KR OnlinePoetryTranslation

Three Poems

Translated from Portuguese by Daniel Persia

A Note

I left you a note on the nightstand, for when you wake up. I had to leave early and didn’t know which words to leave behind. I wanted to tell you several things about last night—things that would start sweet and bright, only a slight bitter, then a tiny secret, a deep but subtle declaration followed by a line that would be cold on the outside and warm on the inside, like a French dessert. But it was so hard, the sun grazed the table, you were sleeping so close by and I still hadn’t put on my shoes, which certainly interfered with my handwriting a bit. Your apartment in the morning still dressed in the remnants of last night. I didn’t know what to say, you can imagine my surprise when the only pen I could find was red and so all I wrote was

It’s so late, but
I’m ready
if you’re ready
and in the left corner I scribbled a small
sailboat.

 

Ten Written Drawings

In the left corner
with thick
red line
an apple.
Had I known
I wouldn’t have posed
with my heart
in the candy dish.

• •

Checkered
blue and black
blue and black:
pools at night.

• •

I’ll make a little sketch
for you to understand
what I meant
but never said.

• •

Under this charcoal sun
I’ll write
some tall palm trees.

• •

Dancing
I draw
dance’s
desire.

• •

This little red
watercolor
hanging on the wall:
that’s where my heart is.

• •

You
on the dance floor
tracing cigarette
circles
against the backless
backdrop
of night.

• •

The stones the stars
breasts planes
& penciled lips.

• •

I don’t know how to
say the right words
how to apply
theorems
or plot
maps, diagrams
how to interpret
dreams or letters
I can only dedicate
to you this drawing
that still doesn’t exist.

• •

If I could
put a glass around
this little museum of words.

 

A Postcard

You never step into the same river twice, you know, nor
the same book, the same person, the same elevator, twice
is too much in the same bookshop same bar same tailor
store summer dress suburban shopping mall

that afternoon, everything was shining, city lights scarcely
lit shined and a sliver of sun flung onto the shingles shone
like a flicker of beer lying near an infant tree, the sea
was shining (though from there you couldn’t see) the sea
sponges shining, leaves of trees shining and my name
shone in your mouth, your foam mustache, your cheap
earrings, your eyes of a nameless color shining, as
the names of colors shined

we never tried to make it work again, you can never make
the same thing work twice, we stayed, we stayed
for a while, that afternoon that only later
would become our last