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Cristina Veiga Judar – Questions for a Live Writing

Cristina JudarCristina Veiga Judar, a writer from São Paulo, Brazil, was poet-in-residence in the Archive for one month in February – March 2015. Cristina’s first book, Lina, came out in 2009 and received the Cultural Action Grant in the Graphic Novel category, awarded by the State Secretary of Culture in São Paulo. In 2011, she published her second book, Vermelho, Vivo [Red, Live], which also received the Cultural Action Grant. Her latest book, Roteiros para uma vida curta [Scripts for a Short Life] received an honorable mention at the 2014 SESC Literary Awards. Cristina also writes Luminescências nas Pickups [Luminescence on Pickups,] a blog dedicated to fiction and is working on her first novel Oito do sete [Eight of seven].

Cristina’s residency was sponsored by the Brazilian Ministry of Culture and the British Council. For this project, she produced new writing for the Archive of the Now inspired by interviews with Londoners. Cristina’s texts are below, and links to the interviews with passersby are included with the relevant prose poem.

These texts were translated by Chanté Berry-Gordon, Katy Carroll and Davina Bharj.

 

ELA FALA AZUL

(audio)

Conheci-a vermelha. Paloma Szenchin falava azul. Punha-se à frente da tela unicolor do smartphone. Mas eu a sabia vermelha como a sorte, vermelha como o sangue, quente de escorrer. Primeiro, meu interesse pelo nickname fajuto. Depois, pelo que nela era negro, assim como em mim. Somos ambos vietnamitas de origem e com as dores do mundo em cada nó de osso. Se eu fosse poeta, escreveria apenas sobre o que eu sofro. Por essa razão, não sou poeta. Meu sofrimento não é local, mas uma ondulação globalizada. De doer nos poros do mundo. Minhas células estão nas raízes da Terra. Então eu preciso de um amar só, de alguém como Paloma, nem que seja do outro lado de uma linha situada há 22 horas em um voo de avião. Eu tô tão desmembrado que faz dó. Eu tô tão desmembrado que faz doer. Eu tô desmoronado. Por isso, preciso de uma dona toda vermelha. Paloma é vermelha, mas fala azul e cabe em uma pessoa. Diferente de mim: o que importa é o que ela é. E topou me encontrar. Ela tem um papo lindo nas redes sociais. Depois de quatro dias de falas virtuais, nos veremos. Eu esperei um século pra que esses quatro dias passassem rápido. Passei perfume. Ela foi se arrumar. Eu desenhei com lápis um limite pro meu próprio corpo. Ela foi comprar um vestido. Ontem foi o ano novo chinês e pedi por nós. Também pedi que a minha dor não seja a dor da Terra, mas só a dor do meu umbigo. De lábios cremosos, Paloma disse que o meu papo é engraçado. O lip gloss, pink; Paloma, vermelha; sua fala, azul, no vestido que ela vai usar hoje à noite para o nosso primeiro encontro.

SHE SPEAKS BLUE

I knew her as red. Paloma Szenchin spoke blue. She put herself in front of the unicolor smartphone screen. But I knew red as luck, red as blood, hot and flowing. First, I was interested by the unusual nickname. Then, by what was black in her, as well as in me. We are both Vietnamese by origin and carry the pains of the world in every fibre of our being. If I were a poet, I would write only about my suffering. For this reason, I am not a poet. My suffering is not local, but rather a global wave. Pain in the pores of the world. My cells are rooted in the earth. So I only need one love, someone like Paloma, even if we are on different sides of a line, a 22 hour flight away. I’m so shamefully broken. I’m so broken it hurts. I have crumbled. Because of this, I need a lady who is completely red. Paloma is red, but speaks blue, all fitting into one person. Unlike me: what matters is what she is. And she stumbled across me. She chats beautifully on social networks. After four days of talking online, we are going to see each other. I waited for what felt like a century for these four days to pass quickly. I put on cologne. She was getting ready. I drew a limit for my own body in pencil. She was buying a dress. Yesterday was Chinese New Year and I wished for us. I also wished that my pain is not the Earth’s pain, but only the pain of my navel. With creamy lips, Paloma said that I talk funny. The lip gloss, pink; Paloma, red; her speech, blue, in the dress she will wear tonight for our first date.

 

ESPELHADA NAS MARÉS

(audio 1 and audio 2)

Das primeiras imagens formadas naquelas águas, a mais forte lembrança: fios de cabelo que quase se fizeram passar por algas marinhas, mas que eram mesmo fios: vermelhas ondulações não de sangue, mas de fidelidade às próprias raízes e de, à verdade, devoção. À mesma maneira, órgãos translúcidos formaram-se aos poucos: uma órbita ocular, depois duas, a tessitura de uma pele pálida: não da morte, mas da virgindade ali contida. Até que naquele mar de encosta brava e inconsciente, 25 anos depois, mulher inteira fosse feita – a oceânica, siamesa minha e ao mesmo tempo independente, ela emitia a linguagem das sereias-focas, mulheres travestidas de animal mitológico, do tipo que professa segredos seculares aos montes e de cor. Em casos de medo ou de questionamento, eu sempre recorria ao mar para acessar essa minha parcela dupla, a diva espelhada nas marés que tanto se parecia comigo, à qual apelidei com meu nome próprio: Laura. Era incrível, a dona da íris verdejante transformava os enganos dos meus dias em fatos memoráveis, tantos eram os significados por ela revelados entre minhas pausas e palavras. Até que no 27º ano levei a ela a notícia de um terceiro entre nós, indivíduo de minhas entranhas mas a mim parcialmente estranho, já que não havia sido feito com minhas sombras, muito menos com minhas palavras: ele era um substrato de nossa relação. Foi quando vi Laura chorar naquelas águas, na primeira vez em que deixei de enxergar sua forma física, em um movimento inverso rumo ao desaparecimento aquático, até que ela se resumisse a uma tremulação de idas e vindas na maré composta pelo sal de suas lágrimas mescladas ao sal do mar. Foi assim até que nada mais eu visse, embora ainda tentasse caçar na fluidez qualquer imagem identificável. Mas o dia desceu escuro e só me ofereceu torvelinhos sem luz. O mês desceu escuro. Os anos seguintes, igualmente. Hoje, no 35º ano, vivo com aquele terceiro que a fez chorar, fora o quarto, o quinto, até chegar a um décimo sexto filho. Todos expostos, em paredes opostas. Todos retratos de tinta antes líquida, condensada na reprodução de cada forma, de cada palavra-lenda entre a Laura oceânica e a Laura mundana. Os convites acabaram de ser enviados. A vernissage inaugural será na próxima terça-feira e eu mal posso esperar pela chegada desse momento. Adoraria que Laura estivesse aqui.

MIRRORED IN THE TIDES

From the first images formed in those waters, the strongest memory: strands of hair that could almost pass as seaweed, but they were indeed strands: red ripples, not of blood, but of loyalty to one’s roots, to truth, to devotion. In the same way, translucent bodies formed gradually: one eye socket, then two, then the fabric of pale skin: not pale from death, but rather from the virginity it contained within. From that sea, to the angry and unconscious cliff-face, 25 years later, a whole woman was made – the ocean, my Siamese twin, and yet at the same time independent, uttered the language of mermaid-seals, women disguised as mythological animals, the kind that profess ancient secrets off by heart to the mountains. In cases of fear or questioning, I always returned to the sea to access my other half, a diva mirrored in the tides, who so resembled me, who I called by my own name: Laura. It was amazing; the owner of the green iris turned the day’s mistakes into memorable facts, revealing so many meanings between my pauses and words. Until after the 27th year I told her that there was a third person between us, an individual cut from the same cloth as me, yet still slightly strange to me, since he hadn’t been made with my shadows, and much less so with my words: he was a substratum of our relationship. It was then that I saw Laura cry in those waters, it was the first time I stopped being able to see her physical form, she disappeared in a reverse movement, until she became a flicker of coming and goings in the tide consisting of the salt of her tears mixed with the salt of the sea. It was like that until I wasn’t able to see her anymore, although I still tried to hunt for any trace of an identifiable image of her in the fluidity. But the day became dark, and only offered me eddies without light. The month became dark. The following years as well. Today, after 35 years, I live with that third person that made her cry, I had my fourth, fifth, until I reached a sixteenth child. All displayed on opposite walls. All the portraits made from ink without liquid, condensed in the reproduction of every shape, of every legendary word between the oceanic Laura and the worldly Laura. The invitations have just been sent. The opening show will be next Tuesday and I can’t wait for its arrival. I would love for Laura to be here.

 

O PAI DE TODOS OS MALES

(audio)

Às vezes, sou pura, um anjo mesmo. Em outras, má, um demônio em formação. Repouso em uma cela toda branca que eu gostaria que fosse da cor do sangue que manipulo todos os dias da minha vida. Eu olho pro sangue todos os dias da minha vida, enquanto permaneço em absoluta brancura, mas não em silêncio. O sangue precisa de histórias, de prosa livre e interatividade. Provavelmente devido à sua natureza dinâmica, sua sanidade depende da boa palavra, daquilo que é bendito pela boca humana. Por essa razão, posso derrotar o corpo de alguém ou até mesmo salvá-lo apenas com o uso da oratória. Conforme meu humor do dia, é possível saber qual será a minha decisão, embora eu goste de pregar peças. Demônios em formação amam esse tipo de coisa e detestam a previsibilidade. Para testarmos o nosso poder, criamos charadas indecifráveis, bloqueamos vias que antes eram livres, promovemos confusão nas mentes crédulas. O sangue possui uma mente absolutamente crédula. Ele é influenciável. O sangue parece bobo, às vezes. Em tubos, cilindros ou artérias, ele sempre absorve. E, nesse trabalho de absorção inconsciente, dá vida a variadas doenças e males. Mesmo sem querer, o sangue é pai de todos os males. Por falar nisso, minha avó morreu de câncer. Minha mãe também. Por causa de todas as palavras más que tiveram de ouvir durante a vida. Dos ouvidos, para as células e glóbulos brancos e vermelhos, é um pulinho. Assim como para as plaquetas. E por aí vai, até alcançar todo o resto. Palavras no pós vida têm igual influência: afetam o sangue das fotos, o sangue das imagens da memória. Se boas, as fazem permanecer como inspiração. Se ruins, já sabe. Resulta naquele tipo de morto no qual nem gostamos de pensar ou de citar o nome em reuniões familiares. É isso aí Roger, gosto muito de você, então adotei essa fala muito próxima da neutralidade, algo que geralmente não faço, mas com parentes e amigos é diferente, por isso, tento influenciar o mínino possível. Tenha uma boa vida. [Tulipa finaliza a análise das amostras de sangue de Roger F. Hippley e as etiqueta. Parte para o exame da coleta de um outro paciente. Seu humor não é dos melhores e hoje ela se encontra particularmente imprevisível].

THE FATHER OF ALL ILLNESSES

Sometimes I am pure, an angel even. In other instances, I am evil, a demon in training. I rest on a completely white cell, I’d like it to be the colour of the blood that I handle every day of my life. I look at blood every day of my life, while I remain in absolute whiteness, but not in silence. Blood needs stories, free prose and interaction. Probably due to its dynamic nature, its health depends on good words, on that which is blessed by the human mouth. For this reason, I can destroy someone’s body or even save it, with only the use of speech. According to my mood of the day, it is possible to predict my decision, although I like to play tricks. Demons in training love this kind of thing and hate predictability. To test our power, we create indecipherable riddles, we block paths that were once free, and we promote confusion in gullible minds. Blood has an absolutely gullible mind. It is easily influenced. Blood seems silly at times. Inside tubes, cylinders or arteries, it always absorbs. And this work of unconscious absorption gives life to various diseases and illnesses. Even unintentionally, blood is the father of all illnesses. Speaking of this, my grandmother died of cancer. My mother too. Because of all the bad words that they had to hear throughout their lives. From the ears, to the white and red blood cells is a short trip. As it is to the platelets. And so on, until you reach the rest. Words have the same influence in the afterlife: they affect the blood which creates photos, the blood which creates images of the memory. If they are good, they are made to stay as inspiration. If they are bad, you already know. It results in that kind of death which we don’t like to think about, whose name we don’t mention at family gatherings. That’s it Roger, I like you a lot, so I adopted this speech very close to neutrality, something that I do not usually do, but with family and friends it is different, so I try not to influence the situation too much. Have a nice life. [Tulip ends the analysis of blood samples from Roger F. Hippley and labels it. She leaves to go and examine the samples of another patient. His humour is not the best and today it is particularly unpredictable].

 

UM CÉU DIFERENTE

(audio)

Um sol para pronta entrega. Ele chegou em uma caixa. Achei um despropósito um sol receber de presente um outro sol. Mesmo que tenha sido enviado com as melhores intenções. Eu já possuía meu próprio reinado. Meu firmamento e minha coroa. Que fosse ao menos uma lua fria. Um meteoro. Até um asteróide de causar estragos em crostas terráqueas. Mas nada, era sol mesmo, o danado. Não parava de queimar. Em um fogo de entranha daqueles impossíveis de apagar. Era pequeno ainda. Um sol criança. Arrogante, como só os sóis sabem ser. Eu nunca tive a notícia de que sóis poderiam ser rejeitados. Daí o aceitei. Temerosa do que fazer com tamanho calor. Poderia ser o meu fim. Ou o começo. Acreditei na segunda opção. Tornamo-nos, assim, dois sóis em um céu quieto, imagem presente em dez entre dez pesadelos da população encarcerada mundial – encarcerada, não carcerária, o que significa que donas de casa e homens de negócios podem fazer parte deste grupo. Para a humanidade, pode parecer que os astros siderais vivem em constante disputa de egos pela posição mais brilhante no céu, passível de evidenciar mesquinharias mundanas. Tudo bem que há uma certa petulância envolvida nisso tudo. Ainda não nasceu pessoa incapaz de se sentir diminuída diante de nós. Mas juro, não temos qualquer controle quanto à nossa monumentalidade. As coisas são assim porque já nasceram assim, muito antes de que o verbo fosse feito. Hoje, ambos convivemos em perfeita suspensão indiscreta. Em um contínuo carnaval dos trópicos. Numa dupla apoteose de primeira divisão. E explodimos a todo instante. A carbonizar e a propagar ironias universais. O buraco negro engolirá a todos nós um dia? Sinceramente, duvido, enquanto planejo, na minha própria carne, uma tempestade capaz de interferir no funcionamento dos eletrodomésticos da Terra. De fundir com o HD externo dos humanos. De paralisar pra sempre a cafeteira italiana de muita gente. Viveremos assim por centenas de milhares de anos, até que não haja no universo qualquer resquício do que tenha sido uma cafeteira italiana ou HD externo. Esse tempo marcará a chegada do nosso terceiro, a constituição de nosso tríptico. Será quando enviaremos, a um sol de confim de galáxia, uma caixa. Dentro dela, um presentinho.

A DIFFERENT SKY

A sun for prompt delivery. He arrived in a box. I thought it preposterous, a sun getting given another sun. Even if it had been sent with the best of intentions. I already had my own kingdom. My heavens and my crown. It could have at least been a cold moon. A meteor. Even an asteroid to wreak havoc on the Earth’s crusts. But nothing, it was the same sun, the damned. It didn’t stop burning. A fire whose entrails were impossible to put out. It was still small. A child sun. Arrogant, as only suns know how to be. I was never told that suns could be rejected. Hence I accepted him. Fearful of what to do with a heat of this size. It could be the end of me. Or the beginning. I believed the second option. We therefore became two suns in a quiet sky, an image present in ten out of ten of the world’s incarcerated population’s nightmares – incarcerated, not imprisoned, which means that housewives and businessmen can be part of this group. For humanity, it may seem that the egos of sidereal stars live in constant dispute for the brightest position in the sky, capable of showing mundane pettiness. It’s true that there is a certain petulance involved in all this. A person who is not yet born is incapable of feeling diminished before us. But I swear, we have no control over our monumentality. It is because we were born this way, long before Word was made. Today, we both live together in perfect, indiscreet balance. In a continuous carnival of the tropics. In a double apotheosis of the first division. And we could explode at any moment. Carbonise and spread universal ironies. Will the black hole swallow us all one day? Honestly, I doubt it, while planning in my own flesh at the same time, a storm capable of interfering with the Earth’s appliances. Melting myself with the human’s external hard drives. Paralysing forever many people’s Italian coffee machines. We will live like this for hundreds of thousands of years, until there isn’t a trace left of an Italian coffee machine or an external hard drive. This time will mark the arrival of our third, the establishment of our triptych. It will be then that we send, to a sun of the border of the galaxy, a box. Inside, a small gift.

 

MENSAGEM NA GARRAFA

(audio)

Foi um mar que caiu sobre minha cabeça. Mais certo do que o céu que me cobria há duas décadas. Fugi, agora ondulante, então velejador. Distante, ao vento de um horizonte aberto. Abri mão da sensatez das linhas. Não seria mais filho-problema-sombra-despesa-não-programada-incômodo-genético-a-ser-desprogramado-em-colégio-católico. Passaria a ser onda partida – névoa – maresia – lenda – arrebentação – calmaria – escuridão das abissais.
Nessa minha nova condição, me dedicaria a atos que, se escritos, resultariam em grandes livros.

Engoliria garrafas com mensagens em papel para que alguém dentro de mim as lesse (em caso de necessidade). Nem peixe, nem homem, saltei, afundado e náufrago.

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE

It was a sea that fell on my head. More certain than the sky that covered me for two decades. I fleed, now a wave, then a sailor. Far away, on the wind of an open horizon. I gave up the wisdom of the lines. Would it not be more child-problem-shadow-expense-unscheduled-bother-genetic-to-be-deprogrammed-in-catholic-school. It would become a match of waves – fog – salty air – legend – surf – calm – the abysmal darkness.

In my new condition, I would devote myself to acts that, if written, would result in great books.

I would swallow bottles with messages on paper for someone inside me to read (if necessary). Neither fish nor man, I jumped, sunken and shipwrecked.

 

ESTE LADO PARA CIMA

(audio)

Estou farta de dar a minha carne para que fodam com ela.

Então dou origem a tufões e a crises sistêmicas de destruir porcelanas engavetadas. Porcelanas, engavetadas ou não, são frágeis, então todos querem preservá-las intactas. Fosse descoberta uma composição que as tornasse inquebráveis, perderiam imediatamente o seu valor. Meu maior prazer é fazer o possível para destruí-las. Não me contento em destruir a carne dos homens, quero mesmo é acabar com os seus caprichos. Essa é uma forma ainda mais completa e vil de arrasá-los. Todo homem anda pela rua como se tivesse um armário de porcelana dentro de si. Empilhados, os vasos de material leitoso e brilhante. Enfileirados, os pratos e baixelas recebidos como presente de casamento. Sopeiras que nunca guardaram calor. Leiteiras, xícaras. Uma vez, salvei uma nação inteira por causa de Ming Lee. Ela tornava-se brilhante sempre que tocava o piano. Ela tornava-se indestrutível. Aí residia o seu valor para mim. Aí residia a sua desvalorização para o mundo. As notas musicais que Lee produzia anularam minha fúria de dizimar um país inteiro e suas baixelas. Com sua indestrutibilidade não-reconhecida, Lee protegeu os guardadores de louças da nação. Com sua indestrutibilidade intocada, Lee garantiu alguns anos a mais aos homens sólidos de fragilidade ambulante.

THIS SIDE UP

I’m tired of giving my flesh so others can fuck with it.

So I bring about typhoons and systematic crises which destroy shelved china. China, shelved or not, is fragile, which means that everyone wants to keep it intact. If a composition was discovered to make it unbreakable, it would immediately lose its value. My greatest pleasure is to do everything possible to destroy it. I am not simply content to destroy the flesh of men, instead, what I really want is to destroy their caprices. This is a more thorough and wicked way to crush them. Every man walks down the street as if he had a cabinet of china inside him. Piled up, the pots of milky, shiny material. Lined up, plates and dishes received as wedding gifts. Soup bowls that have never held heat. Milk jugs, tea cups. Once I saved a whole nation because of Ming Lee. She shined when she played the piano. She became indestructible. For me, there lay her value. For the world, there lay her depreciation. The musical notes that Lee produced canceled out my fury to decimate an entire country and its china dishes. With her unnoticed indestructibility, Lee protected the nation’s crockery keepers. With her untouched indestructibility, Lee secured a few more years for the solid men of travelling fragility.

 

LOIRA, DIVIDIDA

(audio)

O som de ‘a’ prolongado da máquina de suspender as cortinas do palco é o som da autocomiseração. Embora também me faça lembrar dos coros vocais típicos da trilha de filmes de horror dos anos 70. Na adolescência eu estava perdida na cidade cinza, como uma britadeira no modo high speed, já que batia sempre em um mesmo ponto duro, a causar grandes estragos. Minha cabeça loira de cabelo meio longo, meio raspado, dizia tudo sobre o que era possível ou não encontrar em mim, uma norueguesa com cara de semi-modelo, não fossem as bochechas e as curvas divididas a me fazerem mulher-quadrada. Eu fui para o Brasil por dois anos, meu pai petroleiro me patrulhava, não me deixava ir à orla ou ao morro do alemão. Padeci horrores em sua mão carrasca e soberana. Até que, ao fim dos dois anos, decidi estudar drama. Não porque fosse exclusivamente dramática – um fio de gelo morno escorre em minhas veias, o que significa o mesmo que não ter sangue – mas devido ao apelo do palco, ä exposição inerente à arte, condição ideal para contrabalançar o recato forçado nas areias brasileiras – que ironia. Dei a volta a alguns mundos, chorei, sofri – ciente de que o extremo do meu sofrimento nórdico dá apenas uns 10% do sofrimento latino, mas, mesmo assim, sofri, à minha maneira aguada – voltei para a Noruega, parti pra Londres, me parti em pedaços, colei-os, virei um mix de quadrinhos, minha pele transformou-se em um mosaico de cobra coral, minha cabeça um jogo de xadrez sem a peça da torre. Escrevi sete peças para teatro, quatro delas encenadas, duas a contento, uma destruída pelas encenações ruins, outra ruim mesmo de encenar, fosse por Garbo ou Olivier. Tô em cartaz agora, não pelo meu corpo físico, mas pelo meu corpo construído na dramaturgia, um frankenstein kafkiano nas bênçãos de stanislavski. Pelo buraquinho da cortina ouço sons de teatro cheio, mas só vejo uma moça aqui perto e um rapaz na ponta esquerda da segunda fila. Tenho a impressão de ter ouvido a segunda campainha soar há uns cinco minutos.

BLOND, DIVIDED

The prolonged sound of ‘a’ from the machine which suspends the stage curtain is the sound of self-pity. Although it also reminds me of the vocal choirs typical of horror film soundtracks from the seventies. As a teenager, I was lost in the grey city, like a pneumatic drill in high-speed, always hitting the same hard spot, causing severe damage. My head of blonde hair, half of it long, half shaved, said everything about what was or wasn’t possible to find in me, a Norwegian with what would be a modelesque face, if it weren’t for the cheeks and dividing curves that make me a square -faced woman instead. I went to Brazil for two years, my father, who worked in oil, watched over me, he would not let me go to the waterfront or the German slum. I suffered horrors at his sovereign executioner’s hand. Until, two years later, I decided to study drama. Not because I was especially dramatic – a current of warm ice runs through my veins, which is the same as not having any blood at all – but because of the appeal of the stage, the exhibition inherent to art, the ideal condition to counteract the forced modesty in Brazilian sands – what an irony. I turned to some worlds, I cried, I suffered – aware that my Nordic suffering is equivalent only to about 10% of Latin suffering, but even so, I suffered, in my wishy-washy way – I returned to Norway, then I went to London, I set off in pieces, I stuck them together, I became a mix of little squares, my skin turned into a mosaic of coral snakeskin, my head a chess game without the rook. I wrote seven theatre pieces, four of them staged, but only two satisfactorily, one of the them destroyed by bad acting, the other was unsuitable for staging in the first place, even by Garbo or Olivier. I’m on stage right now, not in my physical body, but in my body constructed in dramaturgy, a Kafka-esque Frankenstein with Stanislavski’s blessings. Through the little hole in the curtain I can hear the sounds of a crowded theatre, but I can only see a nearby girl and a boy at the left end of the second row. I have a feeling that I heard the second bell sound about five minutes ago.

 

DEVOTADO A ELA

(audio)

Em um quadro de Goya, encontrei Athena. Não porque eu olhasse para a cena projetada no canvas, mas porque dela eu fazia mesmo parte, eu estava do lado de dentro. A carne daquela obra de arte era minha: se não exclusivamente, também. Só uns traços de cinza, magenta, dourado, nos destacavam do fundo escuro. A presença de Athena era evidente como uma forma de consciência antes da ação, representada em um extrato de movimento, em uma pincelada. Partilhar com Athena um dos abismos de Goya é coisa que não se inventa nem se esquece. Partilhar com Athena um dos abismos de Goya é coisa capaz de mudar toda uma vida. É estar em um espaço sideral sem um nada de estrelas. É sobreviver na isenção dos astros que trazem ilusão. Foi desiludido que eu soube como me projetar no mundo. Convicto de como me manter sólido, impermeável, no escuro. Eu estava cansado de ouvir que só o que brilha é digno e superior. Em um ouro negro, capaz de ser visto por apenas certo tipo de olhos, cunhei minhas armas e minha arte. Naquele dia, desci até onde ninguém mais conseguiu. Mãos de dedos finos colocaram sobre minha cabeça um capacete de ébano frio, o que foi apreciado por ninguém.

DEVOTED TO HER

In one of Goya’s painting, I found Athena. Not because I was looking at the scene projected on a canvas, but because I was actually part of it, I was on the inside. The flesh of that piece of art was mine as well, if not exclusively. Only traces of grey, magenta, and gold stood out in the dark background. Athena’s presence was obvious like a form of consciousness before action, represented in a movement, in a brushstroke. Sharing one of Goya’s abysses with Athena is not something that is invented nor forgotten. Sharing one of Goya’s abysses with Athena is something that is able to change a lifetime. It is like being in outer space without any stars. It is surviving in the contempt of the stars that cause wishful thinking. I was disillusioned in thinking that I knew how to define myself in the world. Convinced I knew how to remain solid, waterproof, in the dark. I was tired of hearing that only what shines is worthy and higher. In a black gold, only able to be seen by a certain kind of eyes, I coined my guns and my art. That day, I went down to where no one else could. Fine-fingered hands placed a cold ebony helmet on my head, which wasn’t appreciated by anyone.

 

PRESERVADO

(audio)

Pela frequência laranja estava o meu escritório todo inundado. Em tal circunstância, eu não fazia nada além de olhar pro céu e calcular os melhores ângulos, diferenciando-me dos animais nessa minha necessidade particular. Eu havia me tornado um reservatório de sons e de histórias dos outros, incapaz de exalar as minhas próprias narrativas. Por isso me sentia amplo, inchado, tamanha era a retenção. A começar pela nostalgia, com a qual eu discordava, mas que não por isso deixava de me dominar. Um traço de família determinante era essa necessidade de emoldurar dias bons ao invés de criar novas satisfações. Esse era o meu modo extravagante de, na inexistência das palavras, descrever algo simples, de tornar certas tonalidades mais ricas pelo fato de dar a elas um direcionamento diferente. E aí, eu voltava a reter. Voltava a aceitar que um momento deveria ser preservado feito pickles em conserva. Especialmente um dia que já começava laranja: mais uma cena memorável do que instante vivido. Quanto melhores são nossas memórias, mais silenciosos nos tornamos. Ajustei as lentes da câmera, calado. Fez-se apenas um clique.

PRESERVED

My whole office was flooded by the orange frequency. In such a circumstance, I did nothing but look to heaven and calculate the best angles, differentiating myself from animals with this particular need. I had become a reservoir of sounds and stories of others, unable to emit my own narratives. Therefore I felt large, swollen, such was the retention. Starting with the nostalgia with which I disagreed, but which did not cease to dominate me. A key family trait was the need to frame good days instead of creating new satisfactions. That was my fancy way of, in the absence of words, describing something simple, to introduce more rich tones because they give a different direction. And there, I returned to remembering. I returned to accept that a moment should be preserved like pickles. Especially a day that had begun orange: another memorable scene instead of a live moment. The better our memories, the quieter we become. I adjusted the camera lens, silent. It only clicked once.

 

PIÑA COLADA

(Sobre a alma e os sons da autora)

Minha alma faz zzzzz. Não esse zzzzz onomatopeico considerado sinônimo de sono profundo, mas um tipo de zzzzz ancestral, um zzzzz que esteve presente na formação do universo, esse som adotado pela minha alma em algum momento é um zzzzz detentor de mistérios tão profundos que serão, para todo o sempre, desconhecidos. E se desconhecidos para todo o sempre, tanto faz se são mistérios mesmo ou pura lorota de quem apenas está interessada em impressionar as audiências. Um mistério fadado ao desconhecimento eterno é o mesmo que um mistério que nunca existiu. E se nunca existiu, não tem poder de coisa alguma, muito menos de mistério. Falando sério, minha alma agrega a si mesma esses zzzzzs todos só para ganhar certo destaque. Ninguém sabe disso, mas há uma competição silenciosa entre as almas, uma competição que não passa pela boca do homem. É amigo com amigo, lado a lado, sem imaginar que ao mesmo tempo pode haver uma disputa ferrenha entre suas almas, que, depois dos sons, adotam cores como outra forma de autopromoção e destaque. A minha por um tempo queria porque queria ser azul arroxeada – não em uma tonalidade suavezinha como hortênsia ou lavanda porque ela é um tanto quanto radical, era algo mais para um batom gótico e tinta de parede. Aí ela cansou, resolveu que agora é fúcsia. Desconfio que nem seja pela cor em si, mas pelo nome ‘fúcsia’ que sempre causa mais impacto do que, simplesmente, ‘amarelo’, ‘azul’, ‘verde’. Fúcsia estimula o imaginário, quem não conhece já se põe a imaginar que cor seria essa, é como se o fúcsia fosse o espectro de todas as cores, tem uma pluralidade aliada a uma força expressiva pungente que abala as estruturas das expectativas ‘arroz com feijão’. Conheço bem minha alma, é a cara dela optar por esse tipo de coisa que embaralha a cabeça dos outros. E se dá algum destaque em relação às inimigas, melhor ainda. Minha alma adora um palco. De qualquer forma e apesar de tudo ainda dou um crédito pra ela, que nada mais é do que um zzzzz rodopiante em uma pista feita de Pina Colada congelada, naquela típica tonalidade amarelinha do famoso drink.

PIÑA COLADA

(About the soul and sounds of the author)

My soul makes the sound zzzzz. Not that onomatopoeic zzzzz considered synonymous of deep sleep, but a kind of ancestral zzzzz, a zzzzz that was present at the formation of the universe, this sound adopted by my soul at some point is a zzzzz, holder of such deep mysteries that they will be, for all time, unknown. And if they are unknown for all time, whether they are mysteries or pure fiction, only interested in impressing the audience. A mystery doomed to eternal ignorance is the same as a mystery that never existed. And if it never existed, it has no power over anything, much less mystery. Talking seriously, my soul adds all these zzzzz’s to itself just to win certain prominence. No one knows this, but there is a silent competition between souls, a competition that does not pass through the mouth of man. Two friends, side by side, not realising that at the same time there may be a fierce dispute between their souls that, after the sounds, adopt colours as another form of self-promotion and eminence. For a while, my soul wanted to be purplish blue – not in a soft tone like hydrangea or lavender – because as radical as it is, it was better for a gothic lipstick and wall paint. Then it got tired, decided that now it is fuchsia. I suspect not solely for the colour itself, but for the name ‘fuchsia’ that always causes more impact than simply ‘yellow’, ‘blue’, ‘green’. Fuchsia stimulates the imagination, those who don’t know it already, start to imagine what colour it could be, it’s like fuchsia was the spectrum of all colours, it has a plurality combined with a poignant, expressive force that shakes the structures of bread-and-butter expectations. I know my soul well, it loves to opt for this kind of thing that scrambles the heads of others. And better still if it gives some importance to enemies. My soul loves a stage. In any case, and despite everything, I still give credit to it, which is nothing more than a swirling zzzzz on an ice rink made of frozen Piña Colada, with the typical light yellow colour of the famous drink.

 

RITUAL LÁCTEO

Michal Pudelka pictureQuatro jatos de leite desciam do céu em sentido vertical para depois desenharem um ângulo exato de 90 graus e escorrerem pelo carpete pardo, ainda no auge de sua brancura e cremosidade. Eu podia ver cada jato distinto passar por debaixo da minha cama feito os veios de um rio sob uma ponte, embora me mantivesse 100% sonhadora, olhos escuros de tão fechados. Quatro segredos brancos eram as pernas das mocinhas gazelas que trocavam beijinhos sob a minha cama com metade do corpitcho para fora (a parte mais sugestiva exposta). Digo sugestiva porque o que se via eram suas microssaias, as meias sete oitavos na previsível altura das coxas e os sapatos brancos de noiva ou enfermeira, não fossem os saltos altíssimos. No patamar de cima, meu vestido verde não tão curto era uma espécie de céu pros quatro segredos de leite – aquilo que, para mentes mais simples, é chamado de quatro pernas – debaixo da minha cama. Muitas vezes, na linha do horizonte mar e céu se confundem, o mar pode ser verde ou azul, então, se pensarmos em uma quebra dos limites previsíveis entre coisa de cima e coisa de baixo, tudo bem se o céu for verde, nem que seja por um tempo determinado, só para cumprir uma determinada função estética – o que, de fato, aconteceu. Daí que eu, em osso e carne, era a representação de um sonho em forma de cabeça, tronco e membros, envolvido por um céu desejado. Minha boca carmim entreaberta fazia a vez de um portal, exalava no ar, em formato de balões de HQ, os segredos de pitonisas em transe antes de eu descer e me juntar à cremosidade láctea das meninas, que, para meu espanto, estavam resumidas a dois pares de pernas entrelaçadas, embora eu ouvisse claramente o som dos beijinhos trocados entre elas naquele escuro dominante sob a ponte fria. Ainda me lembro de ter ficado estarrecida naquela noite em festa, quando uma garota com duas tranças longas e grossas nos cabelos, nua da cintura para cima, pediu que eu pusesse minha língua pra fora, sobre a qual posicionou, solenemente, um quadradinho solúvel em saliva doce e quente.

(texto baseado em uma foto do artista eslovaco baseado em Londres Michal Pudelka)

MILKY RITUAL

Four milk jets came down vertically from the sky, and then made an exact 90 degree angle, running down the brown carpet, still at the height of their whiteness and creaminess. I could see each distinct jet pass under my bed like the seams of a river under a bridge, despite being 100% sure of the fact that I was dreaming, my dark eyes closed tight. Four white secrets which were the legs of gazelle girls who exchanged kisses under my bed, with half their bodies exposed (the most suggestive part). I say suggestive, because what you were able to see was their miniskirts, their thigh-high socks and their white shoes, which were similar to those of a bride or a nurse – not sky-high heels. On the upper level, my not-so-short green dress was a kind of heaven for those four milk secrets – which, to simpler minds, might be called four legs – under my bed. Often, at the line of the horizon, the sea and sky merge, the sea can be green or blue, and so, if we think about a break in the supposed limits of the things above and the things below, it’s okay for the sky to be green, if only for a while, if only to meet a certain aesthetic function – which, in fact, happened. That is why I, in flesh and bone, was the representation of a head-shaped dream, torso and limbs, surrounded by a desired sky. My open, crimson mouth was a portal of sorts, exhaling into the air, in the shape of speech bubbles, the secrets of a pythoness in a trance, before I went down and joined the milky creaminess of the girls, who, to my astonishment, were reduced to two pairs of intertwined legs, although I clearly heard the sound of kisses being exchanged between them in that dominant dark under the cold bridge. I still remember being terrified during that night of celebration, when a girl with two long, thick plaits, naked from the waist up, asked me to put my tongue out, on which she solemnly positioned, a small, soluble square of hot, sweet saliva. (Text based on a photo by the Slovak artist, Michal Pudelka, who lives in London)

 

O CAMALEÃO

Comprei sapatos brancos para me sentir um pouco David Bowie. Todo mundo já quis se sentir um pouco Bowie um dia. Embora, nesse caso, não dê para ser pouco – tem que ser completo. Na vitrina da Oxford Street, encontrei, à venda, meu caminho para a androginia estelar, levado pra casa em uma caixa retangular de papelão. Eu já havia comprado um terno azul e feito com que meus cabelos parecessem fogo de chama alta. Rebelde eu já era faz tempo, então faltavam apenas alguns cigarros finos e perfis meticulosamente refletidos em espelhos. Pra ser Bowie, você precisa ser bom de perfil. Senão, nem adianta tentar. Pra mirar o firmamento primeiro, depois fechar os olhos e sustentar um sol sustenido com a decência de um Bowie não dá pra ser qualquer um. Tem que ter uma estrela guia, um belo salto plataforma, uma sombra jade muito bem aplicada nas pálpebras, já que um olho de cada cor ninguém vai conseguir ter mesmo. Enxergar o mundo em duas cores faz total diferença em relação à criação artística de quem quer que seja. É um avançado exercício de estética favorecido pela biologia. Intervenção da mãe natureza nas leis da genética que beneficiam alguns poucos humanos e gatos. Coisa tão grandiosa que, já no Egito Antigo, conferiam aos híbridos de gato e humano o status de deidade, como Bastet. O que nos dias atuais estaria bem próximo à figura do herói. Em suma, eu queria ser Bowie. Apenas por apenas uma vida.

THE CHAMELEON

I bought white shoes to feel a little like David Bowie. Everyone has wanted to feel a little like Bowie once. But in this case, you can’t just do a little – it has to be full-blown. In the shop window on Oxford Street, I found, for sale, my way to stellar androgyny, taken home in a rectangular cardboard box. I had already bought a blue suit and styled my hair to look like a flaming fire. I have been a rebel for a long time, so the only things missing were a few thin cigarettes and profiles meticulously reflected in mirrors. To be Bowie, you need to have a good profile. Otherwise, don’t even bother. First, point to the sky, then close your eyes and hold a sharp note to the standard that only Bowie can reach. You have to have a guiding star, a beautiful wedged heel, a jade green shadow very well applied to the eyelids, with eyes of different colour that only Bowie has. Seeing the world in two colours makes all the difference in relation to artistic creation by anyone. It is an advanced exercise aesthetically favoured by biology. Mother Nature’s intervention in the laws of genetics that benefit a few humans and cats. A thing so great that, in ancient Egypt, the human cat hybrids were bestowed with deity status, like Bastet. Which today would be right next to the image of a hero. In short, I wanted to be Bowie. If only for a lifetime.

 

PALAVRAS DE UM IRLANDÊS PERDIDO NO METRÔ DE LONDRES

Só pode ter uma visão realista da vida aquele tem à frente dos olhos um horizonte de curvas e arrebentação.
Minhas mãos são grossas por causa do mar, da construção civil e do tanto que sou irlandês.
A Irlanda é uma terra de santos e de estudiosos. Não sou nem uma coisa nem outra, mas irlandês como ninguém.
Não gosto de silêncio, o que sempre me fez puxar papo com quem estivesse o meu lado,
fosse ele pecador ou deus. Por isso, sempre carrego comigo um crucifixo e uma lata de cerveja.

WORDS OF AN IRISHMAN LOST ON THE LONDON UNDERGROUND

You can only have a realistic view of life when ahead of your eyes lies a horizon of curves and waves.
My hands are thick because of the sea, because of my work in construction, and also because I am Irish.
Ireland is a land of saints and scholars. I am neither one nor the other, but I am Irish like no other.
I do not like silence, which always made me strike up a conversation with whoever was by my side, whether a sinner or a god. For this reason, I always carry a crucifix and a can of beer with me.

Poet in Residence

The Archive is hosting a poet-in-residence for one month until 17 March.

Cristina Judar is a writer from São Paulo, Brazil with a postgraduate degree in Cultural Journalism. Her first book, Lina, came out in 2009 and received the Cultural Action Grant in the Graphic Novel category, awarded by the State Secretary of Culture in São Paulo. In 2011, she published her second book, Vermelho, Vivo [Red, Live], which also received the Cultural Action Grant. Her latest book, Roteiros para uma vida curta [Scripts for a Short Life] received an honorable mention at the 2014 SESC Literary Awards. Cristina also writes Luminescências nas Pickups [Luminescence on Pickups,] a blog dedicated to fiction and is working on her first novel Oito do sete [Eight of seven].

This residency has been sponsored by the Brazilian Ministry of Culture and the British Council. She is developing a literary project for the Archive of the Now which fuses prose and poetry inspired by interviews with Londoners. This will culminate in a pop-up exhibition on the QMUL campus in the week of 9 March.

Cristina Judar

Welcome to the relaunched Archive of the Now!

Welcome to the relaunched Archive of the Now!

Over the past few months, the Archive has been completely redesigned.  We hope you’ll enjoy the richer content on the Author index pages, which allows you to sample a bit of poetry before you listen.  We’ve also added a page of Responses, where you can see what people have been saying about the Archive, including a survey of contributors and the essays by our Poet-in-Residence, Sophie Mayer.  Sophie’s essays are a good way to start navigating the Archive if you’ve never been here before.  We’ve also updated our Links page – please send us your own links to add here using the Contact Us form.  And you can use the Recent Additions page to see who’s new at the Archive.

To celebrate our relaunch, we’re very excited to announce new readings by Richard Barrett, Elisabeth Bletsoe, Jason Camlot, cris cheek, Sarah Crewe, Fiona Curran, Tom Jenks, and Sandeep Parmar.

We’re also looking forward to the first of our secondary school workshops, which Sophie will be leading at QMUL on Wednesday 6 November.  This workshop has proved immensely popular and was fully booked within a few hours, so we’ve added another date in November, and further workshops will take place in January.  We’re also planning a big surprise event to celebrate Sophie’s residency and involving all the students – more information on that will follow.

Sophie and Andrea are also leading a project, funded by the Innovation Fund at QMUL, to research metadata protocols for digital archives.  We have assembled a working group of postgraduate students and are thinking about how other digital archives catalogue and tag their assets.  We hope to be able to publish our findings and help to establish some standards for digital archiving, as well as to create a detailed database for the Archive which will allow you to play with our collection in new ways, using playlists, mixing tools, and apps.  We’ll update you on our progress over the next six months.

We are also in the process of recruiting undergraduate interns, who will help to enter data into that database, as well as take charge of contacting poets, making new recordings, and editing sound files.  The good people at the Centre for Digital Music are going to give us access to their sound studios so we can improve the quality of our recordings.  Against a background of record youth unemployment and spiralling student debt, we’re also aware that young people need extra support to get their careers going.  We will provide lots of training to our interns, so that they can help develop transferrable skills which will help them when they are job hunting.

We’re also preparing for a visit from Christina Davis in the spring, to lead a workshop with QMUL’s own undergraduates on poetry and performance.  Christina is Curator at the Woodberry Poetry Room at Harvard University’s Lamont Library and we’re looking forward to collaborating with her in the future.

So, there has been a great deal going on behind the scenes at the Archive. As always we welcome your feedback.  Please get in touch to let us know what you think of the new site and what you’d like the Archive to do in future.  Thanks for listening.

Andrea Brady

Director, Archive of the Now

Year 13 Poetry Workshops with Archive Poet-in-Residence Sophie Mayer

http://www.qmul.ac.uk/undergraduate/schools/docs/OnQ/114498.pdf

The Archive and the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary are hosting two poetry and performance workshops in November for year 13 students.

These workshop will be led by poet-in-residence and lecturer Sophie Mayer and will use familiar new media to engage students with excitingly unfamiliar poetry. Through the twists and turns of listening to the Archive, students will hear how poetry makes things new, and by hearing the variety of language use and ideas, they will grow in confidence in asking questions of literary texts and learn new strategies for answering them. This will be an exciting and fun introduction to poetry that will enhance students’ understanding of the curriculum. Students don’t need to be English literature specialists but some interest in poetry would be beneficial.

The workshop on Wednesday 6 November from 3-5pm is now fully booked but there is space available in the workshop for 23 November 3-5pm.

For more information contact Dr Andrea Brady at a.brady@qmul.ac.uk.

To book a place, please go to:

9 January 2014: workshop for year 11 students ONLY: book at http://aon091.eventbrite.co.uk/

23 January 2014: workshop for Year 12 students ONLY: book at https://aon231.eventbrite.co.uk.

 

New recordings by James Byrne, Justin Katko, and Samantha Walton

Now added: new readings by James ByrneJustin Katko and Samantha Walton.

James Byrne is a British poet and Editor of The Wolf magazine whose collections include Blood/Sugar (2009).  His poetry has been translated into several languages, and he has performed in Syria and Serbia, among other places.

Samantha Walton has lived in Edinburgh and London, and in 2012 completed a PhD on psychology, law and selfhood in inter-war women’s writing. In 2011 she co-organised an experimental poetry conference and festival – ConVersify – at the University of Edinburgh and the Scottish Poetry Library.  Her publications include the duplicate book (2012), City Breaks Weekend Songs (2011) and tristanundisolde (2010).

New recordings from Brighton

Following an impromptu poetry festival at 73 Cobden Road, Brighton, the Archive is pleased to present readings by:

  • Alan Hay
  • Ed Luker
  • Joe Luna runs the Hi Zero reading series and edits Hi Zero magazine.  Crater Press published the letterpress fold Google Song in 2011; a new book, ASTROTURF, is forthcoming.
  • Verity Spott is a musician who runs regular music and poetry events including Horseplay and DYMI/DYMX/DYMII/PW4 as well as the Iodine poetry press. Verity is one half of the infamous Binnsclagg noise/poetry duo; collaborations include works with Christopher Buckley, Francis Crot and Timothy Thornton. Poetry publications include a figurative ‘translation’ of ‘the’ Iliad.
  • Keston Sutherland teaches at the University of  Sussex and is co-editor of Barque Press. He has been heard just about live in  London, Cambridge, Brighton, Bolton, Paris, Val de Marne, Marseille, New  York, Boston, Mainz, Edenkoben, Guangzhou.
  • Timothy Thornton

 

NEWS: POET-IN-RESIDENCE

The Archive seeks to appoint a Poet in Residence.  This residency will be virtual, within the Archive, rather than based at the University.  Its value is £3,600 for a twelve-month period starting on 1 May 2013.

This residency has the following four aims:

  • To explore the creative and critical implications of performance, recording and digital dissemination of poetry.
  • To investigate the characteristics of performance and the transition between page and voice which emerge in the Archive’s collection of recordings.
  • To produce materials which allow users to engage with the Archive in new ways.
  • To develop students’ understanding of the relations between text, performance, and digital publication.

The Poet in Residence will be asked to produce a monthly response to the Archive (twelve responses in total).  These responses, which may include (but are not limited to) new work (written, audio or video), a short commentary on one of the recordings, a set of questions or reflections on digital writing, an essay or podcast, etc., will be published on the Archive website.

In addition, the Poet in Residence will be asked to lead three workshops over the course of the residency for students in secondary schools and sixth-form colleges.  The design and planning of these workshops will be the responsibility of the Poet, but the workshops should involve students thinking about the relation between poetry and performance by creating a new text and conducting performance experiments.  Finished student contributions will be hosted on the Archive in a special ‘emerging writers’ portal.  Enrolment in the workshops will be facilitated by the Education Liaison and Widening Participation Office at QMUL, and attendance will be capped at 30 each.  The workshops will be held at QMUL.  A per diem to cover expenses, travel within the UK and accommodation in Londonwill be provided to the Poet in Residence.

The Residence will be managed by the Director of the Archive, Dr Andrea Brady.  She will liaise with the poet, monitor his or her contributions to the website, and set up the school workshops at times which are mutually convenient to the poet and the schools.

The Poet will be chosen by a panel including the Director of the Archive and its Advisory Board.

To apply for this Residency, please submit your CV including the names of two referees plus a short description (1500 words) of the proposed activities during the residency.

Applications should be sent as hard copies to: Dr Andrea Brady, Schoolof Englishand Drama, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London. E1 4NS.  Application enquiries should be directed to a.brady@qmul.ac.uk.

A confirmation email will be sent acknowledging receipt of all applications.  The deadline for receipt of applications is 1 December 2012.  Interviews will take place at the beginning of January.

 Valuing Diversity & Committed to Equality

An editorial on the Archive for the Poetry School

‘The Archive demonstrates that the prestige presses and predictable prizes don’t have a monopoly on publication or literary value. The UK has an old and venerable tradition of keeping its most startling, exciting and ground-breaking work on the down-low, in the little magazines and small presses, the reading series in dilapidated pubs and tiny galleries and schools and towers. Over time, these activities become central to what British poetry can be. In recognition of the importance of the public reading, which draws in new audiences and makes new poets, sharpens lines and breaks open complacencies, the Archive is soon to include recordings of important historic reading series from throughout the UK. In that way, the Archive testifies that there are other ways of being a public writer than achieving commercial success. It is one of many places held open by poetry, where we can still hear each other and ourselves.’

Read more about the Archive in an editorial by the Director at the Poetry School.