man following is not a hero,
and that there is nothing so soft
that doesn’t serve as a hub for the wheels of the universe,
and I say to any man or woman:
The spotted hawk falls on me and accuses me,
you feel bad about my conversation and my walking around idly.
I’m not even a bit accommodated either,
and I’m also hard to understand,
I sound my barbaric dialect on the roofs of the world.
the last step of the day is delayed because of me,
pulls the image of me after it stops and is faithful
like everyone in the disfigured shadows,
it takes me into the steam and the darkness.
I leave like air, shake my white hair
to the sun that is leaving,
I spill my flesh in swirls
and I leave it floating on lacy tips.
I plant myself on the ground to grow with the grass
that I love, if you want me again
seek me under the soles of your shoes.
You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
but despite everything for you I will be good health
purifying and giving fiber to your blood.
Failing to find myself at the first moment,
losing me in one place, go look for me in another;
at some point I will be stopped
waiting for you.
(translation by Geir Campos) &&& Whitman, Walt. Grass Leaves. Selection and translation by Geir Campos. Illustrations by Darcy Penteado. Ed. Civilização Brasileira. Rio de Janeiro, 1964.
(Álvaro de Campos)
I never knew who had been beaten.
All my acquaintances have been champions in everything.
And I, so many times low, so many times pig, so many times vile,
I so often irresponsibly parasitized,
I, who so often have not had the patience to shower,
I, who have so often been ridiculous, absurd,
That I have publicly wrapped my feet on the label mats,
That I have been grotesque, petty, submissive and arrogant,
That I have suffered trousseau and silence,
That when I am not silent, I have been even more ridiculous;
I, who have been comical to hotel maids,
I, who have felt the blink of an eye of the freight boys,
I, who have been financially embarrassed, borrowed without paying,
I, who, when the punch time came, I have crouched down
Out of the possibility of the punch;
I, who have suffered the anguish of ridiculous little things,
I find that I have no match for everything in this world.
Everyone I know who talks to me
Never had a ridiculous act, never suffered a buzz,
He was never but a prince – all of them princes – in his life …
I wish I heard the human voice from someone
To confess not a sin, but an infamy;
Let it count, not violence, but cowardice!
No, they are all the Ideal, if I hear them and tell me.
Who is there in this wide world that confesses to me that it was once vile?
O princes, my brothers,
Damn it, I’m sick of demigods!
Where is there people in the world?
So is it just me who is vile and wrong on this earth?
Could women not have loved them,
They may have been betrayed – but never ridiculous!
And I, who have been ridiculous without being betrayed,
How can I talk to my superiors without hesitation?
I, who have been vile, literally vile,
Vil in the mean and infamous sense of villainy.
Maiana Salén Correia Pereira
When my beloved is gone,
The man stepped on something soft and soft and then felt the sting in his foot. He jumped forward, and when he turned around with a curse, he saw the jararacuçu that was gathering over itself; prepared another attack.
The man took a quick look at his foot, from which two droplets of blood thickened with difficulty, and then drew his machete from his waist. The viper saw the threat, and merged its head further into the very center of its spiral; but the machete fell on her, displacing her vertebrae.
The man bent down to look at the bite, wiped away the droplets of blood, and for a while stared. A sharp pain was born from the two violet dots, and it started to spread all over the foot. Hurriedly, he tied his ankle with the handkerchief he was strapped to his waist, and followed the path to his ranch.
The pain in his foot increased, and suddenly, the man felt two or three glowing stabs that, like lightning, had radiated from the wound, up to the middle of his calf. He moved his leg with difficulty; a metallic thirst in his throat, followed by a burning thirst, brought out another bad word.
He finally reached the ranch, and hugged the mill wheel. The two violet dots disappeared now in the monstrous swelling of the entire foot. She seemed weakened, and on the point of giving in, she was so tense. The man wanted to call his wife, but his voice broke into a hoarse growl from a dry throat. Thirst devoured him.
His wife ran with a full glass, which the man took three drinks. But there was no taste at all.
The woman ran again, returning with the bottle. The man drank three glasses one after another, but he felt nothing in his throat.
-Well, this is ugly … – he murmured then, looking at her livid foot and already with a gangrenous shine. Upon the intense bandage of the handkerchief, the meat overflowed like a dreadful black pudding.
The glowing pains came in continuous flashes, and now reached the groin. In addition, the atrocious dryness of the throat that the effort seemed to heat up more, increased. When he wanted to get fat, a sudden vomit kept him half a minute with his forehead resting on the wooden wheel.
But the man did not want to die, and going down to the coast, he climbed in his canoe. He sat at the stern and began to row to the center of Paraná. There, the current of the river, which in the vicinity of Iguaçu flows for six miles, would take you before five hours to Tacurú-Pucú.
The man, with tired energy, can effectively reach the middle of the river; however, there his numb hands dropped the paddle into the canoe, and because of a new vomit – blood this time – he looked at the sun that passed over the mountain.
The entire leg, up to half of the thigh, was already a misshapen and very hard piece that broke the clothes. The man cut the bandage and opened his pants with a knife: the bottom part overflowed swollen, with great livid and terribly painful stains. The man thought he could never reach Tacurú-Pucú alone, and decided to ask his friend Alves for help, even though they had been intrigued for a long time.
The current of the river was precipitating now towards the Brazilian coast, and the man can easily dock. He dragged himself up the path, but at twenty meters, exhausted, he lay on his back.
-Alves! – he shouted as hard as he could; and paid attention in vain.
-Compadre Alves! Don’t deny me this favor! He cried again, lifting his head from the ground.
In the silence of the jungle, not a sound was heard. The man still had the strength to reach his canoe, and the current, taking over it again, drifted it.
Paraná runs there at the bottom of an immense depression, whose walls, with a height of over one hundred meters, narrowly narrow the river. From the banks surrounded by black basalt blocks the forest rises, also black. Ahead, at the back, always the eternal dismal wall, in whose bottom the tapered river precipitates in incessant eruptions of muddy water. The landscape is aggressive, however, its dark and calm beauty takes on a unique majesty.
The sun had already fallen, when the man, lying at the bottom of the canoe, had a violent chill. Suddenly, with astonishment, he lifted his head heavily: he felt better. Only his leg ached, his thirst was extinguished, and his chest, already free, opened in slow inspiration.
The poison started to go away, there was no doubt. He was almost well, and although he did not have the strength to move his hand, he was counting on the coming of the dew to restore himself completely. He calculated that before three hours he would be in Tacurú-Pucú.
Well-being progressed and, with it, a lethargy full of memories. I no longer felt anything in my leg or belly. Would his friend Gaona still live in Tacurú-Pucú? Did he also see his ex-boss, mister Dougald, and the foreman?
Would it arrive suddenly? The sky, in the west, was now opening in a glow of blood, and the river had also turned red. From the Paraguayan coast, already in darkness, the mountain dropped its twilight freshness over the river, in penetrating effluvia of orange blossoms and wild honey. A couple of macaws crossed the sky very high and in silence until Paraguay.
Down below, on the golden river, the canoe drifted fast, turning from time to time on itself, before the eruption of a whirlwind. The man in it felt better and better, and thought of the right time he had spent without seeing his former boss Dougald. Three years? Perhaps, not so much. Two years and nine months? Perhaps. Eight and a half months? That certainly is.
Suddenly, he felt that he was cold to the chest. What would it be? And the breath …
Mister Dougald’s logger, Lorenzo Cubilla, had met in Puerto. Hope on Good Friday … Friday? Yes, or Thursday …
The man slowly extended his fingers.
-A Thursday …
And stopped breathing.
Carlos Alberto Corrêa Dias Júnior
who shred the pages
lying on your neck
blind unusual torturers
note: letter e
The street passed over your little feet and you became strange to
a new attempt
beloved woman’s eyes will return
for now, blind eyes
blacks, dead await you.
your shredded papers
shine in the sun
is another promise that is fulfilled
for a sin that is invented.