Carrying

Photo em Abril, Adsamo e Gondomar 029 (2)

I carry this thing around always. Sometimes I try to shake it off, put it under my skin in the recesses where it will sleep in me, not burdening me with the wakefulness that always demands a resolution. A hand that cares. An eye that sees. It’s hard business. The tsunami in Japan 4 years ago still swimming in my ocular memory, vast surfaces of people and things swept into nothingness in a horror that could not be helped. The funds taken out of Africa in the last 50 years by the multinationals of the globalized world that promised development to the people of the dark continent after centuries of colonization—a trillion dollars, more or less the same amount officially received in aid. The women in Saudi Arabia who cannot drive cars or walk alone to guard their own souls under the pure consent of God. The 37 year old woman in the prime of her life in Hollywood who was refused to play her full role side by side with a 58 year old man: too old for this trade. The boy in Syria broken by the war bombs who said before dying, “I am going to tell God.” The Union at the University who cannot fight, afraid of the Administration because they have allowed the neo-liberal doctrine to enter their clean core and have forgotten the fire that came to their eyes when as young students they read the beautiful ideas of Karl Marx for the first time. The student in my ethics and rhetorics class where I spend hours and hours passionately explaining the importance of speaking, really speaking, who writes me an elaborate email detailing how she needs me to give her the final exam a day earlier because her sister surprised her with a plane ticket—and though I clearly outlined the protocol on the syllabus, I vacillate for a moment. I ask the administration if I shall concede and they tell me “it’s up to you but consider that you will be putting her sister out of hundreds of dollars.” The woman at the beauty clinic who promises me fat reduction and fresh skin, takes my money and then leaves me waiting for hours and hours and on more than one occasion despite the fact that I have mentioned to her how disrespectful that feels. She smiles and apologizes each time and then flirts with excessive empathy, her massive wiggling breasts half exposed, with the middle-aged man with an English accent who came to do coolsculpting on his love handles. The book publisher who promised publicity and good editing and now that the book is out does not respond to my emails. The CEO of the Walrus speaking on a CBC panel about the Senators’ scandal saying that successful people have the right to eat good Camembert; I write to the program using the invited feedback webpage pointing out that is a simplistic and unacceptable comment that needs to be deconstructed and never hear from them. The Portuguese ambassador sent directly from Lisbon who told his staff to create a video about Portugal showing only beautiful and thin people and no toothless widows dressed in black—he also refused to date a renowned chef in Canada because she has coarse hands that smell of condiments. The neighbour across who leaves her dog alone for days and he howls into the deep loneliness of existence till I call security. The love of my life who told me stunning things that never came leaving me in the dark cave for seasons that did not seem to end—without word, not one, to explain the misunderstanding. My mother who is dying of old age, her varicose veins exploding her tired blood into the world—and I am far away.

*photo by Ascenso Rodrigues de Sá

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Carrying – a poem by Irene Marques
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