May it sting me until it extinguishes me

Hi, folks,

Next on my series of posts for Spanish and Portuguese Reading Months, hosted by Stuart and Richard, you have four poems by Brazilian author Ricardo Domeneck, in various translations. You can find the whole series here, along with other Brazilian gems. Enjoy!

Yours truly,



for Jannis Birsner

have outlasted your
Congratulations on your success
in exceeding the life
of a giraffe or bat,
boa constrictor,
or owl.
Around the world, penguins
and pigs,
conceived at the same time as you, are dying.
has not circled the sun even
since you were a fertilized egg.
who guides me along the thousand trails
to the Zone,
another winter begins to crawl,
I bury
my face in your hairless chest.
If I could,
I’d sign a contract
with Lem
or the Strugatsky brothers,
for our days and future nights;
for the soundtrack,
Diamanda Galás bellows
and bleats,
caws and purrs, we fornicate.
I celebrate
the mind beneath your hair,
the penis,
attached to your body, erect.
a pig, your contemporary,
the zenith of his rotund
I wonder, exhausted in sweat, if lovers,
at last united, count sheep
sleep, euphoric and pregnant.

(Ricardo Domeneck, tr. Hilary Kaplan. Source: Action Yes, Issue 19, Autumn, 2015)


No one
would expect Medea
to swallow,
digestively, her pride
like bread
if the survival kit
calls for revenge:
point its proud
stream of all consequences to Jason
& may Glauce
in the fuselage
of my fuse-
without an echo
or union.
Even I, Brutus,
would not know without doubt
what Arthur
would say, in these times
of party switching,
about Guinevere.
I don’t care
therefore the
balance of shade of this
or if
mister prosecutor
pass judgment on the successful
in a lawsuit in favor of Troy,
of the trees
used for the one-horse cavalry
of its calvary.
When it comes to
guilty parties,
let he who sees himself as prize
plot the betrayal.
I don’t
know who indicates
where I sign the contract
for the combustion point
of my straw stuffing
or the angle that would aid
the last straw
at the eve
of burning.
So I’m not whining to the fire
to spare me the fish scales
or not lick my filling:
Without shoes, I won’t
feel indifference in the blisters
that separate, with pus,
my soles from the burning coal,
my skin from the ashes:
may it sting me
until it extinguishes me –
I, ironized mucous membrane
with hardtack,
would teach the art
of losing lotteries
as habit and destiny,
and would discourse
on loneliness, on being the
third contraband
in a distracted Noah’s
This is indeed one art.

(Ricardo Domeneck, tr. Hilary Kaplan. Source: Poetry International, 2016)

Breviary of Secretions

In a corner of the room, my body
was operating its factory
of relations
Decisions are not self-explanatory,
they resist the questionnaire
of pleasure
and they are
obliged to ignore
consequences of causes,
such as movement and encounter
Hands cupped are raised
to the face at the same time
that it addresses them
without them getting lost
along the way

Breathing through the mouth, with
no time to lose between the
oxygenation of the brain
itself and that of
the environment
generally, he
spoke loudly and precisely:
the sudden steepness that runs
though the mouthline
from the fish to the hand
of the fisherman, a hook:
bait, fish

But this image does not
find an equivalence
in my organism and
once again I look
at my feet

Alone and empty
like one who´s just
given birth like one
who´s just ejaculated
empty and alone

and I only calmed down
upon repeating duration duration
duration movement

slide the letters under
the door if there are any

Unfortunately I shan´t be able
to go to São Paulo for the
time being but surely
we shall see each other
before you go
hugs and kisses

in beams of our departing
in the bams of what awaits us

The progressive emptying
of the lungs restarting
right away

There´s no transition more
subtle than the one forgotten
at midnight

and between epidermis
derma muscle
bone all
a gradation
of the spectacles
of the world

turn out the light you nightman I mean knight man

Breviary of secretions
of the morning:
§ a common salivating indeed
in the midst of
recent dehydration
§ habitual ejaculation
before the fasting
§ a normal bleeding
in the bathroom sink
colors my mouth
sensation of freshness and fear

(Ricardo Domeneck, tr. Charles A. Perrone)


Mouth to mouth
the world shows
its teeth and the throat
responds with infections.
Attentive to the world
as the world ignores
my will.
Even equivalence
produces collision and the axis
of salt unmasks
the sugar in a mouth.
The hero against
the stream, the sailing
Not enough apotheosis
for all, rain
falls often
before schedule,
we expect the credits
and they do not roll upwards.
had us fooled.
Of course in Who´s
afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Richard Burton, no,
George, resorts
to the empty womb
of Elizabeth Taylor,
Martha, for the
final assault.
The scale of
nutrition does not
restart every
midnight, follows
the flow
of the esophagus, of
the thermometer, of
the tides, of
scars and its wounds, of
the rise and fall
of the effects
of cocaine, of caffeine.
The heredity of hunger
and the illusions of hygiene.

(Ricardo Domeneck, tr. by the author himself)

Andrew Wyeth, ‘April wind’, 1952

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