Feb 19 2009
Up rua Garrett I walked and it’s steep, in Baixa, the old heart
of Lisbon, past a shop that sells lottery tickets that sits beside
a shop that sells religious artifax, which is next door to a shop
that sells Cartier watches, if you buy a ticket and win, there is
money to decorate you mother’s grave and to buy a watch for
yourself. At the top of the street there is café Brasilia it used to
be Fernando Pessoa’s drinking den, the place is full of solemn,
nice Portuguese who, dressed for the occasion, drink nice cups
of coffee, their forefathers used looked down on Fernando,
irreverent poets and writers must go and drink elsewhere.
The master poet is now a statue sits outside in the rain and has
his picture taken by tourists, one wonders what he thinks of it all
as he sees the statue of Antonio Ribero Chiado, a poet who lived
in the sixteen hundred, the Largo is called after him he is bald and
is dressed like monk. From Largo Chiado I could see the harbour
where tug boats ply their trade on grey waters; the church
“Incarnacao” where Antonio used to pray is beautifully restored,
but empty god had left by the backdoor, the front door was too
heavy, but I saw woman weeping near a statue of Christ, “opium
for the people?” Yes, why not?
It is getting dark the Portuguese are swallowed up by the Metro
as middle aged men with folded cardboard boxes, look for a shop
doorway where to bed down; and over this scene hovers Amalia,
the great Fado singer, she came from poverty too, famous in her
own life time she had the sense to be a friend of the powerful and
made it to the top. When her friends toppled from power she was
out in the cold, but not for long the Portuguese quickly forgave her.
Fine rain falls on Fernando’s hat and Antonio’s bald head, empty
streets the city sleeps and leaves the space to cats, the sleepless,
whores and their sad clients.
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