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Game Over!

8 Jul

footvolley

Foot volley, which is a mixture of soccer and volley ball is a way of life in Guarã, a small city in a remote part of the Amazon valley in Brazil. Players use their legs, feet and head to get the ball over a net. It sounds like a fun way to pass the time and it can be, just not in Guarã. There, winning a game can mean you get to live another day or will be burned alive bound by old car tires and doused in gasoline. It harks back to the worst days of the Roman empire but instead of Caesars presiding over the tournaments, there are drug dealers deciding the fates of athletes.

If parents see that their child is particularly good at foot volley, they sometimes will sell all their possessions to ensure their child has a bus ticket, one way, out of Guarã. The child will sometimes grow up in the company of relatives without their parents because the parents are too poor to make the bus fare to get themselves out. In some cases, parents end up dead for sending away a good prospect.

José had no parents to care for him or to sell possessions to get him out of Guarã. José lived on the street in a pack of about 10 boys. He was the best of around 4 really good players. When they weren´t playing foot volley, training foot volley or trying to get something to eat from the trash, the pack was usually either sniffing glue or trying to get their hands on it. Not José. Some time ago, José found some text books in the trash while looking for dinner. José was taught to read by the church and he was grateful and did not want their gift to go in vain.

José had won so much that he had built himself quite the name in Guarã. He was like a local celebrity. He was forced to go to the big outdoor “funk parties” as they were called, thrown by the local drug dealers. He was paraded around like a mascot. He despised them all. He despised the drug dealers who he saw as poisoning the community. He despised the party goers and useless people lowered even further in his eyes for idolizing such horrid people. He despised the cops who were easily bribed by the drug bosses and would abuse street children in every sense of the word for their own pleasure.

One night José lay in his concrete bed, in reality a sewer tunnel opening, trying to get the images out of his head of what he saw that day. He had won a major day long tournament closed with not only the murder of every loser but their depraved torture as well. José had seen a lot up to this point but this was worse than anything he had seen. His mind went back and forth from the torture to the faces of the spectators who watched in ecstasy and cheered on the torturers. He was forced to watch from a rickety homemade throne that was spray painted gold and had worn purple pillows fixed to it to make it look like a real king´s chair.

As he laid there, tears rolling down his eyes, he smelled smoke. It was not the usual smell of bonfires which were frequent during the nights after a tournament. It had a more chemical smell. He went out from his makeshift bedroom and climbed an electrical tower. A few thatched roofed houses were on fire. There was little to no response, probably because of the level of intoxication of the people. For the most part of the population, they were passed out drunk.

José thought quick. He knew how he could help. Help himself, help his city, help his country, help the world. He made his way to the police precinct which looked no different than the front office of a land fill. He went to the patio where the few broken down vehicles were parked. He grabbed two 20 liter canisters and went running. As he approached the burning huts he poured some of the liquid from the canisters into discarded water bottles and aluminum cans. He then proceeded to throw them near the flames.

Where the bottle and cans hit, great little explosions took place and the flames quickly spread. He was throwing containers of gasoline into the flames! He then moved on to huts that were not on fire and started to throw flaming soda cans onto the roofs. When they were sufficiently ablaze he went to the only houses in the village, slipshod building decorated by what looked like by psychopathic children, and started to fling his mini Molotov cocktails over the walls. In no time they were on fire as well.

José, satisfied with his work, started for the outskirts of the village. It was getting hot as the fire was spreading rapidly. He was surprised by the lack of commotion on the street. Surely some people were not so drunk as to burn to death without waking. He didn´t care either way. He made his way to the outskirts of the village, climbed a little foot hill and watch the fire do its cleansing.

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Sugar Cane Train

30 Nov
Train tracks that cut through a sugar cane plantation in São Paulo, Brazil.

Train tracks that cut through a sugar cane plantation in São Paulo, Brazil.

Train a blowing through

The cane planted by phantoms

Doesn´t stop nor look

Other Side of the Door

2 Nov

floating door

Open your mind, step out into reality

There is so much that your eyes cannot see

The world is yours

On the other side of the door

Bent landscapes, crooked faces are all that you see

Fog from the past does not let it be all it can be

You could have it all

But you choose to fall

Plastic Jesus, more voodoo

The primordial eye in your forehead can see right through you

Wipe the tears from your eyes

You are the one that you despise

But it does not have to be

Pain and misery

Breathe in life and you will see

That you´re free to be free

How much difference does it make?

2 Sep

How much difference does it make?

You can work out your body for years building muscles that protrude from other muscles only to have them atrophy to nothing in a few quick months of a little sloth.

You can spend years creating a fortune only to see it lost in moments due to a lapse in judgment or worse, something outside your realm of control.

You can spend years of your life and soul creating a family only to have them wiped out in the blink of an eye at the hand of a wild eyed killer or even an inebriated driver.

You build relationships, they go away. You have ideas, you  forget them. You cook food, it gets eaten.

Even the tallest grandest mountains erode at the hand of wind, water and time.

Nothing is permanent not even the stain on your favorite shirt.

You’re born, you die.

I ask again, how much difference does it make?

Márcia

21 Aug

She entered the pool.

She made a splash.

Now I am all wet.

I do not know what to do.

I am all wet. Soggy.

I do not want to dry off.

I want to stay here. Dripping. Forever.

Forever shivering.

With the cold wetness she gives me.

Dripping with the sweet water of her.

Wet. Forever.

*Note from the author:  This bad poem converted a girlfriend into a wife. My unrelenting awesomeness made her an ex.

Love Park

7 Aug

Love

 

Every day it must happen

The sun sets on Love

The last desperate screaming gleams of light

Lifeless office buildings surrounding the scene

People completely blind to the struggle of Love

Shrill cackles of delight despite it all

People coming home to sleep by Love

With the blowing wind, Love gets cold and wet

Love is always there when the sun sets

Good thing it is still there when the sun rises

São Paulo- Life Stopped, Stopped Life

30 Jul

São Paulo- Stopped Life, Life Stopped

 

ponte

 

Daily, people sit crawling towards destinations- stopped life

Daily, people get hit floating towards dysfunctions- life stopped

Sensical absurdities, beautiful ugliness

Sad happiness, rich poverty

My São Paulo is an island surrounded by an electric fence

Invisible danger all around that exists in the hearts of men

On the same street a child goes hungry, another eats despite satiation

Here a man is not measured by the content of their character

but by the name stamped upon his garments

Slavery still exists here; it just took on different forms;

like traffic, taxes, low wages and a civil war that has become the norm

People throw rocks, police shoot bullets, nothing comes to change

Love it or leave it, because to São Paulo none of this is strange