"....He was a simple compadre
who walked around the city as if lost in his own freedom"
He loved a woman named Clarice
And lost her, and then his demise in 1886
Tubercular and gone at 31,
His brother and his sister
Also having succumbed
To the shadowy plague
Haunting the twilight streets of Lisboa
Disregarded in life
His friend Silva Pinto
Gathered up his poetry which Pessoa read
"Until my eyes began to bleed."
This great poet of love and melancholy
Who would not tie the knot in church
"La Nessa E Que Nao Caio!"
I saw a man in the streets of Saldanha
It might have been a woman -
Hard to tell, except from his girth and stride
Wrapped several times over
And on his head and feet
In layers of waterproof plastic
Black and thin
Completely covering him
Without even a visible carrying bag
Twice in several days I saw him
Not even begging, only slowly
Moving amidst the affluence of the square.
Catching his eye the second time
(Perhaps I was looking to give him a few Euro)
He turned quickly away
With such a hard jerk
That I thought he had somehow recognized me
From a time long gone,
Distant, when his fortunes
Still stretched out before him
I caught the pain in his eyes
as he yanked his face away
& kept on walking
(The Remembered Joy)
Ocean of Margate, New Jersey
feeling the salt water immersing the body
as you dive under a wave
or ride one in to shore
the oft-derided New Jersey shore
despoiled some now
by the greed of those
who porkbarreled to build the artificial dunes
where the people don't want them
changing the sand quality
protecting nothing the bulkheads cannot (*)
or of snorkeling
out by the reef
in a far away place I loved
There is no charm in London
Not one poet who has resided here
Has written of enchantment
(Allen Fisher's Place comes closest)
Only its plagues and poverty
The dull grey cold and the chill
What a relief it would be
To leave this fouled "city of dreadful night"
Its cultural hype and celebrity wealth
The knives and gangs the literati seem to revel in!
"It's my sewer" poets here say.
"Piss off" people say to me on the street, we
Don't want you here.
Beggars and rough sleepers and "po-faced" shave-headed youth.
Cesario channels Camoes
holding aloft his manuscript Os Lusiadas
as he swims to shore after the shipwreck near Cambodia
and the death of she whom he loved
(*) The "dune project" - building artificial dunes on the beach, interfering with nature, lining the pockets of local and state officials, and the army core of engineers, was voted down in Margate, twice; yet, the bullying right-wing governor continues to viciously excoriate the people of Margate - one of only two barrier island towns to refuse the project. In recent storms, "sandy" and "jonas", flooding was bayside not beachside, and bulkheads protect from ocean's rages, but the megabuck corruption of the governor's obsession to line all New Jersey coastal towns with man-made dunes rather than to repair and raise the bulkheads continues. (Footnote added January 26th.)