Allen Porter Mendenhall

Archive for the ‘Creative Writing’ Category

Excerpt from “I am the Raleigh,” Part II, by F. L. Light

In Arts & Letters, Britain, British Literature, Creative Writing, Fiction, History, Humanities, Law, Literature, Poetry, Writing on February 3, 2016 at 8:45 am

Fred Light

A Shakespearean proficiency in meter and rhetoric may to F L Light be ascribed. Nearly forty of his dramas are now available on Amazon, and twenty have been produced for Audible. His Gouldium is a series of twenty four dramas on the life and times of Jay Gould which he followed with six plays on Henry Clay Frick. The whole first book of his translation of The Iliad was published serially in Sonnetto Poesia. He has also appeared in Classical Outlook and The Raintown Review. Most of his thirty five books of couplets are on economics, such as Shakespeare Versus Keynes and Upwards to Emptiness the State Expands.

The clerk has recited an affidavit by Lord Cobham, in which he blames Raleigh for the Main Plot. William Watson, a priest, was the chief inciter of the Bye Plot. Lord Popham is the presiding justice at this trial.

Raleigh, to deliver himself from Tyburn, where traitors were executed, holds forth as far as he can.

Raleigh: Now, candid jurymen, conduct yourselves
By equitable accuracy, measuring
Each side. Coke’s imputational omnipotence
In wholeness of assertion is in this
Pretentious affirmation put. He calls
This version evidential verity.
This either quails me or discomfiture undoes;
Either absolves my sufferance or means
In absolute privation my demise;
Either exalted exculpation offers
Or vagrant indigence provides my wife
And children. This may manifest a traitor
Or a devout trustee defectless to
His king. But let me see this testament
That I may answer with defensive doubt.

Popham: Sir Walter Raleigh may examine it.

Raleigh: A wakeful answer, vital likelihood
Providing, should evoke intelligence
In you. How Cobham, the accuser, came
To say this I’ll profess. The Privy Council would
With perceant queries penetrate if Cobham
And myself combined for Aremberg’s conditions
Or of the deadly priestliness in Watson were
Apprised or whether plotted discipline,
Designed for Lady Arabella, we
Suspected. Guiltless verities I gave
The Privy Council, in pronouncement free
From priests and clear of plots. But soon, when I
Came home, I wrote to Henry Lord Cobham how
I wondered whether Aremberg advised him,
Who years ago in Flanders with that Count
Conferred. And twice that summer, having supped
With us at Durham House, Lord Cobham could
Be seen into LaRenzi’s place advance,
Who is a scribal henchman of that Count.
This news was in my letter sent. But I
Was told by Robert Cecil not to speak
Of this because King James would not offend
The Count. So when Sir Robert showed this letter
To Lord Cobham, a combustion of defense
Possessed him. With inflamed recrimination
He flared against me, caustic charges in
His shouts concerting. But he ceased, incensed
No longer, blame renouncing as mere blab,
Who then assured Sir Robert to absolve me.
A circumstantial stretch you made of this,
Master Attorney, that Lord Cobham lacked
Inductive likelihood, a dunce belike
Mistaking him. But never infantile
Inertia shows him nerveless, who asserts
In settled firmness his sententious will.
Impassioned suppositions he pursues,
Disposed to see his purposes dispatched.
And now, forbearing sanity, you say
In your absurd acuity I would plot
With him, a man of unbefriended chariness
And unattractive thrift, with him when I
Resigned perforce the Cornwall Wardenship
Of Stannaries and was enforced to do
Laborious dispossession of my rights?
My lords, eccentric ignorance I have
Not nurtured. This monarchal island I
Perceived was never so defensible,
With Scotland a united fortress having.
All Ireland has relinquished enmity,
Not breaching acquiescence north or south.
Denmark accords, negating her excess
By sea, provoking jealousy for cod
No longer. Now the plainest Netherlands,
Resemblant neighbors to our realm, at peace
Remain. And here, no dubious hesitations in
A Queen we suffer, she whom time surprised
And age suppressed, for now a forward king
Advances our attention to demands,
Who may by rightful coronation reign.

Popham: Come, sir, digressive hesitations cease
In court.

Raleigh: Lord Popham, on the pointed mark
I’d realize accuracy in the court,
With equitable pertinence conveyed.
Now I unwarranted discomfiture
Would never bear and undeserved absurdities
Would hear no more. A devil-headed raver,
England’s secured circumference assailing,
They say I am, the basest Robin Hood of hell,
Or a Wat Tyler warrior taking arms
Or like Jack Cade to jounce the uppermost
Security of kings. But now the penniless defaults
Of Spain I know, where impecunious nothingness
Abounds, in moneyless exorbitance
Unfit for war. Discouraged sentiments
Deny King Philip all belligerent
Regards for England. Have we not six times
Distracted him, in Ireland thrice triumphant
And in naval valor never failing thrice,
Even at Cadiz to devastate his coast.
As Captain for the Queen four thousand pounds
Of substance from myself I’ve spent in war,
Three prevalent events procuring while
You slept in peace. Now six or seven ships
In ports remain for Philip, a diminishment
Of fifty sails, who alien argosies
Must hire for the Columbus lands. No more
By thirty million crowns he weighs himself,
In overspent expansiveness expiring.
The neediest royalty in Europe now
Denies the Jesuits monetary grace,
All miscreant mendicants to make of them.
The lowest of inverted lordliness
He is, by meekest reconcilement now
With England to abide, who in devout
Felicitations at the recent crowning
Rejoiced complaisance to our king avowed.
Therefore in Spanish hardship would this prince
Six hundred thousand to an Englishman
Deliver without pledged securities
Or gaged collateral in pawn? When Queen
Elizabeth to her allies in Holland lent
Profusely, liens on Brill and Flushing she
Obtained. Dieppe no less she had in pawn
When France had borrowed from her purse a sum
For battles. And assure you, many goldsmith
Moneyers in London would not lend to her
Without avouched collateral in land.
Then say, my lords, what costly likelihood
For six hundred thousand could myself
Or Cobham give in pledge to Spain, myself
By meanest deprivation out of place?
As paroxysmal as appassionate,
The hottest exemplarity in hate
Of Spain I’ve shown. Would I betray my own
Biography? Would I upturn the tenor
Uppermost in me? I am the Raleigh,
English royalty fending from the Pope.
I am the Raleigh, anglophilic rectitude
Presenting, protestant heroics fain
To prove. I am the anti-papal archetype
Of England. Untransmutable antipathy
To Spain defines me. Read Guiana. Read
My Treatise on the Force of Spain in Flanders,
Which to his Majesty I gave, if he’d
Consult a warrior.

Five Poems by Simon Perchik

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Humanities, Poetry, Writing on January 20, 2016 at 8:45 am

Simon Perchik

Simon Perchik is an American poet with published work dating from the 1960s. Perchik worked as an attorney before his retirement in 1980. Educated at New York University, Perchik now resides in East Hampton, New York. Library Journal has referred to Perchik as “the most widely published unknown poet in America.” Best known for his highly personal, non-narrative style of poetry, Perchik’s work has appeared in numerous books, websites, and print magazines, including The New Yorker, Partisan Review, Poetry, The Nation, North American Review, Weave Magazine, Beloit, and CLUTCH.

*
You fold your arms the way this pasture
gnaws on the wooden fence
left standing in water – make a raft

though it’s these rotting staves
side by side that set the Earth on fire
with smoke rising from the ponds

as emptiness and ice – you dead
are winter now, need more wood
to breathe and from a single finger

point, warmed with ashes and lips
no longer brittle – under you
a gate is opened for the cold

and though there’s no sea you drink
from your hands where all tears blacken
– you can see yourself in the flames.

*
You drink from this hole
as if it once was water
became a sky then wider

– without a scratch make room
for driftwood breaking loose
from an old love song in ashes

carried everywhere on foot
as that ocean in your chest
overflowing close to the mouth

that’s tired from saying goodbye
– you dig the way the Earth
is lifted for hillsides and lips

grasping at the heart buried here
still flickering in throats and beacons
that no longer recede – from so far

every word you say owes something
to a song that has nothing left, drips
from your mouth as salt and more salt.

*
Before this field blossomed
it was already scented
from fingers side by side

darkening the lines in your palm
the way glowing coals
once filled it with breasts

and everything nearby
was turned loose to warm the miles
the pebbles and stones brought back

pressed against her grave
– you heat the Earth with a blouse
that’s never leaving here.

*
These crumbs are from so many places
yet after every meal they ripen
sweeten in time for your fingertip

that shudders the way your mouth
was bloodied by kisses wrestling you down
with saliva and rumbling boulders – you sit

at a table and all over again see it
backing away as oceans, mountains
and on this darkness you wet your finger

to silence it though nothing comes to an end
– piece by piece, tiny and naked, they tremble
under your tongue and still sudden lightning.

*
It had an echo – this rock
lost its hold, waits on the ground
as the need for pieces

knows all about what’s left
when the Earth is hollowed out
for the sound a gravestone makes

struck by the days, months
returning as winter: the same chorus
these dead are gathered to hear

be roused from that ancient lament
it sings as far as it can
word for word to find them.

Allen Mendenhall Interviews Joyce Corrington

In American History, American Literature, Arts & Letters, Books, Creative Writing, Fiction, Film, History, Humanities, John William Corrington, Joyce Corrington, Literature, Novels, Screenwriting, Southern History, Southern Literature, Television, Television Writing, Writing on October 28, 2015 at 8:45 am
Photo by Robert Corrington

Photo by Robert Corrington

APM: Joyce, thanks for doing this interview. The last time we did one of these, I suggested that we might do another one day. I’m glad that day is here. I guess if there’s a particular occasion for the interview, it’s that you and your son Robert have recently finished your project of making the literary works of your late husband, John William “Bill” Corrington, available to the public. How did you do that?

JC: Bill began his literary career as a poet in the 1960s, publishing in the “little magazines” that were prevalent at that time and also publishing five collections of his poems. Then he largely switched to fiction and published pieces of short fiction in literary magazines and in three collections, which were themselves collected into a publication by the University of Missouri Press after Bill’s untimely death.  Finally he published four novels, the last of which, Shad Sentell, was published in 1984.  Since almost thirty years have passed since then, all of Bill’s works were out of print and available to the public only as rather expensive used books.  Our son Robert, who works for Microsoft and is very informed about IT matters, told me that Amazon and its subsidiary Create Space would accept digital manuscripts and publish them at no charge as eBooks or print on demand books that would be offered to the public on the Amazon.com/books website.  So we began a many years long project to make all of Bill’s literary work again available to the public in inexpensive editions.  The “many years” was due to the fact that we had no digital manuscripts.  I had to retype the poems, short stories and novels on my computer and then Robert edited the digital files and created original covers for the books in Photoshop.  Finally, with the recent publication of Shad Sentell, we are done!

APM: Having recently reread the entirety of Bill’s published works, what is your overall impression?

JC: It was interesting to read a lifetime of work in a relatively short period of time. I found that a sense of history permeates Bill’s work. Even many of his poems have historical themes and his first novel, And Wait for the Night, was concerned with the consequences of the Civil War, as were many of his short stories.  Also infusing the work is a strong sense of morality and religion.  This might surprise someone who casually reads The Upper Hand, which is about a priest who loses his faith and descends into the “hell” of the French Quarter.  Much of it seems sacrilegious and offensive to a person of religious sensibilities, but the first words of the novel are “God Almighty…” and the last are “the living the dead,” both phrases which appear in the Apostle’s Creed.  Bill’s novella The Rise’s Wife resulted from a deep study of Hinduism.  Of course, as many have noted, Bill’s taking a J.D. midway in his life resulted in many lawyers and judges becoming characters in his fiction.  This allowed Bill to explore the logos of a moral life.  Finally, and almost in contrast to all these other serious themes, Bill displayed an ironic and even black sense of humor in many of his poems, such as “Prayers for a Mass in the Vernacular,” in his short story “The Great Pumpkin,” and especially in his novel The Upper Hand.

APM: You’ve said that Shad Sentell is your favorite of Bill’s books. Why is that? 

JC: Mostly because the humor in Shad Sentell is farcical and not black.  It is a really fun read, if you are not prudish.  Shad, who is a “redneck” Don Giovanni, is likely one of the most carnal characters in literature and this, thirty years ago, was perhaps shocking to many readers.  I hope that today readers can see that this novel is (excuse my partiality) a work of genius that records for all time the character and language of the Southern redneck.  Bill shows he has a surprising depth of intelligence and sensibility that one would not suspect from his bluff and crass surface.

APM: Do you remember the circumstances under which Bill authored the book? In other words, do you have any memories of him writing it?

JC: Bill had been disappointed that his first three “serious” novels had received little critical acclaim.  He decided to write one aimed at what he thought was more to the taste of the general public.  In this I think he was far ahead of his time, but I hope Shad Sentell will eventually find its audience.

APM: I once read something that Lloyd Halliburton wrote about how you critiqued parts of Shad Sentell and caused Bill to rethink some passages. I can’t recall the details. Do you know what I’m referring to?

JC: I always acted as Bill’s sounding board and editor as he was writing a novel. We would sit over coffee in the morning or maybe a gin a tonic in the afternoon and discuss his ideas on what was to come next.  I thought he got carried away with the farcical fun of the Mardi Gras scenes and, when his agent agreed with me, he let me cut much of that material from the manuscript.  But likely the biggest change I suggested was the ending.  Bill’s first idea was to have Shad die in the climactic oil well explosion, but I told him I thought that was a wrong decision.  Despite his seeing Shad as a modern day Don Giovanni, Shad Sentell was a comedy, not a tragedy, and the hero survives in a comedy.  Bill went along with my suggestion.

APM: Where did the character Shad Sentell come from? Was he based on any one person?

JC: Bill had a very good friend, Sam Lachle, who shared many of Shad’s characteristics. During high school and college Bill played trumpet with local bands in the bars of Bossier City.  He had a very smart mouth and it would likely have gotten him into more trouble than it did if he had not hung out with two very large friends, Sam and Don Radcliff, who protected him.  Sam died of a stroke at an early age and Shad Sentell, which is dedicated to him, is to some degree a loving memorial.

APM: I assume the newly released version of the book that you and Robert have put together will be available on Amazon, right? What about your website?  Can readers find and purchase it there?

JC: My son Robert not only formatted the books but created a website, www.jcorrington.com, which lists all the books that are available on Amazon. There are also biographies and a menu of critical works.

APM: This changes the subject a bit, but you once mentioned, I think when I was visiting you in New Orleans a few years ago, that there was a graduate student writing a dissertation on Battle for the Planet of the Apes and that he was trying to read into the screenplay something that wasn’t there. Does this ring a bell? Am I remembering this correctly?

JC: Bill and I wrote six films, one of which was the last in the original Planet of the Apes series. Bill never took film writing seriously, which was probably for the best since as writers we never had any control over what was done with our scripts after turning them over to the producer who hired us to write them.  We were actually quite dismayed when the film Battle for the Planet of the Apes was released to find some elements had been dropped and others added (a crying statue, for heaven’s sake), but we wrote it off as “just an entertainment.”  Imagine my surprise when years later I received a phone call from a young man who was doing his Ph.D. dissertation on the Planet of the Apes series!  He asked for an interview which I was happy to grant.  I soon discovered that his thesis was that the films were really about racism in America in the 1960s.  I told him that I would not try to speak for the other films, but ours was actually a Cain and Abel story (the apes had previously been presented as innocent pacifists compared to warmongering humans and our story was of the first ape killing another ape).  The graduate student chose to ignore this and stick to his thesis.  He won his Ph.D. and even later published his dissertation work.

APM: I ask in part because the latest installment of the Battle for the Planet of the Apes series came out last year. That was Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which followed the 2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes. What do you think about these latest films?

JC: I am afraid I did not bother to see it.

APM: Giuliana and I saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes in the theater, and we waited around after the film to see if you or Bill received any mention in the credits. I can’t remember if you did, but I’m inclined to say that you did not. Do you have any comment about that?

JC: I don’t think we did receive any credit because the Writer Guild of America would have sent me a notice to see if I wanted to dispute the credit.  They did this with the remake of our film Omega Man, which was titled I Am Legend.  I asked if there was any money involved and when the Guild said no, I replied that I did not really care what credit we received.  Subsequently a lot of friends were surprised to see a credit for us at the end of the new film and sent me emails about it.

APM: I’m now thinking these interviews should be an ongoing thing. I’d like to continue the conversation. What do you think? We could do one every now and then for the historical record.

JC: I would like that very much. I especially would like to have an opportunity to talk to you about the Collected Poems of John William Corrington and the Collected Short Fiction of John William Corrington.  These are also recently published and available on Amazon.com or through my website www.jcorrington.com.

APM: Thanks, Joyce, let’s do it again soon.

“Raleigh and Spenser, 1580,” by F L Light

In Arts & Letters, Britain, British Literature, Creative Writing, History, Humanities, Literature, Writing on September 23, 2015 at 8:45 am

Fred Light

A Shakespearean proficiency in meter and rhetoric may to F L Light be ascribed. Nearly forty of his dramas are now available on Amazon, and twenty have been produced for Audible. His Gouldium is a series of twenty four dramas on the life and times of Jay Gould which he followed with six plays on Henry Clay Frick. The whole first book of his translation of The Iliad was published serially in Sonnetto Poesia. He has also appeared in Classical Outlook and The Raintown Review. Most of his thirty five books of couplets are on economics, such as Shakespeare Versus Keynes and Upwards to Emptiness the State Expands.

This scene (from a work in progress) occurs after the Battle of Glenmalure in County Wicklow, Ireland, where the English suffered a strong defeat. Edmund Spenser was secretary to Lord Grey, the English general at that battle. Raleigh and Spenser were later to become neighbors in Munster. Spenser had vexed Queen Elizabeth when he sought to dissuade her from marriage to the Duke of Alençon in The Shepherds’ Calendar.

Dublin Castle. Enter Sir Walter Raleigh and Edmund Spenser.

Raleigh: The Phoenix re-inflames herself to stand
Alive. Like her we can re-spring ourselves
And spread our advents forth. Re-mustered loyalty
Can be enlarged. In multiplied aggression
We may go forth erelong. They’ve not undone
Regeneration nor defeated fatherly
Revival of our cause. In myriad dominance
Amain we’ll march again and recommence
Composure in this land. Colonial neighborhoods
Of Perikles in fertilized profundity
May lettered conscientiousness assert.
This island of untutored emptiness
Oxonian literacy should accept
Or Cantabrigian dogma comprehend.
No feudal diffidence in reason nor
Despotic fairyland we Englishmen
Profess. The fairest possibilities
Of free endeavors should in husbandry
Not pall on Ireland.

Spenser: If recoveries
Refresh mortality for us, then all
Of Desmond’s Munster is dispropertied
And shall in efficacious forfeiture
To Lord Grey’s officers be meted out.

Raleigh: Incentive victory therefore may as
The greediest of attainments comfort us.
Now for the landed fortune of a lord
I’d follow my triumphant appetite
And trust emotional inclemency
For gain.

Spenser: A magnate’s animosity
For main extents you mean, in deep intent
On money.

Raleigh: Gainful joyance is no jape
For me. To my increaseful happiness,
Disposed like Croesus, I would magnify
My dirt.

Spenser: The fertile presence of your voice
In Munster would immortal lucre breed.
But the uncivilized delusions seen
Among the people there no peaceable
Facilities permit.

Raleigh: That profit is
The flow where life proceeds in grace the folk
Of Ireland will perceive. Your fluency,
In clarion inculcation, should be clear
Enough for that. Unguarded politics
Allow the Queen. You should political
Decorum to consultants in the court
Concede. On lucrative georgics, not
Upon her Majesty’s conclusiveness
In marriage, should your verses touch.

Spenser: Therefore
On spacious tilth for capital I should,
Sir Walter, songful eloquence enlarge?

Raleigh: I say proprietary sapience may
The most unsoftened pulchritude confirm
In poetry. The unmitigated tone
Of merchantry for English metre would
Be fit. Commercial intonations may
The strongest likelihood for music hold.
Singing your sagaciousness on seeds
For money, you would planters multiply
For Munster’s plenitude of various means.

Spenser: Now that convulsive wilderness consumedly
Has waned. Delinquent emptiness is left
In Munster, where abandoned decadence
Abides in death. Of starved disorder few
Survive. The naked likelihood of misery
Upon fulfilled oppression is avowed.
Now warfare to inflammable extremes,
Infesting Ireland, intervenient fire
On Desmond’s land inflicts.

Raleigh: But after war
The inflammation of vitality
We shall for savant juvenescence light
In Ireland. Verdant exploitation I’d
Advise and greenest diligence for growth.

Scene from “A Trial of Recognition,” by F L Light

In Arts & Letters, Britain, British Literature, Creative Writing, Fiction, History, Humanities, Law, Literature, Shakespeare on September 16, 2015 at 8:45 am

Fred Light

A Shakespearean proficiency in meter and rhetoric may to F L Light be ascribed. Nearly forty of his dramas are now available on Amazon, and twenty have been produced for Audible. His Gouldium is a series of twenty four dramas on the life and times of Jay Gould which he followed with six plays on Henry Clay Frick. The whole first book of his translation of The Iliad was published serially in Sonnetto Poesia. He has also appeared in Classical Outlook and The Raintown Review. Most of his thirty five books of couplets are on economics, such as Shakespeare Versus Keynes and Upwards to Emptiness the State Expands.

The Earls of Essex and Southampton are tried together for High Treason before a jury of the noblest peers. Pleading not guilty, they strive in angry and arrant disputation with Attorney General Edward Coke and Francis Bacon. This drama is the third part of an Aeschylean trilogy and maintains the classical form of tragedy in English with seven scenes of dialogue and seven choral performances.

This trial was conducted in Westminster Hall, February 19th, 1601.

Yelverton: Now the Attorney General will speak.

Coke: My lords of courtly justice, chief pronouncers
And primest fathers of preceptive law,
Treason unsettles what is set by God.
Thrones of established exaltation it
Would overthrow. The firmest Tudor fundament
Upon immediate evanescence fades
To nothing should betrayal triumph, come
Upon premeditated compassments
Of power. Therefore to think projected thoughts
Of treason, all in violent mindfulness
For power, is death. And he that strides against
The realm, with royalty striving, must be judged
By the intent transgression of his thought.
Whoever is at arms in his array
Of might amid a kingdomed commonwealth
Founded on authentic ancestry,
Cannot be suffered by the law, perceived
As lawless as usurpers are.

Essex: But sir,
No duke would a defenseless dukedom in
This realm maintain. No helpless earldom would
An earl endure. Their settlements are set
Apart from central pertinence in Whitehall.
By vassalled mightiness they serve the main.
And undefended danger I would not
Support, assured that Lord Grey or Sir Walter Raleigh
Were raising homicides against me. Thus
I am no traitor, here a man traduced
For his defensive force.

Coke: You say, my lord,
In a protective insurrection you
Arose, forfending murder by revolt,
Who would insurgently secure yourself.
But all rebels would dissemble their revolt
Or revocation of regimes. Lord Darcy,
That traitor in the Pilgrimage of Grace,
By wrongful reprobation Thomas Cromwell
Blamed for his rebellion, that he feared
The King’s chief minister would murder him.
And like yourself Sir Thomas Wyatt to check
The Spanish from an English crown presumed
At arms his Protestant resolve, who drew
A proditory rise upon the realm.
But as a culpable defendant he
Was put to death. A guiltier prisoner
Than Wyatt you are who by her Majesty
The loftiest rooms of favor were allowed,
Made Master of the Horse at twenty two,
Admitted to the Privy Council then.
Soon as Earl Marshal of the realm you were
Preferred, and for Cadiz were given high
Command, and by her Majesty’s regard
The Azores’ were your charge. And higher yet
For Lord Lieutenant and Governor of Ireland
Her Majesty’s commission you received.
Beyond this, you had bounteous delectation
In her gifts to you, deemed more than thirty
Thousand pounds in favor. But you for pride
And inconsiderate presumption thanklessly
Repressed your memories of wealth. No man
A more ungrateful appetite, when fed
With grace, could manifest than you, who’d by
The kingliest insatiety consume
Yourself, your loyalty, and your liege. All this
Concerns her Majesty, against whose throne
Your rising throbbed. And though no Britishman
Without applause can of her Majesty’s
Protective justice speak, I must remark
That overmeasured mercy by the Queen
Will bring unmerciful exorbitance
On her. For though inhuman disobedience
Would have disabled England, yet no man
Howso wayward ever, violent ever,
Was crossly racked or tortured overthwart
For his confession. Most of them would make
Their conscientious peace with God. The truth
Came forth with faithful certitude in God,
As true religion can relinquish enmity.
Accordant attestations they conveyed,
Though sifted severally.

Essex: Now your unsifted speech
I’ve suffered, Master Coke, at culpable
Traducements kept before you, by confined
Civility not answering forthwith
The guiltiest allegations laid on me.
With insurrectional salvation might
The realm be saved from priestly sinfulness
Of blameful priests who’d stupefaction stress.

Excerpts from “Westminster Hall,” by F L Light

In Arts & Letters, British Literature, Creative Writing, Humanities, Literature, Poetry, Shakespeare on August 5, 2015 at 8:45 am

Fred Light

A Shakespearean proficiency in meter and rhetoric may to F L Light be ascribed. Nearly forty of his dramas are now available on Amazon, and twenty have been produced for Audible. His Gouldium is a series of twenty four dramas on the life and times of Jay Gould which he followed with six plays on Henry Clay Frick. The whole first book of his translation of The Iliad was published serially in Sonnetto Poesia. He has also appeared in Classical Outlook  and The Raintown Review. Most of his thirty five books of couplets are on economics, such as Shakespeare Versus Keynes and Upwards to Emptiness the State Expands.

Westminster Hall. James Burbage and Shakespeare are seated.

Burbage: The Privy Council can on riddances
Pronounce. It governs the legalities
Outside the city’s scope or what the Crown
Would touch.

WS:             As a patrician council how
Should they abide your common plea?

Burbage:                                               Why, Will,
Assure yourself, the Council favors quality.
Opinionated oligarchs prefer
Their kind. Ignoble verities will be
Unnoted. Evidential knowledge is
Not high enough in rank to weigh against
Renown. Her name ennobles her complaint.
She is too glorious for a loss in court,
Where reputation has more proof than real
Disproof. Her reputable rank is heard
More readily than ours of trade. She has
Momentous notability while ours
Is mean.

WS:    Thus for a coat of arms I have
In proper requisition been precise;
For with a gentleman’s esteem I’d stand
Protected from the contumelies of power.

Burbage: Yes, yes. Armorial fortitude avails
In litigation where one’s stature is
Observed.

WS:          Incarcerated debtors have
No rank while lordly borrowers are left
At large.
Burbage:     I think the giddy nobleness
Of Oxford fit for jail.

WS:                           He is too high
To see himself deluded.

Burbage:                        And your friend,
Southampton, in excess of easiness
Expends himself.

WS:                     I fear he is far gone
In impecunious vacancies. His goings
Of gold are lightly gamed away.

Burbage:                                     There is
The bloated bonnet of the dowager. Enter Lady Russell.

WS: It swells herself conceitedly to suit
Her rank.

Burbage: The bailiff comes. Enter bailiff.

Bailiff:                                      All present rise
In subject salutation to the lords
Of state. Enter four members of the Privy Council, Sir Robert Cecil, Lord Burghley, Lord Cobham, and Sir Edward Coke, who sit down about a table.
All sit.

Burghley:       What matter, bailiff, is
Before us?

Bailiff:     The petitioners in Blackfriars,
My lord, beseech the Privy Council now
To let no playhouse in their midst be wrought.

Burghley: How many have petitioned with their names?
And who are chief among them?

Bailiff:                                            Twenty nine
Are named thereon. The chief of them are Lady
Elizabeth Russell, Dowager; George Lord Hunsdon; Sir Thomas Browne, knight, Stephen Egerton of Saint Anne’s church, and Richard Field, printer to the Crown.

Burghley: Who would defend the playhouse from this plea?

Burbage: My lord, I am James Burbage, bound
In ownership to build this theatre for
My company, the Lord Hunsdon’s Men, of which
A sharer, William Shakespeare, would with me
Defend it.

Burghley: How then guard your venture when
Your patron is averse thereto?

Burbage:                                   He weighed
His spirit with my lady’s spite and could
Not desperate inspiration brook.

Burghley:                                      That may
Be so. Now Lady Russell, as the prime
Complainant on this parchment, read it out.
Bailiff, to Lady Russell bring the writ.

Lady R: In chambered transformation of the Friars’
Refectory beside Lord Hunsdon’s house
And near Lord Cobham’s, now James Burbage would
By framework a theatrical resort
Complete. An arduous nuisance, cynosurally
Not sane, seductively seditious, would
With brigand congregations Blackfriars crowd.
Amassed in molestation, Londoners
Like jouncers, vagrant japers, changefully
Conjoined, our gentle precinct would deject.
And should diffusive pestilence come down
From God, these crowds will aggravate the course
Of death. And fanfaron profaners would
With throbbing respiration trumpet forth
The entrance for a play, so near the church
In blazing perturbation as to throw
The rightful services of ministers
And pews into distraction. Thus, my lords,
In sensed consideration of this shame
And for that never hitherto there was
In Blackfriars such a playhouse, nor should be
While the Lord Mayor has from London barred
Such faults, which try in unprotected liberties
Their trials of plays, you should this troop displace
And have the rooms reframed for trades of use.

Burghley: What little replication would you players
Pursue?

WS:      My lord, the grandest comprehension was
Required in Rome, where presses ten times broader than
Would come in Blackfriars filled the lanes for plays,
As public delectation laudative
Of Plautus proved. In flowed conventions Romans,
Encompassing convergent wholeness, would
By theatres magnify themselves, immense
Assertions gathering, where Caesar was
Revered. To legion generalities
Extending, throngers without prejudice
To Rome would in the Circus Maximus
Comprise one hundred thousand for the cheer
Of rival favorites on the road. Convened
Contentiousness appeased the populace,
Not their insurgent fluency provoking.
Municipal atonements, unified
Amassments, would be found in theatres, where
The vices are depicted for distaste,
And nothing virtuous is deformed.

Interview with Hubert Crouch

In Arts & Letters, Books, Creative Writing, Fiction, Humanities, Justice, Law, Literature, News and Current Events, Novels, Southern Literary Review, Southern Literature, The South on July 29, 2015 at 8:45 am

This interview originally appeared in Southern Literary Review.

Hubert Crouch

Hubert Crouch

AM: Thanks for taking the time to talk to Southern Literary Review about The Word, your second novel. Jace Forman, the protagonist of your first novel, Cried For No One, is back in this novel. How has your experience as a trial lawyer shaped Jace’s character, if at all? Is it even possible to identify where your legal background has shaped your character development?

HC: I leaned heavily on my experiences as a trial lawyer while creating Jace Forman. I actually know how it feels to try “high-stakes” lawsuits – the intense pressure, the sleepless nights, the perpetual gnawing in your stomach – because I have lived through them. What a trial lawyer goes through in his professional life has a profound impact on his personal life – again, I felt I was able to portray that realistically with Jace because personal experience was a good teacher. I am not saying Jace is autobiographical – he’s not. That being said, my ability to create his character was, in large part, the result of having been a trial lawyer myself.

AM: I’m not out­-of­-bounds in supposing that readers of Cried For No One will, like me, associate Ezekiel Shaw and the Brimstone Bible Church with Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church, which is featured in the book. Is there a deliberate connection?

HC: I taught Free Speech and the First Amendment to SMU undergraduates. One of the cases we discussed in class was Snyder v. Phelps. There were some lively exchanges between students over whether the Supreme Court got it right when they threw out the multi-million dollar judgment awarded to the Snyders. Had the Court gone too far in protecting free speech? Had the Court allowed a zealous sect to trample upon the rights of a family to bury their loved one in peace? Our classroom debate inspired me to change the factual scenario, inject a different religious issue and pit the conflicting positions against one another in a fictitious lawsuit.

AM: What made you decide to incorporate Leah Rosen and Cal Connors into the plot? Did you envision them at the outset, or did they come later, after you had already begun writing?

HC: Cal and Leah were characters from my first novel, Cried for No One. Leah continues her investigation into Cal’s legal misdeeds in the stand-alone sequel.

AM: As someone who has never attempted to write a thriller, I’m curious about how the intricate thriller plot falls into place. How much mapping or outlining do you do before beginning the writing process, and how often is the writing process interrupted by the need to adjust or revise?

HC: Before I wrote a word of the manuscript, I drafted a detailed, chapter-by-chapter outline, which went through a number of revisions. Once the outline was finished, I began writing the novel. Some might argue that having an outline is too confining. I get that. But for me, it is important to know where I’m ultimately going to end up before I start the journey. I find there is plenty of opportunity for creativity along the way.

AM: Texas. It’s big on the map and big in your book. You’ve been practicing law there for some time. How far back does your connection go?

HC: A long way. I graduated from Vanderbilt in 1973 and then attended SMU Law School. After receiving my law degree from SMU, I began practicing trial law in Dallas and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. Although I grew up in Tennessee, I felt right at home in Texas. As the old adage goes, when you prick a Texan, he bleeds Tennessee blood.

AM: Why did you dedicate this book to your female law school classmates?

HC: One of my close friends and study partners in law school was female. She was brilliant, graduating number one in our class. And yet she received few offers from the top law firms in Dallas. There could be only one explanation – she was a woman. She, along with several other of my female classmates who had encountered a similar fate, took bold action and sued some of the major firms in Dallas. A settlement was reached which opened the door to countless female law school graduates afterwards.

AM: When did you start writing fiction?

HC: Over twenty-five years ago. I wrote a manuscript that has still not been published, although I consider pulling it out of the banker’s box it’s been in for years and giving it a read to see if it’s salvageable. After I shelved it, I was inspired to write my first novel, Cried for No One, by an actual lawsuit I handled involving a macabre grave robbery. I got up early each morning and wrote before going to work. The process took me years before I had a finished manuscript.

AM: Do you know what the future holds for Jace Forman? Can readers expect to see him again?

HC: I have enjoyed creating and getting to know Jace. Based upon the reviews, readers seem to like him and, if that sentiment continues, I will likely keep him around for a while.

AM: Last question, but two parts. How much research into the First Amendment went into this book? And how interested were you in First Amendment issues before you started into this book?

HC: I have studied the First Amendment, and the cases interpreting it, extensively. As mentioned above, I actually taught a course about it to SMU undergraduates. The drafters were so brilliant and far-sighted to come up with such an important enactment. We will forever be in their debt.

AM: Thank you again.

Um Pedido Oficial

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Fiction, Humanities, Literature on July 15, 2015 at 8:45 am

Hugo Santos

Hugo Santos é professor de Literatura no Brasil e possui os cursos de Graduação e Mestrado em Literatura Brasileira, ambos conseguidos pela Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, no estado de Pernambuco, cuja capital é Recife – sua cidade natal (e de acordo com ele mesmo, uma das mais belas cidades do país). Atualmente, ele está frequentando o Programa de Doutorado em Educação de Adultos, na Universidade de Auburn, onde também é professor de Língua Portuguesa e Cultura Brasileira. Além disso, ele está representando o Governo de Pernambuco na iniciativa de se estabelecer uma parceria entre a UA e a Universidade do Estado de Pernambuco, através do estabelecimento, troca e ampliação de pesquisas que permitirão a alunos e professores das duas instituições explorarem o que cada uma tem para oferecer. É autor de “Um Céu Imenso.”

Hugo Santos is a Professor of Literature in Brazil and received both his undergraduate and master’s degree in Brazilian Literature from the Federal University of Pernambuco, in the state of Pernambuco, located in the Northeast of Brazil, whose capital is Recife—his hometown (according to himself, one of the most beautiful cities in the country). Currently, he is enrolled in the Ph.D. Program in Adult Education at Auburn University and teaches classes in Portuguese and Brazilian Culture. He is linked to the Auburn University Office of the International Programs as a representative of the Government of Pernambuco and is establishing a partnership between Auburn University and the Pernambuco State University, where he worked in Brazil. The research exchange and extension program enables the students and teachers of both institutions to explore what each university has to offer. He is the author of Um Céu Imenso (“An Immense Sky”).

 

O que tornava aquela cena ainda mais inesperada era o fato dele não imaginar do que se tratava aquela notificação que estava sendo entregue pelo Oficial de Justiça. Seus cartões estavam em dia, dívidas não existiam, tampouco nenhum deslize financeiro que justificasse aquele procedimento.

– Eu entendo, senhor. Entendo que o senhor não faça idéia do motivo, mas a minha obrigação é apenas entregar o documento pessoalmente. O senhor tem alguma dúvida a respeito do dia, horário e local da audiência?

– Dúvida nenhuma. Terça, dezoito de abril, às quinze horas. Vou estar lá, claro.

E assim, sem fazer idéia do que o aguardava, lá estava Rodrigo diante do juiz togado da quinta vara da família, ansioso por saber o que o levara até ali, divagando entre a possibilidade de um filho que não conhecera; uma herança repentina deixada por um tio distante, ou um grande equívoco que logo seria esclarecido.

Foi nessa intercalação de projeções que surgiu na sala Madalena, ex-namorada, com um olhar bem tranqüilo, uma leve maquiagem que ressaltava o brilho dos olhos e as maçãs do rosto, cuja expressão meio que se artificializava com o sorriso forçado. Um colar dourado, bem em sintonia com aqueles cabelos loiros, deixava-a ainda mais exuberante, especialmente porque combinava com os brincos compridos que balançavam sincronicamente a cada meneio de cabeça. Para surpresa dele, ela ainda usava o pingente com a letra R, o mesmo de todo o tempo em que estiveram juntos, e que também estava presente no dia do rompimento.

– Se é o que você acha, tudo bem. Não vou ficar insistindo nessa idéia.

– É o melhor mesmo, Rodrigo, porque eu não quero me precipitar numa decisão que vai afetar diretamente toda a minha vida.

– Então quer dizer que estando você apaixonada. Apaixonada, não… me amando; estando nós dois juntos há um ano, projetando nossas vidas, casa, sonhos e tudo, isso não seria razão suficiente pra morarmos juntos? Isso não seria suficiente pra “afetar” sua vida?

– Nossa. Como você está sendo maniqueísta.

– Maniqueísta. Engraçado. Eu sempre odiei essa palavra. Mas, se for o caso, eu estou sendo sim. E se maniqueísmo corresponde a querer o que nos faça feliz, eu serei, sempre, o porta-bandeira do Maniqueístas Futebol Clube.

Foi uma separação difícil. Eles realmente se gostavam muito. Porém, quando se é jovem há fatores que ultrapassam e muito o sentido da razão, ainda que eles se apresentem como os mais razoáveis do momento.

Mas o que ainda não era compreensível era o que tudo aquilo ali representava. O que poderia ter havido e provocado aquela audiência, até então rodeada de tanto mistério, silêncio e confidencialidade? A resposta teve início com o questionamento do juiz:

– Senhor Rodrigo, o senhor faz idéia do que o traz aqui?

– Nenhuma idéia, excelência.

– Muito bem. Esta é uma audiência preliminar, gerada a partir de uma ação movida pela senhora Madalena, aqui presente, e que tem um só objetivo: falar com o senhor.

– Como é que é?

– Isso mesmo que o senhor ouviu. Ela quer tão somente falar com o senhor. Ao que parece, nos últimos dias o senhor se negou a manter qualquer tipo de contato ou conversa com a sua ex-namorada. Não atende nem retorna as ligações; não responde e-mails; o senhor sequer tem dado atenção às súplicas da mãe dela em recebê-la em sua casa.

– Bem, excelência, embora isso tudo me pareça bem estranho, eu posso, sim, dar todas essas respostas a ela…

– Não, não senhor. Estamos numa audiência e o senhor tem que se reportar ao juiz, neste caso eu, para que eu repasse os dados à autora da petição.

– Cumpramos a regra, então, não é seu doutor? Pois bem. Nessas três semanas de separação, muitos foram os momentos em que eu tive vontade de manter contato, ligar, correr atrás. Fazer tudo o que meu cansado coração mandava, excelência. Só que, depois de um certo tempo, você descobre que ninguém pode ser mais amado do que uma única pessoa na sua vida.

– E quem seria?

– Nós não podemos amar ninguém mais do que a nós mesmos, excelência. E quando isso ocorre, deixamos de lado o que nos faria feliz e passamos a nos contentar com migalhas. E convenhamos, doutor, ninguém vive de migalhas.

– Mas não era assim que eu agia. Eu não te dava migalhas. Eu só não estava bem certa do que eu queria. – Àquela altura, Madalena chorava. Mas não um choro estridente, que ecoasse em soluços pela sala, e sim um choro cândido e discreto, que redimensionava sua beleza e marejava também os olhos de Rodrigo.

– Senhora Madalena… a senhora não pode se dirigir diretamente ao depoente. Em todo caso, o senhor entendeu a colocação da moça?

– Entendi. Claro. E eu poderia saber, excelência, o que ela pensa agora?

– A senhora pode responder.

– Eu não penso em outra coisa que não seja em você, desculpe… que não seja nele, excelência. Foram três semanas tortuosas, em que eu trabalhei mal, vivi mal, comi e dormi mal, tão somente por um fator – a falta que sinto. E se eu pudesse fazer qualquer coisa pra reparar, eu faria.

– É, seu Rodrigo, o que o senhor tem a dizer?

– Algo bem simples, e que dito aqui, diante de todos vocês, pode ganhar um ar solene, sabe? Porém, enfim. Eu poderia, sem medo de errar, dizer que me envaidece essa redenção de quem por tanto tempo foi meu foco, meu ar e meu norte. E também me envaidece saber que o que eu desejava era algo possível, plenamente natural e, antes de qualquer coisa, algo bom. Porém, e aí creio que todos concordem, há um momento a partir do qual os vitrais de nossas convicções se partem, e tornam-se difíceis de ser novamente reparados. Confesso que não posso, e nem jamais poderia, tentar juntá-los novamente.

Naquela hora nada mais precisaria ser dito. Um atordoamento momentâneo acometeu a todos. Um silêncio inesperado ressoou sinais inaudíveis. Até batimentos eram possíveis de se sentir. Rodrigo ergueu-se, desejou a todos um bom dia e, antes de sair, beijou a testa de Madalena.

 

Moinhos da Vida

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Fiction, Humanities, Literature on July 8, 2015 at 8:45 am

Hugo Santos

Hugo Santos é professor de Literatura no Brasil e possui os cursos de Graduação e Mestrado em Literatura Brasileira, ambos conseguidos pela Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, no estado de Pernambuco, cuja capital é Recife – sua cidade natal (e de acordo com ele mesmo, uma das mais belas cidades do país). Atualmente, ele está frequentando o Programa de Doutorado em Educação de Adultos, na Universidade de Auburn, onde também é professor de Língua Portuguesa e Cultura Brasileira. Além disso, ele está representando o Governo de Pernambuco na iniciativa de se estabelecer uma parceria entre a UA e a Universidade do Estado de Pernambuco, através do estabelecimento, troca e ampliação de pesquisas que permitirão a alunos e professores das duas instituições explorarem o que cada uma tem para oferecer. É autor de “Um Céu Imenso.”

Hugo Santos is a Professor of Literature in Brazil and received both his undergraduate and master’s degree in Brazilian Literature from the Federal University of Pernambuco, in the state of Pernambuco, located in the Northeast of Brazil, whose capital is Recife—his hometown (according to himself, one of the most beautiful cities in the country). Currently, he is enrolled in the Ph.D. Program in Adult Education at Auburn University and teaches classes in Portuguese and Brazilian Culture. He is linked to the Auburn University Office of the International Programs as a representative of the Government of Pernambuco and is establishing a partnership between Auburn University and the Pernambuco State University, where he worked in Brazil. The research exchange and extension program enables the students and teachers of both institutions to explore what each university has to offer. He is the author of Um Céu Imenso (“An Immense Sky”).

 

– Quem sabe a resposta?

Essa deve ser a pergunta mais frustrante para quem ministra aulas na maioria das escolas do governo. Ver os rostos daqueles jovens desestimulados, e que não acreditam poder reverter seus quadros de vida estudando, só não é mais angustiante porque reside, sempre, nos professores, aquela sensação eterna de que uma força maior, um sinal divino, ou mesmo um acaso, intercederá e nos ajudará a resolver problemas quase sempre insolúveis.

E não era diferente naquela escola. Eu buscava nos semblantes deles algo que pudesse destacá-los, de alguma maneira, daquelas imagens que lhes estavam sempre associadas: pais alcoólatras, lares desfeitos, falta de comida e de roupas. Isso tudo sem considerar os eventuais envolvimentos com drogas e violência, que via de regra são levados para dentro da escola, e o ambiente passa a tornar-se um território demarcado por aqueles que podem mais e menos, ficando nós como meros coadjuvantes num cenário conhecido e repetitivo.

– Quem sabe a resposta?

O silêncio sempre ecoava. Evidentemente que às vezes era quebrado pelas ironias típicas de quem via o acento escolar como uma escala obrigatória para a justificativa de recebimento de abonos pagos por programas assistenciais, ou mais raramente pela insistência de pais, esses sim, sonhadores, o que apenas favorecia o aumento da vontade daqueles garotos de não estarem ali.

Por vezes, porém, exatamente a partir desses acasos pelos quais esperamos, o inusitado acontece e então nós nos vemos saboreando o doce gosto da boa surpresa, tornando-nos, nós mesmos, também garotos.

– Quem sabe a resposta?

– Eu sei, professor!

Naquele momento, esperando a galhofa que se seguiria após uma pergunta simples, e que consistia em saber se a literatura era mais importante do que a matemática, o que ouvi foi algo raro, quase inaudível, entretanto era algo que se insurgia frente àquela muralha de eterno silêncio e, mais importante ainda, era algo correto.

– Não sei se existe uma diferença, professor. A meu ver todas as matérias têm sua importância na nossa vida, sendo que somente no futuro uma ou outra vai ser mais útil.

Ainda que não tivesse sido uma resposta dada por um mestrando de alguma especialização acadêmica, ou mesmo um experimentado psicanalista envolvido em atividades de auto-ajuda, aquelas palavras reverberaram na minha cabeça e, fortes como um torniquete, pressionaram-me a me afastar do pensamento que me envolvia, de modo que continuei a perguntar:

– E quem vai decidir sobre a maior ou menor utilidade? Deus?

– Ele também. Mas a vida, muito mais. Muito mais até do que nós mesmos, professor. Eu não sei o que eu quero ser, nem sei se quero gostar mais de matemática ou literatura, mas sei que um dia vou saber.

Aquele garoto tinha, no máximo, uns quinze anos, e como a maioria da sala, estava fora da faixa-etária para a série, o que me deixou ainda mais curioso. Tanto que após o fim da aula resolvi saber um pouco mais a respeito de seus anseios, mesmo porque eu não me lembrava da sua fisionomia e tudo indicava que ele era novato na escola.

Contando sua história, ele disse que tinha se mudado da Zona da Mata para a Região Metropolitana porque os pais eram cortadores de cana, e naquele período de entre safra, a maioria dos lavradores ficava sem uma renda que lhes possibilitasse um sustento mínimo. Aliado a isso, a preocupação com os seus estudos já lhes mostrava que para atender àquela inteligência do garoto era preciso que se mudassem para a capital. O que foi feito.

Falamos de outras coisas, até de assuntos banais, e na despedida é que ele disse o seu nome – Pedro. Engraçado. Havíamos falado por tanto tempo e sequer eu tinha-lhe perguntado o nome, talvez porque a alegria da surpresa tivesse ofuscado um pouco as ações que a etiqueta nos impele.

À noite, já em casa, brincando com o meu filho de dez anos, que estuda numa escola particular e já tem uma noção do que mais gosta, especulei o quanto estamos, todos, fora do processo. Nós temos, no conforto da nossa poltrona e no controle da televisão, a possibilidade de vagar pela miséria ou riqueza mundial; de assistir acordos de paz ou guerras ferozes; de opinar interativamente, e não temos a capacidade de nos mover, de nos envolver de corpo e alma numa outra batalha, bem ao nosso lado, que tem seu ponto alto no interior de uma escola.

Restabelecido da overdose de realidade e absolutamente convicto do meu papel e da minha missão, que teria, melhor dizendo, que deveria ultrapassar os limites do meu descrédito, fui à escola, no dia seguinte, decidido a contribuir para uma mudança. Algo que envolvesse direção, professores, pais, monitores, alunos, governo, vizinhos. Algo que nos envolvesse e nos movimentasse. Eu era, ali, a verdadeira imagem da disposição e desprendimento, e os meus moinhos de vento eram todos aqueles problemas que me corroíam vorazmente. Eu era o Quixote de minh’alma.

Em frente à escola um aglomerado de pessoas, numa mistura de vozes ao mesmo tempo ensurdecedora e ininteligível. Eram alunos, transeuntes e vizinhos que se juntavam aquele turbilhão de pessoas.

– O que houve por aqui? – Perguntei meio que reflexivamente.

– Não vai haver aula, professor.

– E por que não? – Insisti.

– Um aluno foi assassinado ainda há pouco. Tentaram assaltar, mas como ele não tinha nada, nem tênis, decidiram fazer essa barbaridade.

Poucas vezes na vida senti um gelo por dentro, como senti naquele dia. De um modo instintivo perguntei quem havia sido o aluno, mas já sabia quem seria.

– Ele era novato.

O turbilhão agora era na minha cabeça, e era impossível diminuir a velocidade com que os pensamentos orbitavam na minha mente. Seria possível isso? Seria justo, ou coerente? Este teria de ser o curso exato dos acontecimentos, ou do destino? Existe destino?

A força dos ventos da minha mente rodopiava meus moinhos.

– Tudo bem com o senhor, professor? – perguntava uma voz às minhas costas. Era Pedro, e seu rosto parecia um pouco assustado com tudo aquilo, embora muito mais estivesse eu, dada a possibilidade a que meus pensamentos me conduziam.

– Eu ouvi dizer que um aluno, um novato…

– Eu sei, professor, eu também o conhecia…

Naquele instante senti algo bom. Algo que se seguia a outra coisa anteriormente ruim. Senti, e me convenci, de que todos nós temos missões na terra e que, como seres frágeis, estamos propensos a essas variações emocionais. Não estamos em nada preparados, porém, para perdas de coisas que nos movem, sem um aviso de advertência.

Ao entrar na escola, estava ainda mais fortalecido, e de uma maneira estranha passei a notar detalhes antes despercebidos. Passei a notar, principalmente, que eu não notava quase nada ao meu redor.

Na volta pra casa não parava de pensar no inusitado. Olhando pela janela do carro, protegido de assaltos a tênis, imaginei o que seria mais importante – matemática ou literatura?

 

Homem com “R”…de reflexivo

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Fiction, Humanities, Literature on June 24, 2015 at 8:45 am

Hugo Santos

Hugo Santos é professor de Literatura no Brasil e possui os cursos de Graduação e Mestrado em Literatura Brasileira, ambos conseguidos pela Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, no estado de Pernambuco, cuja capital é Recife – sua cidade natal (e de acordo com ele mesmo, uma das mais belas cidades do país). Atualmente, ele está frequentando o Programa de Doutorado em Educação de Adultos, na Universidade de Auburn, onde também é professor de Língua Portuguesa e Cultura Brasileira. Além disso, ele está representando o Governo de Pernambuco na iniciativa de se estabelecer uma parceria entre a UA e a Universidade do Estado de Pernambuco, através do estabelecimento, troca e ampliação de pesquisas que permitirão a alunos e professores das duas instituições explorarem o que cada uma tem para oferecer. É autor de “Um Céu Imenso.”

Hugo Santos is a Professor of Literature in Brazil and received both his undergraduate and master’s degree in Brazilian Literature from the Federal University of Pernambuco, in the state of Pernambuco, located in the Northeast of Brazil, whose capital is Recife—his hometown (according to himself, one of the most beautiful cities in the country). Currently, he is enrolled in the Ph.D. Program in Adult Education at Auburn University and teaches classes in Portuguese and Brazilian Culture. He is linked to the Auburn University Office of the International Programs as a representative of the Government of Pernambuco and is establishing a partnership between Auburn University and the Pernambuco State University, where he worked in Brazil. The research exchange and extension program enables the students and teachers of both institutions to explore what each university has to offer. He is the author of Um Céu Imenso (“An Immense Sky”).

 

O pior de você acordar de manhã, quando sequer dormiu, é o momento em que se dispersam as nebulosas lembranças de que tudo não passou de um sonho, e se retorna à cruel e surpreendente realidade.

Qual realidade?

A que descobri – que sou feio, asqueroso, preguiçoso e infiel. Tudo isso de acordo com a composição de uma senhora, num programa de televisão.

É lógico que diante de tamanha descoberta me vi obrigado a buscar ajuda, e procurei a principal pessoa a quem recorrer nessas horas – minha mãe. Pois é. Nada de atitudes precipitadas, partindo pra aconselhamentos psicológicos ou perguntando pra antiga namorada. Nada disso. Buscar na santa mãe o aconchego de palavras de conforto é o remédio ideal pra esse tipo de pós-trauma.

E não é que a coisa começou a mudar? Após repassar-lhe toda sorte de desqualificações, termos pejorativos e adjetivos depreciativos, lançados sobre mim pela impetuosa dona-de-casa, ela fitou-me nos olhos e disse-me duas coisas. A primeira – “Rosamunde e Clarice podem responder-lhe melhor que eu.”; a segunda – “Estou atrasadíssima para o supermercado.”

Não preciso nem dizer que só a deixaria sair daquela casa, entrar naquele carro e ir às compras, depois que me dissesse onde eu encontraria aquelas suas amigas, ou vizinhas, sei lá, chamadas Rosamunde e Clarice; qual rumo eu deveria tomar, em qual bairro ou clínica deveria procurar, afinal estava em jogo a elevação ou execração da auto-estima de um verdadeiro homem.

A paranóia delirante já me tomava, quando, enfim, minha mãe me esclareceu tratar-se de Rosamunde Pilcher, escritora escocesa, autora de inúmeras obras literárias, dentre elas “Setembro” e “O Regresso”, e Clarice Lispector que, lógico, dispensa comentários.

Evidentemente que procurei, dali mesmo, respostas delas para o meu escárnio. Não precisei demorar muito. Encontrei em suas obras algo que dito, apenas, não seria o suficiente. Teria de ser escrito. E escrito por duas mulheres maravilhosas, com o propósito de ser perpetuado, de acalentar sonhos e remediar controvérsias.

E se eu tivesse o dom delas, com suas sagazes visões de mundo, sei até o que escreveria, para leitura de reles mortais como eu. Inspirado em Rosamunde, escreveria:

“… seguramente Deus se utilizou também de seu arcanjo mais fiel, seu mais atento mensageiro e sua onipotente graça na minha criação. E quando digo “minha”, o faço desconsideradas as profusões feministas, referindo-me ao macho, em seu gênero mais específico. Eu sou este ser belo, que encanto pelos meus atributos e me completo pelas minhas ações. Qual mulher, independente de cor, classe ou paixão, não vê a minha boca como fonte intangível de magia e que não sente meu beijo como um gosto de vida e de nostalgia?

O meu corpo, visto sob um ângulo eminentemente feminino, e guardadas as óbvias exceções, representa os eternos Adônis e Apolo, moldes da beleza masculina. Em essência, representa também o Norte, o objetivo, o caminho e o desejo da alma feminina.”

Reerguido meu ego e restaurada minha auto-estima, e tendo incorporado o espírito clariceano, escreveria:

“ O que seria eu, afinal?

Seria eu, de fato, obra de Deus?

Teria eu sido uma composição da Natureza, para que a síntese da beleza fosse igualmente dividida?

Ou teria nascido de um raio de luz? Mas aquele primeiro raio do dia. Aquele primeiro raio de sol que, quando vemos, temos a certeza do milagre de cada amanhecer?

Importa, porém, que eu existo.

Que existem problemas é certo, mas existem tantas virtudes…e tantas.

Existem meus sorrisos e encantos; minhas mãos, meus toques, minha fala e meu beijo.

Existe a obra harmônica, a obra humana e a obra visual.

Existe ‘Eu’, afinal.”

E então, lendo estas passagens, apenas uma coisa me viria à mente – eu poderia ser mais reflexivo.

Eu poderia ser também mais poesia, mais atenção às pessoas que me cercam, mais “toque” naqueles que amo e quero bem, mais presença com Deus, mais afago na cabeça do meu pai.

Eu poderia ser, muito mais, o homem que eu deveria ser.

 

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