[Translated from the Portuguese by Richard Simas.]
In the middle of winter, I discovered an invincible summer inside me.
— Albert Camus
Here are my hands
I don’t know how you came
by which steep road
I don’t know how
your feet’s triumphant act
conquering the most murmuring limestone
Could it possibly have been in the poem’s gentle fierceness
It was for me
a return within death
an island of flame
where only thistle
in the midday desert
because until then
without promise of water
I say still there must be…
and she knew all about cars so would she
help him. She said she knew all about horses,
but he said, horse power, same thing,
so, neck brace, crutches, all, she went. All
up and down the Gordon Highway, used
car banners like jockeys’ colors flew.
They stroked old steering wheels, inspected tires,
patted boots and opened hoods like mouths
to check the teeth. He wanted sound
but cheap. Look, she said, this old grey
dray horse, full-sized, V8, air-sprung, power
brakes, leather seats like new, like on the hoof. Hit some-
body in this old tank, or they hit…
The last time they went to the Museum of Contemporary Art together downtown, they left after fifteen minutes. They’d hardly unzipped their jackets before Jesse wandered straight through a black curtain and into a small, dark movie theater with a few stray folding chairs on the floor and a swirl of golden streamers dangling from the ceiling. Abigail followed him inside. The room was so tiny that when they stood shoulder to shoulder, their feet almost touched the walls on either side. On the grainy screen in front of them a young couple, naked from head to toe, took turns…
How many bees are there in a day?
— Pablo Neruda
Begin by looking. See the two large eyes on either side of her head, three ocelli eyes on top. Realize that the world revolves around her. Wonder what distance she has travelled and observe her chest. Not everything with armor can defend itself. Notice how the space between you and her evaporates. Examine the delicate wings. They are reminiscent of lace curtains from times long gone. Behold the life she holds in her hind legs…
Suddenly, beyond elsewhere,
the abdication of time.
The black locus of spirit spreads.
The obsidian of Rio Negro still syrupy
from the oven of constant creation.
At a fluvial branching
a transparent twilight
in daylight’s promise of rain.
A calming bliss as when a lover
shaves and smooths his hair.
The excitement benign,
simply felt in this trope
of constant youngness.
You, of the boat and book
are willing to give in.
Nature hums to itself
about prisms, blood streams,
starched jungle profiles,
of endless correlations
even as elsewhere the world disgraced itself.
Bowed in contemplation fig and…
Once upon a planet only lids opened up
to search in the heavens for heaven
or a place to land a tin can.
Now so many worried eyes in the sky
size up every corner on Earth
where envy punches down at empathy.
When conscience might beat hearts,
sockets fall to reptile impulses.
The cooperation that threw a tube
carrying beings at the moon sits fated
on a launchpad, a deflated hot air balloon.
Wind blows across deserts where wildlife
preyed in lush flora and across the faces
left behind for poised, rag-tag reasons.
Too few pupils dilate from brainstem
to frontal lobe to bring honor to Homo sapiens.
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I want to be an honest man and a good writer.
— James Baldwin
My affinity for language is a given. But how it was given — and revealed more than other affinities that may have had it out for me as well — is a mystery I’m trying to solve. My hunch is that an affinity for words was present at birth, then snapped-to early on by seductive teachers who assigned adventure narratives and lyric poems, and later the stories of Stephen Crane, the novels of Thomas Hardy, the poetry of Robert Frost and Edna St. Vincent Millay (her…
Sid is not gonna take it anymore. Big ugly up ther chmmnnngd wrrrrrmngt Sid’s Nancy. Big ugly gone suck up all the Grate Well.
Grate Well of Kkkrrrrrngpt run peeeeeee little now. Gift from the Grate Amighty RRKKKKKKPPT to prhrrrrrggg. Old tell it.
Sid chase off ugly beating ther mrrrrrngt goode with his hhhrrrrgt. Sid come up behind ugly when they glissltg. Jam grrrrgt in ther pkrrrhught bust out ther pggggrt. One small fell rite out then other small ones jaspppdtd ther pwgg. Don’t come no more now show up ther ugly jrrrrink.
Old tell it bout the time before…
my eyes are splintered
marbles breaking the landscape apart
distorting the real and the false
beyond the preexisting boundaries
of truth and lies
i cannot walk a straight line
there isn’t one to be found
and whatever is left of me
is caught in a crack
in the wall of time
half in half out
i dangle between day and night
life and dreams you and me
and everything i touch is slick
with the gloss of fatuous impermanence
i don’t care which way i fall wrong or right dark or light as long as the ground is solid and…