Monologue For a Dead Dog (2008)

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Ten strips of marble (155×260×5 cm each) set within two rows with an interstice of 20 cm between them. On the inner side of one row, the sculptured text of the monologue. On the inner side of the front row, lamps and inlaid reactors illuminate the text. On the outside of one of the strips, a flat screen monitor displays the film in which the author pulls his car onto the shoulder of the Raposo Tavares highway in São Paulo and approaches a guardrail along which a dead dog lies. He places a small, white marble base on the floor and a portable stereo with its speakers facing the animal. He turns on the stereo, goes back to his car and leaves. As cars pass the dog by, the stereo is playing the text from “Monologue For a Dead Dog.”

Between the two of us, (Pause) poetry. Between the two of us my angel, my repulsion, my sweaty hands and a fissure. See, where the fissured body receives another body and a third body is born from them, between them, made of. (Pause) Wind, stench, delight; soap, scowl, monotony. Like this: your fur. Like this: the rain. Bellowing. Or lacerated flesh, an image inside of my eye. My eye. The two of us, my eye. See. You over there. There, dead. (Louder) I allow you to die. I allow you to stay as you are, dead. I will let the car pass you by. I will allow there to be wind, honking. I am sick. (Pause) Sick because I clearly see, because I know that in front of me there is a large stone. Here you have it, stone. I will allow this stone. Here you have it, washed body. I will allow this washed body. There you go, wounded retina, a bark that is half hunger, half fear, half immense night. My interest is what does not die. My interest is glued here, right here, my fixed, hollow, gaze. But it later spreads through the shopping malls, the enormous shopping malls, through airport concourses, through freeways, through the united markets, through the information bulletins of the Stock Exchange, through intensive care units, through luxury condominiums, in short, through all the places a dog never enters. My interest looks at them with eyes wide open – blind and open. Banks, cultural centers, the tiled floors of embassies, television studios. What is that for? My interest looks at it (with emphasis) and passes it by. Do you see? It passed it by. But it fixates on you, and burrows. And when my car seat takes me back to the flow of air, wind and waste, to the nucleus of rubber and headlights, to the spit of the distance, to the mooing of the mileage – to the road, to the road- , back to the open mouth in front of me that insists that I follow, don’t follow, no I don’t follow, I can’t, on the contrary. Do you see? I stop. I stop and contemplate, because this is how it should be. You over there, I over here. Even if my finger touches your paw there is a motionless kilometer between us, as there is on the road. Even if my voice, this voice, physically penetrates the fur of your (your what? (short pause, shout) carcass!), the sound of my voice spreads among the road and throughout the surrounding neighborhood like a rock in a still lake, even if it transforms into what? into (shout) samba! (lower) again: (shout) samba! (lower) even if it migrates from my throat to the sound of the glass and the tip of the knife, of the fork’s teeth against the grooves on the edge of the plate, even if it resides in a useless semblance with what is beautiful, or, on the contrary, in a continuous lament, a weeping woman, in the sludge of my eardrum or in the glorious music, spreading like a canticle, a (shout) chant!, a (shout) batucada!, even so, even like this, because of this, with all certainty, it is inevitable that, and it could not be any other way, one should not expect anything that is very different from this, in short, everyone knows, everyone agrees, everyone is fully aware that – between the two of us it had to be just that: (Pause. Deep voice) distance (pause), distance (pause), the distance (pause), a distance that shows itself, to which one points, which someone could refer to as something concrete, palpable, in short, (very deep, low voice) this distance here. (Pause) I do not tire of finding you where I would rather not, in my things, in certain words, in a sudden joy, in the shape of a cloud, in the taste of someone else's saliva, which I kissed and drank. Why don’t I let you go? Why don’t I open my eyelids and release your image? Image, captive pack of hounds – get out of here. Get out from behind my eyelids. I won’t hold onto you any longer. Float around until the next rains drench you, until the excess of light shuts you down. Become a body, image. Become a complete body – shell, dermis, pubes, drool, plastic. Become a tiger. (Pause) I am happy. So happy that I forget the name of what surrounds me. The streets, people, signs, figures, whistles, warnings, prices, merchandise. I forget the name of those that have surrounded and seduced me for so long. I am the soap that has a thousand names – but I forgot all of the names at once. All of them. All at once. I see the blue of the viscous substance, I see the plastic packaging, the multicolored gondola into which it is deposited but I don’t know, I happily don’t know the name of anything else, of no one. I forgot them all. Thank god! (Pause) I stood before the great mass of soap in the midst of the great mass of enormous supermarkets (how they shone at night! more than one moon!), I stood before the joint mass of so many, innumerable, streets, before the great lamp of all of the posts with neon reflectors on the tip, of the spittle of soap and of the already classified products in different sections (“food,” “hygiene,” “cleaning,” “construction”), of the rigorous indexes of frightening profits, of the discourses in marketing fairs, I was in the primordial matter of all of the openings of each and every site, of every shop, of every utilitarian thought – I was there but completely forgot the name of what I did, of the products and of the people and of the places, of the streets and avenues on which they were. I forgot, like a miracle. I forgot it all, happily and absolutely everything, and I leaned over you, bringing a small piece of the gigantic soap into which you will transform in my bag, a small piece of the great perfumed mass, the beloved dog. I forgot the names of the goods but I still know how to say: it is night, I am here, still, my fear, my gesture, my name, my dog, the frown that has been liberated of the task of dying, of being the frown of a dead dog. But I do not know your name. (Very low) I still don’t know your name. I can say dog like someone who remembers a masculine noun but I don’t know your name, I don’t know what your name is, I don’t know how to wake your tail up as I pronounce your name. Dog. (Pause) Now let us say, dog. Let us imagine, dog. Imagine. Let us say that I were to take you right now to a wasteland, an embankment, a ground filled with leaves and fallen castor beans and with sunflower seeds, where the scent of gasoline floated, let’s say. I would light your body on fire, carefully collect the ashes that I would later throw out through my car (yes, dog, I have a car) on this very road on which we are now. Knowing this, hundreds of youngsters massively dressed in colorful shirts would chase my car down and would pull me out of it, dog, shackling my feet to the guardrail. Then they would throw their uncared for old cars, cars with over thirty years of usage, against me at high speeds, tearing me to pieces like they tore you. Would you do the same, dog? Would you do what I did? Would you do the same for me? Would you light my body on fire in a gully, in ground that is covered in castor leaves? Would you cover my eyes with two enormous sunflowers and set me on fire? Would you carefully take my ashes? Dog? And when my body was to be claimed, when mourning family and friends were to claim my body, how would they know my name? What name would you give them? What name would you give? What is my name, dog?

Translation by Vanessa Ceia