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”

“Hot Spit”

You stand within my personal space

Mouth clambering

Teeth chattering

Voice loud, nothing substantial.

They call you the empty table.

They, the ones who grab you before a

Facebook photo.

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.

Say it

don’t spray it.

“Hot Vom”

You should have finished

that tuna melt before the

power hour.

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

into.

Rally.

Your head’s stopped spinning –

another shot,

shot, at a

strobe-lit thrust.

LESSON 2: I can’t write poems in Portuguese

on “Draught”

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.

Beijinhos,

Zach

Comments

  • Nicki

    Gostei, Zach :)

  • julia Averbuck

    hahaha good try zach, I hope you’re having fun