Thursday, November 26, 2009

…As Tangible As Memory Is…

this is not a picture of the moat in the story this is a picture of rain - i could not find a lovely nice picture of the moat in the story
accompanied bythe rain in the story --- alas --- rain is rain

April 1995 - Belem, Para, Brazil

…BANG, it resonates through the entire house. Bang the mosquito netted door bounces back from the wall, only missing my sister’s face by inches. But she doesn’t seem to care, her face is livid and red with rage: “Shut Up, Shut Up, Shut Up… Why can’t you just shut the fuck up!?!” my sister shouts at the top of her lungs. Her voice intermingling with the ever ongoing never-ceasing chirping and croaking of the frogs inhabiting the moat surrounding us, running by our windows and encircling the entire house. She hates those frogs, she hates the cicadas , she hates the fact that there is never a second of utter silence to be had.

The sun set at 6pm, like every other night, too. Now it is 8pm in Belem, Para, Brazil and the noise has been going on for approximately one and a half hours. It is always the same. Every single night after the sun sets the frogs and toads start singing, only inches away from our window. There are no glass window panes to protect us from the noise, we are in the Amazon, it is humid and sticky, every single breath of air needs to be exploited to its fullest. All there is between us and the choir of amphibians are mosquito nets and window bars, but nothing at all against the sound that never ebbs.

Everything in Belem is very noisy and busy, day as night. The streets are buzzing from the shouts of the vendors, and the droning of air conditioners and fans, the honking of horns and the angry or joyful shouts of pedestrians. A multitude of different music tunes weave in and out of conscience wafting over from the occasional “toneladas de som” (which literally translates into tons of sound) going past – these are huge trucks stacked high with amplifiers blasting out pop tunes while driving around the city, day in and day out.

After April 1995 - Anywhere

Every time that I hear the chirping and croaking of frogs I am transported back to those days, my childhood in the Amazon. I am transported back to that day when my sister had finally had enough and tried to out-shout the constant noise carpet that lay like a fog over our lives. The splatter of water through the drainpipes leading from the roof, the splash it made when dashing into the moat surrounding the house (there to protect the walls and the base of the house from the moist) the cheeping of the insects, the twittering of the birds, the manic barking of my puppy, scared by my sister’s emotional outburst, running past her across the porch, yelping. The squishing of mud and water pressing between my toes, as I run over the field, after my dog. All these sounds in my head and in my memory are triggered by the frogs and remembering the sounds I also recall the feeling of the mud, the smell of the rain and the wet dog, it is almost like I am there again, transported through time and space, closing my eyes I very nearly expect a red ant to bite the sole of my bare foot.

In my mind, in my memory these sounds are fresh, they could have happened yesterday. I remember them as clearly as the sound of the alarm clock waking me up this very morning or the taste of the coffee I had for breakfast just after. Yet, that day in question is more than a decade ago. Many things have happened since. The Puppy is dead. Houses have been erected in the adjoining plots. The guards have been equipped with machine guns. I have moved away. Yet, I am certain, that should I go home next March or April (in the rainy season) the frogs would be there, like always, chirping and croaking just like they did that night in 1995.


first two subchapters from

…As Tangible As Memory Is…
(in time-space pieces) ... partial credit from my MA