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The Word

I no longer want to consult

dictionaries in vain.

I only want the word

that will never be there

and that can't be invented.

One that would resume

and replace the world.

More sun than the sun,

in which we all could

live in communion,


savouring it.

No meio do caminho

No meio do caminho tinha uma pedra

tinha uma pedra no meio do caminho

tinha uma pedra

no meio do caminho tinha uma pedra

Nunca me esquecerei desse acontecimento

na vida de minhas retinas tão fatigadas.

Nunca me esquecerei que no meio do caminho

tinha uma pedra

tinha uma pedra no meio do caminho

no meio do caminho tinha uma pedra.

In The Middle Of The Road

In the middle of the road there was a stone

there was a stone in the middle of the road

there was a stone

in the middle of the road there was a stone.

Never should I forget this event

in the life of my fatigued retinas.

Never should I forget that in the middle of the road

there was a stone

there was a stone in the middle of the road

in the middle of the road there was a stone.

A chastity that opens her thighs

A chastity that opens her thighs

her brave flower shining

so narrow, the burning fire

disparate desire

dead to this still life

without words...

grave grass

these flames do pass

young souls still searching

without themselves...

resurrection alone

first naked now

clothes are lying

on this floor

their world disappear

from her black hole

without destiny...


A little of everything remained.

Of my fear. Of your disgust.

Of stuttered cries, Of the rose

a little remained.

Because a little of everything

remains: a little of your chin

in the chin of your daughter,

a little of your harsh silence

in the angry walls,

in the speechless,

climbing leaves.

But a little of everything terribly remains.

Under the breaking waves,

under the clouds and winds,

under bridges and under tunnels,

under flames and under sarcasm,

under slobber and under vomit,

under the sob, the jail, the forgotten,

under gala shows and scarlet deaths,

under libraries, asylums, and triumphant churches,

under you yourself and your crusty feet,

under the hinges of class of family

a little of everything always remains.

Sometimes a button. Sometimes a rat.


Amar / To Love

What can one creature do,

Among his fellow creatures, if not love?

Love and forget,

Love and mis-love,

Love, unlove, love?

Always, even to eyes gone glassy, love?

What else, I ask, can a loving being do,

Alone in a rotating universe, if not

To turn too, and love?

Love what the sea brings ashore,

Love what it buries and what, in the sea-breezes,

Is salt, or love’s yearning, or plain anguish?

To love solemnly the desert palms,

Love what is surrendered or pregnant with demands,

Love the barren, the unpolished,

A flowerless vase, an iron floor,

The inert breast, the street seen in a dream, a bird of prey.

This is our destiny: to love without accounting,

Distributing it to the faithless and the hollow,

An unlimited donation to complete ingratitude,

And, still from the emptied shell, the nervous, patient

Scrounging out of more and more love.

To love even our own lack of love, and in our parched state

To love the implicit water, the implied kiss, the infinite thirst.

(transl. by Harrison Tao)

For always / Para sempre

Why does God allow

that mothers go away?

A mother has no limit,

she is time without hour,

light that does not fade

when the wind blows

and the rain falls.

A velvet hidden

on wrinkled skin,

pure water, clean air,

pure thought.

Death happens

to what is brief and goes by

without leaving a trace.

a mother, in her grace,

is eternity.

Why must God remember

- profound mystery -

to take her away someday?

Were I the king of the world,

I would create a law:

a mother does never die,

she will always stay

with her child

and her child, though old,

will be little

like a maize grain

Friendly Song/Canção Amiga

I'm working on a song

in which my own mother sees her image,

everyone's mother sees her image,

and it speaks, it speaks just like two eyes.

I'm traveling along a roadway

that winds through many countries.

My old friends—if they don't see me,

I see them, I see and salute them.

I am giving away a secret

like someone who loves, or smiles.

In the most natural way

two caresses reach each other.

My whole life, all of our lives

make up a single diamond.

I've learned a few new phrases—

and to make others better.

I'm working on a song

that wakes men up

and lets children sleep.

Translation: Lloyd Schwartz

Morning Street

The splashing rain

unearthed my father.

I never imagined

him buried thus,

to the din of trolleys

on an asphalt street

giant palm trees slanting on the beach

(and a voice from sleep

to stroke my hair),

as melodies wash up

with lost money

discarded confessions

old papers, glasses, pearls.

To see him exposed

to the damp, acrid air,

that drifts in with the tide

and cuts your breath,

to wish to love him

without deceit

to cover him with kisses, with flowers, with swallows,

to alter time

to offer the warm

of a quiet embrace

from this elderly recluse,

discarded confessions

and a lamb-like truce.

To feel the lack

of inborn strengths

to want to carry him

to the older sofa

of a bygone ranch,

but splashes of rain

but sheets of mud beneath reddish street lamps

but all that exists

of morning and wind

between one nature and another

yawning sheds by the docks

discarded confessions


What should a man do

at dawn

(a taste of defeat

in his mouth, in the air)

in whatever place?

Everything spoken, drunk, or even pretended

and the rest still buried

in the folds of sleep,

cigarette stubs

the wet glare of streets

discarded confessions

morning defeat.

Vague mountains

greening waves

newspapers already white,

hesitant melody

trying to spawn

conditions for hope

on this gray day, of a broken lament.

Nothing left to remind me

of the seamless asphalt.

Abandoned cellars

my body shivers

discarded confessions:

abruptly, the walk home.

Square Dance

João loved Teresa who loved Raimundo

who loved Maria who loved Joaquim who loved Lili

who didn’t love anyone.

João went to the United States, Teresa to a convent,

Raimundo died in an accident, Maria became a spinster,

Joaquim committed suicide, and Lili married J. Pinto Fernandes,

who had nothing to do with the story.

A bunda, que engraçada

A bunda, que engraçada.
Está sempre sorrindo, nunca é trágica.

Não lhe importa o que vai
pela frente do corpo. A bunda basta-se.
Existe algo mais? Talvez os seios.
Ora - murmura a bunda - esses garotos
ainda lhes falta muito que estudar.

A bunda são duas luas gêmeas
em rotundo meneio. Anda por si
na cadência mimosa, no milagre
de ser duas em uma, plenamente.

A bunda se diverte
por conta própria. E ama.
Na cama agita-se. Montanhas
avolumam-se, descem. Ondas batendo
numa praia infinita.

Lá vai sorrindo a bunda. Vai feliz
na carícia de ser e balançar
Esferas harmoniosas sobre o caos.

A bunda é a bunda

Praise to he Ass

Ass, what wonderful.

It's all a smile, never tragic.

It does not care what there

on the front of the body. Ass is enough to itself.

Is there any other? Who knows, maybe the breasts.

Mah! - Whispers ass - those brats

still have things to learn.

Ass are two twin moons

in the round rocking. It goes alone

with elegant cadence, in the miracle

to be two in one, fully.

The ass has fun

on his own. And it loves.

In bed is stirred. Mountains

rise up, go down. Waves beating

on an endless beach.

Here it smiles ass. Is happy

in the caress of being and sway.

harmonious spheres over chaos.

The ass is the ass,

out of size.

Het kontje, ach hoe aardig

Het kontje, ach hoe aardig,
Lacht altijd, nooit tragisch.

Kan niet schelen wat
van voren zit. Het kontje is zichzelf genoeg.
Is er nog meer? Misschien de borsten.
Nou - moppert het kontje - die jongens
hebben nog heel wat voor de boeg.

Het kontje is tweelingmanen
in een onbelemmerd wiegen. Loopt vanzelf
in zijn lieftallige cadans, zijn wonder
twee in een te zijn, volledig.

Het kontje vermaakt zich
in zijn eentje. En bemint.
In bed beweegt het. Bergen
rijzen, dalen. Golven slaan
op grenzeloze kust.

Daar gaat het kontje, lachend. Blij
met de streling er te zijn, te schommelen.
Harmonieuze sferen hoog boven de chaos.

Het kontje is het kontje,
een rondje.

Vertaling : August WILLEMSEN


What now, José?

The party’s over,

the lights are off,

the crowd’s gone,

the night’s gone cold,

what now, José?

what now, you?

you without a name,

who mocks the others,

you who write poetry

who love, protest?

what now, José?

You have no wife,

you have no speech

you have no affection,

you can’t drink,

you can’t smoke,

you can’t even spit,

the night’s gone cold,

the day didn’t come,

the tram didn’t come,

laughter didn’t come

utopia didn’t come

and everything ended

and everything fled

and everything rotted

what now, José?

what now, José?

Your sweet words,

your instance of fever,

your feasting and fasting,

your library,

your gold mine,

your glass suit,

your incoherence,

your hate—what now?

Key in hand

you want to open the door,

but no door exists;

you want to die in the sea,

but the sea has dried;

you want to go to Minas

but Minas is no longer there.

José, what now?

If you screamed,

if you moaned,

if you played

a Viennese waltz,

if you slept,

if you tired,

if you died…

But you don’t die,

you’re stubborn, José!

Alone in the dark

like a wild animal,

without tradition,

without a naked wall

to lean against,

without a black horse

that flees galloping,

you march, José!

José, where to?

The Girl Reveals a Thigh

The girl reveals a thigh,

the girl reveals an ass cheek,

only she doesn’t show me that thing

— conch shell, beryl, emerald —

which blossoms, with four petals,

and contains the most sumptuous

pleasure, that hyperboreal zone,

a mixture of honey and asphalt,

a door sealed at the hinges

with a giddiness held captive,

a sacrificial altar without

the blood of the rite, the girl

doesn’t show me that thing.

And she is torturing me, this virgin

with her modesty making me dizzy

from the sudden blow struck

by a vision of her luminous breasts,

her pink and black beauty

that winds itself into a ball,

wrinkled, intact, inaccessible,

that opens, then closes, then takes flight

and this female animal, by laughing,

dismisses what I might have asked her about,

about what should be given and even beyond

given, what should be eaten.

Oh, how the girl kills me,

turns my life into one in which

all hope is consumed

by shadow and sparkle.

Rubbing up against her leg. The fingers

discover the slow, curving,

animal-like secrets, yet

they are the greatest mystery,

always crude, nocturnal,

the three-pronged key to the urn,

this concealed craziness, it doesn’t

give me anything to go on at all.

Before it never would have provoked me.

Living didn’t have a purpose,

the feelings walked around lost,

time wasn’t set loose

nor did death come to subject me

to the light of the morningstar,

which at this hour is already the first star,

violent, rising up like nausea

in the wild beasts at the zoo.

How I might know her skin,

where it is concave and convex,

her pores, the golden skin

of her belly! But her sex

has been kept a secret of the state.

How I might know the cold, dewy

meadow of her flesh,

where a snake rouses from sleep

and traces its path

back and forth, among all the tremors!

But what perfume would there be

in an unseen cave? what enchantment

what tightness, what sweetness,

what pure, pristine line

calls me and leads me away?

It might offer me all its beauty

and I would kiss or bite

and draw blood: I would.

But her pubis refuses me.

In the burning night, in the day

her thighs come together.

Like a deserted inn

closed on the inside by a latch,

her thighs seal themselves,

seclude themselves, save themselves,

and who said that

I could make her my slave?

I could debate this possibility

without a glimmer of hope for victory,

already her body erases itself,

already its glory tarnishes,

already I am made different by that thing

which wounds me on the inside,

and now I don’t know for certain

if my thirst was more ferocious because of

that thing of hers that I might have possessed.

There are other fountains, other hungers,

other thighs of other animals: the world is

vast and the forgetting profound.

Maybe today the girl in the daylight . . .

Maybe. For certain it never will be.

And if it hides itself away

with such fugues and arabesques

and such stubborn secrecy,

on what day will it open?

What would need to change for it to offer

itself to me on an already cold night,

its pink and black blossom in the snow,

never visited by me,

that boat carrying incense that I can’t board?

Or is there no boat carrying incense at all . . .