"Because love proved useless.
And eyes don't cry."


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Issue 13: Free Form

Issue 12: The Necessary Ear

Issue 11: The Necessary Eye

Issue 10: Out on a Limb

Issue 9: The Missing Body

Issue 8: The Lily

Issue 7: Passages

Issue 6: No More Tears


Carlos Drummond De Andrade
translated from the Portuguese by Len Sousa



Seven-Sided Poem

When I was born, a crooked angel,
the kind who live in shadows,
said: Go, Carlos! Be gauche in life.

The houses spy the men
chasing after women.
Perhaps if the afternoon were blue
there wouldnít be so many desires.

The tram passes by full of legs:
white black yellow legs.
Why so many legs, God, my heart asks.
But my eyes
never ask a thing.

The man behind the moustache
is serious, simple, and strong.
Almost never talks.
Has a few, close friends,
that man behind the glasses and the moustache.

Lord, why did you abandon me
if you knew I wasnít God?
if you knew I was weak.

World world vast globe
if my name were Job
it would be a rhyme, not a solution.
World world vast globe
vaster still is my heart.

I ought not tell you,
but this moon
but this congac
gives us heartache like the devil.

Josť

What now, Josť?
The partyís over,
the lights are off,
the crowdís gone,
the nightís gone cold,
what now, Josť?
what now, you?
you without a name,
who mocks the others,
you who write poetry
who love, protest?
what now, Josť?

You have no wife,
you have no speech
you have no affection,
you canít drink,
you canít smoke,
you canít even spit,
the nightís gone cold,
the day didnít come,
the tram didnít come,
laughter didnít come
utopia didnít come
and everything ended
and everything fled
and everything rotted
what now, Josť?

what now, Josť?
Your sweet words,
your instance of fever,
your feasting and fasting,
your library,
your gold mine,
your glass suit,
your incoherence,
your hateówhat now?

Key in hand
you want to open the door,
but no door exists;
you want to die in the sea,
but the sea has dried;
you want to go to Minas
but Minas is no longer there.
Josť, what now?

If you screamed,
if you moaned,
if you played
a Viennese waltz,
if you slept,
if you tired,
if you diedÖ
But you donít die,
youíre stubborn, Josť!

Alone in the dark
like a wild animal,
without tradition,
without a naked wall
to lean against,
without a black horse
that flees galloping,
you march, Josť!
Josť, where to?

Shoulders Support The World

There comes a time when we no longer say: my God.
A time of absolute purity.
A time when we no longer say: my love.
Because love proved useless.
And eyes donít cry.
And hands only weave in rough work.
And the heart is dry.

Women knock at the door in vain, donít open it.
You stay alone, the light goes out,
and in the dark your eyes glow enormous.
Youíre convinced, you no longer know suffering.
And you expect nothing from friends.

Old age matters little, what is old age?
Your shoulders support the world
and it weighs no more than a childís hand.
The wars, famines, and talks in buildings
only prove that life goes on
and not all have freed themselves yet.
Some, finding the spectacle barbarous,
prefer (the delicates) to die.
There comes a time when thereís no point in dying.
There comes a time when life is an order.
Merely life, without perplexity.

 

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Len Sousa is a 22-year-old writer at work on a series of new Rimbaud translations. He recently received his BFA from Emerson College studying under poets Jonathan Aaron and Bill Knott. His poetry has appeared in issues of The Alembic, Gangsters In Concrete ,The Emerson Review, and Gauge Magazine. This is his first published translation.

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