Excerpt 1: The Beginning

The national bird of Brazil is the sabia, which looks like a close cousin to the robin. It is not as deeply red breasted. At first it sounds like one, those loud liquid notes. But in Brazil its voice is more loud, and insistent. A bird nearly identical to the shore variety bird was sighted in the litoral, but its song was that of a mockingbird.

  “Aves do Brasil,” ornithologist’s notes 

“The truth is that not only do the facts not speak for themselves but in order to make sense they

must perforce be interpreted.

  Vianna Moog,  one of Brazil‘s few modern historians of any scholastic repute

Let me tell you about Joao Sousa. This task has fallen to me because, though I am a quite ordinary journalist by trade and an expatriate North American, I too have been a medium and a practitioner of spiritual disciplines: a child of Oxum and refugee of the black sangha. And so I have a personal understanding of the matter at hand as well as a certain professional and national objectivity, a liberty of speech and loath of secrecy not available to americanos do sul.

Yet I must warn you that I am myself somewhat divided; despite my belief and experience in matters spiritual, I am still engaged in the world. I am continually pulled by history and drawn to its record; karma and akasha, if you will. Especially when I am over my head in life as it is actually lived, I seek out the record of the past. Goethe said that a man who does not know the history of the last 2,000 years can not understand what is happening to him in the moment. This epigram gives me solace, and the practice of its mandate a certain confidence. You see, after many years of study, history becomes a very personal matter, a matter of the dharma. The historian and the biographer unwittingly begin to reveal themselves with their subjects. Attentive readers begin to find themselves in a role not unlike a therapist’s: we listen silently and carefully, seldom interrupting, and we begin to hear other stories, about the historian’s own teachers, his university training, his standing among his peers, his intended audience, his philosopy, his mind, his psyche, his influences, his tutelary spirits and messengers across time, and about his ambitions, limitations, fantasies, fears, dreams, desires, personal life, sufferings, family, relationships, subconscious; and, of course, we hear about ourselves.

All the while the scholar goes on about the secret pilgrimage of Alexander the Great to the Siwa oasis, to his initiation and his subsequent tutelage in the cult of Sarapis under Ptolemy I. Or the strategy of the papal establishment in Jerusalem of the religious order Knights Templar at the time of the Crusades, or the effect of utilitarian views of the body upon Freud’s decision to withdraw his incest theory of hysteria in the late 19th century. A different thread becomes visible in the tapestry. Its unravelling reveals a different picture. One picks up the thread in other tapestries. And soon the world begins to re-emerge; alive again, renewed. The lines between historic time and cosmic time blur.

I would like to know what Pope Leo said to Attila to turn back the Hun’s march on Rome, or what Roosevelt and Stalin said at Yalta, as much as I would like to have heard Padmasambhava address the Taoist sorcerers of Tibet or Jesus deliver the Sermon on the Mount.

As one graduates from the broad historical texts and pursues the threads, thebibliographies of bibliographies, one becomes enthralled by history as if by a secret, as if one were being taken into confidence, as when one understands that Aristotle’s “wine-colored sea” was not a metaphor, or learns that sailors’ logs in the 16th century matchAmazonian indian accounts of navigating by Venus well after sunrise, or discovers that the Nazi SS’s castle system of secret and occult governance was modeled after those of the 14th cenury Cathars, whose 125-year empire straddling the Pyrennees was eradicated by the Roman Church’s 20-year genocide of millions of the followers of this “Albigensian heresy” – amelange of Middle Eastern, Byzantine, Moorish, Jewish and Christian beliefs and practices obscured by time from their first emergence on the Russian steppes, the original “Bulgar,” home of the Aryan conquerors of India and root source of the Vedas.

One begins to recognize what the poet called “… the particles of Babylonian thought that still pass through the earthworm every day.”

I came from a family in which there were many secrets, which made introversion unbearable. Yet, in my second language, I am a guarded and introspective person who does not make small talk easily. So, for me, history legitimizes the kind of intercourse that, as a foreigner, I cannot engage in socially for fear of embarassment, or of being critically judged, which would undermine my social standing and thus my livelihood. After living abroad for many years, one is neither here nor there. In one’s own country, one is secretly regarded as a romantic or an adventurer, perhaps an escapist, and, at times, even something of a traitor. In the adopted country, one is granted all the diplomatic privileges of a guest and neutral observer, even, on occasion, that of a confidante. Yet, without a birthright, those priviliges may be suddenly and arbitrarily withdrawn; as long as one does not seek recourse, they are likely to be reinstated, but not without setting an undesirable precedent. It is better to calculatedly withdraw oneself, to leave for extended periods and then return to recreate the initial impression. If not, one becomes suspect, especially in the Third World countries, of having perpetrated some fraud at home.

It was only after years of transmigration that I realized what I had done, which was to deprive myself of a country, if not a life. (In any conversation) I am neither American nor Brazilian. So I am, you see, afraid, that without history, its references, its rational theses, its interesting footnotes and ripostes to the present, I will not be listened to, and if heard, not believed. To not be believed is to not exist. Telling the story of Joao Gil Ponto Sousa de Soares particularly raises this fear in me. And I know it is Brazil’s fear as well.

In my first years here, when I let my visa and its renewal expired after five months, I would go back to the United States and write, as well as collect, reviews of newly published books thatIthen presented as candidates for translation and publication by Editora Contemporanea in Rio de Janeiro. Acquiring rights and beginning translation and production of one or two books in a year was an achievement then, one that I often had a guiding hand in and that could even delude me at times into fancying myself as a raconteur and proselyte of ideas, at times a harbinger of social movements and a pioneer of progress, and, always, a true internationalist. This kind of foreign thinking has, of course, been the way of things in Brazil since the Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries of the Enlightenment and the French positivists of the 19th century. At least it can said of the early Portugeuse invaders that their many crimes and errors did not include such sustained mental delusion. Ultimately it was the invaders who were subjugated by the land, and are chained to it still by a national debt that increases even at this moment and inches the Rothschilds, the bankers of Imperial Brazil, and later the financiers of French, Dutch, Japanese and United States investment – like so many banderantes and caboclos of the previous centuries – closer and closer into its web of resources, power and promise only to be met by billion-dollar defaults, cancellation, inflation, renegotiations and theft -$40 billion was unaccounted between 1974 and 1994, as much as the total amount of the original loans. To this day, Portugal detests Brazil and finds it incomprehensible; and it is often impossible for a Brazilian who is not wealthy or on business to obtain a visa. The Portugeuse are afraid the mulatto Brazilians will try to stay; they are afraid of being seduced again.

I was always asked, upon my return to their country, Que acharam de Brasil nos Estados Unidos? (“What do they think of Brazil in the United States?” As if they not only thought about Brazil, but knew or cared.

To some friends at least, I would answer honestly Nao acharam; no, they do not think of Brazil. To others, I would ascertain their interests and diplomatically mention soccer or samba, Amazonas ecologia or Carnival, feu dental (dental floss, the size of the bikinis in Rio) or the beauty of Brazilian women, which is the greatest compliment. All Brazilians believe it to be the most profound truth about and greatest insight into Brazil by a foreigner, and if they think nothing further of Brazil, well, it is understandable, and enough.)

The Dhammapada, a new English version of which I once recommended to the publishing house given the dearth of Brazilian translators of either pali or sanskrit, says, “All that we are is the result of our thoughts: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts.” To the degree that this is true, Brazil barely exists in the world. And to the extent that there are hundreds of such countries and nationalities equally obscure to one another, the world itself barely exists. And for these nations, perhaps only credit, debt and karma secure any future at all. The Dhammapada, in Pali or Sanskrit, says, “All that we are is the result of our thoughts: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts.” To the degree that this is true, Brazil barely exists in the world. And to the extent that there are hundreds of such countries and nationalities equally obscure to one another, the world itself barely exists. And for these nations, perhaps only credit, debt and karma secure any future at all. To exist we must owe, and we must offend, the other. So to we who dwell in this dimension did the Brazilian poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade speak, “Mundo, mundo, vasto mundo / mais vasto e meu coracao.” (World, world, vast world / More vast is my heart).

The existence of Joao Sousa, not to mention my own, is even more tenuous. His story, however well documented, is destined to seem a fiction. Thus my narrative of the facts, and commentary upon them, is bound to become confused with a literary effort, no doubt an exaggerated and naive one at that; yet it is under this duress thatI am bound to write. I can find no other way out, nor matter for further delay, and must claim that it is, then, a part and product of the story itself, one that I can only convey by this seeming sort of affectation – of reality, of history – that reports things that once were, and were once thought about, but are now forgotten. I must tell the story in my absolute belief that it is accurate, not fictive. Another rendering would be far beyond my abilities, beyond, perhaps, my possibilities. I have a deeper doubt still, one that already haunts me. Something that I must and will tell you, but that I cannot yet.

First let me say that Joao Pio, as he is affectionately called (pio is the “chirp” of a baby bird; critics later called him Joao Pior; pior means “worst.”) does indeed live today, in an expansive apartment that takes up the entire third floor of a very old and large brick mansion that modern Sao Paolo has wedged into a short and narrow street off Rua Augusta as it climbs a small hill toward Avenida Paulista in the Cerqueira Cesar district of Sao Paulo, just above and beyond the Jardims, the art galleries, the small music clubs and cafes, the boutiques, the custom clothiers com costura (sewing) above the ready-to-wear shops, the cruising cars that get stuck in the traffic they make at night so the boys and girls can stop and flirt and make pontos de encontro (rendezvous) later in the cafes, bars and restaurants elegante (chic) andchopperias (chopp is draft beer). The mansion is only a block away from the high-rise garden suites where a financier may live on the entire 24th floor and enter and exitwith their armed bodyguards, past video cameras and security gates in little black BMWs with shaded bulletproof glass.And less than half a kilometer away is the Shopping Center Paulista, more modern than any mall in the States.

But Joao Pio is really of another time and era, one which, in fact, I am reasonably sure has never existed but in the minds and milieus of the affluent, socially privileged gay men and travestis (tranvestites) of Sao Paulo. Braziians, male and female,are equally fascinated and often enthralled by the homosexual travesti, by what is regarded not as transvestism butas “(the) transformation.” It is they and their kind whose sexual orientation has, however momentarily, placed them outside of and made them witnesses to the history of which they are a product. In the beginning Joao Pio, who underwent an altogether more complete transformation when he performed, playedwith only them in mind, however large or commanding the audiences, as both his true audience and his inspiration. Not thinking about becoming a classical artist or a star, he was interested only in being even more fabulous from one night to the next.He gave the most subtle signs to them -a smidgen of mascara, a smudge of kohl, that he declaimed as mere stage makeup – that he was theirs.

They were the spies in the court, the exceptions who prove each rule; they make themissing links and reveal the hidden motives. Their numerous sexual ties are like the number of knots per inch that reveal the complexity, and establish the price, of a Persian rug – that complex (Zoroastrian) loomwork that is Brazilian society.

You would not fully recognize the notable examples from Brazilian life and culture that I could give of these phenomena, such as the poet Fernando Pessoa or the novelist Chico Xavier or the spiritualist Luiz Gasparetto, so let me draw some parallels: Where would the Beatles have been in 1964 had not their manager, Brian Epstein – motivated chiefly by his infatuation with John Lennon – been subsidizing their tours out of his own pocket?Or from what would the punk-rock subculture have sprung if not the seminal and sensational music band, the Sex Pistols, which came from the liaison of singer John Lydon with manager, pop and fashion promoter Malcolm McLaren, who was a disciple of the gay radical anarchic movement led by French intellectual Guy Debord who shocked European literary and academic circles by taking his own life in a triple suicide pact with critic Roger Stephane and publisher Gerard Voitey in 1995.

But what makes the Brazilian way any different from the ordinary parade of sex scandals, mafia corruption, insider trading and financial frauds? In Brazil, public discourse also contaminates everyone with suspicion and regularly enters lies into the record as fact. When the “good” adopt the dissembling strategies of the bad, who, after a time, can tell the difference between them?Such threads run through the weft and warp of the Brazilian fabric as well. They are the sinais de batom (“lipstick traces”), the signs and signals, trails and traces, gestures and expressions, the lingering or averting of gazes, the blush of skin, the glimmering aura and the dark astral, the vibrations and scents that are subtly and closely watched, overheard, felt, and read in a country where 70 percent are illiterate, 40 percent live below the poverty level, 10 percent control half the wealth, one percent own 46 percent of the land, and 32 million earn less than $120 a year.

But in Brazil there is a certain wind whose vast current occasionally lifts the fog of evasions, deceptions, lies and impression management that gradually dissolve the plots, the characters and the meanings of modern life into free-floating questions that are never answered. It begins with the saying: Anyone who is not confused does not appreciatewhat is actually happening. It is fofoca, or gossip, rumor: The wind or breath that emits from the mouth as one speaks, that leaps like a spirit to ear and nostril, respires through the flesh and accumulates upon tens of thousands of whispers powerful enough to move even the sails of the ship of state.

After three years in office, it took only several months for Brazil’s second freely-elected president to face impeachment for operating a massive, computerized bribery network. He was exposed by his brother after he tried to seduce his brother’s wife. Their mother tried to have the younger brother committed to a mental institution. Their father, when the president was 14, shot and killed a man on the floor of the state senate of Alagoas during a debate, and ate his dinner at home that night and for every other night as he wished, until his natural death. The president’s political ascent had been magical, and for that reason popular. He was a spiritual man who practiced the macumba, who participated in blood sacrifices of chickens and goats at the altars beneath his Alagoas estate.

Fofoca spoke of the young President’s cocaine-and-sexparties and financial subterfuge while he was still the darkhorse candidate, the little-known senator from historic free-slave state of Alagoas. This, of course, did not deter his election. That is not the purpose of the oracle; it is to pronounce fate. It is said the oracle did not stop Collor because it already knew he was a failure. His seemingly harmless (to him) decisions would lead incrementally toward demise, “just as the dead must be buried,”observed Joao Sousa in a rare moment of cynicism. In Brazil, of course, the dead were buried, but they never went away.

The oracle “informed” in the original sense of the word : “in-form” (as in “infirm”) which means chaos (not form). Do you see? Information takes apart, extrapolates, deconstructs, predicts. In Plato’s Phaedrus, Socrates tells us how the Egyptian king, whom the Greeks called Thamus,warned Thoth, the god who created letters and writing, that information produces forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practice memory or gain knowledge of the forms from which the information derives. “You offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom. They will read many things without instruction and will therefore seem to know many things, when they are for the most part ignorant.” No, the oracle did not seek to inform. Once it is news it is too late to change it.As long as it is buried or hidden there is still a chance.

Death and secrets are the sal e doce of Brazil, the salt and sweet, which the Brazilian palate savors in combination. The favored national version of it is a dense, sweet goiaba jelly with cheese – preferably the moist, white, lightly salted cheese from Minas Gearis – served on crackers andis, naively and without conscious irony, named “Romeo and Juliet.”

Gossip is more social science and commerce than art or even politic here. Given the known hoax of Brazilian history, the arrest of information and the condition of the media, it is a necessity. It is like the Roman sibyl who protects the republic. Brazil has always been a nation withoutprophets. The prophet stands against the will of the people to live as they have always lived, which for the people is identical with the will to live.

The homosexual serves the travesti,who serves fofoca, which initiates the transformation – of lie to truth and truth to lie, of fact to fantasy and fantasy to fact. It is never either validation or falsification, it is only an arrangement in time; sometimes the end comes at the beginning and the middle is what occurs when things are done.

In Brazil, everything is underground and so is everybody. It is a country in which the body and the soul are different entities, even in the same “person.”This is why the homosexual and the travesti are archetypes, why the king of Carnival (Rei Momo) is a man dressed as a woman. They go beyond the creation of an alter-ego; they are the creation and absorption of another life force, another entity. Like Janus, they are two become one. They exhibit the rule of transformation. It is the rule, the secret rule, of Carnival. The baterias drum to call the spirits and the dancers’ bodies move to attract them – or so it seems that the festival is the reason and the occasion. But that is the trick, Carnival only recreates what happens, or what is attempted but fails, every day. And it is o spectaculo do Carnival that serves to annually celebrate and to daily hide, and protect, the essentialfact of life in both the favela and in the high rise: the inclination, the capacity, the desire and the attempt to transform,

The sources of Carnival have a common theme: spirit possesion. Among the sources is the Sybilline festival of Attis, a mythic herdsman who castrated himself under a pine tree, where violets sprouted from the drops of his blood. At festivals in ancient Syria, eunuch priests of Attis played drums and tambourines, whirled in a dervish of spirit possession and slashed themselves with knives, offering their blood to the Goddess and her kin, who healed the wounds. Swords were laid out for those in the public, who, drunk with the drumming, dancing, blood-letting orgy, would castrate themselves and casttheir genitals into a household, whose inhabitants were bound to present the man with a gift of women’s clothing that he would wear for the rest of his life.

The Attic cult reached Rome in the second century before Christ. The Phrygian sanctuary to the Mother of the Gods was erected on the site of what is nowVatican Hill, where inscriptions were discovered under St. Peter’s Basilica during the same period as the early colonization of Brazil. Throughout the Christian New World, Mardi Gras and Carnivalfestivities were celebrated by slaves who hid their rites under the pre-Lenten and Easter celebrations of the Europeans. During the slave festivals – as during the Roman Spring Festival of Hilaria – there was absolute license to say and do as one pleased, without impunity or regard to class.The Sybilline priests and their followers henceforth lived as women, as did the transvestite priests of candomble, the African religion of Brazil that has10,000 candombles in Bahia alone registered as businesses many of which are listed in the beginning of the phone book along with local government nd stal services.

The libertine, orgiastic festival of Brazilian Carnival attracted more and more Brazilian whites who expanded the repertoire of costumery from cross-dressing – which was the dress of the goddess, her priests and priestesses – to fantasy, or fantasia, which had its own meaning for the followers of the candomble rites of spirit possession and transformation.

.But in the new age after the eunuch, it is the homosexual who has been transformed, altered in way that is tangible and permanent.And it is the travesti who is the height of the homosexuality, for it is the travesti who can transform others; the travesti, the beautiful woman who is a man and who gets “herself” picked up by straight men who think her a woman and who seduces them, and not as one might think, in a feminine oral manner. The secret of the travesti is that he is a man who is able to seduce, and penetrate, straight men, to turn them into “women.”

Energetically, through his manner of performance, Joao Sousa initiated a consistent series of transformations: of his role as pianistin concert intorei momo of a carnival in which the musical costumery was classical, evoking the powdered wigs and 18th century (Louis XVI or Don Joao Sebastiao) dress ever popular in the parades of Rio and nordeste; further, he substituted piano and voice for drum and cymbal – and how he loved the piano as an instrument of percussion, and the female voice.

What Joao Sousa the artist did was to enact the literal Latin, etymological meaning of carnival: carnis, the flesh. and levare , to remove.This was the travestitransformation exercised by Joao Sousa, from self to other, to remove the flesh of the man – himself, Chopin, Mozart, Villa-Lobos – and to reveal the spirit.

The sybilline event enacted by Joao Sousa was extended to the audience, the believers of the mysteries of self that they barely revealed to themselves. Through these mysteries he entered, eclipsed, perhaps seduced in travesti fashion, their minds, revealed their own multiple minds, voices and spirits, revealed them, first and foremost, as brasileiros and brasileiras.

So it is they, these gay and costumed and fantastic and transformed children of the Sybil who are the conscience and messengers and oracle of Brazil, whose national soul stirs in dull agitation and rebellion at the thought of the world’s rote idea of Brazil as playing another World Cup, or stagingyet-another Carnival, that modern, westernized, commercial institutionalization of the sacred fantasy: Os carros, the multi-million dollar floats of the escolas de samba parading through the cavernous corridors of the crowded sambadromo stadiums; the street-legal Salvadoran blocos serving up the promotional propaganda of the new TV and recording stars whose companies pay to have them perform for national television from the top of the trio eletrico musical buses; the live Carnival TV coverage that loves to show U.S. and European celebrities in attendance and feature close-ups of their sagging faces, sexual sated, weary with abandonment and loss of purpose to the famous Brazilian license that, once sold, has turned the promiscuity of Hilaria into prostitution. Even the slender visitors’s guide to Bahian activities officially distributed from the tourist information booth at the Salvador airport contains five pages of advertisements for prostitute escort services: Black girls! Mulatto girls! Blonde girls!

It is they, the children of the Sibyl,who lie awake on these warm, formerly festive nights of February, when it is the dead of winter in the north world, and, retired to Campinas or Campo do Jordao or Teresopolis for the pre-Lenten period, sink back into the collective dream of an impassioned and extravagant colonial life, rich in masquerade, secrecy and ennui, strained only by the perpetual aspiration to happiness in their terrestrial paradise, the very idea of which is Brazil’s colonial legacy.

In their dream, they experience this ennui with all the Brasileiros in the streets amid baterias and cornetasagogos (cowbells) and afoxes (a kind of bead- or shell-covered maraca), desafios and emboladas, atabaques (drum trios) and trio eletrico (electric bands that play from atop buses), frevo and forro and lambada; with all the Paulista men who bus 14 hours to Porto Seguro in Bahia in the hope of having spontaneous sex with someone other than their wife or girlfriend; mulata … mulata … democrata de coracao… The tincan beat by the battery of percussionists … Boom-dah …. boom-dah … Ai-yi-yi! …. Ei-yi-yi!The buttocks of the Brasileira, the perfect rounded hearts of flesh on display for all to think to eat.

Their difference allows them to know this ennui, of a people compelled by history to be happy.

At the end of each Carnival, 40 days before Easter, the newspapers perpetuate the same stories of how a week later the samba schools are already preparing for next year’s desfile. Brazil is an infinite collage of such minor myths, too numerous and insignificant to bear refuting, even in one’s own mind, which suddenly begins to sense the very real threat of pettiness. Any prolonged journey into that jungle of untruths threatens to turn one into an ogre; suddenly, something is wrong with everything, which is as alienating as it is true; one is halfway into the spider’s web. Better not to worry, be happy. Put on a face (cara do indio). Pretense is reality too. Collectively, every Brasilian experiences it as if in isolation even as they complain of it in others. The reality takes up residence within. In a more crass fashion, another journalist wrote, after the national obsession with the off-screen murder of TV star Daniella Perez by her on-screen lover, “Brazilians discovered virtual reality years ago. They (just) never know when they are entering the screen and when they are leaving it.”

Joao Sousa addressed me concerning this, in another way, in that way of his and of many Brazilians, of musical speech, of speaking in chords, sounding one note of discourse, one note of laughter and one note of empathy, with effacement its flat and praise its sharp. It requires me to translate it sequentially: “How the yearning for something true builds in inertia! While the repetitive forces of history continue to eddy, to swirl, around it. Then, one begins to hear a sound, a pitch, a voice insinuates itself, a suggestion to be swept up in a mood, hopes arise without a worry of actual fulfillment; there is a companionable estrangement from what was,a moment earlier, regarded as reality. In this moment the spirit (of the activity, any activity, but say

Carnival) enters. Then you see it has entered many others also. How could you have missed it? Now the space of isolation is a new terrain, not empty. A trance, maybe, but without problem. Sometimes a fear, but it is organic and you move yourself away from it, or to it, like an animal. After, you remember very clearly, maybe you don’t believe it, maybe you like to deny it. But you have learned, that if you repeat it, the things, the steps, in just such a way, you can enter that way again, the week after Carnival, on any weekend or holiday, at the bar or the party or in your affair. So you incorporate the spirit, just as you did in your fantasia at Carnival, or at the gira inumbanda or macumba; it is your alter-ego, your cult personality, your familiar spirit, your orisha (saint), your Muse, the voice and force of the divine or the departed. You want to believe it is really you, it is so much with you, motivating you. But some things happen, a deviation here, a loss of memory there, then some travesty leaves a mark and you are not so sure, so you must keep it secret, hold it for thoscertain circumstances that always appear and invite you to repeat those things just so. And if you are not quite you, well maybe others are not quite themselves either, you see. Brazilians are crazy. The economy is crazy. The government is crazy. The love life is crazy. Everyone is crazy with this other thing. One moment they think, I must do this. Then, Why did that happen? Not how. Why?.

“It happens in only one moment and there are infinite moments for it, so there are many opportunities in between moments to be crazy. In the United States everyone is busy; here, everyone is crazy. We say Brazil is not the Third World, it is the new world, the new way, the change that is happening. One day Gorbachev is a communist; the next day he is a democrat; the next day, no one wants Gorbachev, and the next he is an important consultant to private concerns. Who was he?

“It is as Rimbaud said, esta, ‘Je’ est un autre.’ ‘I’ am an other. But words are only words to us,” he held up his hands, palms toward me as if to show me they were empty. “It is an old idea, you know, that salvation is available at every moment to one of us. So these others enter us for that moment that it is like the little prayer, you know, in the Madonna song, the blowjob.

“What is that little prayer? Where does it go? I am not sure. You are the one who may discover that. Who is that unknown woman? The queen of the Brazilian hive. She is secret. We die. She keeps making us. Brazilians adore this female; men want to have her; women want to be her. She is our mother, she enters the wombs of our women, the indian, who made the caboclo, the black woman, who made the mulatto, and now she breeds them all together; she is the queen and we are all the drones, and the honey is to be the sweet.

“The desire to be someone else is the greatest desire of all; it can lead to Obatala or Exu, but then there is reversal, to be the sweet, the one that another desires to be, to be coveted, to be possessed. The secret is possession.