Poemas no e-mail

28 de setembro de 2015

Karate's persistence

It was in "Para's" ridge, in a town built over an iron ore... I was around 9 or 10. We have moved there because of dad's new job . He got hired by "CVRD" and they were going to build a sluice. The town was going to be demolished in a few years...
The whole place was pre made. Wooden houses, painted in white and blue... Separated neighbourhoods. Divided in classes between labour and engineers and the directors too...
Public school for all the kids and a bakery where we would get a ticket for the bread and a ticket for the milk that would last for the whole week. We would put the tickets in a basket at the doorstep and, magically, the bread and the milk would appear there the next morning, ready to be picked...
A town surrounded by wires, so the leopards and other wild animals that frighten men, wouldn't harm their children...
In the heart of Amazon, pure jungle and basically no roads. Many times the only transportation available was a boat or a helicopter. Sometimes the twin-engine planes... Can't remember a 100%...
I do remember the gymnasium. Also divided into classes perhaps. One time, a famous pop star, singer/dancer that was known for her booty shaking, was coming to town for a performance. .. And she was going to do 2 shows, in different times... The first one specially for class A, engineers and directors... The star pretty much just sang, did a little dance and tried to charm the audience looking into maybe getting an escort job for later. But the directors, at that time, were family man... Always with their wives, just applauded and politely swerved their eyes away...
Later on, it was time for her second performance, for the employees. And the comments were, that even her clothes she took off, and not alone, she also brought 6 more dancers to the stage! My imagination as a little boy, in delirium thinking about the employees treat... employees, that's right... Everything was a bit artificial but in my dreams they were very real... From that day on, I wished to be in the labour class forever!
One hot morning of still air, walking trhough town, we saw some posters advertising this "karate master", that was going to start teaching soon. The classes were for kids between 8 and 15 years old and would be in different times...
It was a program initiated by the town counsel, in order to occupy the explosive energy of the children... Of course, that initiative was also due to the fact that this foreign guy, who had just arrived in town, that same week, had introduced himself to the counsel as a karate teacher. Presented his diploma and his Brazilian Association of Karate Id? if that even exists...
As every other mom, my mom also got excited to register me. Since I was such a pain at home and my sisters couldn't take my ninja, ultra man space pirate strikes anymore...
So, the foreign, the counsel, my mom and sisters, all of them loved the idea. It made total sense. It was in the logic, most obvious line of reason, totally... And incredibly, all the other moms and all the other sisters had the same idea... And registered their children. The foreign teacher would have to teach more than 20 classes... And that is at least 8 hours a day...
Mom bought me a kimono from a local dressmaker who had improvised kimonos for the whole town. Some of the kids were lucky enough to have moms that knew how to sew and the thicker bed sheets played the role of special fabric...
The first day of class was just pure anxiety. I waited excited, nervous. I had just watched the first Karate Kid movie, and I imagined myself as of course, Daniel San himself... Waiting for his master, Mr. Miagui, of course... And then, between the hours that didn't seem to pass... I would sleep and get up wearing my kimono... But I couldn't go to school wearing it. Because everything was very organized, and the CETEP of Carajas wouldn't allow us to go to school without our uniforms...
Ah, I was raw anxiety!!!
Finally, the big day came... Monday at 6 PM... My class had 20 kids. I knew 2 of them... "Andremendes" (I insisted that was his name even though my mom would always say: "No honey, his name is Andre. His last name is Mendes. His sister is also a Mendes. Andrezza Mendes"... Well, it didn't matter to me. What mattered was that the teacher called him "Andremendes", and I too would call him like that. Me and all the other kids...) Forgot to mention that the Andrezza girl was my secret love, but we'll leave this to another story!
The class was about to start and my kimono was already incredible stinky. Well, it was the perfect weapon against the enemies of the great "Space Pirate"...
I was all sporty. Recall a Christmas list I had once sent to Santa... The list was: A soccer ball, a volley ball, a basket ball, a tennis ball, a table tennis ball, a bowling ball, an indoor soccer ball... Well, as I was saying, I was all sporty... And now with Karate, I already knew that I was going to be the greatest champion ever because I had discipline and drive, the exact same qualities Daniel San had...
Still in trance, wearing my kimono and smelling sweat combined with that odor of old improvised mat... I was enjoying it, and I think, I still do... There he was... The teacher! Carlos, what a fantasy! I didn't expect such exotic creature! In my mind, he had to be, first of all, Japanese, obviously. Second of all, older, strong, yet thin...
What a character that Mr. Carlos was! He looked like "Casagrande"... Yes, I was in shock! Not the soccer player "Casagrande", but the current TV show host. Beer belly, oily skin, curly jelly hair, like that yellow desert we eat at Thanksgiving. He looked a bit like my friend "Luis Caldas"... Oh wow, I mean, wow... He was like one of those back in the day hippies that instead of weed, they just drank straight up alcohol... He was also clumsy, fat and flaccid...
But anyway, he was my teacher, and I was going to obbey him at any circumstance! I developed full respect for everything he said. And he started the class saying that we should always be good in school... What the heck!!! What school had to do with any of this??? Anyway, that would be no problem because my marks were the best in class. Mine and Fluvio's!
Ok, so here we go, thousands of warming up exercises and running around the room. He would do about 5 repetitions himself and then leave us doing it for another 15 min or more. After that he would put us to do some magical moves...
Believe or not, I was loving every bit of it! And in profound ecstasy, my sisters and my mom started to see a change... I would arrive home tired because after the class the other kids and I, stayed out playing ninjas. With our shirts pulled up covering our heads and using a broom stick as nun chuck. That play time was by far way more instructional than any of Mr. Carlos class.
Well, mysteriously, in the second week of class, new posters were up in town. Now advertising a Karate tournament offered to all the kids who were registered. And for those interested a form should be filled out that same week. My mom was surprised and thought it was a bit strange a tournament after only 1 week of class... But since everybody else was signing up, she thought she didn't need to be worried... I didn't even think about it. I knew for sure mom was wrong, obviously!
My heart was pounding. The gymnasium was crowded. Friday night it was... Even more busy than when the booty dancer performed... I recall now. She was from a TV show or something...
Mom gave me something to calm my nerves down. I know that I didn't sleep at all from Thursday to that Friday, thinking about all the things I've learned so far... My family would claim me as the "champion of the house"...
I was exploding in excitment... Let the competition begin... The first announcemen was released. I see my name written on a paper glued to the wall. Marcelo Campello Ramos x Juvenal Pereira Albuquerque (6:25 PM - Friday), and a long list of names on a long wall at the gymnasium. Simultaneous rounds, and the referees were our Physical Ed teachers from school...
None of that mattered to me and everything seemed to be running smoothly... But I was tense, nervous, eating all of my fingernails... My poor mom, all proud, at least she seemed to be. But I think inside she was thinking " Oh my little baby, so athletic, dedicated. Not too long ago he was here in my arms and now he is ready to start his own battles, all by himself!" And my dad, still a little tired from working all week, arrived a bit late, but on time to watch the first fights. My parents were giving me advice. Saying that the most important thing was not to win, but to compete... But all I really wanted was to destroy whoever crossed my way...
My name was called on the microphone...
I went to the mat by myself and stood on top of the letter "R". I arrived before my opponent, and imagined that maybe he got lost or something. They called his name again. I was exploding in excitement standing at the place they parked me. All stiffed, looking towards the empty space reserved for that "Juvenal" dude...
They called him again! for the third time! And now some weird figure stands across from me. This guy, not wearing a kimono. Stood there, still... The initiation began... What the heck! I saw my parents protesting from their seats... That dude was like 15 years old! Big guy with a man's body. One of the employees kid... Just huge... Without being logic, I thought to myself... "If he is my opponent, so be it... The fight will be clean and honest and I will give the best of me. After all, "David" defeated "Golias", or was it the other way around? I always mess up the characters names, but regardless, I know that the little guy defeates the giant..." And it would be the same with me... I was a younger version of Daniel San. My teeth were tight as it could be!
Plim!!! The bell rings...
Half second has passed and I am a flat pancaque on the floor! I got kicked on my mouth... A terrible kick that collapsed all my senses... "Plaft"... All I could hear was the sound of my cheeks pressing against my teeth, squeezing the last bit of air out of me... My tooth got a bit loose... And it took me a little while to comprehend what had just happened...
Beside me, I noticed my parents came to help me... The whole crowd jumped off their seats saying "Uh!"
Awake now but still dizzy, I was taken to the bathroom where they put sugar on my gum to stop the bleeding... My chin was sore...
But I freed myself from their care and calmly said that I was going back to the mat to finish the fight. Everyone said that I've already lost.. How could that be? The fight wasn't done yet, I was still fully there, conscious! My parents protested, saying that it was not acceptable! That they should have had different divisions by age, weight... And that it was pure physical abuse! But none of that convinced me, and the tournament was only beginning... And I should go back there before it was too late...
None of the referees believed when they saw me back there, with my mouth covered in sugar... Standing on the white line painted on the green mat... Serious, red eyes, staring at the giant.
I didn't ask anyone, I just stood there, on that line, waiting for them to start, just like a convicted man at his sentence staring at the tormentors... There I was waiting, blank mind...
The organizers got together and decided that I would have a second chance, since I was showing such courage and desire. My parents screaming asked me to stop that non sense, but I didn't listen, and I knew that deep down, my mom, wanted me to go back and beat that Juvenal's face... Whispering, she told me to kick his balls...
Ah, I did have my secret weapons...
Plim... The bell rings again...
"Catapoff"!!! "Esplatam"!!! "Pow"!!! "Crash"!!! Absolute straight forward beating up!!!
Juvenal, the giant, had crumbled me in pieces, entirely... I was destroyed once again, no chance... Me, just a little dude, a skinny chicken being held by a bear... Humiliated, Finished, demolished, destroyed...
He beat me up like a limping horse... And I was seriously bleeding, didn't feel any pain, my adrenaline spiked to a million... I was angry with my weakness... I hated with extreme intensity the limits of my strength... But I couldn't get up anymore... Something else was broken inside, besides my boyish pride, sporty attitude, admired by the family...
I was towed by the referees to a corner of the gymnasium and my parents came to take care of me, and my sisters, at the same time they laughed of my ridiculous situation, they also felt a small taste of revenge to see me getting beat up like that... But deep inside I knew they also wanted to break that Juvenal's face too, they wanted to throw rocks and sticks at the bear who destroyed their brother... I knew that! I could only articulate some words: "Let me go back, for Christ sake, I need to finish the fight!!! But at that point, the referees and my parents were being more firm than my own desire
I went home, and didn't speak through the entire weekend, didn't want to leave my room... Me and my humiliation... My ankle was wrapped, but I didn't think about that, I was limping a little and could tell that some bruises were sore...
Sunday night my family dragged me out of my room to go watch the tournament finals and the medals ceremony. They said that I had to come because all of the registered kids were supposed to be there, in order to support the spirit of the sport and how we always must to celebrate the winners like all stories go...
Like any other child, I was already tired from pretending to be dressed in hate. And Sunday night I was back on being happy again, so, off we went to the gymnasium, and of course, I was wearing my kimono!
All fights were over and now was the time for the medals ceremony. They started calling up the names. I recognized some of them. They would call a name, and give the person a medal on the stage for everyone to see... 8 Gold medals, after that 8 Silver medals... And they were already calling up the 8th kid to get his Bronze medal... I had no clue about the difference between the medals and mom was explaining that they were all noble metals, but came in different colours... The 8th medal was given, and at that moment, all I wanted was to be one of those kids up there, wearing their kimonos and their spectacular victories... All medals with this yellow and green collar that goes around the neck... How beautiful and heroic that was...
Then I heard, on the microphone, waking me from my dream: "Marcelo Campello Ramos... Bronze medal, for his determination and persistent performance!"
Silence inside me... Hallucination... Would that be possible?
Even now, when writing this, I get tears in my eyes... I was being called up and I could not believe it! That couldn't be real! I was being called up and heard mom saying: "Go my little dude! You're a champion too"!
Really?!? I asked myself and was still trying to understand... But it was too late, I was already on the stage, with my Bronze medal around my neck and being congratulated by all the referees that didn't realize I was freaking out inside.
At the end, in excitement, my family also congratulated me and we all went out for a sandwich... I was a hero, but I still didn't know what "Bronze" meant, even less so the word "persistence"...
One more time mom explained to me... And my sisters asked me if they could touch the medal... And they made fun of my heroic big act... I still remember the song they made up:
"Karate's persistence! Else, Else... It went somewhere else!!!"
I was a hero... And I think my persistence, still today, smells a bit like Bronze...
Never heard what happened to professor Carlos after that... But I know that the tournament, somehow showed me many treasures that I still carry with me today!



Tradução: Alice Campello

26 de setembro de 2015

My mother's tears

As a child, I didn't quite understand...
When on mother's day...
Or even, any other day,

For any colorful card,
A twisted ribbon bow paper,
A poem without rhymes,
Well known melodies, sang out of tune,

Or anyway, for any reason...

Emotional, her eyes watched me...

Tiny steps, big discoveries...

Soaked eyes, speechlessly smiled...
And I know that deep down, also applauded me
On the spot light, stage of life, my little kingdom...

But for a boyish soul... I confess, did not understand

Confused, I asked myself... All that crying, was it necessary??

Finally, my time has come... And today, when rocking my son,

Even in his sleep, I cry

The same old tears, that flow in the same rivers...
That dress my eyes with sparks...
That come out for the same old reasons...

And behind that awkward, out of tune weep...
There's a tired longing man, wounded, quiet...
That does exactly what was thought... Repeats the cycle of life...

Educates, recitals, calculates, meditates...

Takes a deep breath in respect to time...

My son, beautifully grows...
Already teaching me to cry...
The same tears that still resides
In my mother's eyes.

(Tradução: Alice Campello)

Mammoth and Lovers


Writing I was about mammoths, concentrated in my thesis!

In my bedroom, night light on, tired, forcing a rehearsal!
Mammoths, pachyderm? Something like that, such abuse!
At last, breaking the walls , it appears to me. So rare!
There it was, omnipresent knocking down the house!
Re twisting each page of my essay with its ivory...

Well, Impossible to go through with my studies!
There it was, so present! Saucy!
Write about the mammoth, How could I...
When stomped by it!

Writing I was about lovers, concentrated in my thesis...
Such a delicate subject!
Frightened, I lock the doors!

25 de setembro de 2015

Coragem!
















Foto: Sebastião Salgado

The happiest dad in the world

Today is his day, at least that's the way I fell!
Day of my son to make me feel like a hero!
Not the kind that shoots lasers or wear colorful capes,
But the every day hero, the one that holds his hands when he falls,
And explains the world as if I have made it myself!
The day to realize that, the boy, expects of me, the best!
Being that my duty... I shall give him beyond incredible!
A day to understand that the little one will follow what I show him:
How to love a woman, his mother. To feed the dog, to be good, to meditate...
In each word said, he'll find symbols of who I am,
The marks on my hands, the weight of my love!
Day of this boy to make me reflect
About each detail, word and moment...
I catch him doing things I did yesterday,
Maybe the biggest lesson I pass on is... To be happy!
The direction pointed by the pathway once traced,
And any explanation of rockets, love, dinosaurs...
He will trust completely in everything, even if some expert tells him different,
He will say that the expert is wrong!
The courage of this son of mine, his boldness, his articulation...
Comes from knowing that he can peacefully throw himself in space,
Secured that underneath him, supporting him, will be two arms,
And an entire man!
Today, the messy little thing with sparks in his eyes, who is asking to be carried
Doesn't quite know that I arrive home tired at the end of the day,
He still expects the same goofy and friendly word.
And I find the last bit of strength, that was protected and reserved to my son,
The tiny drop of time for his tiny thirst...
And it takes just a little snuggle, playing like a silly clown and some crazy dancing,
Laying on my back to be his horse, till that hiccup laughing!
Soon, tired he is, falls asleep still smiling...
Today is my day. To thank my son,
For making me be the happiest dad in the world!
My heart is pleased! Thank you very much!
PS: Dedicated to you, my little Benicio. Today is almost father's day and you are only 1.5 years old
with an eternity ahead of you where you will always be my best FRIEND!
I know one day this won't be like this due to natural disagreements typical from young adults. The time will
come where you will trace your own footsteps, make mistakes, challenge limits, and create your own planets...
Our notebook, forgotten, ripped... But after all the fuss... Here will still be the same two arms,
the man and his entire heart, waiting and longing for your hug!
I don't want any gifts, really, all I want is your smile and happiness. Same goes to your mom, always so beautiful!
Kisses, my son!