Portugal visto por escritores estrangeiros
by Steven Lansky
I came to the harbor, found the square at the foot of Augusta. Anchored out, rowed in to the landing, pulled my dinghy up on shore, unfolded my bicycle. I had conquered Europe! I met a fellow and offered him some beads for a toke and we were off from there. All the military campaigns came and went. Bicycle parades led by motor-driven vehicles passed by, and I noticed, but did not interfere. The horses were bred, ridden and died. A black dog with a white bib barked at another black dog. Monuments to man’s great goodness stood everywhere. The tiled walkway with inlaid fleur-de-lis stretched up to the base of the hill. Bougainvillea covered stucco walls.
Then came Peter the Great. He arrived just after the streetcars, trams, and inclines were built. He was so tall that his metal helmet scraped the overhead wires causing sparks that went through his body and shorted out all the electric power in the city. When he left, they rebuilt the wires so they were higher up. Since then no pretended conqueror has been over seven feet tall. Promise me you won’t ever scrape your metal helmet on overhead electric wires.
Tonight I wore my cloth cycling cap and scraped it on the sea floor when I dove for oysters. Somehow, I came up with sardines, sole, and sea bass instead, flipped them on the barbie seasoned with sea salt wrung out of the wet hat. After a feast, I left my body and sailed down the coast past Gibraltar. There’s no turning back now, I’m headed for the straits!
I had a dear day. Dear day, I got up in time to shower and get a smoothie nearby on the way to miss class. I was well received as a hooky player. Then I had lunch with friends, talked and chatted in person with a few different people. I went to the metro and rode seven stops to the zoo. I had to walk a little ways. It was hot. I sat in the shade of a sycamore grove. Wrote for a little while. Back to the metro, the metro, the metro. I met friends and we rehearsed music for the open mic. Walked to the open mic. Read first. Played harmonica with new friend, Richard, who played licorice stick. Our music accompanied the live writing portion of the program. We played ten minutes. A basin street blues bit in Dm, and then a melodic riff in C. Well received. There were twenty-five readers. Each five minutes. Event took place 6-8:30p at a men’s club. Very impressive facility. We were on a glassed in veranda overlooking city and bougainvillea on opposite wall. Went out to wonderful restaurant, meal of meat and shrimp in garlic butter, good budget. Another little café overlooking bridge, night in city, steep cobble scary streets. We brought guitar and found Portuguese to sing and play. More drinks. Back at room found link to Portuguese television, an hour long program about Disquiet, our program.
by Steven Lansky