“Nuances” and “Processes”

Translated from Portuguese by Grant Schutzman



I could have chosen clay instead of chalk, but no, life has other hands that shape it, other lines: infinite geometries, like the babbling of this childhood I find myself going back to, to its center, I gaze across the horizon dyed sepia, my eyes open an alphabet of dyes of different colors. Oh, voices like rubies unseal my memory during these long intermissions of afternoons, verbs and rains and the mornings from which I enter as if there were bread waiting for me on the table, as if a boat were traversing my mouth hungry for forbidden words, like Marx or Gorky, like Frida or Jean-Michel Basquiat, like saying a name and having that name curl around my skin, around my blood, around the abrupt memories I have of a dead child’s face calling out from beneath a tomb of books. A child killed by wishing too hard to be alive and free. I walk through the tomb of forgetting as someone would lay out their body on a beach of silence, I find in what I do not say the strength of an entire language to speak what my mouth shuts out: a final scream.





I drink the night away with these friends, the thick breath of saliva panting on the tongue, this dark side of bright things: the alcohol that seeds itself in the word’s veins, the poem like a field of syllables to be surveyed, iris of turgid visions or drunken fire scanning the lung like a poem and no, what I speak of is not true fire. I hadn’t yet read the flowers of Baudelaire, hadn’t even flipped through Rimbaud, and the beer was sweeter than the flames of hell itself; from cellar to cellar selecting the branch on which the bird might land, the green murmur of casuarinas, a howl in vegetal form. The sap of epic songs my languor beneath the hops I’ve forgotten; now, Monday morning ejects the packaged flesh that will take a fancy to the butchers’ hand, oh my love on these streets of ours, breasts gripped tight during daytime mating. Yes I drink the night and nothing else; emptying my anger through the bottle’s neck, an oar in Lemos and I invent the island where I shall die from my own shipwrecks, stripped of the dreams that I chase.