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AFFONSO ROMANO DE SANT'ANNA

[selected by the author]

Among Debris

Sometimes, small large earthquakes
Happen on the left side of my chest.

Outside the unobserving do not notice.

Between the aorta and the shoulderblades move
My decrepit feelings

Between the ribs and the vertebrae
There are several crushings.

The more intimate
Have seen me searching through the debris
Inside of me there is something immobile and buried
In a permanent horror.


Lost decade

It got lost
As something gets lost
In a computer
It got lost
The whole decade
Underneath the Equator

It got lost
As a letter gets lost
Not in the mail, but
In the hands of a player

It got lost
As a coin gets lost
In the streets and as the careless
Lose a house and love

It got lost
And the worst is, we know where
And how, but we will never know
Who found it

It got lost
As a winning ticket
Gets lost:
The torn best-seller
The abandoned career
The canceled trip
The kiss never given,
To a platonic lover.

It got lost.
I lost myself.
They lost us.

It was not a minute
A day or a year, there were
Ten, of a mortgaged life
Which were added to others
Of a stagnant history.
Thatīs why one question
Flutters lost in the air
– for how long
may a life be adjourned?


To be a national being

Neruda said at times that he was tired of being a man.
It is normal.

Sometimes I become tired of being Brazilian.
24 hours a day. Itīs killing.

Not that I would like to be French in the morning
And eat "baguettes"; at ,lunchtime to be Italian
With ravioli and spaguetti
And at dinnertime eat German and Belgian cold cuts,
To eat raclettes

I refer to the tax-time.
I pay as a Spaniard and an American,
But at the time of benefits
No one repairs the damage.
Since I pay tolls
With the same frequency as a Frenchman does
I would like to, besides the road
have a private retirement fund
And English medical care.
I would like to program my life
As the Swiss
To have control of inflation
And of the fruits in my backyard.
Like the Japanese I would like
To be double:
Traditional
And with a cosmic future.

I have physical and individual freedom
To create chaos,
To be late,
To run a red light,
To cheat taxes,

– but is this what it is to be a Brazilian?


in: Revista Brasil. Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, 1992.