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Three Poems

By Armando Freitas Filho
Translated By Flávia Rocha & Eric M. B. Becker

The following previously unpublished poems by Armando Freitas Filho were selected by Heloisa Jahn for Revista Pessoa.

Mario and Oswald
Translated by Flávia Rocha

Suspicious, gay, a man’s man
his childhood was short-lived
having to write a thousand and one
nights of letters, besides the books,
classes, working at the Bureau
throughout the fifty-one years
he would live, embroiled in research
and conferences, taking note of the extra
and the ordinary, like the sound
of a metal buckle that clinks shut  the male
and military sex, the back
of a dead wooden chair.

Suspicious, straight, a man’s man
with his mouthy
cannibal mouth that would eat anything
before thinking, with his giant
loose tongue, pure pop, Mick Jagger-like
indecent, sucking and throwing
wit and beauty everywhere
like a proud hailing anthem sung
through palm trees printed in blue
butterfly wings still in flight
under the glass of trays or under
the green and yellow of the flag!

The title of this poem refers to Modernist writers Mario de Andrade and Oswald de Andrade.


Two Pairs of Boots
Translated by Flávia Rocha and Eric M. B. Becker

Van Gogh’s boots
are a most faithful
self-portrait: worn down
they carry the marks
of so many missteps, as he walks
home from work, in search
of life as he unties
his feet made wobbly
from so much wandering
gone to never return.

Carlitos’s boots
are black, they start and stagger
nonstop, spread
at ten to two his entire life
plotting kicks
on prevalent crotches
or putting on skates
to glide to the edge
of blind love, to set off together
for a new horizon.

Charlie Chaplin’s character is known in Brazil as Carlitos.  


Marcel and Clarice
Translated by Flávia Rocha and Eric M. B. Becker

For Carlos Mendes de Sousa

At the table time stops.
The stoic chandelier dreams
of light from another era
which unfurls like a racing,
retrospective kaleidoscope
rising from a cup of tea
and the taste of the madeleine
dunked into that infusion
of India or of linden, pulling
from memory every recollection down to
the anisette, its flighty flavor
resting on a lone and calm
—simple—moment founded
on alcohol heat, on vaporized
color, on a single gulp of mixed
sensations, belonging
and loss, its taste embittered
from one morning to the next, each
one gone, past, but alive
as they shake free
from the preceding night. 

These poems originally appeared in the Brazilian journal Revista Pessoa. They appear here as a part of WWB’s ongoing partnership with Revista Pessoa. Each month, WWB will bring readers new work that originally appeared in Pessoa here in English translation, and Pessoa will publish work from WWB’s pages in translation into Brazilian Portuguese.

Published Jan 5, 2018   Copyright 2018 Armando Freitas Filho

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