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luís soares

Blog do escritor Luís Soares

Billy Collins - Downpour

Last night we ended up on the couch
trying to remember
all of the friends who had died so far,

and this morning I wrote them down
in alphabetical order
on the flip side of a shopping list
you had left on the kitchen table.

So many of them had been swept away
as if by a hand from the sky,
it was good to recall them,
I was thinking
under the cold lights of a supermarket
as I guided a cart with a wobbly wheel
up and down the long strident aisles.

I was on the lookout for blueberries,
English muffins, linguini, heavy cream,
light bulbs, apples, Canadian bacon,
and whatever else was on the list,
which I managed to keep grocery side up,

until I had passed through the electric doors,
where I stopped to realize,
as I turned the list over,
that I had forgotten Terry O’Shea
as well as the bananas and the bread.

It was pouring by then,
spilling, as they say in Ireland,
people splashing across the lot to their cars.
And that is when I set out,
walking slowly and precisely,
a soaking-wet man
bearing bags of groceries,
walking as if in a procession honoring the dead.

I felt I owed this to Terry,
who was such a strong painter,
for almost forgetting him
and to all the others who had formed
a circle around him on the screen in my head.

I was walking more slowly now
in the presence of the compassion
the dead were extending to a comrade,

plus I was in no hurry to return
to the kitchen, where I would have to tell you
all about Terry and the bananas and the bread.

Billy Collins - Forgetfulness

the name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

 

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

 

long ago you kissed the nine muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

 

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of paraguay.

 

whatever it is you are struggling to remember
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

 

it has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an l as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

 

no wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
no wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

Billy Collins - I Go Back To The House For A Book

I turn around on the gravel
and go back to the house for a book,
something to read at the doctor's office,
and while I am inside, running the finger
of inquisition along a shelf,
another me that did not bother
to go back to the house for a book
heads out on his own,
rolls down the driveway,
and swings left toward town,
a ghost in his ghost car,
another knot in the string of time,
a good three minutes ahead of me—
a spacing that will now continue
for the rest of my life.
Sometimes I think I see him
a few people in front of me on a line
or getting up from a table
to leave the restaurant just before I do,
slipping into his coat on the way out the door.
But there is no catching him,
no way to slow him down
and put us back in synch,
unless one day he decides to go back
to the house for something,
but I cannot imagine
for the life of me what that might be.
He is out there always before me,
blazing my trail, invisible scout,
hound that pulls me along,
shade I am doomed to follow,
my perfect double,
only bumped an inch into the future,
and not nearly as well-versed as I
in the love poems of Ovid—
I who went back to the house
that fateful winter morning and got the book.