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For always

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 tot 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?