Fernando Pessoa: Álvaro de Campos: Salute to Walt Whitman

Portugal the Infinite, June 11th, nineteen fifteen,

From here, from Portugal, all the ages on my brain,
I salute you, Walt, salute you, my brother in the Universe,
Oh ever modern and eternal, cantor of concrete absolutes,
Fiery concubine of the dispersive Universe,
Grand pederast rubbing up against the diversity of things,
Sexually fixated on stones, trees, people, jobs,
Lusting for journeys, for random encounters, for mere observations,
My enthusiast for what everything contains,
My great hero entering Death by leaps and bounds,
Roaring, squealing, shrieking, bellowing, saluting you in God!

Singer of your own tenderly ferocious fraternity with everything,
Grand epidermic democrat, extension of everything in body and soul,
Carnival of every action, bacchanal of every purpose,
Twin brother of every convulsive revolution,
Jean-Jacques Rousseau of the mechanical world,
Homer of the ineffable carnal fluxion,
Shakespeare of sensations the Steam Age engendered,
Milton-Shelley on the horizon of Electricity’s future!
Incubus of every gesture,
Coming on every exterior object,
Universal pimp,
Galactic whore,
God’s catamite!

Me, the monocled one, with my foppish belted waistcoat,
I’m not unworthy of you, Walt,
I’m not unworthy of you, my saluting you proves it...
Me so comfortable with inertia, so easily filled with tedium,
I’m one of yours, you know it, I understand you, I love you,
And even though I never knew you — I was born the year you died —
I know you loved me back, you knew me, and I’m happy.
I know you knew me, contemplated me, explicated me,
I know that’s what I am, whether on the Brooklyn Ferry ten years before my birth,
Or walking up Gold Street thinking about everything Gold Street’s not,
And just like you felt everything, I feel it too, and here we are, hand in hand,
Holding hands, Walt, holding hands, while the universe dances in our souls!

All the times I’ve kissed your portrait!
Wherever you are now (I don’t know where, but it’s God),
You feel it, I know you feel it, and my kisses heat up (the way living people’s do),
And that’s how you want them, old friend, and you’re pleased out there,
Oh, I know it, anything at all tells me so, a delight in my spirit,
An abstract, indirect erection deep in my soul.

Nothing charming about you, so cyclopean and muscular,
But your attitude to the Universe was that of a woman,
And every weed, every stone, every man, was the Universe to you.

Walt, old friend, best Comrade, evohé!
I belong to your bacchic orgy of sensation-in-liberty,
I’m one of yours, from the feeling in my feet to the nausea in my dreams,
I’m one of yours, look at me from over there near God, you see me backwards:
Inside out... My body’s your prophecy, you see into my soul —
You see it as your own and through its eyes you see my body —
Look at me: you know that I, Àlvaro de Campos, Engineer,
Sensationist poet,
I’m not your disciple, not your lover, not your cantor.
You know I’m You and it makes you happy!

I’ve never been able to read your poems straight through ... too much feeling there...
I go through your poems like a multitude of self-encounters,
And I smell sweat, oils, human and mechanical activity.
In your poems, at a certain point, I don’t know if I’m reading or living,
I don’t know if my real place is in the world or in your poems,
I don’t know if I’m here, standing on the natural earth,
Or upside-down, hanging in some kind of establishment,
From the natural ceiling of your thronging inspiration,
From the center of the ceiling of your inaccessible intensity.

Throw open all the doors!
I’ve got to go through!
My password? Walt Whitman!
But I go through without giving my password at all...
I go through without explaining, or anything...
I’ll break them down if I have to, all the doors...
Yeah... me, frail and civilized, I’ll break them down,
Because right now I’m not frail, I’m not civilized,
I’m ME, a thinking, flesh-and-bone universe, and I want in,
And I’ll force my way in, because when I want in, I’m God!

Get this crap out of my way!
Throw my feelings in a drawer!
Get out of here, politicians, litterateurs,
Placid business men, cops and whores and pimps,
You’re all the killing letter, not the life-giving spirit.
Right now the life-giving spirit is ME!

You sons of bitches better get out of my way!
I’m going through infinity, I’m coming out the other side!
Whether or not I make it there’s not your problem, so let me go...
It’s my problem, and God’s — it’s up to what I mean by the word Infinite...
With spurs!
It’s me who feels the spurs, I’m the horse I ride,
Because me, through my will to consubstantiate with God,
I can be everything, I can be nothing, I can be anything,
Depending on what I crave... it’s none of your business...
Furious madness! I want to bark, jump,
Bellow, bray, do cartwheels and somersaults, my whole body howling,
Clamp myself onto a car’s wheels and go under,
Throw myself in front of the slashing whip about to strike,
To [—],
Be every dog’s bitch and them not enough for me,
Be every machine’s drive-shaft and them too slow for me,
Be crushed, abandoned, disjointed, finished,
Everything you sing, to salute you in [—]
Walt, from the other world, dance this fury with me,
Leap with me in this crashing starry jam session,
Fall with me, exhausted, to the ground,
Crash dizzily into the walls with me,
Break, shatter yourself with me
And [—]
In everything, through everything, around everything, without everything,
Abstract bodily rage making a maelstrom of my soul...

Godammit! Let’s go on ahead!
Even if God stands in our way, let’s go on ahead... it makes no difference...
Let’s go on ahead!
Let’s go on ahead without heading for any place at all...
Infinity! Universe! Target without a bulls eye! What does it matter?
Pum! Pum! Pum! Pum! Pum!
Now, yeah, come on, let’s get going, pum!
Pum... heia... pum... heia... heia

I’m falling in torrents like a thunderstorm
In bounds from my soul to you.

In front of military bands I drag out my salute to you...
With a [    ] with you and a howling whirling frenzy
I din my salute to you
And shout all the vivas to me and you and God
And the universe spins around us like a carousel, its music in our skulls,
And with lights and [   ] in my anterior epidermis,
I, maddened by [   ] drunken mechanical hissing,
You [   ], you [   ], you Walt — you and the [   ],
You and your [?harbor sensuality?],
Me the sensuality with [   ]
You the intelligence [—]

• • •

To sing you,
To salute you,
I’d have to write that supreme poem,
Where, more than all other supreme poems,
There would live, in a complete synthesis made by an analysis emptied of forgetting,
The whole Universe of things, lives, and souls,
The whole Universe of men, women, children,
The whole Universe of gestures, acts, emotions, of thoughts,
The whole Universe of things humanity makes,
Things that happen to humanity —
Jobs, laws, rules, medicine, Destiny,
Written in the admixtures, the constant intersection
On the dynamic paper of Events,
On the swift papyrus of social combination,
On the palimpsest of constantly renewed emotions.

• • •

Door to everything!
Bridge to everything!
Road to everything!
Your omnivorous, [   ] soul,
Your fish-fowl-woman-man-and-beast soul,
Your double soul when they’re two,
Your single soul when two is one,
Your arrow-ray-space soul,
Ample, nexus, sexus, Texas, Carolina, New York,
Brooklyn Ferry in the afternoon,
Brooklyn Ferry — arrivals! departures! —
Libertad! Democracy! Twentieth century up ahead!
Pum! Pum! Pum! Pum! Pum!

You what-you-were, you what-you-saw, you what-you-heard,
Subject and object, active and passive,
Here- there- everywhere-you,
Circle encompassing every emotional possibility,
Military march of everything that can be,
Full-on God of every object, that’s you!
You Hour,
You Minute,
You Second!
You interpolated, at liberty, unleashed, ongoing,
Interpolation, liberation, round trip, unleashing,
Interpolator, liberator, unleasher, dispatcher,
Postmark on every letter,
Name over every address,
Merchandise delivered, returned, forwarded...
Sensation-train blazing by at soul-kilometers an hour,
An hour, a minute, a second. PUM!
You, the man-woman-child-nature-machine!
You the inside, outside, circumference of everything!
Sensual fulcrum servicing the infinite, you ladder
There’s no end to climbing — so climb!
And all those natural, human, mechanical noises,
All running together, utter everything-tumult,
Full of me to you, salute you,
Full of me to you
Go human cries, go [.] of earth
Full of their coming to you,
Running together [   ], running full of earth,
Running the hills’ [   ]

Running the murmur of waters,
Running the drums of war,
Running the [   ]’s booms, the [   ]’s [   ]
Running the [   ]’s [   ]s in the distances,
Running the faint sound of cries in the [   ]
Running so close to me, all around me,
[   ] of my saluting you,
The noises, [   ]’s rustling,
Noises of [   ] and factories,
[   ]
[   ]
Pum ...

• • •

I’m calling Hé-lá
In the deafeningly loud privilege of saluting you,
The whole human hatblock of the Universe,
Every mode of every emotion,
Every shape of every thought,
Every wheel, every flywheel, every piston in the soul,
I shout Heia
And they clamor in a Me-cortege from me to you
With a metaphysical and carnal gibbering,
A boundless free-for-all of things going on inside,

Ave, salve, viva, oh Apollo’s grand bastard,
Fiery impotent lover of the nine muses and the graces,
Funicular from Olympus to us and from us to Olympus,
Fury of modernity concretized in me,
Being’s translucid spasm,
Celebration because there’s Life,
Madness because there’s not enough life in us to be everything,
Because being is being limited and only Godhead would be good enough for us.
Ah, you, who sang it all, you left everything to sing.
Who can quiver more than his body in his body,
Who can have more feelings than there are feelings to have?
Who’s enough when nothing’s enough?
Who’s whole when there’s even one blade of grass
With its root outside his heart?

• • •

That’s why I’m sending you
My leap-poems, my jump-poems, my spasm-poems,
My hysterical attack poems,
My poems dragging my neural wagon.

I inspire myself by crashing to the floor,
Barely able to breathe,
And my poems are because I can’t burst from living.

Open all the windows!
Rip out all the doors!
Drop the whole house on my head!
I want to live at large in the air,
I want to gesticulate beyond my body,
I want to run down walls like the rain,
I want to be set in wide streets like a cobblestone,
I want to sink to the bottom of the sea like any heavy thing,
With a voluptuosity already far from me!

I don’t want locks on doors!
I don’t want clasps on coffers!
I want to interpolate myself, thrust myself in, be borne aloft,
I want to be made the mad property of anyone else,
I want them to spill me out of packing cases,
To throw me into the sea,
To come calling with obscene ends in mind,
If only to not be always sitting here quietly,
If only to not be simply writing these lines!

I don’t want caesuras in the world,
I want penetrative material contiguity of objects!
I want physical bodies to be like souls one to the other,
Not only dynamically, but ecstatically, too!

I want to fly and fall from a great height!
To be exploded like a grenade!
To end up at... To be taken to...
Abstract axle at the end of me and everything!

Moto-ferric climax!
Stairway to higher speeds, without steps!
Hydraulic bomb setting my visceral feelings adrift!

Put me in shackles so I can break them!
So I can break them with my teeth, and my teeth can bleed!
Masochistic pleasure, coming at the sight of blood, of life!

Sailors take me prisoner.
Their hands seize me in the dark.
I feel it, and I die a little bit.
When I come to, my soul starts licking the floor of the john,
And impossibility’s chatter purposefully stalks me.

Lunge, charge, champing at the bit,
Incandescent iron Pegasus of my restless yearning,
Indecisive resting place of my motoric destiny!
Lunge, charge, deck yourself out,
Leave a bloody spoor on nocturnal immensity,
In hot blood, even far away,
Fresh blood, even far away,
Living fresh blood in the dynamic air to me!
Lunge, overshoot, charge,
Rise up, go on charging, [—]

• • •

In a grand marche aux flambeaux through every European city,
In a grand war march to industry and commerce and loafing,
In a great race, a great uprising, a great downfall,
Crashing, leaping, everything leaping with me,
I leap up to salute you,
I bellow to salute you, unleashing myself to salute you, in curvets, upright, squealing!

Ave, salve, viva!...

In a line, now!
With me, things!
With me, people!
Machines, arts, letters, [.] — with me!
You who he loved so much, things of the earth:
Trees with no meaning but greenness,
Flowers with their colors in their souls,
Water’s dark whiteness,
River beyond all rivers,
Peace in the country because it’s not the city,
Slow sap seeping from greedy bark

• • •


Heia? heia what and why?
Why am I yelling these heias or anything at all?
What’s the use of thinking about heias!?

Decadents, old friend, decadents is what we are...
At the bottom of each of us there’s a burning Byzantium,
And I don’t even feel the burning or the Byzantium
But the Empire collapses in our watery veins
And Poetry was our incompetence to act...
You, singer of energetic professions, You Poet of the Extreme, of the Harbor,
You, inspiration’s muscle, famous for your masculine muses,
You, finally, innocent in living hysteria,
Finally only “fondler of life”,
Lazy lump, faggot, at least by intention,
— Well... that’s your business — but where’s Life there?

Me, engineer by profession, fed up with all and everything,
Me, exaggeratedly superfluous, waging war on things,
Me, useless, broken-down, ineffectual, pretentious and amoral,
Buoy of my sensations strewn by a tempest,
Anchor of my ship already broken on the bottom,
Me, like a singer of Life and Strength — can you believe it?
Me, like you, energetic, saluting, in poems —
And finally sincere like you, with all Europe burning on my brain,
My explosive, unfettered brain,
My mastering dynamic intelligence,
My sensuality a rubber-stamp, projector, trademark, check,
Why the hell do we live here, making poems?
God damn the sloth that makes us poets,
The degeneracy that makes us think we’re artists,
The fundamental tedium that claims us energetic and modern,
When what we want is to distract ourselves, give ourselves an idea of life,
Because we make nothing and we are nothing, life runs slowly in our veins.
Walt, let’s at least see things as they truly are...
Let’s drink it like bitter tonic
And agree to send life and the world to shit
Without weakness in our eyes, and not out of scorn or aversion

This, finally, is saluting you?
Whatever it is, it’s saluting you,
Whatever it’s worth, it’s loving you,
However it works, it’s agreeing with you...
Whatever it is, this is what it is. You get it, you love it,
Crying on my shoulder, you’re here with me, my friend —
(When does the last train leave? —
Weekends in God... )
Let’s go, bravely, let’s go...
This all must have another meaning
Better than living and everything being...
There must be a place in consciousness
Where the landscape transforms
And begins to interest us, help us out, shake us up...
Where freshness comes into the soul
And sun and fields in truly awakened senses
Whatever the Season, we’ll meet there...
Wait for me at the gate, Walt, I’ll be there...
I’ll be there without the universe, without life, without myself, without anything...
Alone and silent with our pain we’ll remember
The world’s enormous absurdity, the hard ineptitude of things,
And we’ll feel the mystery, we’ll feel so distant, so distant, so distant,
So absolutely, abstractly distant,
Definitively distant.

• • •

Walt Whitman

Where I’m not the first, I’d prefer to be nothing, not be there,
Where I can’t act first, I’d prefer only to see others act.
Where I can’t give orders, I’d rather not obey.

Excessively yearning for everything, so excessive I can’t even say it,
And I’m not saying, because I’m not trying.
“All or Nothing” has a personal meaning for me.
But to be universal — I can’t do it, because I’m particular.
I can’t be everything, I’m One, only one, only me.
I can’t be first in anything, because there is no first.
So, I prefer the nothing of being co-first in being nothing.

When’s the last train leave, Walt?
I want to leave this city, the Earth,
Once and for all I want to get out of this country called me,
To leave the world like somebody going bankrupt,
Like a travelling salesman selling boats to the landlocked.

The end in broken motors!
What was my entire being? A great useless yearning —
Sterile realization of an impossible destiny —
Madman’s perpetual motion machine,
Fool’s theorem for squaring the circle,
Swimming the Atlantic, chatting on this side of the shore
Before going in the water, alone with them and the gravel,
Throwing stones at the moon,
Absurd augury of the meeting between the parallels God and life.

Neural megalomania,
Anguish of a hard body’s elasticity,
God damn my concrete being for not being the acme-axle,
Abstract sensuality’s cart of enthusiasm,
The world’s dynamic vacuum!

Let’s get out of There-Being-Us.
Let’s leave this village-Life once and for all,
This suburb-World of God,
And enter the city aimlessly, on impulse,
At the peak, madly in the Going...
Let’s get out of here for good.

Walt, when’s the last train leaving?
What God was I, for my saudades to be such yearnings?
Maybe leaving, you come back. Maybe, ending, you get somewhere,
Who knows? Any time’s the time. We’re leaving,
Come on! Our stay’s waiting. Leaving’s having gone.

We’re leaving for where we’ll stay.
O journey to There-Being-No-Journey!
Terminal in the Never-Stopping!

• • •

A toy train moved by a cord, pulled by a string,
Has more real motion than our poems,
Our wheelless poems that never uncouple themselves
Our poems which, unread, never leave the page.
(I’m fed up — fed up with life, fed up with art —
Fed up with not having things, at least timidly —
Donkey’s-tail of my respiration afflicting my life with sores,
Absurd puppet at the fair of my idea of myself.
When’s the last train leaving?)

I know singing you like this isn’t singing you — but what does it matter?
I know it’s singing everything, but singing everything’s singing you,
I know it’s singing me to myself — but singing me to myself is singing you to yourself,
I know saying I can’t sing is singing you, Walt, still...

• • •

Heia what? Heia why? Heia where to?
Heia till when?
Heia where, supposed courser?
Heia where, imaginary train?
Heia where, arrow, alacrity, velocity,
All of them only me grieving for them,
All of them only me not having them for my very nerves.

Heia for where, if there’s no where or how?
Heia for where, if I’m always where I am and never in front,
Never in front, nor even behind,
But always most inescapably in the place of my body,
Most-humanly on the thinking-point of my soul,
Always the same indivisible atom of the divine personality?

Heia for where, oh sadness of not getting what I want?
Heia for where, to what, what thing, without what?
Heia, heia, heia, but, Oh my uncertainty, to where?

Not writing verses, verses, verses, verses about iron
But seeing, having, being iron and this being my verses,
Verses — iron — verses, circle material-psychic-I.

(When’s the last train leaving?)

• • •


Expression, abortion abandoned
In any one of life’s stairwells.

• • •

What’s the need to write poems except being too ashamed to cry?...
What’s the desire to make art except a grown-up playing with toys?
(When does the last train leave, Walt,
When does the last train leave?)

• • •

My childhood toy soldiers with whom I imagined better than today

• • •

The chemistry underlying Here Lies...
The pain, the fever, today only chemistry, there far in the excavated slope
At the hour when he used to go home
And the same gaslight lit today [.]
And now there’s only their silence to say they’re making it by keeping quiet.

• • •

To salute you,
To salute you the way you should be saluted,
I need to turn my verses into a courser,
I need to turn my verses into a train,
I need to turn my verses into an arrow,
I need to turn my verses into velocity,
I need to turn my verses into things of the world

You sang everything, and everything sang in you —
Magnificent prostituted tolerance
Of your feelings with their legs wide open
To the details and contours of the system of the universe

• • •

Declare bankruptcy on our vitality!
We write poems, we sing bankrupt things; we don’t live them.
How to live every life and every age
And all the forms of form
And all the gestures of gesture?
What’s writing poems besides confessing that living’s not enough
What’s art besides a hope that’s nobody
Goodbye, Walt, goodbye!
Goodbye even to the undefined of the beyond of the End.
Wait for me, if one can wait there,
When’s the last train leaving?
When’s it leaving? (When we leave)

• • •

I’m crying like a kid who misses the nearby moon,
Like a lover abandoned by someone they don’t have yet,
Like the inexplicit book of a Kingdom to come,
That vainly believes itself Motor,
Spirit-movement’s axle,
Fulcrum of shadowy ambitions,
Dynamic peak of the ascending throng,
Or, more clear and rapid,
Protoplasm of the future’s mathematical world!

Who am I, finally, why do I salute you?
Who, without name or language, without voice?

Prostituted drudgery of the welding of [—]
In the high ovens of myself!

• • •

My oration-cavalcade!

My salute-convulsion!

Who felt the individual life of everything like you?
Who like you drank every drop of-feeling — life — our feeling?
Who like you keeps excess as their own
And overflows the norm of the norm — the form of life?

my joy is a rage
my jolt a shock,
in me

I salute you in myself oh Master of my disease of health,
the first perfect patient of my own universalitis
the case-study of the “Whitman’s Disease” in me!
St. Walt of Noisy Deliria and Rage!

• • •

Open all the doors!
Break all the windows!
Get rid of the locks on this life of locking!
Get rid of the life and locks of the life of locking!
Let locking be being open without locks that remember,
Let stopping be the stupid name for going on!
Let the end always be something abstract,
Fluidly linked to all the hours passing through it!
I want to breathe!
Divest me of my body’s weight!
Exchange my soul for abstract wings, linked to nothing!
Not just wings, but Flight’s enormous Wings!
Not even Flight but what’s left of velocity when stopping is flying
And there’s no body weighing on the soul of going!

Let me be the heat of living things, the fever
Of saps, the rhythm of waves and the [—]
Interval in Being
Letting Being be!

Frontiers in nothing!
Divisions in nothing!
Only Me.

• • •

The true modern poem is life without poems,
It’s the real train, not verses that sing it
It’s the iron in the rails, the hot rails, it’s the iron in the wheels, their real spinning.
And not my railless wheelless poems talking about rails and wheels.

• • •

My line sings trains, sings cars, sings steam,
But my line, icy as it is, is only rhythm and ideas,
There’s no iron, no steel, no wood, no wheels, no ropes,
Not even the reality of the tiniest stone in the street,
The stone no one looks at when they happen to step on it,
But which can be looked at, held in hand, stepped on,
And my lines are like ideas which may not be comprehended

What I want isn’t singing iron, it’s iron.
What I think only gives the life of steel — not steel —
What infuriates my every intellectual emotion
Is not exchanging my rhythm that imitates the water singing
For the real freshness of water touching my hands,
For the visible sound of the river where I can jump in and get all wet,
Where I can let my suit drip,
Where I can drown, if I feel like it,
That has the natural divinity of being there without literature.
Shit! A thousand times shit for everything I can’t do.
Everything, Walt — [.]? — what is everything, everything, everything?

To all hell with the fault that makes us not be God
Having poems written to Universe and Reality by our flesh
And having idea-things and the thought Infinite!
Having real stars in my thought-being
Name-numbers in the confines of my emotions-on-Earth.

• • •

Futility, irreality, [—] stasis of all art,
Artists condemned to not live!

Oh, Walt, if only we could have
A third thing, the median between art and life
The thing you felt, and not be either static or dynamic,
Neither real nor irreal
Neither us nor others —
But how even imagine such a thing?
Or even apprehend it
Even without hope of ever having it?

The pure dynamic, velocity in itself,
What gives things absolutely,
What comes tactilely to the senses,
Let’s construct trains, Walt, not sing them,
Let’s burrow, not sing, old friend, digger and field,

Let’s act and not write,
Let’s love and not build,
Let’s put two shots from a revolver in the first hatted head
And not make vain, useless onomatopoeias in our verse
In our verse written in prose, after [....].

Poem that could sculpt in Motive and Eternity,
Poem that could [......] words
That could [—] rhythm and song, dance and [—]
Poem that could be every poem,
That could perfectly well dispense with other poems,
Poem that could dispense with Life.
Damn it, I do what I want, I writhe what I writhe in my central being,
Let me force what I force into my nerves skilled in everything,
Machine what I machine in my furious lucid brain,
The thing I’m thinking of always escapes me,
The thing I’m always missing and that I’ll see if it’s missing,
I’m always missing, six faces to every cube,
Four sides to every square of what I’d want to express,
Three dimensions in the solidity I seek to perpetuate...
A toy train pulled by a cord, a cord,
Will always have more movement than my static read verses,
The wormiest of worms, the most living cellular chemistry
Will always have more life, more God, than all the life of my verses,
Never like those of a stone, all the reds I could describe,
Never like in music, all the rhythms I could suggest!
Never like [—]
And I’ll never do anything but copy an echo of things,
The reflection of real things in me the dull mirror.

Death of everything in my sensibility that’s so alive!
The eternal real dryness of the river of my imagination!
I want to sing you and I can’t sing you, Walt!
I want to give you the song you deserve,
But not even to you, not even to anything — not even to me — poor me! — do I give a song...
I’m a deaf-mute howling every gesture out loud,
A blind man looking around at an invisible-all
I sing you like this, Walt, saying I can’t sing you!
My old commentator of the multiplicity of things,
My comrade in feeling the dynamic march in the nerves.
Of the perfect physio-chemistry of the [—]
Of the fundamental energy of how things look to God,
Of the form of subject and object beyond life
We go to around playing hide and seek with our intention...
We make art and in the end what we want to make is life.
What we want to make is made already and it’s not for us to make it,
And the [..] does it better than us, closer,
More instinctively [.]
Yes, if that which in the poems vibrates and speaks,
The most chaste gesture of life is more sensual than the most sensual of poems
Because it’s made by someone living because it’s [—] because it’s Life.

• • •

Stop, listen, recognize me!
The sound of my life falls in the lifeless air.
I’ve stayed the same, you’re dead, everything’s [insensible]...
Saluting you was a way I wanted to animate myself,
Because I saluted you without believing myself capable of such a thing...
Of the living energy of saluting someone!

O heart for healing! who’ll save me from you?

• • •

The dust left by velocities unseen till now!
The metallic lust of pistons,
Uterine furor of the valves in there —
The blood gushing at the eccentric’s attack

Eia-la-ha! Hô-ôô-ô!
My sensations
Oh là, all my thought leaping, hopping
Protoplasm of the future’s mathematical humanity!
Leapfrog me — biological magic that I am!
My brain a slave to law, my nerves moved by norms,
The norms composed in psychiatric tracts set down
• • •


My universalitis —
Vague yearning, absurd joy, indecipherable pain,
Final Incongruency Disease Syndrome.

Abstract dynamism’s piston-stroke
In the world’s vacuous dynamic!

My aspiration consubstantiated with formulas
Failed mathematics of me

• • •

With military bands up front, composed of flywheels and propellers,
With a sonorous vanguard of car horns and boat-sirens,
With a distant uproar, with leaps and vainglories,
Of balls and cymbals, with [—]
I unleash myself to salute you! Pum!
Pum, pum, pum...

• • •

Here we are at the summit — the two of us
The two of us and Homer? We don’t know. He’s further down.
We reach out a hand and everybody, even the blind, reaches God (not him)
What — you’re not coming? You’re disappearing? — You never showed up.

I’m myopic and Portuguese,
If they’re trading blonds...
I don’t have the beauty to be Apollo
But that’s about all I don’t have.

Comrade Will, any of us
Is worth the rest, except the other

Hail, mute poem of verse (diverse poem)
Mute verse of phrases
Even (oh hell!) mute me
It doesn’t matter. Happy meeting

• • •

Salute to Walt Whitman

To sing you,
To sing you the way you’d want to be sung,
It’s better to sing the earth, the sea, cities and countryside...
Men, women, children,
Professions, the [—]s, the [—]s
All the things that, together, make up the synthesis-universe,
All the things that, separate, are worth the synthesis-Universe,
All the things that, universal, make up the synthesis-God.

Ah, the poem to sing you right
Would be the poem completely singing everything,
The poem of all raiment, all silk —
All perfume and flavor,
And the contact when all tangible things touch all the senses!

Poem doing away with music, music with life,
Poem transcending painting, painting soul,

• • •

Ah, what’s the use
Of art that wants to be life, when life doesn’t want it to be?
What’s the use of art if it’s not art you want?
What use is life for us if we want it and never seek it,
If it’s never life for us?

Ah, to salute you
I’d need the heart
Of the entire earth,
The spirit-body of things,

• • •

The Passage of Time or Walt Whitman

I, the febrile rhythmist,
For whom a verse paragraph is an entire person,
For whom, beneath the obvious metaphor,
As in strophe, antistrophe, epode the poem that I write,
That I construct from behind delirium,
That I think from behind feeling,
That I love, I explode, I roar with order and hidden measure,
Facing you I’d want a little less engineer in my soul,
Less machine-age greek, Apollo’s bacchant,
In my moments of soul multiplied in verses.

But the air of the high sea
Comes, through an influx in my blood,
To my brain unearthed on earth,
And my furious meditation, my dominating rage
Opens like a sail, taken by the wind, to the airs
Wide servitude torn by the awe of [—]s


First posted by Berkeley Neo-Baroque Gang of One, 3.23.2006
Under continual revision
Translation based on the critical edition by Teresa Rita Lopes
Reproduction rights granted upon request
Many, many thanks to Dana Stevens

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