It's always never

Hans Hofmann, Effervescence, oil, Indian ink, casein and enamel on plywood panel, 54,375" x 35,875", 1942.


Five poems.

For Adriana Braga
(“'Rafael [Braga] will be released tomorrow, Friday'”, I said. She replied in a resigned way:
.'They never tell me anything'.[1]).

Rafael will be released tomorrow
warned, on a visit, the journalist,
and the mother, barely disguising her pride
already hurt by second-hand knowledge,
white, unfamiliar and thin,
the news I've been waiting for so long,
so resent
rather than resign:
“They never tell me anything…”

They never tell you anything!
it's always never
it's always nothing
it's always them

Her kidneys still ached,
like a belt tightening
memory and expectation.
There were a lot of news you waited for,
there were many calls
why did you wake up earlier
and, deviating from its route,
never arrived.

Many were those who evaporated
at dawn, and its rumor
she swore she heard
from within dreams
or paddling in the air.

it's always never
it's always nothing

Coughing a lot,
the boy approached the house,
weak, maimed by war,
an envelope of medicine between the fingers —
must not have heard the mother say:
“Come right now
I was going to have my coffee!”

It almost wasn't fair even if it opened
hand of coffee and its measly minutes,
I've been taking it alone for some time now.
What came to be in contrast
with the whole year
since the son was in prison?
How many times, how many
prepared in vain,
persevered, walked, walked
as constant as light
was the court case?

On the table,
like all reporters,
the geraniums still listened
“they never tell me anything…”
disappearing into thin air.


that superb Ficus
it has been in dispute with the street for a long time…
It wasn't enough to be a titan to break through
one by one the concrete ties that constrain
the ancestors, broad movements.
If we move away, we can clearly see the image of a
formidable sailboat moored on the sidewalk.

He, in whom they hoped for joy, vast shadow and beauty,
he, who was never asked what he wanted
nor what I needed,
more than once he must have fabled in his exile:
“There are as many as I am,
we are strong – we will close ranks;
our liana
will ensnare and strangle this whole city!”

Deformed, covered with thick varicose veins,
the pain and hatred lacerating the once peaceful
wooden heart,
wants now to show us, not without regret,
the pride of a giant bursting the cement ceiling,
until at the top,
in the tangle of wires, electric and ugly,
hit your head,
twisting the captive arms.

Transformed into a beast, whom they try to muzzle,
he will be killed, but he will die proud.


I was never a fan of poems that spoke of poetry –
the exact reason for this? I don't know
but it doesn't hurt to try to find out:
it must be because the poet, on that day,
nothing occurs to him, nothing at all –
no rumble, a rhythm,
no particular word inspires him,
tinkles in your spirit,
any one he could
to derive by mere chance a world,
or a setting world, perhaps your own,
and all this happening without him
predict nothing at all.

(Since Saul did not foresee that they would greet him
as king, when he had only gone out to fetch
his father's lost asses.
After a wizard tells you about his
high destiny, yet Saul
wanted to know the fate of the donkeys:
“Do not occupy your heart with them
because already found each other.”)

It can also be,
in the case of those who conceive in a dream,
that your plant goes on strike,
not one more verse button
in the shifting and unconscious night.
This type however does not grieve, wait.

Sometimes it also occurs from tiredness
take you by the hand to poetry
without needing to talk about it.
It follows the motto:
“More do those who God helps
who early rises early” – even because
early, in his bed, he still
is doing poetry.

But not being that kind of demiurgic,
then he begins to say how tired he is,
as you are almost giving up,
poetry is more impossible, words
prostituted and without freshness, and take them off the street
it's hard as breaking stone (which he
all the time is doing).

He complains so much until he finally gets scared:
"It's not that I wrote a poem!"
I feel a little cheated - I don't know
if you feel too.


Did you see how the moon Was it beautiful yesterday?
I saw it, I saw it, I lie ashamed, enough
for my friend to describe a little more
how dazzling was the immense ball of fire
and its red flashes in the gray sky.
But I hadn't really seen anything -
I haven't craned my neck up in a while...

In any case, I asked: and today
Do you think she continues like this, like this?
No, the last day of the eclipse was yesterday!
That's why she appeared to be of blood.
I stay quiet and with a certain amount of guilt
for living with my head… on the moon
that of the past and daydreams,
reviewing the clear nights of a court in childhood,
of cinema, of werewolf films,
poetry of all time.

– But what about this satellite of my time?, I scold myself.

It's really the city's fault, I'm going there
to hunt poetry between gables and spikes?
I've already given up on this fight,
I resigned myself – there are things
unattainable in life,
and then I look forward, sometimes backwards,
sideways, that's right, from time to time
down – stones and shit on the way are equal –,
but if it doesn't drip right over my head
or I don't follow in the footsteps of a cat or a neighbor,
directing the eyes upwards is increasingly rare;
when I turn the back of my head, lifting my chin,
I already feel that it is no longer a habit, as if
hinge had rusted.

That must be why I don't like it.
of fireworks; the “merencorous nun”
entered in the same order, and in that order
I do not distinguish the nature of the artifact.
For a moment people stop and say
“Look how beautiful!”, more people film than look
whatever the show;
pull me, make me get up from the table, and
I control myself not to be a spoilsport.

No, leave me alone,
the cement walls buried us alive;
the city is a bed of spikes, and between these
stars come to put their prisoner arms.
Conformed, I don't lack horizon —
how many species do not live underground
and have been doing just fine without it?
“But we have the screens!”
So – isn't it more than fine?



“Numen (answered him) commands that all
May everything I touch turn to gold.”
(Ovid, Metamorphoses, trans. de Bocage)

God knew desire was insane,
but grateful to Midas for the festivities
of ten days, grant him the evil that the other,
by mistake and greed, he judged well.
Branch, earth, apples and doors,
delicacies, liquor, windows, the hand
of his companion,
your children, the ankle itself
– there is nothing to touch that escapes being gold,
and if he marvels, then he toasts his eye.

The landscape loses its colors, everything goes where
he stretches his arm metalizes, silences.
The sounds recede,
the waters are golden,
the birds, shining, fall hard.
can no longer eat
that gold is not eaten,
nor does he have anything to quench his thirst with.
Every face your caress makes rigid.

Can no longer tell if the golden bread
on the table was hot or already cold,
whether the brook flowed gently or hurried.
Out of dismay, he calls the friendly dog ​​closer,
but when I put my hand on it, it dries its muzzle,
yellow or black of the entire coat –
all of him is now a golden animal,
sarcophagus of itself, which is already dead.

How dull has become Midas's life:
the nights break as clear as day,
the brightest day it had ever been.
All that glitters is gray from everything.
Silenus in his complacency had not thought
who, in response to the request, impoverished –
of gold! – everyone's landscape.
Soon he saw the king, the colors gone
and the very nature of things,
that tawny and hard lips did not kiss,
and the metal blankets – how heavy they were!

Then he wanted to see the plastic world again, where
entities dissolve kiss ebb grant,
and dove into the current of a river. The gods
are benign, said Ovid, who also told us:
there he washed the body and washed the crime – and the world,
we concluded, it was to him as to the others
returned again.

*Priscila Figueiredo is a professor of Brazilian literature at USP. Author, among other books, of Matthew (poems) (well i saw you).


[1] From a report by Juliana Passos for the magazine Piauí, September 19, 2017. The poem, written in the same year, was revised once again for the present publication, but had already been published before in the magazine InSURgência: Revista of Rights and Social Movements, 4(1), 2018.


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