by Lucas de Lima on Oct.21, 2014
Before my reading at the Poetry Project, I first embodied Ave Maria with the help of my friends Eduardo Mamede and Anderson Honnorato. In São Paulo, they styled me according to Eduardo’s vision while I clutched Anderson’s Our Lady of Apparition, ready for our glamor shot.
I am not sure I could have become her in the US. It’s much easier to be a mystic in Brazil, where the embrace of spiritual impurity means you don’t have to be a believer to feel the dead around you. If even atheists there see ghosts, Evangelicals often have spirits from Afro-Brazilian cults exorcized out of them. As José Jorge de Carvalho writes, such is “the world in which rationalist, psychologizing, materialist, esoteric, Theonist, Calvinist, Lutheran and various African and indigenous positions confront each other.”
Note: Ave Maria is a chicken saint from the cult of death.
In becoming her, I throw myself into this confrontation and side with the forces of the ones who keep dying.
BECAUSE MY NUDITY ALONE NEVER CARRIED ME, BECAUSE THE PRESSURE OF CORPSES IS THE ONLY THING THAT MAKES ME WRITE, BECAUSE MY WAR CRY BREAKS THE WINDOW OF MY FACE AND A TIDE OF DOWN/TEARS/BLOODY CUM SWIRLS AMID THE AUDIENCE, FRESH FROM A CLOUD IN THE MAKING, BECAUSE THE DEAD FRIENDS I WROTE WITH SWOOP IN, DISSIPATING AND DREAMING THE BOOK ANEW, BECAUSE THIS PRAYER IS MY ONLY STAR-TIPPED ARROW, A BLACK VIRGIN MARY, A HALO OF WIRE FLESHED OUT IN BROWN,
I RITUALIZE MY GRIEF IN GARB AND SCARS.
I SOLICIT THE CRIES OF OTHERS ONCE MORE.
I DECK MYSELF OUT WITHIN–AND POINT MY BEAK AGAINST–THE ACCELERATING ECOCIDE AND VOIDED IMAGINATION.
I QUOTE THE YANOMAMI SHAMAN WHOSE LIFE WAS JUST THREATENED UNDER THE FALLING SKY.
“The white people, they do not dream as far as we do. They sleep a lot but only dream of themselves. Their thought remains blocked, and they slumber like tapirs or turtles. This is why they are unable to understand our words.” (Davi Kopenawa)