Poems From The Portuguese

Through the Looking-glass

2 Outubro, 2018By bitcliq

You were always the stranger:
hair plaited on the side
eyes that stared straight ahead
the green of your pinafore
was an unsuitable
you had many homes
you left and left
you never did stay
and when half way there
as the others followed
you turned back

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Evening falls softly
on top of the hills
birds are quiet
hares and rabbits
lie in their burrows
a bat hangs
from a pomegranate
crafty cats
jump over roofs
looking for nests
or careless mice
moonlight in August
down by the road
lovers talk

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In Carroll’s Soup

Carroll’s soup
takes a bit
of everything:
it takes beasts
chopped off
all seasoned
very well indeed
with powders
that make you sneeze
and teapots
still very very hot
and heads
of little girls
with dreams
planted on top
the girls
the girls

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1 Outubro, 2018By bitcliq

Two paths crossed the pine wood,
astonishingly precise directions, animals
I never saw again. While the crops
were ripening on the fields, there were charms
hanging from the trees and quick-silver to treat
certain ailments, a vital piece of equipment.
There were sunflowers surrounding the house and the scarecrows
everlasting words preventing me
from going mad. And there was a wall
which had to be jumped over, and the glorious morning
of the climb, the science of the great migrations.

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Gestures have changed, and so has the lighting.
We manage to hide behind ourselves.
Night, as always, is good for waiting.
What do we live off after all? What do we die of?

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The message is subtle:
if his hands weren’t busy,
he would have taken off his hat as he entered the shop.
He therefore accepts my help with
his carrier bags (careful,
the eggs are at the bottom).
As usual, he looks for
cheaper brands. That’s life,
sometimes we’re lucky and get
what we want. Then again,
contrary to what they say,
high street shopping is like gold-mining
if you know where to dig.
Well, people with whom we’ve never
had a serious conversation. In any case,
more often than not, we do for each other
things that we could hardly
put into a contract.
Does herein lie our survival,
even without forgiveness?
Let’s not talk about such complexity.
Morning is already leaning over
lunchtime. We must all go home,
it’s as simple as that. My friends,
your coats. The wind is sharp today,
but we’ve already known worse.

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We are lost and we don’t know it.
Learning with human beings takes
longer. Houses are identified,
but people aren’t. How do you know the right way?
“In this house the great writer Eça de Queiroz
started his literary life”.
Distracted by the plaque, I who only had one cigarette
lit it up by the filter. In every world
of each universe, bad luck is almost always
a question of perspective. Two men
see the same bird flying. One is the one
writing this poem, an ember taken from the fire.
I think I’ve even seen this: two ends
of a cigarette, two faces of one single man.

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It was winter and we were thirsty.
Perhaps out of fear, that way we have
of being faithful to ourselves.
We staggered to the depths of Lisbon
which that day was to be a house,
once the property of a Jew.
Birds flitted in a room without people,
at the far end was the window, in blinding light.
We hid behind a curtain,
peering sideways from the window
into the memory of our common past.
Afterwards, stupidly, we discussed
poetry. There were five of us. We decided
to split into groups of four.
For some reason I was on my own.

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