Posts Tagged ‘martha medeiros’


Enhanced still from 'Albert Nobbs'.

And, in the dawn, armed with a burning patience, we shall enter the splendid cities.

Arthur Rimbaud

Only burning patience will allow us to conquer a splendid happiness.

Martha Medeiros

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Updated March 15


Homeless man reading. March 11, 2011.

For about a year, I have been lackadaisically documenting street conditions in San Diego.
The paranoia towards publicly shared space, the  ordinances (no sitting allowed, no loitering), the lack of benches. Downtown San Diego is the antithesis of porosity, a built environment that refuses to be interacted with. We purchase community: getting out your billfold is the only way to experience publicness. Ok. So there is Seaport Village…but that is not the streets….urban San Diego.

On the street of the America’s Finest City on any given night you find first and third world country sharing the sidewalk (sorry am I being un-PC? I meant developing country.)

I refrained from taking photos of homeless people until now, out of respect. But yesterday I learned that politeness can be the opposite of sincerity.
The work of an artist/flaneur is (also) to look at things most people gloss over, or willingly ignore. We are walking bookmarks. So tonight I asked this man what he was reading. ‘Science fiction’ he said. ‘It was originally published in 1952.’

:: :: ::
Later on that evening

Yoga class having come and gone (again), I will take a page from Neruda the Brazilian writer Martha Medeiros and stop going home the same route. I will sit for an apple mint sheesha (hookah, as it’s known here) and purchase me some people time.

:: :: ::
Later on that week….

This is ‘Dies Slowly’ or ‘Muere Lentamente’, a poem misattributed to Pablo Neruda, from the original ‘A Morte Devagar’ by Martha Medeiros:

The poem and the English version which follows – and which I slightly modified – come from this blog

Muere lentamente quien se transforma en esclavo del hábito, repitiendo todos los días los mismos trayectos, quien no cambia de marca, no arriesga vestir un color nuevo y nole habla a quien no conoce.

Muere lentamente quien evita una pasión, quien prefiere el negro sobre blanco y los puntos sobres las “ies” a un remolino de emociones, justamente las que rescatan el brillo de los ojos, sonrisas delos bostezos, corazones a los tropiezos y sentimientos.

Muere lentamente quien no voltea la mesa cuando está infeliz en el trabajo, quien no arriesga lo cierto por lo incierto para ir detrás de un sueño, quien no se permite porlo menos una vez en la vida, huir de los consejos sensatos.

Muere lentamente quien no viaja, quien no lee, quien no oye música, quien no encuentra gracia en sí mismo.

Muere lentamente quien destruye su amor propio, quien nose deja ayudar.

Muere lentamente quien pasa los días quejándose de sumala suerte o de la lluvia incesante.

Muere lentamente quien abandona un proyecto antes deiniciarlo, no preguntando de un asunto que desconoce o norespondiendo cuando le indagan sobre algo que sabe.

Evitemos la muerte en suaves cuotas, recordando siempre que estar vivo exige un esfuerzo mucho mayor que elsimple hecho de respirar.

Solamente la ardiente paciencia hará que conquistemos una espléndida felicidad.

He dies a slow death who becomes a slave to habit, repeating everyday the same paths, who doesn’t change the mark he leaves, won’t risk wearing a new color, nor talk to people he doesn’t know.

He dies a slow death who avoids passion, who prefers black to white and dotted i’s over a whirlwind of emotions,especially those that make the eyes sparkle , rescue smiles from yawns, hearts clumsy with feelings.

He dies a slow death who doesn’t upend the table when he is unhappy at work, who won’t risk a sure thing for the uncertainty behind a dream, who won’t allow himself, at least once in his life, to flee from sensible advice.

He dies a slow death who doesn’t travel, nor read, nor hear music, who doesn’t laugh at himself.

He dies a slow death who destroys self-love, who won’t let himself be helped.

He dies a slow death who spends his days complaining of his bad luck or of the neverending rain.

He dies a slow death who quits a project before starting it, not asking about what he doesn’t know, or not answering when asked about something he does know.

Let us avoid death in gentle doses, remembering always that being alive demands an effort much greater than the simple act of breathing.

Only burning patience will allow us to conquer
a splendid happiness.

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