David Arioch – Jornalismo Cultural

Jornalismo Cultural

Archive for the ‘Animals’ tag

The goat of the mango tree

without comments

It was as if she tried to throw her essence beyond a shaky and noisy abyss

It was as if she tried to throw her essence beyond a shaky and noisy abyss (Photo: Copy)

It was as if she tried to throw her essence beyond a shaky and noisy abyss (Photo: Copy)

I was eight years old. Henry and Rick came to call me on a Saturday to go to their house to play with a “different” animal. My mother allowed me to go, and we went down the street. Arriving there, I saw a goat, and she was so white and portentous that simply the fact that it exists seemed to be enough to convey the most enjoyable serenity.

She remained silent tied to a mango tree in the backyard, and since the first time I saw her, I noticed her melancholic tiny eyes. Some parts of her body had a lot of scars; the goat might have been hurt in escape attempts. While I was drawing my own conclusions, she got tired of standing and sat down on a portion of dried leaves, ignoring the rotting mangos messing up her fur.

Her head was moving slowly from side to side. At the same time, seven or eight people were shouting, laughing and talking. Dogs and cats were running around the yard. It was like a joke without time to finish. For fear of being scolded, I stayed in a corner watching the goat whom I called Angel – without telling anyone.

Henry’s father didn’t take his eyes off her. Between sips of beer, he approached the goat. And she remained indifferent to everything, didn’t react to subtle slaps she received, accompanied by a smile and a cliché phrase: “It’s toooodaay! Yeah!” I didn’t understand what he meant and I kept silent. When I coughed, Angel perceived I was sitting on the floor’s porch, resting my back.

In her eyes, there was an opacity that sometimes turned into a fortuitous shine. It was as if she tried to throw her essence beyond a shaky and noisy abyss. Fifteen minutes later, she closed her eyes, looked at the floor and stayed that way. I got up and walked up to her, then Henry’s father suddenly appeared and suggested that I should depart from the goat. “Go play over there, David! Don’t get near the goat!”

Sulky and startled, I went to my corner. Angel opened her eyes again. Even with dirty paws and its slightly turbid loin, in my ideas she was still the most unpolluted being in that place. I couldn’t associate Angel’s image to dirt. The countenance and everything emanating from her reinforced my opinion.

After a few minutes, a sudden breeze rustled the leaves of the mango tree. Angel rose, lifted her head skyward and felt the whiff of nature stroking her long thin beard. I had the impression of seeing her smiling while her fur swelled in their contemplative simplicity.

Once the zephyr left, the light gradually extinguished. The sun no longer shone on our heads. It was an early afternoon which seemed like an early evening. Worried, I ran to the house to help my mother to take clothes off the clothesline, believing that the rain would come soon, falling and dragging everything with rascality.

Back at Henry’s house, my legs trembled when I looked toward the mango tree. Angel had her throat cut and below it there were two buckets of blood splashing on the ground, painted red the leaves and mangos on the ground. I tried to touch her head with my hand, or at least the threads of her beard, but I was small and only could pet her legs.

I felt chills and cried when I saw her mellifluous rectangular eyes still damp. I knew she had been crying because her beard dripped transparency on my forehead. Angry, I walked to a men’s circle and asked why they killed the goat. “To eat! What a silly question!”, they responded as a chorus, making fun of my exasperation.

At night, before sleep, I knelt beside the bed, I prayed and asked God to put Angel in a good place, and do not let her wander aimlessly, because she died tragically and prematurely. In the morning, some people came to our house to offer goat’s meat, but my mom declined politely. Although angry, I didn’t say anything. Then, I was told that everyone who ate Angel’s flesh became ill.

Furthermore, four men who participated in the goat slaughter died in an accident in the same week, carrying cattle from one state to the other. Superstitious, Henry’s father never killed another animal. And I, over a month, continued with the same prayer: “God, put the friends of Henry’s father in a good place. But give priority to Angel because she died first.”

The call of the animals

without comments

Within seconds, it turned into a euphoric little pig that grunted and turned around its tail

File_2581, 7/26/12, 12:34 PM, 8C, 5720x3815 (7+2036), 100%, Repro 2.2 v2, 1/25 s, R111.1, G81.5, B97.1

It was a landrace pig that ran through my face with his tongue (Art: Cari Humphry)

The memory still fresh of the last time I ate meat. My friends offered me a hamburger, something I spent even months without eating, and I accepted. After all, it was a friday night. “All right, just today”, I thought. I bit slowly, and without the pleasure I once had. The food that was brought had a variety of meats – chicken fillet, red meat and bacon slices. It was huge and barely fit in my hands, even though they are not small.

After eating, I looked the white paper surrounding the burger. I crumpled it up and threw it in the trash can. A long time ago, I got used to not overeating, because I see no sense in going beyond my needs. While sitting there, I lost interest in continuing to read a book that hitherto pervaded my thoughts and ramblings. I felt myself bloated, not by the amount of ingested food, but for some motivation that I believe is biologically inexplicable. Suddenly, my mouth went sour as if I had received a dose of gall. I went to my bedroom, looked in the mirror and I did not recognize myself. My eyes were translucent and in it I saw something suddenly moving, as if motivated by overblown discomfort.

I took my hands to my abdomen and I realized that my stomach had become unrecognizable, misshapen and soft. Involuntarily, it was distended in a careful concealment. It was incomprehensible because I had not eaten much. When I turned my attention to my face in the mirror, there were some risks in my carmine sclerotic. I closed my eyes for a moment, and when I opened them had vanished. The same happened with the marks that appeared on my stomach, remembering paw touches. “What a strange thing! What’s happening to me? “, I questioned scared.

I turned off the computer, turned off the light and lay in bed. I was tired, but sleep overcame my desire to stay awake. I looked at the ceiling and I noticed that it was moving slowly. I could not be dizzy because my space notion persisted accurately. Beside me, I could see everything with precise clarity. As soon as the ceiling opened, as if it were moved from place without causing any kind of noise, clutter or dirt, the fresh rain threw diligent over me. I moved on the bed with the swiftness of those who were suffering from hypnic jerk. Standing and mesmerized by the moonlit sky that was lighting up my room with an azure light, I continued in silence, inert.

The beauty of autumnal morning offering a variegated aroma of leaves and flowers was overshadowed by miasma, brought by a flying little cow with a pig snout and crow’s feet. After all, it was a beautiful animal in its disharmonious uniqueness. I remembered the paintings of Corine Perier and Chris Buzelli. The difference was that they did not smell of death. When the little cow landed beside me, the pestilence intensified. “I didn’t drink! How bizarre is that? Am I freaking out?”, I thought. She watched me soundlessly. Her eyes grew and decreased. It looked like a heart beating. And the stench only increasing. Suddenly she gave a mooing, mixed with a cackle and groan. Then she leaned over to massage her head.

One of them jumped on my pillow and began to chirp as if he wanted something (Art: Dan Kosmayer)

One of them jumped on my pillow and began to chirp as if he wanted something (Art: Dan Kosmayer)

Before I touched her, the little cow left the same way she arrived – flying and throwing from her breasts, some gushes of thick milk mixed with blood. A portion impacted on my head. I passed my hand and I perceived my greasy hair, with stench of curd and rust. I breathed deeply with closed eyes, trying to restore my calm. When I opened my eyes, everything was gone except the smell of death which was in fact emanated from my body, not from her.

I went back to bed suffering from a stomachache – gave me the impression that the hamburger was turning my stomach. I slept less than an hour because I heard an unusual noise which was repeated every five or ten seconds. Troubled, I bowed my head under the bed and I felt a damp warm thing caressing my complexion. It was a landrace pig that ran through my face with his tongue. In the dark, his eyes glistened as if they had their own light. He smiled and that was intriguing.

Paying much attention to me, the pig stepped back quietly, as if he was sorry. He tripped over his own feet and cried. His tears streamed down his muzzle. Cornered in a nook beside the door, his fear highlighted even more than his rosaceous skin. I was confused and startled when the pig asked me a question with a faltering voice: “Why did you eat my mother?”

The question was not repeated and I thought I was delirious. I did not answer. I preserved the silence until the sudden arrival of retching. Pale, I saw my hands turned diaphanous. Something rose in me while my body was warming and cooling. When I opened my mouth, the bacon bits were released as one-piece to the floor. They joined as if they were magnetized.

Within seconds, it turned into a euphoric little pig that grunted and turned around its tail. As he entered, the pig jumped on her and, eagerly, licked her. The two were there together, so close that I had the impression that they shared the same breath. When I looked away quickly, they disappeared. I lay in bed again. I slept for two or three hours until I saw an animal playing on my back. He was light and smelled like corn grits and soybean meal. There were three chicks walking over me.

One of them jumped on my pillow and began to chirp as if he wanted something. The animal started to scratch on me, trying to convey a message. I stood and watched him climb up my arm like a bridge. Over my shoulder, he chirped softly, communicating with the other two who repeated the path. In a burst, the retching came with everything. From my mouth, came out a few small pieces of chicken fillet. Before falling to the ground, won the shape of a chicken that flew short flapping her wings and making a scrannel shambles.


Only an ox who introduced himself as Pastiche spoke to me (Art: OuShiMei)

The chicks jumped on him and the four ran out the door in the silent darkness of the morning. I didn’t follow them. With my arms flat on the bed, I watched everything with battered and half-closed eyes. Exhausted, I fell into bed and fell asleep. In deep sleep, I saw myself eating the hamburger from last night. With every bite, I felt the pain of finitude, the uninterrupted scent of death. All the sadness of the passing was absorbed by my body, making me experience occasional chills.

There was fear, anxiety, stress, helplessness and agony. The dead animals concentrated all in their flesh wich fillled my lunch, vibrating inside me the agglutination of unintentional and solemn negative energy emanated by the certainty of decline. The pain ran through my essence and made me watch the final moments of cattle, pigs, goats and poultry. Many were weeping before the execution because they recognized that their vitalities were will be inhibited early.

Death created a tortuous path that subsisted in me. “See my pain, feel my pain. A world with so many animals and less lives. One day men will suffer like us. The meat shall remain, but there will be nobody to feed. So, the world will rot, surrendered to the unrestrained excesses of production”, echoed in my mind a voice that although well articulated simulated a syncretism of animal sounds of various species.

“I was born in these days. Just look at my size, I grew up. And tomorrow, I will have to die because that’s what my creator wanted”, said a resigned chicken in a plastic cage, before having his feet chopped off by a machete. The more gullible, who did not know their fate, fluttered in vain. They were badly wounded, but they were fighting for freedom with innocence and awkwardness, since unaware of another reality other than confinement.

In a large farm out of sight, the pigs commented that there was a great slaughter the next day. One of them managed to escape and reveal the plot to other animals imprisoned 50 and up to 100 meters away. “We were created to die! To die! Only that! Nothing more!”, shouted a young clumsy pig. During the night, the animals got together and dug a ditch mammoth. In sequence, they jumped on the hole and asked dozens of horses from the stud farm to cover them with soil.

“At least we’ll die with dignity”, argued one of the highest rated pigs of the property. They chose to kill themselves because they believed that they would lose their souls. when they were served as food to men. The next day, everyone was dead – the little ones, young adults and older animals, embraced regardless of species. In front of the huge makeshift tomb there was a scratched sentence on the earth – “The speciesism is like a snorting candle in the rain.”

I woke up again when I heard a scream. I found myself behind bars being transported on a truck. I searched my hands and I could not find them. I looked down and realized I was no longer a human being, except for my own conscience, psychological and emotional condition. Physically I was a sturdy black ox flanked by oxen. Most remained silent. Only an ox who introduced himself as Pastiche spoke to me.

The time is coming, my friend. Our journey came to an end. Pasture, feedlot and slaughter. It is our fate”, he lamented, articulating a mournful and prolonged bellowing. Suddenly, everyone was silent, with their bulky heads in their own paws. I heard a strange and unison sound. It was like a ritual I did not understand because I was not a real ox.

I recognized the weight of death when the truck driver lost control and fell from a cliff. Down there, where the grass penetrated my nostrils and reluctantly invaded my mouth, I saw the broken and open body  of the truck. Around me, my traveling companions were killed, including Pastiche that brought an expression of satisfaction in the midst of misery. There was a smell of narcotic blood, manure and feed based on corn.

With few injuries and abrasions, I got up and ran across the green meadow. My ears recognized the lofty oxytone sound of a flock of swallows. I kept running without stopping, for an infinite land where man could never reach me. Awakened again from a dream, I was startled, with my heart pounding, feeling in my lips a taste that seemed to be of my own flesh. Ensnared, I saw that there was still at my side the hamburger’s white paper, an unforgettable memory of an avalanche.

Dio, the discovery of the little hawk      

without comments

I was surprised to see in the yard a small hawk perched on the branch of a brazilian grape tree


The little one loved living at home, going through every space he pleased or instigated his curiosity

I was eight or nine years old. I got home and I was surprised to see in the yard a small hawk perched on the branch of a brazilian grape tree. He was so young and my mother found him injured near a vacant lot. She took care of him and soon he recovered, but he didn’t want to leave.

The little one loved living at home, going through every space he pleased or instigated his curiosity. His plumbeous feathers contrasted with the clear sky on hot days. I said he was the lord of the rain because his plumes were gray as the misty sky. Whenever someone asked me why Diodon had orange feathers next to the right foot, I repeated the same story I made up:

“In a day of little clarity, he flew so high that the sun got angry and suddenly appeared just burning a small portion of his plumes. The shock was so big that even his blue eyes changed color – an endless memory of his stubbornness.”

Dio was quiet and silent, but he didn’t like to interact with other animals. He only watched them from a distance, as if from the branch where he rested, he observed the vassals of his kingdom. He had an inquiring look and at the same time simple and pure. He couldn’t hunt, so the responsibility fell on us to feed him with ground meat plus calcium carbonate powder.

The first time he went up on my finger, I felt a tickle. When I started to laugh, Dio opened his beak and screeched. I had the impression that he wanted to answer my laughter in his own way. As Diodon grew, my fingers became insufficient to safeguard him, and he decided to nest in my arm and shoulder, especially around the neck, where he learned to poke me subtly with his claws. Over my shoulder, Dio always called the attention of onlookers in the center of the town.

From time to time, he opened his wings like a fan, reaffirming its grandiosity. His popped eyes gave me the impression that his painstaking vision contemplated all around him, like his hearing. Nothing went unnoticed, not even a solitary leaf swept by the breeze into a manhole.

Occasionally, he cowered in the presence of strangers, hiding part of his body behind me. I was tickled and laughed when his grizzly beak poked my head. Then he moved his feet to the left, to touch my deltoid, and watched me carefully, since ignoring the visits that he regarded as intrusion. Despite the estrangement that lasted months, he no longer saw the poodles Happy and Chemmy as threats. By analyzing them, his behavior has changed considerably. I remember when I caught the fond Chemmy licking Diodon’s feathers. Silently, the little hawk was aiming the nozzle towards the indigo sky in contemplation.

At late afternoon, after the restless Happy came to lick his beak, Dio wasn’t positioned to peck the dog’s nose as usual. The truth is that he didn’t care. The little hawk may not have noticed what happened and continued admiring the celestial vastness, abstracted from the earth and released to the heavens where he floated under soft dreams as his feathers.

Happy thought that Diodon’s passivity was strange, and examined with exultant and ensnared expression. The poodles retreated when the little hawk flapped his wings and walked toward the brazilian grape tree in the backyard. Climbing from branch to branch, he reached the top and hesitated for nearly a minute before he jumped with open wings.

During the flight, Dio squealed with excitement that caught the attention of neighbors and strangers who passed through Arthur Bernard Street. He was happy and even the most inattentive person realized it. It was as if the cloudless sky gained a new owner, a young animal which discovered that the breath of life also exists in the concession.

Every day in the afternoon he flew at the same time. I was finding it curious and I started to time the duration of his flights. One, two, three, four hours. Each week that passed I noticed that Diodon spent less time at home. That’s when I realized that his home was no longer a place, but a space where his wings bobbed with the purity of a winged horse.

The last time I met him at home, he gently pecked my head. His feathers were more vibrant as well as their glittering eyes of citrine that conveyed me cunning and conviction. Diodon was no longer the small hawk who came home wounded, malnourished and with few feathers. Although he didn’t like hugs, he allowed me to involve him quickly between my arms, without even pointing his long, sharp claws. I let him, and he played the same way he winched the first time that he came up on my finger. Within minutes, Dio left and never returned.We didn’t try to seek him because there is nothing to find when the departure is motivated by the untimely desire to fly.

Written by David Arioch

September 25th, 2016 at 3:21 pm