Travel post # 3 – First days in Santarem – Are poets big fat liars?

I’m immersed in literature, cinema and philosophical debates, here in my great uncle’s house. The hammock in the back garden, under the mango tree, is a lovely place for reflection and study. My head is dizzy from the Portuguese, the heat and the many people. The other night my great uncle Gilberto said something curious and rather provocative. He said all the poets he´d met, once skinned of their artistic and literary armour, where calculating and cynical individuals, skilled in the ability of mirroring the world´s emotions, but lacking the passion that comes from one´s own fire and beliefs. Am I really just an ornamental mirror? Perhaps one that reflects the beauty of the world in a magnified way? Is there some consistency to my words and thoughts? Or are we all just be mirrors of each other’s feeling, shadows of each other´s dreams, as I once wrote in a poem? I believe there is some truth to what he said. My poetry, my words, are a magnified version of what I see and feel and this includes my vision of myself. Just as it can be raw at times, it can also be careful and aesthetically pleasing. I suppose, in a way, that´s what all art does: it paints a picturesque and awe inspiring version of banality. It tries to inject some colour and unpredictability in the boredom of everyday life.

Here’s a few pictures taken amidst the red mist of Santarem.

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Special Glasses

And I wear my special glasses
On this fortress by the sea
A broken sax and both of you,
No one sees things like we see!

By the river in Boston
Where the little white boats
Are like stars in the blue,
No one feels like I do.

On the rooftop where we kissed
And made movies of our lives,
All the silly things I miss,
No one knows like you and I.

And I wear my special glasses
When I wonder by myself
Through the fields and through the trees,
As I hide behind these leaves.

On the cliff behind the island,
All alone, while the violence
In the world breaks into waves
And I swirl within its blues.

When my lids are heavy
With departures and arrivals
And I feel the frenzied blood,
As it pulses through the terminals.

And I wear my special glasses
When I think and sip my tea
When I smile at all of you,
Or swim naked in the sea.

And I slide through many faces,
Through the laughter and embraces
I feel colourful and free,
All these eyes, they dance with me.

And I tingle as my skin and mind
Are drenched in eau de glee
I am golden, I am wild,
Warm as honey to these bees.

There is only song and colour,
Silly details make me smile
This confusion is perfection
And it all makes life worthwhile.

And we do not need the music,
We can hum and we can write
I can hear things through my eyes
As I’m gripped in life’s big bite!


Cheers to my friends Meg, Elle and the broken sax.