FIVE POEMS BY PAULO LEMINSKI

Translated by Ivan Justen Santana

 

*

 

They're still going to kill me on a street.

When they find out,

mainly,

that I am part of these people

who think that the street

is the main part of the city.

__

 

Ainda vão me matar numa rua.

Quando descobrirem,

principalmente,

que faço parte dessa gente

que pensa que a rua

é a parte principal da cidade.

 

(1976)

 

*

 

of how

the polack jan korneziowsky

put on the persona/costume

of joseph conrad

and turned into lord jim/childe harold

 

 

one of these days i want to be

a great english poet

from centuries ago

and say

o heaven, o sea, o clan, o destiny

fight in india in 1866

and disappear in a clandestine shipwreck

 

__

 

de como

o polaco jan korneziowsky

botou a persona/fantasia

de joseph conrad

e virou lord jim/childe harold

 

 

um dia desses quero ser

um grande poeta inglês

do século passado

dizer

ó céu ó mar ó clã ó destino

lutar na índia em 1866

e sumir num naufrágio clandestino

 

(1983)

 

*

 

of things

that i did by meter

everyone will know

how many kilometers

were trod

 

those

in centimeters

minimal feelings

infinite impulses

will they not?

 

__

 

das coisas

que eu fiz a metro

todos saberão

quantos quilômetros

são

 

aquelas

em centímetros

sentimentos mínimos

ímpetos infinitos

não?

 

(1983)

 

*

 

my 7 falls

 

my first fall

didn´t open the parachute

 

then i went like a stone

into my second fall

 

from second to third fall

it was a leap as a silk

 

suddenly a fifth fall

takes the fourth and mocks it

 

in the sixth i kept falling

now excuse me

another abyss is coming

 

__

 

minhas 7 quedas

 

minha primeira queda

não abriu o paraquedas

 

daí passei feito uma pedra

pra minha segunda queda

 

da segunda à terceira queda

foi um pulo que é uma seda

 

nisso uma quinta queda

pega a quarta e arremeda

 

na sexta continuei caindo

agora com licença

mais um abismo vem vindo

 

(1983)

 

*

 

adminimystery

 

   When the mystery arrives,

it will find me already sleeping,

   half giving for saturday,

the other half, sunday.

   Neither sound nor silence may exist,

when the mystery grows.

   Silence is a thing without sense,

I do not stop observing.

  

   Mystery, something that, I think,

more time, less place.

   When the mystery returns,

my sleep may be so free,

   neither may exist fright in the world

that may sustain me on my feet.

 

   Midnight, open book.

Moths and mosquitoes

   land on the uncertain text.

Would it be the leaf white,

   light that looks like object?

Maybe the smell of black,

   that falls there as some rest?

Or would the insects

   have discovered kinship

with the letters of the alphabet?

 

__

 

adminimistério

 

   Quando o mistério chegar,

já vai me encontrar dormindo,

   metade dando pro sábado,

outra metade, domingo.

   Não haja som nem silêncio,

quando o mistério aumentar.

   Silêncio é coisa sem senso,

não cesso de observar.

 

   Mistério, algo que, penso,

mais tempo, menos lugar.

   Quando o mistério voltar,

meu sono esteja tão solto,

   nem haja susto no mundo

que possa me sustentar.

 

   Meia-noite, livro aberto.

Mariposas e mosquitos

   pousam no texto incerto.

Seria o branco da folha,

   luz que parece objeto?

Quem sabe o cheiro do preto,

   que cai ali como um resto?

Ou seria que os insetos

   descobriram parentesco

com as letras do alfabeto?

 

(1987)

 

*

PAULO LEMINSKI

translated by Ivan Justen Santana

"Paulo Leminski (1944-1989): prolific poet, experimental proseer, essayist, translator, occasional songwriter, cultural agitator, polyglot martial artist. A leading voice of his generation, Leminski follows different paths attempted in Brazil from the early 1960s through the late 1980s. He contributed to the journal of concretism, Invenção, at eighteen and maintained a characteristically acute sense of visuality and typographic space in his poetic output. Much of Leminski's poetry of the late 1970s/early 1980s can be read under the contested rubric of poesia marginal, though his detached irony and language-based mini-lyrics set him apart. The best poems from his numerous small-press books are collected in Caprichos & Relaxos (1983) and Distraídos venceremos (1987). In the latter, renewed desires for rigor and dialogue with literary traditions are evident. The author's experiment in New World baroque narrative, Catatau (1975), was a kind of cult book; it was complemented by the ludically Proppian Agora é que são elas (1984). " (biographic note by Charles A. Perrone)

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