Excerpt from:

Conversations with the Wind in Monte Estoril


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Thoughts Whilst in Exile from Life 2
O Ratto 4
Ich bin Jellyfish 6
The Ghost of O Sinaleiro 8
Stone on my Mind 10
Snout in Feiojada and Cat on a Roof 11
The Trickster, Fernando, Tolkien and Me 12
The Folly of False Hope and of An End 14
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Thoughts Whilst in Exile from Life



It is a return to the seaside childhood where summer, sand (or quartz) and sea were a day-to-day reality not just on holiday. The wind is back after three days and nights of sultry - hi my pal, you are almost company but most welcome. Are you male or neuter or a lesbian affinity, tousling my hair affectionately? Universality of myth can confuse. Happy Birthday tune is the same in Portuguese I can hear from the clapping for a three-year old as he hovers over his lime green cake. Wind blow as family breaths tackle the candles for him.

Two days’ worth of lost hours on the beach eating warm tomato, salt and butter sarnies reflecting memories of older seaside escapes – upbringing recall in necessity of exile from home-not-home. I read
Jose Saramago who dubbed himself “the traveller” as he wandered 1970s Portugal. Gritty seashell sand pervades each bag - last bite a crunch as this stuff sticks to towels like granite. The ebbing tide pulls back and sea urchins withdraw and limpets thank their genes for hard conical hats as frothing swells of tourists stomp haphazardly on geology. Bubbles, within bubbles where privilege lives. Bubbles are trouble if you don’t have a fully belly, not that rich kids know they can choose a meal on demand not eating not a necessity. Consumerist capitalists whose saudades are replete? The question to ask is which child, in which country is truly at the bottom of the heap?

Some books need to be approached from behind like an ardent lover kissing the back of your neck. Not to read the last chapter before the first but to hack into it two thirds through and work back after the end to the beginning. Saramago writes of the collective experience of the Portuguese; and I am triggered to ask myself of the origin of mine - Irish but not Irish and a quarter unknown – forever foreign to myself. A young man walks up the hill a selfie stick directed out front as he talks – it is a docu-man-tery. He’s so intent in extended telemetry - his own director and crew, perhaps he talks of shopping lists with a spouse as he passes house and house. Beginnings and endings, our linear, temporal viewpoints is probably why filmmakers prefer loops, we are stuck in a Mobius strip descript. A hubris refute of standard timelines, of more cliché of anti-cliché, no matter how we dissect the shape it is always humanity’s time philosophy. To loop or not to loop that should not be the question. Rarely seamless, seemingly the flaw is falseness of continuity. All film is fake as all art is as intimidated by Orson. A director just likes making extra-large selfies in motion. The cat on the roof is missing this evening.

Whether the dented forehead as a toddler is to blame my ignorance blocks synapses over and over. Pushed bike onto the corner of a wall with its legacy like retina floaters visible but unable to dissolve. It is an in-depth bruised skull tattoo; the bone was pressed but against what area of brain that functions in reverse. Aha, it is back licking its paws as I admit defeat to the
feijoada and if decorum allowed I’d lick my paws too. The creamy beans and pork products I’d like to wipe my ears in pleasure from in that sensual repose of the feline. And to do one’s undies without censure, be a child of spirit like the birthday boy annoying eaters with this fifth circuit of the room arms outstretched flying like a plane. No discipline is applied, the ultimate selfish. They write that the childless woman suffers in this country more; conditioned to understand that an nâo fecund womb is to be pitied for who will look after her in old age, she is aberrant. Though childless by accord and opportunity never met I perceive this sexist divide that if you can’t create life then what purpose in equality can you exceed. You now declare I dwell again in Marmite time, another week disappeared, a pillar impedes my view of the weekly tabby watch. Lean back nonchalantly and see it on the window sill couch lying languidly.

From the traveller I yearn to explore Beira, to revisit an area where the chicken piri-piri BBQ shack and cloudy green wine was a delight. Further up we had marmalade like cakes near the Minho I believe. There might be artists in a van travelling here and there probably painting and creating and what a marvel that would be.


the roar of the wind
the roar of the wind
warmth on my skin
on my skin

Greenery sings the faux sea’s roar and leaves whisper gossip with the breeze.

Born with an old head’s sensibility it has been a barrier this seriousness. But now the wind blows over the earth obeying only its rules and if I worship the false gods (Portuguese paganism translation) this is why. When shall I die? It is never a question of ‘if’. A multitude of demises available. I, unlike others, am unafraid of cessation nor greedy for continuance in decrepitude though the dominant fear is painful death that might mirror the womb ousted pangs of first breath. Cruel to linger in decline in the cancer of our times, I have not appreciated the Bergson élan vital of self, the essence of confidence of being in being: it is the curse of the sky, of a parent’s neurotic criticism that leads to non-belief of self as power. The ‘sum-some of others’ do not miss out in justification for the heart’s pump, sun or skin or the mental avarices people indulge in. The Portuguese are peacocks glancing at each other’s fanned tails and preen with self-belief or is that my conceit. Foreign is strange and estranged and cultural ignorance is illuminated by the use of the nationality label. Not all people are alike but we all die. It is not a question of ‘if’.

The sky’s blue jigsaw segmented by wide parasols, buildings and foliage waving in flutters and dissecting the vista above. The tantalising, frustrated and forceful gusts beats staccato which all then stills like an ebbing tide’s surf. Inside the bar an older child screams in toddler tantrum. There is no home to return to, a flat that holds an old person and carer that looks ever behind with no optimism for the future. Past an age they all talk of past and ignore the contemporary that is foreign, they’ve left themselves and the world has left them behind. The daily song of a speeding car, the barking dog are inconveniences as they await death and centre life around what is for lunch and their desire to force those to their mundane routine of expectations are not met. An imagination not up to the task of seeing beyond genetic perpetuity and the superficiality of consumerist possession through to the true nature of that shared abyss. Silly machinations to feel superiority becomes the rule and poison is gossip spread with dramatic half-truths through the mobile back to those that rejected this carer burden that I now can see the reason for.


Shoot me like a horse if I get this old: I sense that trigger gets ever nearer.

Where is the friendly wind?