“Opening” and Other Poems

Translated from Portuguese by Alexis Levitin and Ricardo Vasconcelos


The body is too close to the habitual, we must initiate between the two an opening, a few inches of intense freedom. Our skin certainly has something to say in all of that. To get there, we must, in any case, first off, cross the snow that beneath our thinking falls upon what we have thought, entering then into a space where, with all the nails of my spirit pounded into memory, at times I’ve had to crawl my way.


A River   

Now and then, without our knowing really how or why, a river passes through our house, its banks quickly beginning to dispute the space normally occupied by our furniture and all the other objects that surround us. All-powerful, the mounting waters feed upon them in a torrent of whose cause and destination we know nothing. Our own bodies, with a special emphasis on certain parts or certain organs, seem to serve as banks and riverbed to those waters, the same occurring, and on a deeper level, with certain feelings from which at all cost we try to free ourselves before, entering through them into our spirit, the waters, as though possessed, completely drown us. Using clocks or some other more subtle method that our thoughts cannot quite grasp, they end up penetrating time itself, where we feel them rising willfully, foaming against one or another instant whose consistence, which distinguishes it from the rest and isolates it on the threshold of our lives, nobody would in any other way perceive. There exists in these waters something dispersed or intermittent which at certain times allows us, for example, to hold out our hand to touch one of the doors without our fingers even getting wet, though the strength of the waters on both sides dissuades us from any attempt at opening it. Soon enough, due to the moisture that now insinuates itself everywhere, nature breaks upon our furnishings, takes possession of our books, and seeks after the allusions they make, as if the pages where this is happening were already connected to the natural world and, since, in fact, they refer to a meadow, one could find them ready to house roots that in a short time would proliferate amongst dictionaries and one or two long-forgotten botanical compendiums. And, as if the river were making its way through the mirror, suddenly we realize we already have it in our memory.


The Blueness of the Sea       

The blueness of the sea breaks free of water.
From the bones I drove into reality, from which I thought
the sea would gain support and from which I always
imagined, as well, the sea would seek its nourishment (so much so that
at times we sense
it filling with reality) not a single one, not even painted,
survives now,
as time erases everything around me.