the postman and the poetish

there’s a poet. or not. that, every day. or almost every day. drinks a beer. or two. at a bar in his neighborhood.

the bar is manoel’s. and there the poet lingers. at the table, at the counter, on the sidewalk. writing, doing nothing. or everything. all. there the poet lingers. just lingers.

and there are those days when the poet stays. to have lunch there. manoel’s sort of “day’s special”: the kind of meal we call “a dish for a bricklayer”! it fits well to his “life under construction”.

many people pass or drop by, during these hours of poetry: the gambler; the man who delivers the gas bottles; jehovah’s witnesses – these never go into the bar, though –; the beggar; the lawyer; the lady who buys bubble gum before going back to work; joão de deus, in his shining shoes, his seasonal hats, carrying the weight of a ninety year-old on his very well-preserved back, and all his saints and bocce medals on his chest, full of faith and pride; elisa, who was born eliseu, but, life just really happens as you live it; bica, with his friendly schizophrenia, his buskin, his vest and his very crazy rap lyrics – which the poet loves –; uncle bahia, with his constantly greasy blacking hands; mrs. antônia, who comes often to collect the rent and pamper carlinhos – who, unknowingly, brought the good but racking taste of passion back to her; cleide’s kids, who love paçoca, coconut candy and corn ice cream; and: the postman.

the postman always comes by. he enjoys drinking cold – or really cold – cashew juice. depending on the weather. he also uses to leave some of the letters there – the ones  he will only have to hand over later –, so he can walk lighter around the surroundings of the bar. 

he steps in and manoel soon fills a large glass of juice... good morning, mr. manoel! good morning, my friend! hot today, huh? – he fills the glass with ice. it costs one real, but manoel never lets the postman pay. 

the postman and manoel have grown a nice friendship. the postman, like so many there, has a lot of affection for this bar owner! and manoel, in his turn, respects the postman’s work largely! it’s right to say that nowadays almost all letters are about bills, debts, and ads. but he still keeps the grace of his childhood, in the wilderness of bahia… when the world reached that place, it did through his hands, the postman’s hands. it was him, brave and kind, arising from the middle of the dust, the hot air and all the sultriness, caused by the merciless sun punishing the caatinga, the one bringing news from beloved people and novelties of “out there”.

the poet also loves the postman. he doesn’t even have an address. he’s a drifter in this world. and doesn’t own anything in his name. he doesn’t receive bills, not even debts, not even ads. but has kept boxes and boxes of letters exchanged since his childhood! letters bringing whole worlds into his. worlds that ended up in his house, bringing dear people and things from “out there”, from all over the places, to him! many many days, he waited anxiously for the postman, sitting on the sidewalk, right in front of the gate. he remembers it.

and he respects the postman a lot. he knows that his job isn’t only about  delivering bills, debts, and ads. the postman, first of all, has the role of bonding. the bridges’ fate. one of the most beautiful occupations there are! at least in the poet’s eyes. moreover, that’s what the poet dedicates himself to do too. and he dreams of the day when the postman will hand over less bills, debts, and ads to people, and much more fantasies, charms, jokes, whimsicalities and surprises... in many more letters of love, friendship, trips and yearnings. from them to them.

also, the postman is aware of  the poet already. he’s always noticed him. the person himself was even reserved to his eyes, but: what about that hair, each time different and invariably unkempt? and what about that beard, normally enormous, sometimes only full, rarely done, often times undone and once in a while, yet, not in ordinary shapes at all? what about those pants that others swear to be pajamas? and that other one which looks like a skirt? oh! and that one, which is actually a skirt? and what about his flip-flops, sneakers, sandals? or about times he comes barefoot? and all those colorful t-shirts? the flowers, designs; stripes and plaids everywhere?

...but, what puzzles him the most  has always been: after all, why does he writes so much? 

would all that stuff be letters? he was hugely curious to know. and one day, when he was leaving, lighter and refreshed from the bar, he finally stopped and asked. is all that stuff letters? no. smile. it’s only poetry! oh! you’re a poet then, mister? no. smiles. no i’m not “sir”, no sir! and i am not even a poet. it’s just poetry! the postman smiled. and what do you do with all this poetry? i live it. i live it within me. and live-it-with whoever wishes. other people? yes! other people, other trees, other birds – the poet stopped a little. the postman’s confused face was getting more and more profound. but, yeah! in short: people! and how? by letters? sometimes. even less than i wished. do you sir, have a book? no. i am not a sir. smile. and i don’t have a book either. but, how does the poetry come to people then? the poet knew he didn’t know how to answer that question. by the way, a beautiful question. but, he feigned. internet! you know? oh, yeah! you have an e-mail, right? i do! but it’s not what i use for it. no? well, actually yes. i do. as well as i do with letters. but. well. look! that’s the way it is: i have, there, on the internet, a space, like a little corner, with an address, like the houses here, and whoever in cyberspace wants and wishes, knowing the address, by any chance or all of a sudden, can go there! and that’s where the poetry is! the postman still doesn’t know if he can comprehend. and anyone can go there? anyone! anyone who’s on the internet! even if it is a distant internet? yes! smile. even if it is “an internet” from another country? laughs. yes! even if it is! and. do many people come? people come! some write me back, leave messages, now and then. at times someone comes and says that came. and that’s how this sharing goes on. sometimes they come and go saying nothing. but the sharing still can happen. nonetheless. but how can you know? maybe i can’t. but it seems that these comings and goings on the internet leave marks. and because of them it’s possible to follow the hints and cues about visits that happen there. really? really! you have many people’s cues? smiles. a few! are you famous? laughs. no! do people from places afar come? they do! from other countries? yes! from paraná? many laughs. yeah, sometimes even people from paraná come! wow! and does it take too long? for what? to go, to arrive. where? in the poetry! the poet knew that it was another beautiful and unanswerable question. but once again, he feigned. no, no! the internet for some people is quicker, for others slower. but usually it does not take too long to arrive! i call this place  “life under construction”! “construction” as in a building? that’s the word! and, sometimes from un-building too. what do you mean? it’s as if words were little bricks at times, others they are like concrete. and sometimes: the mallet! silence. what is the most distant place? in the world? or the most distant place where a visit has already come from? a visit. from japan! the most distant place in the world! for us, here in brazil, of course! more silence. the postman looked like being on a very far away trip right now. have you sir, ever handed out a letter coming from japan? i am no sir either, poet! and i’ve never handed out a letter coming from japan. just a few must come, huh? it must take a long time too. i guess. and nowadays there’s already this internet, this “e-mail stuff”, right? smiles. and silence. but look, sorry to bother, ok? and i might leave you now, ‘cause there’re still many letters to deliver today! no bothering at all! the next time you come we can have some cashew juice together, there, at the counter with mané! oh! that’s the way! on these hot days! hell yeah! it’s great, huh? it is, indeed! and then we can continue this pleasant conversation! okay! nice! smile. so this is it, mr. poet. have a nice poetry! and see ya! smiles.  oh! you too, my good friend! all of us, by the way! and thank you, mr. postman! till pretty soon! 


and  thus the poet had the idea of leaving in the little corner he “owns” on the internet the address of manoel’s bar. so that, who knows, letters and postcards might arrive. from all over the world. with messages and images, from beloved and to-be-loved people and things from “out there”. letters and postcards that even bring things the poet couldn’t answer. not to the postman and not even to himself. like: how far does poetry go. how does poetry arrive to people. how does it come back. and, in these cases, why does it feel like coming back.

bar do manoel (manoel’s bar)

av. lafayete arruda camargo, 767    jardim santana 
cep 13088-540   campinas - sp                     brasil

so the postman who leaves the letters from other neighborhoods at the bar, to lighten up his journey and drinks cold cashew juice to refresh from the hot weather can maybe have the first delivery from japan! letters and postcards bringing fantasies, charms, jokes, whimsicalities and surprises from different parts of the world. letters and postcards bringing worlds. maybe from parts never heard of! posts coming from everywhere, far away and distant places. and, who knows, even from paraná!

if sent to the poet, just add a small note asking manoel to hand the letter over to him: to the poet! 

and he will surely pass on each message! to the postman, to manoel, to joão de deus, to bica, to cleide’s kids, to elisa, to all the people. even because the poet lives, in fact, for and through the sharing. (*every language is welcome!)

the “and”

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