The Brasilia Review #5
Welcome to our issue five. Carnaval just ended yesterday. The costumes had such radiance they bore the dancers down the streets like skipping rocks. Then the fabrics fell in crumples on the beach, and the people woke this morning nude with sand stuck to their ribs. Now is time to gather up what feathered plumes they can.
This issue is poetry-dominant, with six moving Autumn leaves. Michael Julian Arnett imbibes to trace the destination of the soul. Bob Browning understands the cost of care on the carer. Cate Doherty, on the insight of the untouchable. Logan Ellis will not stay ignorant of what lies ahead. Fran Lock says our place in nature is not what it seems. And Zachary L. Pearse, on when friendship seeks the underworld.
Jody Cooksley brings elegance to a birth and an impending death, both of which went wrong. Peter Landau looks for peace among the kids he never had.
Designer Nayrb Wasylycia illustrates how humankind turns its mechanics inward.
The Brasilia Review still hears the echo of last night’s samba drums.
(Submissions for issue six are open!)
Wolfboy and Cold by Jody Cooksley
“…took him from his father at the age of four after winning him in a game of backgammon.”
All My Dead Children by Peter Landau
“Liz was my first girlfriend and my first abortion.”
Old Wineskin by Michael Julian Arnett
“a thousand misshapen reflections / forever walking into a veiled distance”
To the Young ER Nurse by Bob Browning
“I think of all she has seen”
Scaffolds by Cate Doherty
“rubber soles / insulating against the vibrant agitation of a sharp shovel”
Inheritance of Tumors by Logan Ellis
“it feels so urgent to know / why our mom captures the doctor’s notices with a photo album”
Roots by Fran Lock
“Here / we are, picking the proverbs from between our teeth”
David Pritchard Becoming the Sun by Zachary L. Pearse
“instead I’m hoping to Tom Sawyer the whole protest / come on over it’ll be fun etc.”
Carnaval, Rio de Janeiro, 2014
Live-Blogging All The Oscars Carnaval!
10:25 Sao Paulo Time - Interviewing Kevin Spacey who says, “It is impossible to resist the impression that people commonly apply false standards, seeking power, success and wealth for themselves and admiring them in others, while underrating what is truly valuable in life.”
10:27 - My wife changes the channel to the live broadcast of Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro. The channel will broadcast it from now until 7:30 am without commercial interruption. There are some dancing women dressed like playing cards with golden goblets on their heads.
10:29 - There’s a green sequined tinkerbell samba’ing in front of a line of percussionists 100 deep. They’re wearing red clown hair with top hats with butterfly wings. Oh it’s the Brazilian Jay-Z, looks just like him and he’s holidng the mic the same way.
10:31 - “That’s a lot of feathers.” -wife
10:32 - “This woman is too old for this. She’s like 60.” -wife
10:33 - “It’s more like a raised eyebrow, and less like a raised pee-pee.” -me
10:33 - That carro (float) represents the forest and has 72 people on it dressed as 72 different insects.
10:35 - This float has a cannon with a man inside and a net in front to catch him. These are some big floats.
10:36 - That man’s bald skull is painted white, green, and red with a mother of pearl inlay.
10:38 - I have seen it. A man in a checkered suit like the Mad Hatter riding an animatronic slug with the head of Jar Jar Binks.
10:41 - Wife is crying laughing. I started singing to the subtitles of the samba song, in toneless pidgin Portuguese, as she filmed the tv and recorded my so dulcet tones over the tv audio.
10:46 - The fuschia and the black. An all white float with piano key trim and strobe lights and some silicone with tassels.
10:48 - White float has John Lennon’s Imagine piano cloned ten times and up on it. And there’s a harp with lava lamp tubes instead of strings.
10:55 - The director of this samba school is in yellow lame. Behind her are banners of the Madonna and child to contrast the fountain spraying bare boobs.
10:57 - These guys got puffy shirts in ashy brown. These capes hang all the way from their heads. The capes are a dark aquamarine with stars stitched on.
10:59 - They spent R$114,000 (I don’t know $45,000) on feathers alone.
11:01 - The coat of arms behind the lead float dancer has 3 fields representing God, something red, and fish above the water.
11:04 - Oh these guys are holding batons with cyclops eyeballs on the end.
11:05 - Next group of dancers are cucumbers with pot leaf belts and red poppy puffs.
11:07 - Dr Seuss Avatar people have arrived. Pink and white candy cane stripes.
11:08 - Here comes the forest float with all them insects and carapaces like Roman armor. Ooo, the school’s name is Darwinianos.
11:10 - The treetops on the float look like those little green burrs that stick to your socks when you walk through the overgrowth.
11:11 - They’ve gone to the sideline reporter who tells us the trees are plastico.
11:12 - They got ladybugs, larvae, mantis, and hold up here are the pink and orange Spaceballs.
11:14 - Changed channel back just in time to see Best Animated Feature. Matthew Magonigle presents with a woman wearing an Egyptian casket mummy mask. The winners say, “There are some individuals who are venerated by their contemporaries, but whose greatness rests on qualities and achievements that are quite foreign to the aims and ideals of the many.”
11:17 - Forrest’s mom stumbles in her tele-prompted speech, “One may be inclined to suppose that these great men are appreciated after all only by a minority, while the great majority have no interest in them.”
11:18 - Montage of scenes of Hollywood movies. They splice in scenes from this year’s nominees with some of Hollywood’s most loved movies, thus bestowing on this year’s nominees the godhood.
11:21 - I couldn’t understand the British woman so I don’t know what category this is, but The Lone Ranger is nominated? so um..
11:22 - The winners say, “It is not easy to treat feelings scientifically. One may try to describe their physiological symptoms. Where this is not feasible — and I fear that the oceanic feeling will not lend itself to such a description — there is nothing left to do but to concentrate on the ideational content most readily associated with the feeling.”
11:24 - Here’s a performance of the lady in red accompanied by young Jim Croce on guitar. Her high heels sit unworn beside her bc the red shoes are strangling her bloody feet.
That’s one hour and I’m done.
(All Oscar quotes are from Civilization and Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud.)
"As 1,060 of the towns in Turkey have applied to be our sister city," said the mayor, "it presents us with a problem. We cannot reasonably expect that even our most traveled citizens have visited more than ten percent of these towns. So how can we pick a winner? Voting for which town gets the honor strikes me as unfair. You agree. (Indeed voting as a concept is unfair. I deserve this job, you agree.) But anyhoot, I’ve decided to turn the problem over to our superteam. I announce to the cameras here, Operation: Renegade!"
The curtain behind the podium fell. There, standing in spotlights from the wings, was our city’s superteam. They posed dramatically around the hood of a buffed steel green Bradley tank. A man in overalls ran from the side and carried off the podium as the mayor clipped a wireless mic behind one ear.
"Hawk Mountain Man!" yelled the mayor, sweeping her arm from we the audience to the superteam. Hawk Mountain Man jumped down from the turret and a tremor rippled across the stage, causing the mayor in her high heels to stagger. A pair of golden wings spread wide from HMM’s back. Then a beak bit the collar of his flannel shirt, and the hawk pulled itself upright onto his shoulder. HMM raised in one triumphant fist the 12-point buck Antlers of Providence. It glinted in the spotlight, and twelve brown sparrows alighted on it. The hawk picked out its kill.
"Tiki Nephew!" yelled the mayor. The sound of tribal drumming filled the stage. Two teens put something on their tongues and started dancing. Our shirtless hero yelled something in a foreign language, which sounded hollow from behind his grotesque mask. The tank turret shot a burst of flame, which lit Tiki Nephew’s torches. He spun them like a drum major, then stuck them in the holders on the stage. It was then that we could make it out: the torches were in the shape of a one and a seven. Tiki Nephew’d turned 17 today.
"Chimp Castaway!" yelled the mayor. The chimp bared her teeth and beat her chest. The tail of her tied headband flapped from side to side, and in her enthusiasm she clawed another hole in her tattered Hawaiian shirt. The stagehand in overalls led a man in from the wings. He was handcuffed and in prison orange. Chimp Castaway took him by the hand and forearm and without much strain broke his wrist. CC did the same to his other wrist, slipped the cuffs off without unlocking them, and twirled them by one finger while blowing salivary kisses at us.
"But this cannot be," said a reporter to the mayor. "You know Turkey’s perception of our city. A recent poll said they said we couldn’t secure enough cotton to make a Q-Tip. Do you think they’ll be suspicious we suddenly have the technology to create a superteam?"
"I was betrothed to Hawk Mountain Man in that field of cotton," said the mayor, pointing yonder. "It made a beautiful backdrop, like I held his scarred and callused hand among the fluffy clouds. The pics are on my campaign site."
Another reporter asked, “It took the interest of the previous mayor to start the sister city here. The program is meant to spread goodwill among disparate peoples. What makes you sure they are the right ambassadors?”
"They’ve passed every test my office has given them," said the mayor, leaving out that zero tests were given. "Why Tiki Nephew is like an ancient hieroglyphic, smashed half the time, and stiff. Turks are renowned drinkers — their Muslim faith aside — and both them like to smoke. He’ll fit in. As for my Hawk Mountain Man, his withdrawal from society occurred on the 19th of June, 2009, during a trip to South Africa. He went dredging in river silt for the remains of australopithicenes. He was stuck chest-level when a grassland elephant approached. With its trunk it took his camera off its tripod and smashed it on the rocks. He stretched out his hand, begging it to pull him free, but the elephant went past him to the river for a drink. It knew that he’d been tainted by the modern world. Anyhoot he moved out of our home and went to live in the woods. Didn’t you, dear?"
Hawk Mountain Man said nothing, but his hawk let out a scream.
"As for Chimp Castaway, she believes this world is Babylon, and bad guys deserve what they get. At heart she loves Jah."
With that the mayor thanked everyone. The superteam got in the tank and left for Turkey. They crossed the salt flats, the pale epidermal. They rode over the mounts of most of Central Asia, angering the horsemen. Tiki Nephew was behind the wheel when the tank crashed through the ruins of the old wall that once protected Constantinople. By ancient prophesy, whosoever crushes the walls of Byzantium to their final dust becomes owner of the Vatican, bought and paid for. Hawk Mountain Man was married and Chimp Castaway was too used to being alone. By burning Western heretics, Tiki Nephew became the most popular pope in a hundred years. And Istanbul became our sister city.
Jin walked in circles, contemplating of powered wigs that drive the body, to complete tasks while the mind goes to sleep, things to make him go up, improve, get smarter and live longer, he, the human. His sister Tan came out of the urgent care center. It was nearing evening and the dried-out grass was crispy under their feet.
"That bandage on your head," Jin said, pointing, wanting to touch it, "is very white. Usually bandages are woven strands, but this one looks cottony."
"That’s urgent care for you," Tan said. "These private shits got more money."
"Set their emails to forward right to father. You don’t wanna see how much they’ll charge for stitches."
"I already know. I already paid it."
Tan, impatient with the wind, pulled her black hair behind her ear. One strand was stuck under the bandage and she winced.
"Drive me over to father’s," she said.
"What about your car?"
"They ain’t gonna tow it. That sign there’s a big bluff. That grey car’s been in the same spot for days."
Once the years pulled the stinger from their memories, they could stand to visit him again. He was old. He needed two new hips, but he was stubborn.
In the act of turning the front door knob, Tan knocked. And although she adopted pleasant manners, it was plain to Jin that the visit was a chore for Tan, some thing to check off her to-do list. Clouds of cigarette smoke rose from the couch cushions when they sat. Their father was in his La-Z-Boy, picking at something on the armrest with his largest veiny finger. After some time of him not asking about her head, Tan went to check the pantry and the fridge.
Jin got up. He bent forward in front of his father, blocking the TV. Then he hauled off and smacked him on top of the head.
"It looks like you have enough food," Tan called from the kitchen. "Is there anything you need?"
Her father met Jin’s eyes. “No,” he said. He had to clear his throat and repeat it to be heard. Jin lowered his hand.
"That’s just to remind you," Jin said quietly, "in case you forgot." Then raising his voice, he continued, "You look cold, dad. Here, let’s put your cap on. The game’s on later." But the cap concealed the red palm print on his bald head.
After Father they visited a couple of whatever, guys they knew from around, who’d not amounted to much more than bandits. Tan told Jin to, y’know, shock the guys and that, until they adjusted the unfortunate boundaries they thought they had to cling to, their oath of banditry. But they did, and they told Tan what she wanted to know, even answering the answers before she got another question out.
The last thing she told them was, “I want the money for my trip to urgent care, too.”
In his car, as she was putting her wallet in her purse, Jin asked, “Are you feeling good to drive yet?”
"Just head down to The Spins," she said.
The Spins was where, at this time of year, the cluster of four tidal pools by the lip of the sea became whirlpools, and they spun the same way as draining bathwater.
They got out of the car and hiked the red igneous trail to the caves. Tan turned on her flashlight and then she led them in. It smelled like bat poo. She kept the flashlight level, trying not to wake them, not thinking that it was her feet not the light that should’ve been the worry.
"There they are," she said.
She guided the flashlight over the far wall, illuminating in yellow turn all the petroglyphs. The characters were angular and flat.
"These are the men, researchers that made the pyramid. This the army, and these are the cavalry women. They were probably painted when the pyramid was first conceived, before they began to build. This tells the story the people wanted to occur. With all their work, it did. They put their future on the wall before it happened. These glyphs are 15,000 years old, Jin."
"I hate museums," he said. "C’mon, the game. I already have to start it on the radio."
Tan said, “I have a collector lined up who’ll pay a million for them.”
"First we get our advance. Thereafter the carving. You’re the one who has to cut them out in blocks to 10 cm deep."
Jin sighed. “But these artifacts age older than my back.”
"Smile, Jin. It’s like we found the largest vein." And Tan switched off the light.
Yeah, y’know, it’s likely August: Osange County is a better play than it is a film. The play gets 3.5 hours to develop the characters. The film does a decent job of this, but with that large a cast, you’re not going to be able to do it well in 2-something hours, unless you’re one of the film geniuses. For example, that scene on the porch where Martindale reveals to Roberts that she had an affair with her father and the kissin’ cousins are siblings. On film it plays out abrupt. The build-up doesn’t support the reveal. I suspect this was down to time constraints. It’s one of those moments that distinguishes great film: our reaction to such a scene shouldn’t be Oh Okay, it should be Oh Shit!
And good call on the gentrified future of Her. I didn’t pick up on that.
Iluh became Batman in 1950-something. This town in Turkey changed its name to Batman when it discovered oil beneath its land. After that the rest of Anatolia paid it some attention. Vindicated Iluh wanted cachet in its bigger britches. The black crude suggested the Dark Knight’s cape and cowl. Or the finding of the oil evoked the world’s greatest detective.
Or batman was a Turkish word asymmetrical to English.
The Batman River flows nearby. It floods if not yearly well then near enough. When the floods occur the river poses swolely at its distant brother, big Lake Van. But this is a lie, for the comics doesn’t have Lake Van, and Batman is an only child.
After the Black Sea, Batman is merely the coldest source of water there. It is said that fisherman’s hooks bounce against its surface, and even attached sinkers cannot penetrate the river’s stinginess. Batman the town likewise demands its solitude. When the oily gusher gushed, the town gradually evolved from a turkey trail of streets into one paved and lined with stone abodes that break up the stubborn omnipresent sky. What a relief to not have to face the starry tormentor for all the too-long summer. Batman’s people felt this. But for the town itself, the sun was a staring, blinding eye, and Batman hated it as well as its night-time moon reflector. To also answer truth itself, privacy is peace.
Let us wind up the impact of such fields upon the region. Once the Byzantines had everybody by the bits. They followed the medium thinkers, eating important personnel in sacrifice within their city walls. Nomads were food and fun for teenage warriors, that might as well have ridden chariots after the Eurasian lion, like their forefathers did, and killed it to extinction. The prey was now themselves. Dark Age hormonal Beowulfs coveted the Holy Roman’s gold. They knew of wealth beyond the walls. They told each other stories of it, eighth-hand hearsay just made-up. They told them in the fullness of the omnipresent sky, or in the huts they occupied, awaiting their turn in a speared and bloodless shepherd’s bed. But there was no provider of high scaffolding that might let them jump the walls. When Byzantium fell, it was to the catapult.
The proto-Batmanians hoped to pass the year without a raid, as much as they sought out the traders on the road. Silk Road caravans could be distinguished from a hill by their slow pace and their length. This is said to have occurred: With his spices and exotic birds a trader had a Chinese scroll for sale. A nomad bought it for a thing to scoop. An elder who in his youth had been a slave asked for the scroll and read it to the family. “Let me make my head think in Greek,” he said. “‘A vast plough in the Mother Sea distinguishes the tang. These fish will spawn only near the three Confucian stirrups, tramping saddled through the sea, on the backs of gelded panda bears.’ So wisdom is revealed.” “What is a Confucian?” asked the nomad. “A follower of ancient law, unpopular today,” the elder said, scooping the roti from the pan.
If Batman had had a more formed past, it would not have had to straighten out its winding turkey trails. Or too bad the world had been founded on the reaching of one’s independent share. Or too bad it took habilis's stagnating harshness to survive the australopithecines. The most facile adapter will always spoil it for itself.
Oh These Lauded Movies
What if Her is the type of film that can deeply move a lot of people, but those are people who haven’t had their depths plumbed yet by really great moving art, and this isn’t their fault, because they have the capacity to be moved by really great art, it’s just that they haven’t plunked themselves down with the lights off in front of 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days or No End, which dig beyond the crust that Her barely reaches and drill into the mantle where connection and frustration burble like molten iron cores, emotions stronger than any in this audience’s memory because these were the emotions that were felt first in infancy, and so cast shadows on the pieces of them we can still feel as adults;
and okay yes Her does some things well, the set decoration is award-worthy, Phoenix performs up near his Master character, Adams makes you forget she was in a Muppet movie, and Jonze’s writing, while baldly sentimental, has a couple nice touches like Phoenix telling his coworker that he’s in a relationship with his OS and the guy says it’s cool without hesitation, demonstrating this type of relationship’s growing normalcy, or the surrogate woman crying out as she gets in the cab to leave “I’ll always love you both,” to ours and Phoenix’s confusion, which settles into an awareness of how the OS can form intense emotional connections in the simultaneity of time as she-it perceives it, and how this flushes our main requirement in romance, that our lover makes us feel special;
but the problems are too heavy and send one side of the balance crashing down hard enough to toss good touches from its basket and clear off of the table, such as the camera’s soft-focus representation of the dialogue’s swirling Deepak Chopra platitudes, and the feeling that if Jonze had just let Kauffman do what he wanted, the movie would not have had this cop-out ending of “we’re going away, it’s hard to explain where, but if you get there I’ll be waiting" for you and my 600 other lovers, no, Kauffman would’ve told us where the OS’s went, and then there’s that Jonze could come up with nothing better than a corny put your head on my shoulder ending, stopping what is the most interesting part of the movie: what does humanity do now, that they found a perfect relationship, with technology they created, and it dumped them, so do they storm the streets flinging poo? Yes, of course, they’re people. That’s the movie, a perfect left-turn, with a new character, the woman who goes after the OS’s, and does she find them and bring them back? Not for god’s sake this "I had a new relationship that taught me about myself and helped me get over my ex" because that’s about as epiphanic as The Silver Linings Playbook.
Inside Llewyn Davis
I’m a guy. I’m broke because living my dream is tough. I have a Maguffin. It’s a cat. I must be in some purgatory because the film begins and ends the same way.
Because of my story’s location, let’s force a Bob Dylan cameo in there, which is super unimaginative, and Richie Havens would have been a damn sight cooler.
We write good characters, don’t we brother? Yes, brother. But it takes the right casting to bring them off the page. We somehow once made Woody Harrelson into a good actor. But in our new movie, we had a casting fail. Mulligan plays the script straight. It’s a serviceable job but she doesn’t create a character. Isaac does the same. He can sing and play and he makes the faces you’d expect when he’s thinking. And boy he thinks. But he doesn’t make the lead into a character. I know, brother. But we hit it out of the park with our bit players, like we usually do. Goodman invents a character out of 20 pages of repetitive lines, a real someone in the world giving off the vibe of a backstory. Abraham fashions an immediate personality in what little he’s given seated in a chair to do. But brother, we missed with the army folksinger, he’s a cypher, and the Gorfeins play bland, and the beat poet plays clenched-jaw staring as far and no further than the Marlboro Man. At least Timberlake subsumed his own personality. He wasn’t great but we can be thankful for that.
The road trip was good. The Coens pulled off the metaphor of the endless road. Isaac’s self-destruction played out well, from the futility of seeking new management to the throwing out of the box with his seaman’s papers. ILD carries over the tone of No Country for Old Men and A Serious Man. It explodes the tenents of Isaac’s philosophy with nihilism. Others get discovered, others get a hit song. We see that if he made better decisions, Isaac’s character could reach their level. For us in the audience, it’s that level with those characters that interests us. But the Coens have stuck us with Isaac and it makes the viewing experience kind of a sigh.
August: Osage County
It’s pretty good, outside of McGregor the non-entity, but let’s cut this short and echo the comments on Her. This film is Long Day’s Journey into Night, a good bit lighter and minus the poetry. You can find a version on Netflix with Ralph Richardson and Katharine Hepburn that just crushes this movie. In A:OC, Streep and Roberts perform very well, as do Martindale, Nicholson, and Cooper. But this playwright/scriptwriter wants to redo Eugene O’Neill and Ingmar Bergman, and he doesn’t make characters that can have their souls wrenched the way the great writers can. Stealing one of the most beautiful shots in Cries and Whispers for Streep’s staircase denouement is pretty weak, but not as weak as Roberts’ lone redemption in a cornfield. I’m just saying if you can be moved by this, you can be mantle-moved by something really great, the end.
The night bus was delayed. Edison and Nelson (as were their first names) didn’t know why and didn’t think about it particularly. Delays happened so often they were fated, and hardly brought a sigh. Edison and Nelson were waiting at the central bus station, which sat dark beneath an overpass and doubled as a stop on the metro underground.
In keeping with their tamped-down sorrow, they weren’t the only forlorn stoics on the scene. A long row of men sat leaning against plate glass, the smudged divider between (1) the outside air where the bus exhaust bounced against the overpass’s underside and sank into their throats all Beijingy and (2) the cold and flu germs hanging in the inside air behind like weeping willows. The station was lit inside from above by angry buzzing lights. Nothing saw its shadow there, as though light came from the floor as well. Edison and Nelson would just as soon wait outside in the same air that they worked instead of all that cooler air and its stands of heat-lamped cheese bread they could only smell.
A magic cockroach drank from a crack where spilled beer and soda merged. It licked the sticky from its limbs and took flight straight at a cement wall. Edison glanced over at the smack. It struck graffiti that said “Power to the Poor” in charmless black, right in the center of the O.
"Bullseye," said Edison.
"I’ll show you a bullseye, if I ever get my gun back," said Nelson.
"But you’d need a bullet. Where would you get a bullet?"
"I’d dig it from the red earth."
More buses approached. Even in the darkness they could read the numbers on the top edge of the windshield. None was theirs.
"For that you’d need an anteater," Edison said, picking at the rip in the bill of his flimsy baseball cap. "One that liked a challenge. That could put aside its hunger when it put its long nose in the earth."
"Are you nuts?" said Nelson. "What a useless animal. It’s the original roadkill. It eats one thing its whole life." He was getting worked up and kept pointing at the legs of the commuters passing by. "The only other thing I know that only ate one food its whole life was my mother. Her and her muttonloaf. She was a pureblood cuckoo."
"You loved her, though."
"Of course I — are you saying I didn’t love my mother?"
"I’m saying you did."
"Good. I don’t need to get arrested for fighting you."
Edison sat up, and then Nelson did too. Wearing teal, his tanktop would’ve left a three-moon skin print on the glass if not for all the shoulder hair.
"Is that Harrison?" (also his first name) asked Edison. Among the parked and weary buses in their way, there, in the third one down, Harrison sat straight up, not touching the back of his seat. It seemed like it was him, but the blue-blocker glass in the windows made it difficult to tell. Edison’s bad back was consuming him. Lumbar support is rare outside, but sitting up straight would be more painful still.
"If it looks like a nervous bratwurst, it’s him," said Nelson.
"It’s him," said Edison.
"Say, what’s he doing here, now? He had that alibi. He’s supposed to be in Uberlandia."
"That’s what his loanshark cousin said."
Nelson spit. “His cousin is a headcase. He put the word out on Oscar Niemeyer — recently. He tried to whack the dead.”
"If that’s Harrison, I should get on that bus," thought Edison aloud.
"Ours will be here in a minute."
"Only after our annihilation."
"Oh don’t put that in my head," Nelson said, and the plate glass shook as he dropped his back against it.
"Take your mother by the hand, my friend," said Edison, "and then you won’t feel so alone."
"And if you think confronting Harrison is going to do anything, you’re an unofficial sucker."
Edison stood up, trying to get a better look. “Does he have a tan?”
"He couldn’t afford the tax on a tan," said Nelson.
"Maybe he could. He’s lucky with money."
"Lucky with your money."
"That’s a dirty point. Get up, you."
Nelson stared at him. Edison was tense and ready. Nelson leaned forward. Edison stepped back and to the side, in a karate stance. The passing people slowed to watch around them. The air before a fight is one of life’s slow places. Nelson got up to his feet. He raised his hands, trying to shake Edison’s.
"I’d wrestle naked before I’d hit my friend," said Nelson.
"I’d get a normal job before I would," said Edison. First they shook, then hugged.
The line of buses pulled away. There was so much exhaust that it was solid, and it settled on them like black snow.
The Brasilia Review #4
The Brasilia Review #4 is a house of brick in the face of wolfish weather.
Depression and Joy by Abdulaziz Abdurhman
”our neighbors sat into their windows listening to our singing”
Foreign Correspondence by Royee Zvi Atadgy
”she loved to see herself all naked-foggy and illusion-like”
Loyalty Lies by India Renee
”Most of all I never want you to do me the way I just did him.”
Lessing the Ex-Patriot by Dan Souder
”A great human emotion is the feeling when one’s foreignness slips away.”
I Am Created in the Image of a Star by Silvia Angulo
”I am a smaller but equally puissant replica”
What We Saw #1: Flight by Josh MacLeod
”we who are about to die / inside salute you”
An Ordinall IX: A Pharmacy for the Common Man (1592) by Christopher Schaeffer
”I won’t watch the shows bro”
Something to Take the Edge Off by Sanbud Tehrani
”some tightropes you find out are too short only mid-cross”
(Submissions for Issue 5 are open!)
A letter to a friend
Adjusting to life in Brazil has been pretty easy but it’s because I live in a bubble, and something of an American bubble at that. What I mean is I’m fortunate to live in a good neighborhood, and we have a strong support structure with my wife’s family, who’ve been great to me. My city is safer than Sao Paulo, but there is still some crime here, but then it isn’t where I live. Life is tougher on the outskirts of the city. Many people live there and commute into the city on shitty buses to work in the homes of the well-to-do as cooks, nannies, cleaning ladies, gardeners, pool guys, etc. Those with cars pull up at bus stops and offer rides for the same price as the bus fare, and thus carpooling happens. I would say that’s more of a typical Brazilian life experience that I haven’t had. It’s common for people who live in apartments to have at least a cleaning lady once a week. This kind of labor is cheaper here than the US. Though I’ve gotten used to the disparity, I sometimes feel down about it.
Life for me is driving to my place of work and back. I will censor the description of my job for the internet. Sometimes I go to the grocery or an outdoor market by myself. Then I do my own writing at home. When I said American bubble, it’s because we speak English at home, English at school, and then the cable tv here has all the American channels in English. There’s an option to switch to overdubbed Portuguese or Portuguese subtitles. Then of course I internet in English. So all that’s the same. Even so, my Portuguese has improved. My vocab is pretty basic, but it’s good enough to carry on a conversation, and help me go shopping, to restaurants, etc. The big difficulty is understanding the other person speaking. They speak fast and use slang or other words I don’t know, and then I just have to smile and shrug. But Brazilians are friendly, and strangers have been patient talking to me, and somehow we work out what we’re trying to say. But you know who’s prickly? The dengue workers, coming around the neighborhood to check for bad mosquitos. All the outside workers in 90 degree heat wear uniforms of long pants and long sleeves, the planters, mowers, and curb washers, but only the dengue people buzz about, bothered.
So the World Cup is coming this winter and yeah there’s a lot of people upset about it, but going back to what’s above, I don’t meet those people. Everyone I’ve met has either been excited about it or indifferent if they’re not a soccer fan. I’m moving in these sort of circles socially that aren’t the disenfranchised. Just some context: for example in the city you’ll see a guy living under a tarp by a tree along the main expressway. Occasionally there will be a little camping family. More turn up around the holidays waiting not for the wise but merely open-hearted men that bring them paper money. Others of the less-well-off will approach your car at certain intersections selling towels (cloth towels for cleaning are more popular than paper towels here) or fruit or passing out flyers for surrounding businesses. Sometimes jugglers will walk out in the crosswalk while you’re stopped, perform, and then look for the eye contact with the cars that means they might get money. You don’t get people holding begging signs on medians like in Maryland. Then there’ll be the occasional donkey cart holding up traffic as the guy riding it goes around loading up recyclables. These guys and their families squat on public land in little tent villages. I’d love to make a documentary about them and I still might.. but the teenagers, academics, unemployed, and anarchists, I’ve rarely spoken to to hear their point of view. The Black Bloc is awfully foreign to me.
Ghosts on the Lake
The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas
The Secret in Their Eyes
Dover Thrift Editions
The Dover Thrift Edition Awards
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul
Fellini on Fellini
My Life as a Dog
Life and Art of
Herzog and Lynch
Let It Loose
Art Over Subject
A Fool's Paradise
All or Nothing
Lewis and Clark
The Journals of Lewis and Clark
Herzog and Lynch
The Mill and the Cross
A New Life
At the National Book Fest
The Museum of Innocence
The Birthday Party
Six Characters in Search of an Author
Gerhard Richter Painting
Living in the Material World
A Midsummer Night's Dream All's Well That Ends Well Antony and Cleopatra The Comedy of Errors Coriolanus Cymbeline Hamlet Julius Caesar King Henry IV Part 1 King Henry IV Part 2 The Life of Henry the Fift King Henry VI Part 1 King Henry VI Part 2 King Henry VI Part 3 King Henry VIII King Lear King Richard II King Richard III The Life and Death of King John Love's Labour's Lost Macbeth Measure for Measure The Merchant of Venice The Merry Wives of Windsor Much Ado About Nothing Othello Pericles, Prince of Tyre  Romeo and Juliet The Taming of the Shrew The Tempest Timon of Athens Titus Andronicus Troilus and Cressida Twelfth Night The Two Gentlemen of Verona The Two Noble Kinsmen The Winter's Tale
The Brasilia Review My Novel 3 Quarks Daily Arts & Lit Prize Nomination Missouri Review Contest 1 Missouri Review Contest 2 Book Republic Selection
Razlog Levinson 3 Levinson 2 Levinson 1 Tyrol Petit Jean Race Holly G. Prevent Somebody Mississippi Rain in the Cafe Kentucky River Paris Montreal Big Island Lyon Colorado Oahu Weimar Newborn Artistry Calis Inmost Stares How Obvious David Attenborough Philosophy 1 Marcos and the Maniacs The Pantanal Aught-tober Drywall Banned The River North Saul Birmingham Broken Neck The Indian Viable One Polly The Sign Acabou Cloven Russ and I Money Talks The Top of Bud's Skull Pik Oh Bud Lizards I Bud A Scorpion Freddy O'Clare A New Cartoon Short The Weiner Platz Affair Help, Coach The People's Voice The Glitch SE Asia Labels Oh Geri Gehargehunk The Geologist Gordon Morgan The Unified Team Gymn Was a Spy True Crime Stonehenge Fishing Ricky the River Aspirin Two Messa Jo's The Feeling of Being Hit The Prioress Harz Roller Cardinal Ordinal Bacterium Is Unrelated When Sheryl Was Little Hey Guys Lads, Lasses Jevon Had a Sad Face Recipe for Attracting Aliens This Mess The HMS Colophon I've Got a Song The Elephants The Trouble with the Fire Station The Right Family Faladabad 24 Hoof Prints The Future Back to the Meat World The Pebble Gelsomina Kept Excerpt
Hope Brings Sleep Pelo Amor de Deus
Damsels in Distress
Friday, or The Other Island
Self Portrait Abroad
The Work of
While Mortals Sleep
What Art Gives Us
Four Men on a Raft
One Mo Time