I write to survive. I write because writing is the only outlet I can find for my pain. I write to voice the sadness otherwise sadness becomes bigger than me. I write because writing is my only friend. I write because writing flows when life stalls. I write because my words prove to me that I am still alive, despite all the darkness. I write because I need to give the pain its narrative, I need to name the trauma, to outline its face.
I write when I feel I serve no purpose in this mad, mad world any longer. I write when nothing else makes sense. I write to fill the hole in my heart.
I write because writing is the only choice I have. Writing is the stubborn, pigheaded, tenacious flower that blossoms for a few minutes of the day in the middle of the Arizona desert.
I write to save the day.
Sometimes just a word triggers it. Mostly, it’s the longing and the aching that have become part of who she is. Then the urge, the surge, the desire to plunge into the universe of words. Trying to discover the best combination, the structure that will translate the multitude of what she is. Diaspora is a good one. It shows the movement, a dislocation, the displacement. But as it frequently happens in the world of words, it is not their literal sense, as it were, but the translation that they can undergo. That vague thing called metaphor which is a word being explored in other cluster of associative worlds without losing its initial meaning. Nothing is lost in a metaphor. The elasticity of words stretching towards possibilities. Towards something else. This is what fascinates her. To depart from its entry in the dictionary and from there, to explore its potentialities. Some words invite this movement, some of them in fact require it. This is the case of diaspora. First its applicability, the precision.
Break down diaspora and this is what you have: DIA [across] + SPORA [scatter]
the dispersion of any people from their original homeland.
“The diaspora of people from Brazil”
the people so dispersed.
“The Brazilian diaspora in Arizona”
That geography is one of her issues, there is no doubt. Across the Atlantic. Scattered from her origin. Dispersed. There you go. Here she is, for better or worse, in Arizona
Like life happens.
It popped up as a possibility
Just a concept, Arizona was a reckless adventure
One unlikely spot in the map
As a reality,
Arizona was radical, raw
Arizona was a mirror
Arizona was a punch in the face,
a desert begging for life
an empty space waiting to be filled
by my crisp Brazilian soul
It took such a long time
So many days
for me to call you home, Arizona.
Finally to find myself in the middle
of your aridness.
Maybe the trick is not bail out, even when we find out that some this is not what we thought. That’s what we’re going to discover again and again and again Nothing is what we thought. Neither is mindfulness or fear. Compassion – not what we thought. Love. […] Courage. These are code words for things we don’t know in our minds, but any of us could experience them. These are words that point to what life is when we let things fall apart and let ourselves be nailed to the present moment.
[Chodron, Pema. When things fall apart]
[Mount Lemmon, Arizona]
Bhagirathasana is a pose that honors a great yogi king from India who stood on one leg for a long time to appease the Hindu god Shiva and to be allowed to bring the sacred river Ganges from heaven to earth. It represents the intense penance of Bhagiratha. Bhagirathasana is supposed to motivate us to work toward our goal even if there are many obstacles in the way. It doesn’t mean you have to stand on one leg for years. It is a dedicated effort to one’s practice. It is a pose that makes you strong and enhances your willpower.
Not when you want it
Not when you desperately, crazily,
look for it
Least of all when you ache for it
In the loneliest mornings,
The most abandoned hour
Awaiting you casually
in the booth of that diner
The layers slowly stripping
The effort, the struggle,
the insane awareness of itself
Not to be advertised,
Not a story to be told
(forgive the vanity of these words)
Rather, life simply lived
In sharing an avocado toast
Que o português
Sirva como reparação
O paradoxo vivo
Do retorno à si
Recuperar a voz
Um afago materno,
Um aceno, um arrependimento
Ao meu coração brasileiro
Who am I to tell you, indeed,
about the languages of the desert.
I am not a native
who holds the secrets of the land in his heart;
Nor a geologist or a geographer
who can teach you the history of the desert’s sedimentary rocks
Not even a poet am I
able to translate the desert with the unexpected metaphor.
I am a mere foreigner,
a transplanted heart
accustomed to wet lands
to lush biospheres of greens
and predictable rainy days
The aridness of the desert
has however penetrated my foreign soul
The shapeless rolling oceans of sand
now house my broken heart
shattered in thousand tiny pieces
that, much like the desert itself,
will no longer be able to find its original shape
(“In the desert, you can’t remember your name”, the song warns you)
It is from this void,
From this shapeless
bottomless, solemn, even,
That I tell you this:
The beautiful waves of browns, oranges and reds
that color the ancient body of the desert,
The stunning blues from the sheltering sky
that hovers above the desert colors
punctuated by the unbidden white cloud,
The wildflowers that courageously paint the desert hues with yellows or purples
for a few days on a given lucky Spring
are but facades.
The desert, my friend, hides all sort of mirages and fictions
Make no mistake about it:
The desert is a place of
blacks and whites
It is a point of extremes:
Cold or hot
Good or evil.
In its essence the desert is a zone of ultimate tensions
It is a battlefield
where rawness is a rule
and cruelty is the law of the land.
It is where death confronts life face to face.
(And we know who wins)
Beware of the desert.
No use denying: the hyphen in Arizona-me is here to stay.
The hyphen is not a mere punctuation mark. It signals both a proximity and a distance. The hyphen brings Arizona close to me but it also separates Arizona from me.
This hyphen-condition is there everyday: when I wake up until I fall asleep. It also inhabits my dreams as if to punctuate the gap. The hyphen is a fracture deep within my soul. It signifies that there was another me before Arizona. It reveals that this me in Arizona is still a very unstable condition.
Arizona is relentless, cold and scary. It is raw, brute and pretty much like its desert, it can dry you out like a raisin.
I lost my country for you, Arizona. I lost my family. I lost my friends. What do you give me in return? An unwanted ticket to an unwanted version of myself? The equation does not seem fair.