In the Face of the Latest Events
Séraphine Louis, L'arbre de vie, 1928, Musée d'art et d'archéologie de Senlis, France

Language: Portuguese
Poet: Waly Salomão
Translator: Maryam Monalisa Gharavi
Region: Brazil 

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In the Face of the Latest Events

Six poems by Waly Salomão, translated from Portuguese by Maryam Monalisa Gharavi

Waly Salomão, (1943-2003) was one of the foremost 20th-century experimental poets of South America. In 1995, his fifth book of poetry, Algaravias: Echo Chamber won Brazil’s highest literary prize, the Prêmio Jabuti. Born in Jequié, Bahia, to a Syrian immigrant father and a Brazilian mother, Salomão carved out an early career as a songwriter to major Tropicália vocalists, including Gal Costa and Caetano Veloso. In 1970, at the height of Brazil’s military regime, he was imprisoned at Carandiru prison in São Paulo. The author of more than ten books, his poetry has been included in major anthologies including Nothing the Sun Could Explain: New Brazilian Poetry (Sun & Moon Press, 2000). Following the author’s death, the Waly Salomão Cultural Center was established in Rio de Janeiro.

Maryam Monalisa Gharavi is an artist, poet, and theorist whose work explores the interplay between aesthetic and political valences in the public domain. Recent exhibitions, residencies, and expanded publications include Sonic Acts, Matadero Museum, Nottingham Contemporary, Pioneer Works, Parasol Unit, Serpentine Cinema, Brooklyn Public Library, Wysing Arts Centre, Delfina Foundation, Darat al Funun, among others. She has served as lecturer, visiting faculty, and studio artist at Harvard University, Sandburg Instituut, New York University, Northeastern University, Montclair State University, Valand Academy, Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University, and Bard Microcollege. Book publications include Waly Salomão’s Algaravias: Echo Chamber (Ugly Duckling Presse), nominated for a PEN Award for Poetry in Translation; The Distancing Effect (BlazeVOX); and Bio (Inventory Press). Artist books include Apparent Horizon 2 (Bonington Gallery); Alphabet of an Unknown City (Belladonna*), Secret Catalan Poem (The Elephants), Mohammad Wikipedia Book (Recess), and Dictionary of Night, co-authored with Mirene Arsanios (Ashkal Alwan). She was editor at The New Inquiry between 2012 and 2017, where she is author of the open text South/South. She lives and works in New York.

Líbanos

Uma estrela taliqual uma centelha de febre, tesão e fome.
Afastada como a Idade de Ouro.
Nenhum Líbano real
E suas seitas
E suas gangues
E suas facções
E suas falanges
Busco.
Líbanos de sonho
Líbanos de nácar
De néctar
De éter e calcário
De éter, haxixe, ópio, papoula e calcário
Busco.
De zatar
E romãs
Busco.
Areias voando pelos ares
Tonteira do narguilé que lixa os alaridos das ânsias
Naus fenícias esticadas de sal navegando através das veias
Queimar angústias, arestas e asperezas em brasa
Ao rubro pôr de sol do oriente — Tiro, Sidon e Biblos
Busco.
Tudo passa como se eu fosse
Um pássaro imóvel.
Busco.

                                

Lebanons

A star as such a spark of fever, horniness, and hunger.
Far away like the Age of Gold.
No real Lebanon
And its sects
And its gangs
And its factions
And its Phalanges.
I search.
Lebanons of dream
Lebanons of mother-of-pearl
Of nectar
Of ether and limestone
Of ether, hashish, opium, poppy, and limestone
I search.
For zaatar
And pomegranates
I search.
Sand flying in the air
Giddiness of arguilah that buffs the clamors of cravings
Phoenician ships stretched with salt sailing through veins
Setting anguish, extremities, and abrasiveness on fire
To the crimson sunsets from the east — Tyre, Sidon, and Byblos
I search.
Everything passes by as if I were
An unmoving bird.
I search.

 

Cobra Coral

Pára de ondular, agora, cobra coral:
a fim de que eu copie as cores com que te adornas,
a fim de que eu faça um colar para dar à minha amada,
a fim de que tua beleza
                     teu langor
                     tua elegância
                               reinam sobre as cobras não corais.

Coral Snake

Stop undulating, now, coral snake:
so that I copy the colors with which you adorn yourself,
so that I make a necklace to give to my beloved,
so that your beauty
                     your languor
                     your elegance
                               reign over the non-coral snakes.

Cauda de cometa tonto

S
Sem
Sem alfa nem ômega
Sem casulo a que nostalgiar
Sem oficina de reparo & recauchutagem
Sem borboleta que regrida à anterior criSálida

Dizzy Comet Tail

W
Without
Without alpha or omega 
Without a cocoon for nostalgia
Without a repair & tune-up shop
Without a butterfly to regress to its former chrysalis 

Amante da algazarra

Não sou eu quem dá coices ferradurados no ar.
É esta estranha criatura que fez de mim seu encosto.
É ela!!!
Todo mundo sabe, sou uma lisa flor de pessoa, 
Sem espinho de roseira nem áspera lixa de folha de figueira.

Esta amante da balbúrdia cavalga encostada ao meu sóbrio ombro
Vixe!!!
Enquanto caminho a pé, pedestre – peregrino atônito até a morte.
Sem motivo nenhum de pranto ou angústia rouca ou desalento:
Não sou eu quem dá coices ferradurados no ar.
É esta estranha criatura que fez de mim seu encosto.
E se apossou do estojo de minha figura e dela expeliu o estofo.

Quem corre desabrida
Sem ceder a concha do ouvido
A ninguém que dela discorde
É esta
Selvagem sombra acavalada que faz versos como quem morde.

Clamor Lover

It ain’t me that kicks horseshoes into the air.
It’s this strange creature that made me its rear.
It’s her!!!
Everybody knows, I’m a soft flower of a person,
With neither a rose thorn nor rough sandpaper made out of fig leaves.

This riot lover rides against my sober shoulder
Dang!!!
While I walk on foot, an astonished pedestrian–pilgrim until death.
Without a reason for weeping or hoarse anguish or despondency:
It ain’t me that kicks horseshoes into the air.
It’s this strange creature that made me its rear.
And seized the casing around my form and from it expelled the 
            upholstery.

Whoever runs barefaced 
Without giving up the ear shell 
To anyone to anyone who disagrees
Is this
A wild heated shadow that makes verses like one who bites.

Silogismos da amargura

 

 

 

TUDO ABARCO E NADA APERTO.
TUDO APERTO E NADA ABARCO.

 

 

No prédio das ARTES E OFÍCIOS,
Minha função é no departamento encarregado de

                      BELISCAR AZULEJOS.

 

Syllogisms of Bitterness

 

 

 

I EMBRACE EVERYTHING AND GRASP 
            NOTHING.
I GRASP EVERYTHING AND EMBRACE 
            NOTHING.

 

 

In the ARTS AND CRAFTS building,
My role is in the department in charge of 

                      SNATCHING CERAMIC TILES.

Em face dos últimos acontecimentos

Na minha mente é que as rosas desabrocham 
E esplendem
E aí quedam
                    — ai de mim! —
Num instante de tempo muito mais acelerado
Do que a esbaforida eternidade de um dia
Das rosas do poeta Malherbe. 

In the Face of the Latest Events

In my mind it’s that the roses bloom
And luster
And then fall
                     — alas! —

In a flash of time much faster 
Than the breathless eternity of a day
From the roses of the poet Malherbe.