[Senhor do Bonfim]
Imagine that distance mythologizes with a force equal
to the push
necessary to maintain it, so that when you reach the oasis,
the myths, without anything to attach themselves to, coil
around the vulgarity the eye clumsily touches
with its wand of bad translation.
Imagine that outside the taxi,
in front of the colossal warehouses of Iguatemí,
half-formed women greet us
hurling strange blessings
and lembranças do Senhor do Bonfim. Music
from nowhere, summer soothed by drums
that incorporate other symbols of summer.
Imagine that the enigma
is reduced to a chirrup of the shrewdest animals:
chameleons, lizards, angels with bamboo wings.
Under the same clouds, a mobility of eyes
and engines and can crushers, and figures adhered
to their shadow: double beings advancing deliberately
somewhere. Bonfires burn nearby, wiry
children come back to the neighborhoods
while the biennials
catapult foreign authors, idols still too young
to be hostile through their ideology
but equipped with newfangled viruses
that have already begun to adapt.
Encounters, people who slip away inside names
as if they were laying traps. Here the dead
sleep on roofs because that’s what the living
and because the climate
allows it. But far from home
events occur to the extent that they can be
named in the presence of strangers, so that
is imprecise. At night, when the void
over the rocks suggests
bodies, you’ll feel like having these calm parcels in your life
because they don’t mean anything, because you can come back
compelling your forehead to sweat, react in circles
while in the center
of the world
particles of benzene and lead thicken the broth
of those waiting around for news,
finance the good quality of memories,
unstitch initials, weigh letters, numbers.
Hear your voice
alien to the prestige of silent things. Look at your arms
healthy like the heart of a lunatic. Imagine what future
and past they have convened here to identify you.
Translated by Curtis Bauer
[Senhor do Bonfim] is from Un huésped panorámico [A Panoramic Guest] (Barcelona, DVD Ediciones, 2010).
You can read and listen to the poem in the original Spanish here.