Seis cuentos. Seis historias. Varias vidas que siguen un camino en el mismo territorio. Un territorio de muchas realidades, bellezas y horrores que se entrecruzan. Purgatorio Tropical intenta captar este nuevo escenario que se vive en Panamá post reversión del Canal, con todas las ambiguedades e incertidumbres que puede traer un nuevo siglo y un nuevo maquillaje para una nación tan joven. Y es en este escenario, en este Purgatorio tropical (título que bien define el sentir de algunos) en el que Raúl Altamar Arias dibuja la vida de varios personajes, muchos de ellos tan cercanos a los que de una manera u otra han convivido en los escenarios descritos. Para mí, que resido a kilómetros de distancia de Panamá por muchos años, fue un viaje al pasado que me trajo a la memoria los lugares y personas con los que conviví. Algunos personajes me hicieron imaginarme exactamente a la persona que sirvió de inspiración. El lenguaje coloquial usado en los diálogos enfantizó aún más ese sentimiento que, debo confesar, me transportó al Panamá que tengo en mi memoria. Cada una de las historias podrían encajarse bien en la vida de cualquier familia panameña (o centroamericana, o gringa, o española, o de donde sea). “Destinos”, que es el primer cuento, narra la vida de una no tan superficial Ana Melissa con sus amigas totalmente superficiales. Todas piensan que la vida es estar tranquila en su casa, con hijos y empleadas, casada con un buen tipo y atendiéndolo bien…”Para qué complicarse la vida?” se atreve a decir una de ellas. Juanri, marido de Ana Melissa, es el típico macho panameño que quiere tener un trofeo en la casa, también “sin complicaciones”, y hace de todo para que ella haga su papel de esposa y se sienta feliz. Pero Ana Melissa quería ver más allá de la ventana de su penthouse de 300 metros cuadrados, como tantas mujeres que se encierran en la jaula de oro que sus “atentos” maridos les regalan apenas se casan. El segundo cuento, “Pavo Real”, es la historia de un “pavo”, que se ve atrapado entre lo nuevo y lo viejo, entre el hoy y el ayer y lo que implica hacer cambios para el progreso. Es la historia de la transición de los buses de Panamá, de los famosos diablos rojos y los nuevos Metro Bus. Colombianos, maleantería, juegavivismo, barrios de la periferia y choferes que se divierten con su diario vivir. Otro que me llevó de vuelta al pasado y, sinceramente, no querer volver a estar allá. En “Zonificado”, un grupo de zonians cuenta sus historias con acento gringo-criollo panameño. Si los panameños tuvieron sus dolores de cabeza con los gringos en Panamá, éstos también tivieron sus “crisis” de identidad y sentimientos de no pertenencia. Ambos lados con las mismas esperanzas, las mismas tristezas… “Riesgos Vividos” es sobre la realidad vivida por aquellos que se ven envueltos en situaciones complicadas sin querer. Narcotráfico y mafia colombo-rusa, fiestas rave y DJs famosos le dan el tono moderno y al mismo tiempo decadente de una realidad cada vez más común en las ciudades modernas. Triste historia. La política, la publicidad y los “closets” a los que muchos se ven forzados a encerrarse en la xenofóbica Panamá son el tema central de “Reflejos Familiares”. Drama familiar también conocido por la mayoría de los seres humanos en este lado del trópico (y más allá de él, también) y ambientado entre producciones, campañas presidenciales y la hipocresía que ronda por estos entornos, este cuento fue, a mi parecer, el más completo y mejor desarrollado de los seis. Al leerlo, da la sensación de déjà vu es inevitable. De un matrimonio “pudiente” que después de un extraconjugal polvo oriental, no “pudo” más, Moncho se graduaba del América, una escuela pública, para el orgullo de su madre. Tal vez ahí se vea una metáfora de lo que muchos pasaron al ver sus matrimonios desbaratados por causa del oriente: de lo privado a lo público en un dos por tres. “Nuevos Comienzos” es el último de los cuentos (en el que, supongo, la palabra “comienzos” tiene mucho que ver) que termina el purgatorio. Y el que sirve de enlace para los otros cinco. Moncho, un chico joven, con la vida por delante, sufre un cambio radical que lo obligará a comenzar todo de nuevo. Y en ese comienzo termina la historia que podría seguir en looping eterno. Para los que están acostumbrados a leer obras clásicas y contemporáneas, como yo, comenzar a leer un libro como Purgatorio Tropical conlleva una cierta desconfianza, por el simple hecho de los altos estándares a los que uno se acostumbra. Al tomar el libro, la sensación táctil es de las mejores, pues su tamaño es más “pocket” que los pocket books. Paso las páginas y leo “Mójate los labios y sueña” de Soda Stereo. Me gusta. Pero luego me encuentro con una cantidad de errores ortográficos (“mí” sin tilde, etc) que me bajan el trip. Me pongo a pensar quién corrige estos textos…y si es que los corrigen. Julia me dice: “dale un chance…seguro que tb te llevará de paseo por algunos lugares de Panamá y sus personajes…lo q pasa es q tú eres muy pro.” Ante eso, pues no me queda otra. El reto es ese. Terminar el libro. Y así lo hice en dos días. Fue un viaje placentero. Reí, recordé cosas y situaciones que ya ni sabía estaban en mi cerebro. Algo que me dejó con esperanza fue que me deleité ante el panorama literario panameño, casi desconocido para mí. Descubrí que las letras no paran, no pueden parar y nunca lo harán. Tanta gente queriendo contar una historia. No todos consiguen contarla bien, pero el hecho de existir en el camino ya es algo digno de ser leído.
I want to be free — free to know people and their backgrounds — free to move to different parts of the world so I may learn that there are other morals and standards besides my own. I want, I think, to be omniscient… I think I would like to call myself “The girl who wanted to be God.” Yet if I were not in this body, where would I be — perhaps I amdestined to be classified and qualified. But, oh, I cry out against it. I am I — I am powerful — but to what extent? I am I.
Sometimes I try to put myself in another’s place, and I am frightened when I find I am almost succeeding. How awful to be anyone but I. I have a terrible egotism. I love my flesh, my face, my limbs with overwhelming devotion. I know that I am “too tall” and have a fat nose, and yet I pose and prink before the mirror, seeing more and more how lovely I am… I have erected in my mind an image of myself — idealistic and beautiful. Is not that image, free from blemish, the true self — the true perfection? Am I wrong when this image insinuates itself between me and the merciless mirror. (Oh, even now I glance back on what I have just written — how foolish it sounds, how overdramatic.)
Here I go again…the same recurring feeling of emptiness. Is there a cure for it? Is there a way of filling that “thing” some books leave in you? It is not that after finishing a book you don’t have this emotional and spiritual gift that makes you embark on the next book. It is just that when you are getting to the last pages, the feeling of “please, don’t leave me” makes you aware of the world that awaits you…the real one. However, this can be an experiencial nirvana that could last some days if your book happens to be THE book.
Anyways, what I usually do is going back to my favorite passages and reread it. So many dialogues you want read again! Another thing I love doing is going online and searching everything I can on the author or the book. It gives me the idea that I’m not alone…that there are hundreds out there going through the same ordeal. Forums, reviews, fan pages, everything!
So, the book here is the brilliant novel The Catcher in the Rye. I had bought it long ago before deciding to read it. Something told me it was a complete different thing from what I just read. To tell you the truth, I didn’t even know what it was about. I prefer not to know what some classics are about…I keep trusting the good advice of intelligent readers and I haven’t gotten disappointed…yet!
But this one, The Catcher in the Rye (J. D. Salinger) was a very beautiful surprise. Holden Caulfield has become one of my all time favorite characters (together with The Magic Mountain’s Hans Castorp; Norwegian Wood’s Toru; Jane Eyre). He is the kind of man I would love to meet for a chat or a beer. The kind of character that opens his heart to you, no matter what you might think of him. The book starts like this:
If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, an what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them.
And it goes on with brilliant stories, dialogues, characters so well described, story so well told in first person, that I particularly adore!
“What did Dr. Thurmer say to you, boy? I understand you had quite a little chat.” “Yes, we did. We really did. I was in his office for around two hours, I guess.” “What’d he say to you?” “Oh. . . well, about Life being a game and all. And how you should play it according to the rules. He was pretty nice about it. I mean he didn’t hit the ceiling or anything. He just kept talking about Life being a game and all. You know.” “Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules.” “Yes, sir. I know it is. I know it.” Game, my ass. Some game. If you get on the side where all the hot-shots are, then it’s a game, all right–I’ll admit that. But if you get on the other side, where there aren’t any hot-shots, then what’s a game about it? Nothing. No game.
Holden describing himself:
I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It’s awful. If I’m on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I’m going, I’m liable to say I’m going to the opera. It’s terrible. So when I told old Spencer I had to go to the gym and get my equipment and stuff, that was a sheer lie. I don’t even keep my goddam equipment in the gym.
Holden loved reading!
I read a lot of classical books, like The Return of the Native and all, and I like them, and I read a lot of war books and mysteries and all, but they don’t knock me out too much. What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though. I wouldn’t mind calling this Isak Dinesen up. And Ring Lardner, except that D.B. told me he’s dead. You take that book Of Human Bondage, by Somerset Maugham, though. I read it last summer. It’s a pretty good book and all, but I wouldn’t want to call Somerset Maugham up. I don’t know, He just isn’t the kind of guy I’d want to call up, that’s all. I’d rather call old Thomas Hardy up. I like that Eustacia Vye.
On his friends:
You remember I said before that Ackley was a slob in his personal habits? Well, so was Stradlater, but in a different way. Stradlater was more of a secret slob. He always looked all right, Stradlater, but for instance, you should’ve seen the razor he shaved himself with. It was always rusty as hell and full of lather and hairs and crap. He never cleaned it or anything. He always looked good when he was finished fixing himself up, but he was a secret slob anyway, if you knew him the way I did. The reason he fixed himself up to look good was because he was madly in love with himself. He thought he was the handsomest guy in the Western Hemisphere. He was pretty handsome, too–I’ll admit it. But he was mostly the kind of a handsome guy that if your parents saw his picture in your Year Book, they’d right away say, “Who’s this boy?” I mean he was mostly a Year Book kind of handsome guy. I knew a lot of guys at Pencey I thought were a lot handsomer than Stradlater, but they wouldn’t look handsome if you saw their pictures in the Year Book. They’d look like they had big noses or their ears stuck out. I’ve had that experience frequently.
On his sister…a beautiful and loving relationship!
Old Phoebe. I swear to God you’d like her. She was smart even when she was a very tiny little kid. When she was a very tiny little kid, I and Allie used to take her to the park with us, especially on Sundays. Allie had this sailboat he used to like to fool around with on Sundays, and we used to take old Phoebe with us. She’d wear white gloves and walk right between us, like a lady and all. And when Allie and I were having some conversation about things in general, old Phoebe’d be listening. Sometimes you’d forget she was around, because she was such a little kid, but she’d let you know. She’d interrupt you all the time. She’d give Allie or I a push or something, and say, “Who? Who said that? Bobby or the lady?” And we’d tell her who said it, and she’d say, “Oh,” and go right on listening and all. She killed Allie, too. I mean he liked her, too. She’s ten now, and not such a tiny little kid any more, but she still kills everybody–everybody with any sense, anyway.
On his relationship with girls:
That’s the thing about girls. Every time they do something pretty, even if they’re not much to look at, or even if they’re sort of stupid, you fall half in love with them, and then you never know where the hell you are. Girls. Jesus Christ. They can drive you crazy. They really can.
I don’t want you to get the idea she was a goddam icicle or something, just because we never necked or horsed around much. She wasn’t. I held hands with her all the time, for instance. That doesn’t sound like much, I realize, but she was terrific to hold hands with. Most girls if you hold hands with them, their goddam hand dies on you, or else they think they have to keep moving their hand all the time, as if they were afraid they’d bore you or something. Jane was different. We’d get into a goddam movie or something, and right away we’d start holding hands, and we wouldn’t quit till the movie was over. And without changing the position or making a big deal out of it. You never even worried, with Jane, whether your hand was sweaty or not. All you knew was, you were happy. You really were.
I could go on and on citing passages of Holden’s life. What a life for someone who’s just seventeen!
I had forgotten what it was like reading Mishima. Poetry, beauty, nature, love, pain, monsters of society, politics…feelings that bring back memories of the past, a past I had also forgotten. And this is the thing of coming back to the classics (he is “classic”)…the forbidden thoughts turn to real thoughts and extraordinary insights…When you read a master of the words, you get the feeling that your past and your present are tangled in one sole story. What is it like reading Mishima? What was it like reading After the Banquet? An experience. The story of a strong woman who owns a restaurant and leads a very free and unique solitary life, in a time when women were only allowed to get out of their houses if it were to marry a man. Turns out Kazu is not any woman. It is when she meets a prominent politician and falls madly in love that things start to change. This is when we realize her fragility….All she wants now is to have a good place to be buried when she is no longer here…It is her fear of a lone soul that moves her…
Before the Departure
This declaration genuinely astonished Kazu. A world formed by the intellect and composed of exclusively intellectual elements lay outside her comprehension. her common sense told her that everything must have its other side. But what continually amazed her in Noguchi was that he was one man without another side: he seemed to have no other face but the one he showed her. Kazu, of course, as a matter of principle disbelieved in the existence of such people. But for all her disbelief, a kind of ideal image, tantalizingly incomplete, was gradually taking shape around Noguchi. His stilted behavior had acquired an aura, indescribably mysterious and intriguing.
That day Noguchi lost his Dunhill lighter in the theater. His consternation when he discovered that the lighter was missing was quite astonishing: all the dignity and calm of a moment before melted away.
That’s not the point. Don’t you see that I’m worrying about your future? Anybody can see that you’ve drawn a blank. This marriage won’t do either you or Noguchi any good. With your talents there’s nothing you can’t do, but instead you choose to shut off your whole future. Look Kazu, getting married is like buying stocks. It’s normal to buy when they’re low – why should you want to buy stocks with no prospects for improvement? Noguchi in the old days was really impressive, no doubt about it. But today – to make an impartial appraisal – the proprietress of the Setsugoan is worth a lot more than the former cabinet minister, Yuken Noguchi. You should have some idea of your own worth.
“The New Life” – The Real Thing
Noguchi invariably fell asleep first. Kazu would then switch on th elamp by her pillow, not to read a book or a magazine, but to induce sleep by staring fixedly at something. Sometimes, for example, she would stare at the catches of the sliding doors, shaped like half-moons and delicately worked in metal like swordguards. the catches had for their designs the “four gentlemanly flowers” – plum blossom, chrysanthemum, orchid, and bamboo. The one closest to her was the orchid; in the dimly lit room the blackened metal orchid confronted Kazu’s sleepless eyes.
Noguchi’s denunciation, antiquated both in manner and language, intensified his aura of being the incarnation of the old moral virtues. His wrath was cast in a majestic idiom which delighted Kazu; all but swooning from pain to happiness, she deliberately reflected with her half-conscious faculties that Noguchi was the kind of man who, once he had angrily forbidden whatever deserved to be forbidden, would immediately revert to his normal blindness and deafness.
A Grave in the Evening Clouds
The conclusion Kazu reached was not so much regret that her money had been insufficient as regret that her heart and Noguchi’s logic had been expended to no avail. It was regret that the human tears, smiles, friendly laughter, warmth of flesh – everything Kazu believed in during this campaign to which she had devoted her heart and soul – had proved futile.
Kazu’s rich shoulders and breasts had lost nothing of their beauty, despite all the summer’s exertions. Her sunburned neck, however, emerging light-brown, like a faded flower, from the snow-white skin below, showed the effects of the election. The sunlight striking the surface of the mirror still kept a lingering summer intensity, but Kazu’s white shoulders and breasts were an icehouse. The fine-grained, saturated whiteness repelled the light, suggesting that it concealed withing a cool, dark summer interior.
This was written by Faubion Bowers in the NY Times on April 14, 1963.
Twelve novels and fourteen years ago Yukio Mishima was a boy wonder in the Japanese literary world. Now, at the age of 38, he counts as an established international genius. Few writers boast so intense a readership–near-idolatrous in the home country and ardent and zealous, if smaller, abroad. With “After the Banquet,” in master-translator Donald Keene’s translucent English, Mishima cinches his champion’s belt.
Kazu radiated open good nature, and her absolutely unyielding disposition had assumed a form both simple and beautiful. Ever since she was a child she had preferred to love rather than be loved. Her air of innocent rusticity concealed a considerable determination to have her own way, and various underhanded acts by petty individuals around her had only served to nurture her infinitely direct and outgoing disposition.
1814 to 1815 might seem so distant from our manners and lifestyles, yet, while reading Jane Austen’s Emma, I felt as if I were living right in the middle of it. How can one not be carried away by the sole thought of Austen’s words of love, compassion, sensibility, human nature, righteousness. A mature and brilliant commedy of manners, completed when she was 40 years old, Emma (together with Pesuassion) was published posthumously, preceded by Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), Northanger Abbey and Persuasion (1815). Jane Austen’s “free indirect speech”, in which the characters’ inner thoughts are spoken aloud (however, the author remains omniscient) perfected the art of telling a story, giving more depth and harmony to the plot. It kind of catches oneself lingering in the lives (and the brains) she so well describes. Emma was not an easy read. With so many characters and lives happening at the same time, one is caught wondering who that character was or who married the other. Nevertheless, when you think you are wandering in the fields of Highbury, Austen takes you by the hand and brings you back to where you should go, letting you know who is in charge of the story and, thankfully, arriving to the “finis” safe and sound.
“But then, to be an old maid at last, like Miss Bates!”
“That is as formidable an image as you could present, Harriet; and if I thought I should ever be like Miss Bates! so silly — so satisfied — so smiling — so prosing — so undistinguishing and unfastidious — and so apt to tell every thing relative to every body about me, I would marry to-morrow. But between us, I am convinced there never can be any likeness, except in being unmarried.”
“But still, you will be an old maid! and that’s so dreadful!”
“Never mind, Harriet, I shall not be a poor old maid; and it is poverty only which makes celibacy contemptible to a generous public! A single woman, with a very narrow income, must be a ridiculous, disagreeable old maid! the proper sport of boys and girls, but a single woman, of good fortune, is always respectable, and may be as sensible and pleasant as any body else. And the distinction is not quite so much against the candour and common sense of the world as appears at first; for a very narrow income has a tendency to contract the mind, and sour the temper. Those who can barely live, and who live perforce in a very small, and generally very inferior, society, may well be illiberal and cross.
Thank you Charlotte Bronte…you wrote a manual on how to be a real woman. On how to be a woman with all her unlimitted power, love, passion, intelligence, nobility, tenderness…I knew this was a beloved work of classic literature, but I hadn’t embarked on that journey until two weeks ago. What a beautiful and mesmerizing piece of art and I am thankful for the opportunity to read it, to embrace and adopt it as one of my favorite books bever! At times, I felt I was guided through Jane’s life in England, Jane herself telling me her story without ever forgetting I was there, by her side, eager to listen, eager to know! “Reader”, she kept saying and I would be all hers. Written in 1847 it amazes me how modern it is, specially when it comes to women’s freedom! If only I had the chance to meet her and tell her that, yes, we are far from being reduced to mere objects or adorn in men’s lives, but we still need her voice, her intelligent thoughts on how to live a worthy life.
A new chapter in a novel is something like a new scene in a play; and when I draw up the curtain this time, reader, you must fancy you see a room in the George Inn at Millcote, with such large figured papering on the walls as inn rooms have; such a carpet, such furniture, such ornaments on the mantelpiece, such prints, including a portrait of George the Third, and another of the Prince of Wales, and a representation of the death of Wolfe. All this is visible to you by the light of an oil lamp hanging from the ceiling, and by that of an excellent fire, near which I sit in my cloak and bonnet; my muff and umbrella lie on the table, and I am warming away the numbness and chill contracted by sixteen hours’ exposure to the rawness of an October day: I left Lowton at four o’clock a.m., and the Millcote town clock is now just striking eight.
Reader, though I look comfortably accommodated, I am not very tranquil in my mind. I thought when the coach stopped here there would be some one to meet me; I looked anxiously round as I descended the wooden steps the “boots” placed for my convenience, expecting to hear my name pronounced, and to see some description of carriage waiting to convey me to Thornfield. Nothing of the sort was visible; and when I asked a waiter if any one had been to inquire after a Miss Eyre, I was answered in the negative: so I had no resource but to request to be shown into a private room: and here I am waiting, while all sorts of doubts and fears are troubling my thoughts.
It is a very strange sensation to inexperienced youth to feel itself quite alone in the world, cut adrift from every connection, uncertain whether the port to which it is bound can be reached, and prevented by many impediments from returning to that it has quitted. The charm of adventure sweetens that sensation, the glow of pride warms it; but then the throb of fear disturbs it; and fear with me became predominant when half-an-hour elapsed and still I was alone. I bethought myself to ring the bell.
There was nothing to cool or banish love in these circumstances, though much to create despair. Much too, you will think, reader, to engender jealousy: if a woman, in my position, could presume to be jealous of a woman in Miss Ingram’s. But I was not jealous: or very rarely; — the nature of the pain I suffered could not be explained by that word. Miss Ingram was a mark beneath jealousy: she was too inferior to excite the feeling. Pardon the seeming paradox; I mean what I say. She was very showy, but she was not genuine: she had a fine person, many brilliant attainments; but her mind was poor, her heart barren by nature: nothing bloomed spontaneously on that soil; no unforced natural fruit delighted by its freshness. She was not good; she was not original: she used to repeat sounding phrases from books: she never offered, nor had, an opinion of her own. She advocated a high tone of sentiment; but she did not know the sensations of sympathy and pity; tenderness and truth were not in her. Too often she betrayed this, by the undue vent she gave to a spiteful antipathy she had conceived against little Adele: pushing her away with some contumelious epithet if she happened to approach her; sometimes ordering her from the room, and always treating her with coldness and acrimony. Other eyes besides mine watched these manifestations of character — watched them closely, keenly, shrewdly. Yes; the future bridegroom, Mr. Rochester himself, exercised over his intended a ceaseless surveillance; and it was from this sagacity — this guardedness of his — this perfect, clear consciousness of his fair one’s defects — this obvious absence of passion in his sentiments towards her, that my ever-torturing pain arose.
I had forgotten to draw my curtain, which I usually did, and also to let down my window-blind. The consequence was, that when the moon, which was full and bright (for the night was fine), came in her course to that space in the sky opposite my casement, and looked in at me through the unveiled panes, her glorious gaze roused me.
Não sou nada.
Nunca serei nada.
Não posso querer ser nada.
À parte isso, tenho em mim todos os sonhos do mundo.
Janelas do meu quarto,
Do meu quarto de um dos milhões do mundo que ninguém sabe quem é
(E se soubessem quem é, o que saberiam?),
Dais para o mistério de uma rua cruzada constantemente por gente,
Para uma rua inacessível a todos os pensamentos,
Real, impossivelmente real, certa, desconhecidamente certa,
Com o mistério das coisas por baixo das pedras e dos seres,
Com a morte a por umidade nas paredes e cabelos brancos nos homens,
Com o Destino a conduzir a carroça de tudo pela estrada de nada.
Estou hoje vencido, como se soubesse a verdade.
Estou hoje lúcido, como se estivesse para morrer,
E não tivesse mais irmandade com as coisas
Senão uma despedida, tornando-se esta casa e este lado da rua
A fileira de carruagens de um comboio, e uma partida apitada
De dentro da minha cabeça,
E uma sacudidela dos meus nervos e um ranger de ossos na ida.
Estou hoje perplexo, como quem pensou e achou e esqueceu.
Estou hoje dividido entre a lealdade que devo
À Tabacaria do outro lado da rua, como coisa real por fora,
E à sensação de que tudo é sonho, como coisa real por dentro.
Falhei em tudo.
Como não fiz propósito nenhum, talvez tudo fosse nada.
A aprendizagem que me deram,
Desci dela pela janela das traseiras da casa.
Fui até ao campo com grandes propósitos.
Mas lá encontrei só ervas e árvores,
E quando havia gente era igual à outra.
Saio da janela, sento-me numa cadeira. Em que hei de pensar?
Que sei eu do que serei, eu que não sei o que sou?
Ser o que penso? Mas penso tanta coisa!
E há tantos que pensam ser a mesma coisa que não pode haver tantos!
Gênio? Neste momento
Cem mil cérebros se concebem em sonho gênios como eu,
E a história não marcará, quem sabe?, nem um,
Nem haverá senão estrume de tantas conquistas futuras.
Não, não creio em mim.
Em todos os manicômios há doidos malucos com tantas certezas!
Eu, que não tenho nenhuma certeza, sou mais certo ou menos certo?
Não, nem em mim…
Em quantas mansardas e não-mansardas do mundo
Não estão nesta hora gênios-para-si-mesmos sonhando?
Quantas aspirações altas e nobres e lúcidas –
Sim, verdadeiramente altas e nobres e lúcidas -,
E quem sabe se realizáveis,
Nunca verão a luz do sol real nem acharão ouvidos de gente?
O mundo é para quem nasce para o conquistar
E não para quem sonha que pode conquistá-lo, ainda que tenha razão.
Tenho sonhado mais que o que Napoleão fez.
Tenho apertado ao peito hipotético mais humanidades do que Cristo,
Tenho feito filosofias em segredo que nenhum Kant escreveu.
Mas sou, e talvez serei sempre, o da mansarda,
Ainda que não more nela;
Serei sempre o que não nasceu para isso;
Serei sempre só o que tinha qualidades;
Serei sempre o que esperou que lhe abrissem a porta ao pé de uma parede sem porta,
E cantou a cantiga do Infinito numa capoeira,
E ouviu a voz de Deus num poço tapado.
Crer em mim? Não, nem em nada.
Derrame-me a Natureza sobre a cabeça ardente
O seu sol, a sua chava, o vento que me acha o cabelo,
E o resto que venha se vier, ou tiver que vir, ou não venha.
Escravos cardíacos das estrelas,
Conquistamos todo o mundo antes de nos levantar da cama;
Mas acordamos e ele é opaco,
Levantamo-nos e ele é alheio,
Saímos de casa e ele é a terra inteira,
Mais o sistema solar e a Via Láctea e o Indefinido.
(Come chocolates, pequena;
Olha que não há mais metafísica no mundo senão chocolates.
Olha que as religiões todas não ensinam mais que a confeitaria.
Come, pequena suja, come!
Pudesse eu comer chocolates com a mesma verdade com que comes!
Mas eu penso e, ao tirar o papel de prata, que é de folha de estanho,
Deito tudo para o chão, como tenho deitado a vida.)
Mas ao menos fica da amargura do que nunca serei
A caligrafia rápida destes versos,
Pórtico partido para o Impossível.
Mas ao menos consagro a mim mesmo um desprezo sem lágrimas,
Nobre ao menos no gesto largo com que atiro
A roupa suja que sou, em rol, pra o decurso das coisas,
E fico em casa sem camisa.
(Tu que consolas, que não existes e por isso consolas,
Ou deusa grega, concebida como estátua que fosse viva,
Ou patrícia romana, impossivelmente nobre e nefasta,
Ou princesa de trovadores, gentilíssima e colorida,
Ou marquesa do século dezoito, decotada e longínqua,
Ou cocote célebre do tempo dos nossos pais,
Ou não sei quê moderno – não concebo bem o quê –
Tudo isso, seja o que for, que sejas, se pode inspirar que inspire!
Meu coração é um balde despejado.
Como os que invocam espíritos invocam espíritos invoco
A mim mesmo e não encontro nada.
Chego à janela e vejo a rua com uma nitidez absoluta.
Vejo as lojas, vejo os passeios, vejo os carros que passam,
Vejo os entes vivos vestidos que se cruzam,
Vejo os cães que também existem,
E tudo isto me pesa como uma condenação ao degredo,
E tudo isto é estrangeiro, como tudo.)
Vivi, estudei, amei e até cri,
E hoje não há mendigo que eu não inveje só por não ser eu.
Olho a cada um os andrajos e as chagas e a mentira,
E penso: talvez nunca vivesses nem estudasses nem amasses nem cresses
(Porque é possível fazer a realidade de tudo isso sem fazer nada disso);
Talvez tenhas existido apenas, como um lagarto a quem cortam o rabo
E que é rabo para aquém do lagarto remexidamente
Fiz de mim o que não soube
E o que podia fazer de mim não o fiz.
O dominó que vesti era errado.
Conheceram-me logo por quem não era e não desmenti, e perdi-me.
Quando quis tirar a máscara,
Estava pegada à cara.
Quando a tirei e me vi ao espelho,
Já tinha envelhecido.
Estava bêbado, já não sabia vestir o dominó que não tinha tirado.
Deitei fora a máscara e dormi no vestiário
Como um cão tolerado pela gerência
Por ser inofensivo
E vou escrever esta história para provar que sou sublime.
Essência musical dos meus versos inúteis,
Quem me dera encontrar-me como coisa que eu fizesse,
E não ficasse sempre defronte da Tabacaria de defronte,
Calcando aos pés a consciência de estar existindo,
Como um tapete em que um bêbado tropeça
Ou um capacho que os ciganos roubaram e não valia nada.
Mas o Dono da Tabacaria chegou à porta e ficou à porta.
Olho-o com o deconforto da cabeça mal voltada
E com o desconforto da alma mal-entendendo.
Ele morrerá e eu morrerei.
Ele deixará a tabuleta, eu deixarei os versos.
A certa altura morrerá a tabuleta também, os versos também.
Depois de certa altura morrerá a rua onde esteve a tabuleta,
E a língua em que foram escritos os versos.
Morrerá depois o planeta girante em que tudo isto se deu.
Em outros satélites de outros sistemas qualquer coisa como gente
Continuará fazendo coisas como versos e vivendo por baixo de coisas como tabuletas,
Sempre uma coisa defronte da outra,
Sempre uma coisa tão inútil como a outra,
Sempre o impossível tão estúpido como o real,
Sempre o mistério do fundo tão certo como o sono de mistério da superfície,
Sempre isto ou sempre outra coisa ou nem uma coisa nem outra.
Mas um homem entrou na Tabacaria (para comprar tabaco?)
E a realidade plausível cai de repente em cima de mim.
Semiergo-me enérgico, convencido, humano,
E vou tencionar escrever estes versos em que digo o contrário.
Acendo um cigarro ao pensar em escrevê-los
E saboreio no cigarro a libertação de todos os pensamentos.
Sigo o fumo como uma rota própria,
E gozo, num momento sensitivo e competente,
A libertação de todas as especulações
E a consciência de que a metafísica é uma consequência de estar mal disposto.
Depois deito-me para trás na cadeira
E continuo fumando.
Enquanto o Destino mo conceder, continuarei fumando.
(Se eu casasse com a filha da minha lavadeira
Talvez fosse feliz.)
Visto isto, levanto-me da cadeira. Vou à janela.
O homem saiu da Tabacaria (metendo troco na algibeira das calças?).
Ah, conheço-o; é o Esteves sem metafísica.
(O Dono da Tabacaria chegou à porta.)
Como por um instinto divino o Esteves voltou-se e viu-me.
Acenou-me adeus, gritei-lhe Adeus ó Esteves!, e o universo
Reconstruiu-se-me sem ideal nem esperança, e o Dono da Tabacaria sorriu.
Álvaro de Campos, 15-1-1928
Há tempos queria ler o Valter Hugo Mãe, pois me parecia uma das vozes mais bonitas na literatura mundial do que vai desse século. Sua delicadeza, seu realismo e poesía fizeram de mim uma fã, mesmo sem antes tê-lho lido. Assim é com a literatura. Vamos nos apaixonando com quem nos fala ao coração. Com quem nos olha sem desviar esse olhar. Valter Hugo Lemos é o seu nome real. Valter Hugo Mãe é o nome artítico, poético. Nascido em Saurimo, Angola, no ano de 1971.
Os quatro primeiros romances de Valter Hugo Mãe são conhecidos como a tetralogia das minúsculas. Escritos integralmente sem letras capitais, incluindo o nome do autor, pretendiam chamar a atenção para a natureza oral dos textos e recondução da literatura à liberdade primeira do pensamento. As minúsculas aludem também a uma utopia de igualdade. Uma certa democracia que equiparava as palavras na sua grafia para deixar ao leitor definir o que devia ou não ser acentuado.
Em 2007 atingiu o reconhecimento público com a atribuição do Prémio Literário José Saramago. O próprio Saramago considerou o romance “o remorso de baltazar serapião” um verdadeiro tsuname literário: “Por vezes, tive a sensação de assistir a um novo parto da Língua portuguesa”. Amém Saramago.
“Não a posso deixar aqui sozinha. não estaria sozinha. estaria sozinha de mim, que é a solidão que me interessa e a de que tenho medo. e isso nunca aconteceu. não, em quase cinquenta anos de casados, nunca aconteceu”.
“É mais do que um bom homem, é alguém superior porque soube ganhar idade da melhor maneira, retribuindo. sim, sim, não me venha dizer outra coisa, porque uma paixão nessa idade, e depois de tanto tempo juntos, é coisa de quem sabe dar.”