“Through moonlight and dreams, on the deserted road”

Porto-Toronto Express

Each text gets under way in my mind well before it is ready to be published. Repeating ideas ad nauseam is a way to withhold the superfluous, searching for the essence of an idea that can thoroughly describe reality or imagination.This time, though, I had way more time to write the next post, dedicated to Agva project. This interlude spread over several weeks, is the result of a major shift in latitude.

Being The DisQuiet fashion also the expression of a DisQuiet life, it drives a kind of Porto-Toronto Express in the same manner as Alvaro de Campos described the path “At the wheel of a Chevrolet on the road to Sintra”:

At the wheel of a Chevrolet on the road to Sintra,
Through moonlight and dreams, on the deserted road,
I drive alone, drive almost slowly, and it almost
Seems to me, or I almost force myself to think it seems,
That I’m going down another road, another dream, another world,
That I’m going on without having left Lisbon, without Sintra to go to,
That I’m going on, and what is there to going on except not stopping, but going on?

I’ll spend the night in Sintra because I can’t spend it in Lisbon,
But, when I get to Sintra, I’ll be sorry I didn’t stay in Lisbon.
Always this groundless worry, no purpose, no consequence,
Always, always, always,
This excessive anguish for nothing at all,
On the road to Sintra, on the road to dreams, on the road to life

Alert to my subconscious movements at the wheel,
Around me, with me, leaps the car I borrowed.
I smile at the symbol, at thinking of it, and at turning right.
In how many borrowed things do I move through the world?
How many borrowed things do I drive as if they were mine?
How many borrowed things — oh God — am I myself?

To my left, a hovel — yes, a hovel — by the roadside.
To my right an open field, the moon far off.
The car, which seemed just now to give me freedom,
Is now something I’m shut up in,
That I can only drive shut up in,
That I can only tame if I include it, if it includes me.

To my left, back there, that modest, that more than modest hovel.
Life must be happy there: it’s not mine.
If someone saw me from the window, they’d think: Now that guy’s happy.

Maybe a child spying at the upstairs window
Would see me, in my borrowed car, as a dream, a fairy tale come true.
Maybe, for the girl who watched me, hearing my motor out the kitchen window,
On packed earth,
I’m some kind of prince of girls’ hearts,
And she’ll watch me sideways, out the window, past this curve where I lose myself.
Will I leave dreams behind me? Will the car?
I, the borrowed-car-driver, or the borrowed car I drive?

On the road to Sintra in moonlight, in sadness, before the fields and night,
Forlornly driving the borrowed Chevy,
I lose myself on the future road, I disappear in the distance I reach.

And in a terrible, sudden, violent, inconceivable desire
I speed up,
But my heart stayed back on a pile of rocks I veered from, seeing without seeing it,
At the door of the hovel —
My empty heart,
My dissatisfied heart,
My heart more human than me, more exact than life.

On the road to Sintra, near midnight, in moonlight, at the wheel,
On the road to Sintra, oh my weary imagination,
On the road to Sintra, ever nearer to Sintra,
On the road to Sintra, ever farther from me…

11-5-1928   Poesias de Álvaro de Campos. Fernando Pessoa. Lisboa: Ática, 1944 (imp. 1993). _37

I am going on, without having left Porto and without Toronto to go to, because nostalgia still does not let me go. My disquiet is the same disquiet of all those who lose ground to earn life and keep a family together. But those are different “portugals”, not to be recalled here and now.

As digital life is neutral to physical changes, what is here to be published still complies with the same requirements. In the meantime, both body and spirit wait for the day when it will be less painful to call this so civilized country a home. Whilst that does no happened, it is time to “return” to Porto in the next post.