Mere Honor

by Salgado Maranhão.
Translated by Alexis Levitin.

losing my shine, I turned sober.
dry, alone with myself, left-over.
 
a bull, whose flesh is turned to bone.
a fruit whose rind is now its stone.
 
from light to lucidity—already stripped bare
I’ve got my steps but not the way.
 
I no longer need, I no longer care
I’m filled with the nothing of days.

The Poet and Things

by Salgado Maranhão.
Translated by
Alexis Levitin.

things want to flash through
the poem
with its crust of entanglements,

things want to dwell in
the poem
becoming toys.

it rains on the fibers
of some secret essence
and the poem tears apart
                                                         the poet
and his structure.

Instruments of the Home

by Salgado Maranhão.
Translated by Alexis Levitin.

the window of the apartment spies
on the home
expressing a language of within
printed on a horizon of beyond
allying itself with the grumbling of the furniture
dismantled, motionless.
in the room
                            objects
                                          pair up
in a wordless pact
singing their silence
mocking us mortals.

Moviement

by Salgado Maranhão. Translated by Alexis Levitin.

now it’s another landscape
written
         on the plasma
and in the mist
                      flowing
between one’s fingers
like eager birds
                      slipping through
the wind.
now it is another scaffold
of pieces playing chess
with chance:
the city and its clouded corneas.

mornings AR-15
afternoons AK-47
delinquents among rats
and big-shots’ shit.

the city in all its to-do
gulping down hot-dogmas,
sucking mint drops of death.

The Sign of Steel

by Salgado Maranhão. Translated by Alexis Levitin.

                                for Jean Claude Elias

the scar suggests
the struggle and the slash

in the drama of the gods,
the darting of a fine-honed blade.

(one almost disbelieves,
denying what is written,

the promissory note
underscoring pain)

the scar speaks
fingerprints of steel

the blade, the ball of lead,
and what remains unsaid.

Zip Street Blues

by Salgado Maranhão. Translated by Alexis Levitin.

the rage of diesel horses
rolls
to the trotting of
the tendoned days.

strays smashed to tin
beneath  the press of tires
                                       –and beastly human beings.

(all in transit
some not yet intransigent
others already late
accompanying their bodies to the wake.)

and the afternoon roars: rust
and the breeze burns: soot.