Rio de Janeiro

Fulminant Rio

Armando Freitas Filho

The city opens up like a newspaper: flash flã[1] flagrant on the sheet of paper the wind takes away, in the printed cry that flies in the voice, with the headline: FIGHT IN THE AIR, crossing the paths of the avenue, under the passion of the sun, and the theatrical mountains that surround, with great gestures of opera, the city. The first skyscraper was the cornerstone of Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf hill): monument that the sea attaches itself to, grass grows on the pedestal and the embrace of the bay completes the scene – the commonplace – what was already written by lapidary chroniclers and by me, almost with the same words.

Pão-de-Açúcar

Every sky is anonymous, although the postcards try to locate it. This one is over the waves drawn, stone by stone, on the seaside promenade. A diagram, in black and white, of the motion of the sea in front, like a piece of old movie: one day in nineteen fifty in Copacabana, Atlantic Ocean.

Take a mermaid souvenir, live, wet with sweat, but if not, take her skin with no shame, or the video of the sea where she lives and foams. Where the wave of her body, caught in the act, picks up momentum and takes, before breaking, the whole look of the sun. Reading on the sand, in the Sunday magazine, which has lagged behind, in the late afternoon, that the beach is the enduring laughter of the sea. Seeing in the pictures, on the turned pages, the same palm trees I foresee here, in united order, lined up, sentries – static and aesthetic – in face of the horizon. And printed on the sky, Pedra da Gávea (Rock of the Topsail), Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers hill), where countless clouds pass and land, which are false angels that fall apart.

Reading on the sand, in the Sunday magazine, which has lagged behind, in the late afternoon, that the beach is the enduring laughter of the sea.”

The gray circle girds the field: girdle of iron, stone embrace. Calculated curves on the cement, plain marquees marked, ramps arranged. Rhymes, rhythms, routes around the static stadium to listen: ellipse without lapse, granulated steps of reinforced concrete. Planted plumb, the stunned crowds, the fans in an uproar in the bewildering tumult, in the din of cries, in the battle of arms, flags and mouths, unfurled, open. The lawn frowns, rouses the stands, swinging streamers agile with the swing of the game, which generates a gesture, a cry – goal! Everything, then, is a Maracanã[2] with no tomorrow: mountain shock, dying sea detail – the sun disappearing.

Arcos da Lapa

Here in this city so very loyal etc., where the sane and the saints are shot in the elementary days of slums, I write from every angle. And with all of them, it is my job, I strive for a place in the sun, on the crowded beach and on Sundays, although I may get burnt. But who is left in the rain should – the written and the spit are valid – as is customary on this site, retract.

The city surrenders a thousand hills, the sea, which is so ubiquitous that is not seen anymore, nor is the sea air felt.”

Leaning against the sky, the Christ, surrounded by TV antennas, signs with a cross all the leaves of the landscape, authenticates the panorama, The Corcovado, over this bay which also opens its arms, and is the passion of the Forts, and that only a Sunday painter, leaning on the wall of Urca[3], will know how to portray in true colors the sunrise and sunset enraptured which still happen around here, before they rent even the look of this place and build a tower, a building – ad infinitum.

The city surrenders a thousand hills, the sea, which is so ubiquitous that is not seen anymore, nor is the sea air felt. The sky is shortened, the heart stops under the binding sun, which keeps beating up to the suicide of each day, of all colors, in the night, where tracing stars die assured, on the stage set for the moon.

Footnotes

[1] Flan, in english.
[2] Officially Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho, is an open-air stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
[3] A smaller hill beside the Sugar Loaf (Morro da Urca), in Rio de Janeiro.