Here we are eating the sacred mushrooms

out of the Japanese heaven”


Listen to the stories

men tell of last year

that sound of other places

though they happened here”

History is a needle

for putting men asleep

anointed with the poison

of all they want to keep”

Now a name that saved you

has a foreign taste”

After the third ring I said

I’ll let it ring five more times then what will I do

The telephone is a fine instrument

but I never learned to work it very well

Five more rings and I’ll put the receiver down”

I don’t believe opium or money

though they’re hard to get

and punished with long sentences”

I will forget my style

I will have no style

I hear a thousand miles of hungry static

and the old clear water eating rocks

I hear the bells of mules eating

I hear the flowers eating the night

under their folds”

and now I know for certain

I will forget my style

America will have no style

Russia will have no style”

a silence develops for every style

for the style I laboured on

an external silence like the space”


Goebbels Abandons His Novel

and Joins the Party

His last love poem

broke in the harbour

where swearing blondes

loaded scrap

into rusted submarines.”

Out in the sun

he was surprised

to find himself lustless

as a wheel.”

maquinal e cabisbaixo como o motorista sonolento duma roda de caminhão

memory white from loss of guilt.”

a Doctor of Reason

he began to count the ships”

Will dreams threaten

this discipline

will favourite hair favourite thighs

last life’s sweepstake winners

drive him to adventurous cafes?”

Ameaçarão sonhos

essa disciplina?

Irão o cabelo favorito as coxas favoritas

os vencedores da última rifa da vida

dirigi-lo a cafés aventureiros?”


as coisas favoritas


<É verdade!> Eu gritei vinte anos depois, puxando meu pai de sua cama suja <Pobre paizinho,

você me disse a verdade.>

<Deixe estar. Eu sou um velho Pai.>

<Não! Empine esse nariz. A janela é feita de eixos. O que é essa matéria cinzenta no cinzeiro? Não é de cigarro, aposto. A sala de estar é um estojo de relíquias!”

…“decaying like food between teeth”…

Acontece a todo mundo. Para aqueles com olhos, que sabem em seu íntimo que o horror é mútuo, então essa comunidade sólida tem uma beleza por si só.”



In our leaders’ faces

(albeit they deplore

the past) can you read how

they love Freedom more?


Kiss me with your teeth.

All things can be done

whisper museum ovens of

a war that Freedom won.”

let us sell snow

to under-developed nations,

(Is it true one of our national leaders

was a Roman Catholic?)

let us terrorize Alaska,

let us unite

Church and State”

my good demon said:

<Lay off documents!>

Everybody was watching me

burn my books-

I swung my liberty torch

happy as a gestapo brute;

the only thing I wanted to save

was a scar

a burn or two but

my good demon said:

<Lay off documents!

The fire’s not important!>

The pile was safely blazing.

I went home to take a bath.

I phoned my grandmother.

She is suffering from arthritis.

<Keep well,> I said, <don’t mind the pain.>

<You neither,> she said.

Hours later I wondered

did she mean

don’t mind my pain

or don’t mind her pain?

Whereupon my good demon said:

<Is that all you can do?>”

meu gênio bom disse:

<Livre-se dos documentos!>

Todos me observavam

queimar meus livros-

eu sacudi minha tocha da liberdade

feliz como um bruto da gestapo;

a única coisa que eu queria salvar

era uma cicatriz

uma queimadura ou duas mas

meu gênio bom disse:

<Livre-se dos documentos!

O fogo não importa!>

A pilha estava ardendo em segurança.

Fui pra casa tomar um banho.

Liguei pra minha avó.

Ela sofre de artrite.

<Fica bem,> disse eu, <vê se releva a dor.>

<Você também,> ela disse.

Horas depois, caiu minha ficha

será que ela quis dizer

relevar a minha dor

ou relevar a sua dor?

Nisso meu gênio bom disse:

<Isso é tudo que você pode fazer?>”

Fragmento traduzido de “Millenium”

Quando não paramos de sentir a dor e o terror

Somos os policiais

de nossa própria transgressão

e os outros olham horrorizados

carrascos covardes!

Vesti uma máscara para esconder minha gargalhada de escárnio

Eu tenho saúde onde importa

Eu não sigo o circuito

Inquisição auto-socrática

No use to tell a man he’s a Jew

I’m making a lampshade [abajur] out of your kiss

Confess! confess!

is what you demand

although you believe you’re giving me everything”

girls with whom he shared his power

now old and powerful.

His strategies returned

diagrammed like a geodesic sphere,

He balanced them on his forehead

weaving like a seal.”

He fell near the balloon.

Children hushed back

as if their toy

could catch the disease.

Secret Service men,

ex-athletes chosen for their height,

made a ring around the body.”

The ambulance!


April 1961

Alexander Trocchi, Public Junkie,

Priez Pour Nous

Who is purer

more simple than you?

Priests play poker with the burghers,

police in underwear

leave Crime at the office,

our poets work bankers’ hours

retire to wives and fame-reports.

The spike flashes in your blood

permanent as a silver lighthouse.”

I tend to get distracted

by hydrogen bombs,

by Uncle’s disapproval

of my treachery

to the men’s clothing industry.

I find myself

believing public clocks,

taking advice

from the Dachau generation.”

She is getting old.

Her body tells her everything.

She has put aside cosmetics.

She is a prison of truth.

Make her get up!

dance the seven veils!

Poems! silence her body!

Make her friend of mirrors!


Can’t I pretend

she grows prettier?

be a convict?

Can’t my power fool me?

Can’t I live in poems?

Hurry up! poems! lies!

Damn your weak music!

You’ve let arthritis in!

You’re no poem

you’re a visa.

Não posso fingir

que ela envelhece e embeleza?

ser um presidiário?

Meu poder não pode me enganar?

Não posso eu viver em poemas?

Vamos logo! poemas! mentiras!

Foda-se sua musiquinha ruim!

Você agora tem artrite!

Você não é um poema

você é um visto estrangeiro.

Fragmento traduzido de “On the Sickness of My Love”

A política das desculpas


The Failure of a Secular Life

The pain-monger came home

from a hard day’s torture.

He came home with his tongs.

He put down his black bag.

O Fracasso de uma Vida Secular

O promotor de desgraças chegou em casa

depois de um duro dia de torturas.

Ele chegou com suas pinças.

E deixou no chão sua sacola negra.

Deveria me aborrecer por não me darem uma segunda chance, se eu nunca lhes dei uma primeira?

O remorso morde ou morre

Seja gentil: exclua o gentio

Mesmo o escrofuloso tem seus dias bons

Falso acha falso verdadeiro.

O aperreio vem de dentro, não de fora.

Ora, ora, se não é absurdo termos vivido outras vidas iguais e condenarmos veemente quem tenha manifestado vivamente essa impressão (o déjà vu), não podemos saber se nunca vivemos outra vida igual, afinal, porque até o que nos parece inédito é só repetição literal, e disso havendo até provas!… Eu já não havia escrito isso antes? É, agora estou lembrado…

My zen master is a grand old fool.

I caught him worshipping me yesterday,

so I made him stand in a foul corner

with my rabbi, my priest, and my doctor.”

mothers, statues, madonnas, ruins-

I’m stripped, suckled, weaned,

I leap, love, anonymous as insect.”

To love you

is to live

my ideal diary

which I have

promised my body

I will never write!”


The great ones pass

they pass without touching

they pass without looking

each in his joy

each in his fire

Of one another

they have no need

they have the deepest need

The great ones pass


they pass

like stars of different seasons

like meteors of different centuries

Fire undiminished

by passing fire

laughter uncorroded

by comfort

they pass one another

without touching without looking

needing only to know

the great ones pass”

Now more than ever

I want enemies

You who thrive

in the easy world of modern love

look out for me

for I have developed a terrible virginity

and meeting me

all who have done more than kiss

will perish in shame

with warts and hair on their palms”

Jews who walk

too far on Sabbath

will be stoned

Catholics who blaspheme

electricity applied

to their genitals

Buddhists who acquire property

sawn in half”




A girl I knew

sleeps in some bed

and of all the lovely things

I might say I say this

I see her body puzzled

with the mouthprints

of all the kisses of all the men

she’s known

like a honky-tonk [gafieira] piano

ringed with years of cocktail glasses

and while she cranks and tinkles [gira e tilinta; trocadilho: ou gira e mija]

in the quaint old sinful dance

I walk through

the blond November rain [outra alusão a chuva dourada?]

punishing her with my happiness”

The food has no hope of real life, but still, in these regained, however mutilated shapes, it resists, and for its victories claims the next day’s hunger and the body’s joy. (…) Oh to stand in the Ganges wielding a yard of intestine.”

I always wanted to set fire to your houses. I’ve been in them. Through the front doors and the back. I’d like to see them burn slowly so I could visit many and peek in the falling windows. I’d like to see what happens to those white carpets you pretended to be so careless about. I’d like to see a white telephone melting. We don’t want to trap too many inside because the streets have got to be packed with your poor bodies screaming back and forth.”

“—Quando você se expôs pela última vez?

Domingo de manhã para uma grande multidão no saguão da Rainha Elizabeth.

Engraçadinho. Você sabe o que eu quero dizer.

Me expor a quê?

Uma mulher.


A rosy sky would improve the view from anywhere. It would be a mercy. Oh, to see the roofs devoured and the beautiful old level of land rising again.”

Mary runs the Cafeteria and the Boss exposes himself to her regularly.”

The Boss has a wife to whom he must expose himself every once in a while. She has her milkmen. The city is orderly.

There are white bottles standing in front of a million doors.And there are Conventions. Multitudes of bosses sharing the pleasures of exposure.

I shall go mad. They’ll find me at the top of Mount Royal impersonating Genghis Khan. Seized with laughter and pus.”

Fire would be best. Flames. Bright windows. Two cars exploding in each garage. But could I ever manage it. This way is slower. More heroic in a way. Less dramatic of course.”

The windows leaked like a broken meat freezer.”

his father was the one who had the oven contract.”

the sky clean but only for him, free to shiver, free to hate, free to begin.”



The demons of adulterers, everyday drunks,

professional irrationalists, the fatuous possessed,

these cheap easy demons so common

to the courting procedure,

refused to appear due to insufficient publicity.”

I once believed a single line

in a Chinese poem could change

forever how blossoms fell”

cattle have carved out of time

wandering from meadowlands to feasts”

O pão da lei é seco como a nuvem sem chuva.

Don’t bite your nails, I told him.

Don’t eat carpets.

Be careful of the rabbits.

Be cute.

Don’t stay up all night watching

parades on the Very Very Very Late Show.

Don’t ka-ka in your uniform.”

I don’t like the way you go to work every morning.

How come the buses still run?

How come they’re still making movies?

I believe with a perfect faith in the Second World War.

I am convinced that it happened.

I am not so sure about the First World War.

The Spanish Civil War – maybe.

I believe in gold teeth.

I believe in Churchill.

Don’t tell me we dropped fire into cribs [cradles].

I think you are exaggerating.

The Treaty of Westphalia has faded like a lipstick smudge on the Blarney Stone.

Napoleon was a sexy brute.

Hiroshima was Made in Japan out of paper.

I think we should let sleeping ashes lie.

I believe with a perfect faith in all the history I remember, but it’s getting harder and harder to remember much history.

There is sad confetti sprinkling

from the windows of departing trains.

I let them go. I cannot remember them.

They hoot mournfully out of my daily life.

I forget the big numbers,

I forget what they mean.”

The Bus

I was the last passenger of the day,

I was alone on the bus,

I was glad they were spending all that money

just getting me up Eighth Avenue.

Driver! I shouted, it’s you and me tonight,

let’s run away from this big city

to a smaller city more suitable to the heart,

let’s drive past the swimming pools of Miami Beach,

you in the driver’s seat, me several seats back,

but in the racial cities we’ll change places

so as to show how well you’ve done up North,

and let us find ourselves some tiny American fishing village

in unknown Florida

and park right at the edge of the sand,

a huge bus pointing out,

metallic, painted, solitary,

with New York plates.”

A Negress with

an appetite

helped him think

he wasn’t white.”

A lot of people think you are beautiful

How do I feel about that

I have no feeling about that

I had a wonderful reason for not merely

courting you

It was tied up with the newspapers

I saw secret arrangements in high offices

I saw men who loved their worldliness

even though they had looked through

big electric telescopes

they still thought their worldliness was serious

Muitas pessoas pensam que você é bonita

O que penso a respeito

Nada em particular

Eu tinha ótimas razões para nem sequer

cantar você

Tinha relação com os jornais

Eu vi arranjos secretos em importantes gabinetes

Eu vi homens que amavam sua mundanidade

mesmo que tivessem olhado por aqueles

grandes telescópios elétricos

ainda pensavam que sua mundanidade era séria

Fragmento traduzido de I Had It for A Moment”

Eu olho pasmo para a luxúria de minha cor

Alguém marcha por mim em mim até mim”

Pensei que heróis éramos nós

Andei lendo muita história”

Acho que os Aztecas nunca estiveram adormecidos

não importa o que ensinei às crianças

Acho que ninguém nem nunca dormiu a não ser ele

que reúne o passado em histórias

A magia vai de mão em mão”

Destiny! why do you find me in this bathtub,

idle, alone, unwashed, without even

the intention of washing except at the last moment? Why don’t you find me at the top of a telephone pole, repairing the lines from city to city?

Why don’t you find me riding a horse through Cuba, a giant of a man with a red machete?

Why don’t you find me explaining machines

to underprivileged pupils, negroid Spaniards,

happy it is not a course in creative writing?”

Queen Victoria

The 20th century belongs to you and me

Let us be two severe giants

(not less lonely for our partnership)

who discolour test tubes in the halls of science

who turn up unwelcome at every World’s Fair

heavy with proverb and correction

confusing the star-dazed tourists

with our incomparable sense of loss”

Very few people have thighs”

To watch her pull on her nylons is all one needs of ballet or art.”

Now what could be more normal than marriage? Can you think of anything more normal? Of course you can’t. It makes you feel less isolated, part of the whole community. Our people are getting married all the time.”

Desire is the last church”

Winter Bulletin

Toronto has been good to me

I relaxed on TV

I attacked several dead horses

I spread rumours about myself

I reported a Talmudic quarrel

with the Montreal Jewish Community

I forged a death certificate

in case I had to disappear


I thought about the future

and how little I know about animals

The future seemed unnecessarily black and strong

as if it had received my casual mistakes

through a carbon sheet

Now you must learn to read

newspapers without laughing.

No hysterical headline breakfasts.

Police be your Guard,

Telephone Book your Brotherhood.

Action! Action! Action!

Goodbye Citizen.”


the sun stuck a gun in his mouth

the wind started to skin him

Give up the Plan give up the Plan”

The Music Crept By Us

I would like to remind

the management

that the drinks are watered

and the hat-check girl

has syphilis

and the band is composed

of former S.S. monsters

However since it is

New Year’s Eve

and I have lip cancer

I will place my

paper hat on my

concussion and dance”

Answer the phone, another family

Someone wants to say hello about nothing

Answer the phone, you who followed your career

past the comfort of gossip

who listen to the banal regular ringing

and give your venom to it

enforce it with your hatred


Your parents rush to stop the ringing


you shall set aside a hiding place

you shall not alter your love”

I am sorry that the old worker must go

who called me mister when I was twelve

and sir when I was twenty”

I loved your puns about snow

even if they lasted the full seven-month

(…) Go write your memoirs

for the Psychedelic Review.”

and now they are ashamed

like a successful outspoken Schopenhauerian

whose room-mate has committed suicide.

Suddenly they are all making movies.

I have no one to buy coffee for.”

Long live you chronic self-abusers!

you monotheists!

you familiars of the Absolute

sucking at circles!”

daughters of the new middle-class

who wear your mouths like Bardot

Come my darlings

the movies are true”


You don’t know anyone

You know some streets

hills, gates, restaurants

The waitresses have changed”

Cherry Orchards [Pomares de Cereja]

Canada some wars are waiting for you

some threats

some torn flags

Inheritance is not enough

Faces must be forged under the hammer

of savage ideas

Mailboxes will explode

in the cherry orchards

and somebody will wait forever

for his grandfather’s fat cheque

From my deep cafe I survey the quiet snowfields

like a U.S. promoter

of a new plastic snowshoe

looking for a moving speck

a troika perhaps

an exile

an icy prophet

an Indian insurrection

a burning weather station

There’s a story out there boys

Canada could you bear some folk songs

about freedom and death

I carry a banner:

<The Past is Perfect>

my little female cousin

who does not believe

in our religious destiny

rides royally on my nostalgia”


Listen all you bullets

that never hit:

a lot of throats are growing

in open collars

like frozen milk bottles

on a 5 a.m. street

throats that are waiting

for bite scars

but will settle

for bullet holes”

It will all come round again: the heartsick teachers who make too much of poetry, their students who refuse to suffer, the cache of rifles in the lawyer’s attic: and then the magic, the 80-year comet touching the sturdiest houses.”

when poems grew like butterflies on the garbage of his life.”

…they who whip their minds to recall an ancient lucky orgasm (…) they are the founders, they are the bankers-of History!…”

Let me be neither

father nor child

but one who spins

on an eternal unimportant loom”


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