Sunday, July 8, 2007

Bear & Poet

That's me - not a statue of me - sitting on a bear-size chair next to a bronze statue of poet Fernando Pessoa which stands (or sits) in front of the Café a Brasileira, one of Lisbon's oldest & most famous coffeehouses. I had to wait quite a long time to have my photo taken because every tourist in Lisbon had to have their pictures taken that day too. Tourists can be so tiresome ... always on the prowl for a photo op. Unlike me who, as a former international fashion model, has a moral obligation to share my image with the public.

Eighty-five years ago, the Café a Brasileira ("the Brazilian Woman") first opened its doors on Largo do Chiado - an offshoot of a coffee shop that had operated there since 1905 - to offer Lisbon "genuine Brazilian coffee". The café became a popular watering hole for intellectuals and artists, and gained even greater fame for permanently exhibiting the portraits of Lisbon artist José Almada Negreiros. These paintings were moved to the Centro de Arte Moderna in 1960. Currently, there are no portraits of me there; I am seeking to rectify the situation.

Still a java-hotspot, the café's tables have now spilled outside to acco m modate sun-seeking coffee aficionados. On the occasion of the centenary of native son Fernando Pessoa's birth, his image, cast in bronze, was erected outside what was one of his many haunts. The poet once wrote:

I have no ambitions and no desires.
Being a poet is not my ambition,
It's just my way of being alone.

Really, it's not so different from being an international fashion model and freelance Good Will Ambassador.


knarf said...

A very informative and educational post, GB.

Have you considered a career as a teacher?

Grey Bear said...

I don't believe teaching pays as much as bening a international fashion model & freelance goodwill ambassador.

Grey Bear said...

But thank you for your comments!

Anonymous said...

You look like quite the intellectual next to Pessoa.