I'm Your Thief

Just a brief introduction: there is a great discussion happening in Brazil about freedom of speech and violation of privacy. The discussion is focused, mainly, on biographies. Must the unauthorized biographies be published or not? Is every banishment censorship? Should I mention, on the press, peculiarities from other people's lives? Such a great discussion; and so many points of view: left, right; right, wrong; and so on and so forth. Anyway, I didn't come to express my opinions on that subject.

I've come to ask, putting the question on arts ground: am I free to artistically use other people's lives? And: am I free to artistically use other people's arts? -- as Picasso borrowed from Manet, who borrowed from Raphael and Giorgione. Am I free to create a character based upon another character? The last one: am I free to create a character of myself, a Felipe Franco Munhoz character, based upon another character?; a Felipe Franco Munhoz character which was based upon another character, which was, probably, based upon someone real.

To illustrate, I've written, in verses, an autobiographical narrative -- an autobiography of a writer, of a man (your man) in love. With a stolen structure: from Leonard Cohen's I'm your man. Despite the theft, it's autobiographical, yes, because I'm speaking of me. But -- wait -- is he (am I), the narrator in first person, really in love? Maybe it's just the word-after-word thing, just rowing them for pleasure. Certain kind of fetish, voyeurism, to watch some alliteration on the page.

Or, maybe, working with Cohen's words, I dug in search for my own soul. William Faulkner said, at Washington & Lee University, that the writer's first job is "to search his own soul, to give a proper moving picture of man in the human dilemma." The dilemma I've presented here was To borrow or not to borrow? I did. Once again, now from Shakespeare. Well, here's the moving picture: of myself borrowing-stealing-whatever. I'm pleased, and proud, for doing my duty. Would you arrest me for this?

If you want a writer, I'll rhyme anything you ask me to.
And if you want a liar-kind of poet, I'll break my heart for you.
If you want some real hope, take my hand;
Or if you want a robber of good lines, then, here I steal:
I'm your man.

If you want a rhymer, I will rhyme my sweetest self with you.
And if you want another secret life, I'll give my skin for you.
If you want a wild strife, cold and keen;
Or if you want a bluesman howlin' whistles from the wind,
I'm your sin.

Ah, the gloom's too tight,
My veins are in sigh,
The blues won't go to sleep.
I've been running through these writings to you,
That I made and I could not keep.
Ah but a man never got a woman back,
Not by begging on his knees --
So I'll crawl to you baby
And I'll kiss all your feet
And I'll kill for your beauty
Like a silent speech
And I'll claw at your darkness,
I'll tear at your sheet,
I'll breathe please, please,
I'm your thief.

If you want a sinner, I'll ache every love you ask me to.
And if you want the Sacred Holy Truth, I'll find a god for you.
If you want a binding, bring your child;
And if you want to be a bride awhile or a brand,
I'm your man.

If you want a writer, I'll rhyme anything you ask me to.
And if you want another kind of line, I'll break my heart in two;
If you want the last news, make some plans,
Or only want a robber of the best songs in the land,
I'm your man.