Zach in Brasil//Lessons Learned: I suck at writing poetry in English, why would Portuguese be any different?
I spent Easter/Passover weekend in the mountains of Baturité in the small, vegetarian farmhouse of the agnostic, rat-tailed SILVIO. As my host family and two other travel companions spoke for hours about the commercialization of tofu and the crazy ways of Aquarians, I swung for hours in the mosquito-filled air, working on a new play and attempting to capture my emotions through poetry written in Portuguese.
While this foreign attempt may seem more impressive and beautiful than the poetry I write in English, let me assure you that both are hardly acceptable for the eyes of the Yale Literary Magazine staff, let alone my incredibly supportive and compassionate host-mother. If you are at all interested, feel free to critique my work with all of your knowledge of Major English Poets and Google Translate you’ve picked up during your time at Yale.
Lesson 1: I can’t write poems in English
from the series “Bodily Fluidzz”
You stand within my personal space
Voice loud, nothing substantial.
They call you the empty table.
They, the ones who grab you before a
They like You because
You make Them look
hotter on the web.
Any dance floor, you are now
Dionysus in the theater,
the queen of the drunks:
“This is MY SONG, FRESHMAN.”
Your words spewed in my head,
Saliva, sweat and vodka sodas
tearing up my eardrum.
don’t spray it.
You should have finished
that tuna melt before the
Empty stomach, eyeballing
shots, shots, shots.
Those trembling legs, scrape the earth
“The conies are but a feeble folk.”
Let’s leave, let’s dance,
Let’s hold bottles to our lips.
Destination: strobe-lit room,
pelvic thrusts in shuttered frames.
Those trembling legs, scrape the earth.
A porcelain bowl to throw one’s innards
Your head’s stopped spinning –
shot, at a
LESSON 2: I can’t write poems in Portuguese
Uma nuvem fica parada
Em cima de vozes que nao posso ver
Ao lado de dorminhocos em silencios…em redes
Uma árvore, saudável e verde, mostra uma folha para o ceu…
Para a nuvem abre e levanta os dorminhocos.
Mas a nuvem parada é branca
E o sol nao cuida para a folha secando.
on “Dry Lips”
Uma aranha teve o jeito dele com meus lábios
Eu sinto os tentaculos e picadas
Embaixo do meu bigode, esticado e seco.
Ele devia saber que eu matei o irmao dele.
Os intestinos ficam nas minhas chinelas.