restricted access The Brotherhood of Swords
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185 the brotherhood of swords i was once a member of the Brotherhood of Swords. I still rememberwhenwemettochoosethenameofourBrotherhood.Iargued, at the time, that for our survival it was important to have a respectable name and purpose and gave as example what had happened to the Brotherhood of São Martinho, an association of wine fanciers who, like the character in Eça de Queirós, would sell their soul to the devil for a bottle of Romanée-Conti 1858, but which came to be known as a fraternity of drunks and, discredited, closed its doors, while the Brotherhood of the Most Holy, whose declared objective is to promote the worship of God through invocation of the Holy Sacrament, remained in existence. In other words, we needed a worthy title and objective. My colleagues replied that the society was a secret one, that in a way it was born (this was said ironically) discredited, and that its name didn’t matter in the least, as it would never be made public. They added that the Masons and the Rosicrucians originally had nice titles and respectable objectives and ended up suffering accusations of every kind, from political manipulation to kidnapping and assassination. I insisted, asking them to suggest names for the Brotherhood, which in the end was done. And we began to examine the various proposals on the table. After heated discussions, 186 | Rubem Fonseca fournameswereleft.BrotherhoodoftheGoodBedwasdiscardedbecause it sounded like an association of layabouts. Brotherhood of Fanciers of Feminine Beauty, besides being too long, was considered reductionist and aesthetical. We didn’t consider ourselves aesthetes in a strict sense; Picasso was right in hating what he termed the aesthetic game of eye and mind manipulated by connoisseurs who “appreciated” beauty and, after all, what was “beauty”? Our brotherhood was one of Fuckers and, as the poet Whitman said in a poem correctly entitled “A Woman Waits for Me,” sex encompasses everything: bodies, souls, meanings, tests, purities, gentleness, results, promulgations, songs, commands, health, pride, maternal mystery, seminal fluid, all the hopes, benefits, donations and concessions, all the passions, beauties, and delights of the earth. Brotherhood of Roving Hands, suggested by one of the poets in our group (we had lots of poets among us, obviously), who illustrated his proposal with a poem by John Donne — “License my roving hands, and let them go before, behind, between, above, below” — although pertinent because of its simplicity in privileging knowledge through touch, was rejected for being an elementary symbol of our objectives. Finally, after much discussion, the name Brotherhood of the Swords was adopted. The richest of the Brothers were its main defenders: aristocratsareattractedbythingsoftheunderworld ,fascinatedbylawbreakers, and the term Sword as a symbol of the Fucker came from the criminal world. A sword penetrates and wounds, and is thus the penis as, erroneously , outlaws and the ignorant in general see it. I suggested that if some symbolic name were used by us, it should be that of an ornamental tree grownforits flowers,forafterallthe penisiscommonly knowninourlanguage as wood or club, and wood is the generic name of any tree in many places in Brazil (but, correctly, not of bushes, which have a fragile trunk), but my reasoning came a cropper when someone asked what name the Brotherhoodwouldhave — BrotherhoodoftheWoods?theStalks? — andI hadnoanswer.Sword,accordingtomyopponents,hadvernacularpower, so once again the riffraff made their valuable contribution to the enrichment of the Portuguese language. AsamemberoftheBrotherhoodofSwordsIbelieved,andIstillbelieve, 187 | The Brotherhood of Swords thatcopulationis theonlythingthat matterstothehumanbeing. Tofuck is to live, nothing else exists, as the poets know very well. But was a Brotherhood needed to defend this absolute axiom? Of course not. There were prejudices, but they didn’t interest us; social and religious repressions didn’t affect us. So what was the objective in founding the Brotherhood? Very simple: to discover how to obtain, fully, orgasm without ejaculation. ThequeenofAragon,asMontaignerelates,wellbeforethatancientrealm united with Castile, in the 14th century, following mature deliberation by her private counselor, established the rule, keeping in mind the moderation demanded by modesty within marriages, that the number of six copulations per day was the legal limit, necessary and suitable. In other words, in those days a man and a woman copulated, in a suitable and modest manner, six times a day. Flaubert, for whom “une once de sperme perdue fatigue plus que trois litres de sang” (I spoke of that in one of my books), thought six copulations a day humanly impossible, but Flaubert was not, we know, a Sword. Even today it’s believed that the only...


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  • Fonseca, Rubem -- Translations into English.
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