for Claudia Roquette-Pinto
At the red light a boy asks me for a handout. He sees my weary face, my muscles signalling urgent needs, my life catching its breath, my fears. At the red light I say I’m fleeing from something toward something else far away.
The boy gives me a handout: his smile. As time stands still, I realise it’s me smiling in the boy while it’s me here on this side, in my car, and the boy and I share our gaze.Read more →
at the selarón
the rain walking
two hundred and
fifteen degrees to
find out he
does not accept
be a revenge
I put an ad in the paper
I’ve asked everyone
but no one has news from you
meanwhile the flip-flops
continue to rest in the laundry
area behind the door between
the mop and the floor cloth
since that night I’ve only
it’s my protest
Written by Ramon Mello and translated by Thereza Rocque da Motta.Read more →
and this is my poem, come on in
don’t be afraid, ignore the echo
let us begin in emptiness
welcome to my crater of light
once we gathered, you and I, remember
revived by the cool gleam of a rummer
our shadows like finest crystal
our fame as glancing as the light that falls
on a letter read by a woman becalmed
we were gold dusted
pale, almost translucent with love
lowering our eyes before each other
and we loved to do penance
if someone asked how we were
we answered truthfully
ashamed to our boots, sir
that we ourselves had scourged
our very own lord
and crucified him personally
the certainty of the apocalypse
was branded on our retinas
what happened in the few short centuries
we looked the other way?
A small group was passing through the street with Bibles in their hands. My father was standing next to me, grinning. He said, “Those people still believe in God.” He probably stopped to think about what he’d just said. The word “still” implied progress. “Those people still believe in God.” It suggested levels of increasing insight. My father sniffed and mumbled, “We still believe in progress.” Silently we watched the slight figures until the small group had disappeared around the corner.Read more →
Translated by Delphine Grass and Timothy Mathews
I no longer go on trips, really,
Because I know the place
And I know my rights,
And I’ve lived through rage.
In the service of humanity,
In the middle of the estate,
I know my bedroom well
And feel the night descend.
Angels take flight
In the glory of heaven
They will find God;
And the women have fun.
in the eyes of senator strangers,
they are help, just.
they are not blue-collar,
but they are not parking lot attendants.
no one wants to hear their stories any more,
omelettes and cigarettes,
maintenance and tv sets,
who has time for romance?
in these United States
along this Gulf of Mexico,
going to Community College,
illegal as can be.
Translated by Peter Bush
Mammal with Flea
I God, the mammal,
look agog at the universe and invisible things
and at the flea on the belly of my dog.
Will she too look at me
with the same spiritual contentment?
And take a chance on the hypothesis
of trismegistic universes?
Suddenly feel an infinite desire for love
and call it God?Read more →
Bacteria Street Circus
scan the detail for spectators
hear the hoopla
when they zoom
up and down
into and through
and pill shaped acids
among your pens
and paper thrives
take their microscopic seats
in microscopic opera houses
built in microscopic streets
raise your hand and with a whisper
spin your silly fairy tales
it is with ease that you will please
the crowd beneath your fingernails
Pseudomorph: Some octopi and squid, when threatened, eject ink in a blob about the same size and shape as their bodies, leaving a phantom copy of themselves (a pseudomorph) hanging in the water, as the original makes its escape.Read more →
It was summer and winter.
The water by the river,
how it rose.
Mist between the hills.
In the valley the expensive villas,
shuttered, white and pink.
Fox and owl
hidden out of sight,
a work day for herons and mice.
And the man who loved women lonely,
not thinking about the birds.
Dew or rain
on the serrated leaves,
the call of a train
from the depths.Read more →
Man said, girl done got herself knocked up.
Woman said, Ima help her mama kill the man done this.
Man said, could see this one comin’ mile way. Girl actin’ like a slut.
Woman said, girl ain’t nothing but a child. What kinda man touch a child like that?
Man said, her mama shoulda teach her better, watch her better.Read more →
Pierrot who on cricket’s
legs legs it through thickets—
Cassander (old hoodie),
Leander the goody-
and Harlequin (Domin-
o’s eyes have an omin-
the outfit’s so natty
it’s positive that he
’s a crook)
are all thumping guitars an’
pretending they’re Tarzan,
in a pile-drive entreaty
of Little Miss Pretty,
whose eyes are a message
denying her undressage
a defense of her fair butt
as says “You may stare, but
Ye planets whose motion
can scupper an ocean
There are no horizons in a city,
only those within yourself.
I couldn’t tell where the city ended
and the people began,
there were only individuals
with crowd-like tendencies
and eternal hopefuls
dreaming of big fat redundancies.
I went through every street in the city
and couldn’t find one person whom I remotely liked.
The revolving doors of human happiness
were jammed shut with people
pushing in every direction
apart from the right one.Read more →
She’s alone in the world.
She loves getting letters, but when she looks in the mailbox it’s always empty.
She decided to write to herself. She put the letter in an envelope and wrote her address on it twice, once as the recipient and once as the sender.
She went out for a walk down the empty streets and dropped the letter in a random city mailbox.
Barren, sun-baked and glistening
from rough weather, rocky crags with deep
gnawn-away gorges and warped landings
hanging plant growth
and rubble as the base of cliffs
descend as far as the sea.
The sea! An eagle
at odds with blackbirds and finches,
a debauchery of countenances
and murmurs fading beneath the arch of the sky,
a mass of indigo gleaming
in the filtered sunlight,
murrai is pondering a profound study on
ignorance but does not want to devote himself to writing it
until he acquires greater general unknowledge
yes yes the paper towels for
(From Stories of Rock-and-Roll, 1985)
Antón R Reixa (born 1957) is one of the most radical innovators in Galician poetry. Since the 1980s he has been experimenting with multimedia poetry and artists books.Read more →
The mirror of elegance before my eyes
and my eyelids sleep a sinewy sleep
in liquid lines of the expressions etched
on a face of cruelty close to mine.
I become fear the murderer
and while an angel passes un ange passe
all would like to see after the orgy
if what I have kept back is a thought
threaded through needles of irony.
Railroad Train, 1908
No sooner is the caboose
out of sight than they’ve
already forgotten you.
It’s like losing clout or taking
a load off their minds. That’s just
how they, who are out
to lunch or do nothing
with their lives, wash their hands
of you. Got it? Yet the trains you catch
are determined, air-conditioned, carnivorous,
in fine fettle.