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from the April 2019 issue

A Life Diverse and a Life Inverse

In these two poems, time bends and life begins to circle.

A Life Diverse

A minute goes by
a second stares
a third smiles
but in the corner
the minute
hovers in wait for me
like the eye of a horse
trailing the cart.

The future dies in reverse, the
slug tells me

It’s not anxiety
or else I’d throw out expectation
this gadget without hour hands
that shouldn’t rust here inside:
I want to be budding memory.
But my hands are empty
a presage of things astray
I try to grasp, my reach mistimed,
and am overcome with fear:
the exsanguine scar tears into live flesh.
Seated I await
from within my shadow and fullness:
my pact with hope is evergreen:
immense this green that makes a heart. 

My life, a circle route
every side a destination 

—what’s the word for this?—for instance
the poet’s gaze sees the bird
within its song:

once upon a time
a bird sang and sang
until a forest sprouted

when the poet reached
the middle of the forest
there was sweat, flowers, fruits,
grains of sunlight in his heart
he’d stared so long at the bird
from within its song.

Slowly flying from fire to fire
I do my thinking with my feet:
I wander the mysterious ways
this god works into
my life full of landscapes.
I carry new geographies on my feet:
never looking back
I am the future the footprint in-augurs.

I enter the ordinary things of dreams 
budding leaves
I dream the memory of things
and augur savage joys
while innocence walks hand in hand with hunger.

A Life Inverse

My life circled round
every side a destination  

—I’m a budding stone
the sky at my fingertips
I exist beyond the silence
inside voices and their words
inside voiceless words

And inside these insides where blue arouses the clitoris
as my dead pass teeming with sky
to the wonder of the earth floor dizzy with birds.

A floor within the swoon?
it is me passing by, it is we the budding dead
the sky within another sky
to the wonder of two eyes kaleido-scoping the horizon:

I have skies at my fingertips
and I am not short of ground:

—My life, a circle route:
everywhere destination!

"A Life Diverse" and "A Life Inverse" © Rogério Manjate. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2019 by Sandra Tamele and Eric M. B. Becker. All rights reserved.

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