Poems From The Portuguese
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Tiago Araújo

(B. 1973)

Tiago Araújo’s poetry wins its readers over by creating with them a strong sense of commitment, a serious and profound understanding. In his poems, he offers an act of extreme affirmation, in a most virtuous confessional register. His lines hit us with their breath, with their urgency and the feeling of inevitability they exhale. They quickly cause us to abandon cynicism and to share in an intimacy so freely expressed.

Tiago Araújo is a diplomat.

Poetry books since 2000:

Diaspositivos (2001), Fórmulas (2004), Livre Arbítrio (2009), Respirar debaixo de água (2013)

Poems

the numbers

24 Setembro, 2018By bitcliq

this is the book of my lineage:
adelino begot armindo who begot adão who begot
tiago who begot three. of these, two are now running around the room
chasing each other. the third is growing
still unseen. we are numerous, though not enough
to replace the dead we collect in family photo
albums and, due to practical reasons, we live almost in isolation within
our domestic bliss, a feeling which is not well received by the critics.
no one died during our childhood. corpses
used to be averted from children’s eyes in subtle and effective
ways. the time has now come to look into
the current account, to assess losses and gains.
name by name of a family in which the past
is about as unknown as the future.
we have been brought here by almost constant passion
between the sexes throughout the centuries.
and now, in adulthood, each day
gets us closer to the past.
it may well have been different in previous times but
today it is saturn who is devoured by his children while
watching television on a saturday afternoon.

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cry wolf

i kept coming back to the place where I used to cry wolf till long after you had stopped coming to my rescue. winter was harsh and the fear species became extinct thanks to blankets and company – in the background, the only survivor was an adolescent awkwardness which we learn to disguise for professional reasons. old military uniforms drawn in basic colours, lists of telephone numbers, maps, everything which impatient memory threw into small boxes, waiting to be catalogued, described, forgotten.

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the passenger seat

next to you, in the exposed passenger seat, while
you drive the conversation towards a thoughtless
sentence. we arrived late at the beach,
just as for almost everything. the wind lifts
the dust in the parking lot and we don’t
leave the car. I don’t know the right answer
and therefore I perform badly in my supporting role.
I just stay in the silence, where
I’ve always felt more comfortable.
a sombre place, discreet, sheltered
and still, as they say, the most dangerous.

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(SJ-06)

there are only two or three ways
of knowing you; this is the one that takes longer.
the rain has stopped and, distracted, we continue
this coast-hugging love, never too
far never too near the flesh, the organs
protected by a vault of bones. we fulfil
the liturgy of the hours, repeated without conviction
or effectiveness, and at times words start
to make sense, as do my gestures
pulling you towards me with one single hand
and some sleepiness. a slow navigation,
familiar and comfortable, because
this is the best way to know your
fingers and how you use them
to plait the hours, as if
weaving hair or fraying silent rosaries,
just the technique of rolling
beads and mysteries into your hand
to entertain the suitors and
await my arrival from the long
journeys I undertake
– ten years at a time – without leaving home.
today I’ve been to Lisbon and I brought you red
apples from the Lusíadas street grocer,
with which I intend to put you to sleep (as
in the tale we tell every night), because
this is the only way to know your
fears and interpret your dreams, to write,
next to you while you sleep, the lists
of daily tasks we perform
to kill time.

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(saturday)

the morning might still be rescued if the weather
changes or the strong coffee breaks the glass between the sound
and the meaning of these sentences I recite, on an empty stomach,
from an out of date newspaper. I slept more than usual,
between papers and the distant sound of the telephone,
an alarm clock absorbed by dreams. as I woke up I
couldn’t read the leaves of yesterday’s tea, poured
into the kitchen sink, to find out what I’ll do
with the freedom left over from the day before.

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(mind body)

I was born a twin. my non-identical brother
died almost at birth. I shaped my personality
like the memory of the half I lack.
it’s my brother who twists at night choreographing
the comedy of errors, in a process of transference which
unfolded in a
double movement: too much of
a sharp critical sense alongside a
distance in relation to myself as
a reluctant character in the narratives I created.
in sum, a personal catholicism, with
consecutive cycles of guilt, repentance and absolution.

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