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luís soares

Blog do escritor Luís Soares

Danez Smith - in lieu of a poem, i'd like to say

apricots & brown teeth in browner mouths nashing dates & a clementine’s underflesh under yellow nail & dates like auntie heads & the first time someone dried mango there was god & grandma’s Sunday only song & how the plums are better as plums dammit & i was wrong & a June’s worth of moons & the kiss stain of the berries & lord the prunes & the miracle of other people’s lives & none of my business & our hands sticky and a good empty & please please pass the bowl around again & the question of dried or ripe & the sex of grapes & too many dates & us us us us us & varied are the feast but so same the sound of love gorged & the women in the Y hijab a lily in the water & all of us who come from people who signed with x’s & yesterday made delicacy in the wrinkle of the fruit & at the end of my name begins the lot of us

Danez Smith - acknowledgments

you save me half a bag of skins, the hard parts, my fav, dusted orange with hot




you say we can’t go to the bar cause you’re taking your braids out

i come over, we watch madea while we pull you from you




you make us tacos with the shells i like & you don’t




i get too drunk at the party, you scoop my pizza from the sink with a solo cup, all that red




you, in the morning, bong water grin, wet chin




you, in the lawless dark, laughing like a room of women laugh

at a man who thinks his knowledge is knowledge




i text you & you say, i was bout to text you, bitch




you cook pork chops same way i do, our families in another city go to the same church




you, rolling a blunt, holding your son, is a mecca




you invite me out for drag queens on the nights i think of finally [ ]




you pull over in Mississippi so i can walk a road my grandfather bled on




you gave me a stone turtle, it held your palm’s scent for a week




i call your mama mama




you request like a demand, make me some of that mango cornbread

i cut the fruit, measure the honey




you & you & you & you go in on a dildo for my birthday

you name it drake, you know me




a year with you in that dirty house with that cracked-out cat was a good year




at the function, i feel myself splitting into too many rooms of static

you touch my hand & there i am




do you want to be best friends?

a box for yes, a box for no




did our grandmothers flee the fields of embers so we could find each other here?

friend, you are the war’s gentle consequence




i am the prison that turns to rain in your hands




you, at my door the night my father leapt beyond what we know

you, dirt where i plant my light




the branches of silence are heavy with your sweet seed




you smell like the milk of whatever beast i am




your poop is news, your fart is news, your gross body my favorite song




you, drunk as an uncle, making all kinds of nonsense sense

i listen for the language between your words




& when we fight, not a ring, but a room with no exit

we spill the blood & bandage the wound, clean burns with our tongues




if luck calls your name, we split the pot

& if you wither, surely i rot




we hate the same people, we say nigga please with the same mouth




& before we were messy flesh, i’m sure we were the same dust




everywhere you are is a church, & i am the pastor, the deacons, the mothers fainting at the altar




as long as i am a fact to you, death can do with me what she wants




my body, water, your body, a trail of hands carrying the river to the sea




i ink your name into my arm to fasten what is already there




i would love you even if you killed god




you made coming out feel like coming in from the storm




you are the country i bloody the hills for




you love me despite the history of my hands, their mangled confession




at the end of the world, let there be you, my world




god bless you who screens all my nudes, drafts my break-up text




you are the drug that knocks the birds from my heart




ain’t no mountain, no valley, no river i wouldn’t give the hands for comin’ to you sideways




o the horrid friends who were just ships harboring me to you




& how many times have you loved me without my asking?

how often have i loved a thing because you loved it?

including me




& i always knew




with yo ugly ass

Danez Smith - Undetectable

soundless, it crosses a line, quiets into a seed

 

& then whatever makes a seed. almost like gone

 

but not gone. the air kept its shape. not antimatter

 

but the memory of matter. or of it mattering. it doesn’t

 

cross my mind now that it whispers so soft it’s almost

 

silence. but it’s not. someone dragged the screaming boy

 

so deep into the woods he sounds like the trees now.

 

gone enough. almost never here. daily, swallowed

 

within a certain window, a pale-green trail on the tongue

 

the pale-green pill makes before it’s divvied among

 

the ghettos of blood, dissolves & absolves

 

my scarlet brand. ritual & proof. surely science

 

& witchcraft have the same face. my mother

 

praises god for this & surely it is his face too.

 

regimen, you are my miracle. this swallowing

 

my muscular cult. i am not faithful to much.

 

i am less a genius of worship than i let on.

 

but the pill, emerald dialect singing the malady

 

away. not away. far enough. for now.

 

i am the most important species in my body.

 

but one dead boy makes the whole forest

 

a grave. & he’s in there, in me, in the middle

 

of all that green. you probably thought

 

he was fruit.

Danez Smith - how many of us have them?

friends! if i may interrupt right quick

 

i know y’all working, busy smoking & busy

trying not to smoke, busy with the kids & moms

 

& busy with alone, but i have just seen

two boys — yes, black — on bikes — also — summer children

basketball shorts & they outside shoes, wild

 

laughing bout something i couldn’t hear

over my own holler, trying to steady

the wheel & not hit they asses as they swerved

frienddrunk, making their little loops, sun-lotioned

 

faces screwed up with that first & cleanest love

we forget to name as such, &, hear me out

i’m not trying to dis lil dude, but in this gold hour

he kind of looked like Francine off Arthur

same monkey mouth & all, ole & i say hey looking-ass boy

 

tho in a beautiful way, the best beautiful

same as i know all of us have looked

like something off when backlit by love. o loves,

y’all ugly asses have crowned me the worst names:

wayne brady, gay wiz khalifa, all kinds of bitches

& fags (tho only with my bitches & fags), all kinds

 

of shit &, once, mark of buddha that year acne

scored my forehead with its bumpy faith.

my niggas & my niggas who are not niggas

i been almost-pissed myself, almost been boxin’

been tears & snot off your dozen wonders

been the giddy swine dancing the flame.

o my many hearts, y’all booty-faced

 

weird-ass ole mojo-jojo-looking asses

dusty chambers where my living dwells

roast me. name me in the old ways, your shit-

talk a river i wade, howling until it takes me.

i can’t stop laughing, more river wades

down my throat. could be drowning

could be becoming the water, could be

a baptism from the inside out.

 

don’t save me, i don’t wanna be saved.

i’ve died laughing before, been seen

god’s face & you have her teeth, my nig.

but   hers   ain’t   as   yellow   as   them   saffron   shits

you   keep   stashed   in   your   gloryfoul   mouth

my friend! my friends! my niggas! my wives!

i got a crush on each one of your dumb faces

smashing into my heart like idiot cardinals into glass

but i am a big-ass glass bird, a stupid monster

 

crashing through the window & becoming

it just to make you laugh. Andrew used to say

friendship is so friendship                        & ain’t it

even after Andrew gave it on over to whatever

he was still my nigga. when they turned his body

to dust he was still my dusty-ass boy.

don’t you hear it? the dust on the fan calls me

a bum, says my hairline looks like it’s thinking

about retirement. the dust in the car says i look

like a chubby slave, says i look too drunk, takes

 

my keys, drives me home. the wind is tangled

with the dust of the dead homies, carrying us over

to them, giggling in the mirror. hear them. hear

your long-gone girl tease your hair on the bus. hear them

rolling when you sweep broom across the beaten floor.

i miss them. all the dead. how young. how silly

to miss what you will become. i apologize.

sometimes it just catches up in me. love

& ghost gets caught up in us like wind & birds

trapped in a sheet just the same. & my friends

is some birds, some chicken-head muhfuckas

 

who i would legit stomp a nigga for, do you feel me?

when they buried my nigga i put on my timbs

walked into that hot august tried to beat his name

out the dirt. i beat the earth like a nigga.

i threw hands at the earth like a punk muhfucka

& the ground chuckled, said my nigga. what is you doing!

you can’t hear the wind drunk off the kindred lent?

can you hear that great roll from way off like a big nigga

laughing in an alley! how your dead auntie laugh

when she see you still ain’t grew into that big-ass head!

like your real friend laugh when you still the same ugly

as yesterday! same ugly as always! same ugly as their last life!

Danez Smith - From “summer, somewhere”

somewhere, a sun. below, boys brown

as rye play the dozens & ball, jump

 

in the air & stay there. boys become new

moons, gum-dark on all sides, beg bruise

 

-blue water to fly, at least tide, at least 

spit back a father or two. I won’t get started.

 

history is what it is. it knows what it did.

bad dog. bad blood. bad day to be a boy

 

color of a July well spent. but here, not earth

not heaven, boys can’t recall their white shirt

 

turned a ruby gown. here, there is no language

for officer or law, no color to call white.

 

if snow fell, it’d fall black. please, don’t call

us dead, call us alive someplace better.

 

we say our own names when we pray.

we go out for sweets & come back.

 

 

 

 

 

this is how we are born: come morning

after we cypher/feast/hoop, we dig

 

a new boy from the ground, take

him out his treebox, shake worms

 

from his braids. sometimes they’ll sing

a trapgod hymn (what a first breath!)

 

sometimes it’s they eyes who lead

scanning for bonefleshed men in blue.

 

we say congrats, you’re a boy again! 

we give him a durag, a bowl, a second chance.

 

we send him off to wander for a day

or ever, let him pick his new name.

 

that boy was Trayvon, now called RainKing.

that man Sean named himself I do, I do.

 

O, the imagination of a new reborn boy

but most of us settle on alive

 

 

 

 

sometimes a boy is born

right out the sky, dropped from

 

a bridge between starshine & clay.

one boy showed up pulled behind

 

a truck, a parade for himself

& his wet red gown. years ago

 

we plucked brothers from branches

unpeeled their naps from bark.

 

sometimes a boy walks into his room

then walks out into his new world

 

still clutching wicked metals. some boys

waded here through their own blood. 

 

does it matter how he got here if we’re all here

to dance? grab a boy, spin him around.

 

if he asks for a kiss, kiss him.

if he asks where he is, say gone

 

 

 

 

no need for geography

now that we’re safe everywhere.

 

point to whatever you please

& call it church, home, or sweet love.

 

paradise is a world where everything

is a sanctuary & nothing is a gun. 

 

here, if it grows it knows its place

in history. yesterday, a poplar 

 

told me of old forest

heavy with fruits I’d call uncle

 

bursting red pulp & set afire, 

harvest of dark wind chimes. 

 

after I fell from its limb

it kissed sap into my wound.

 

do you know what it’s like to live

someplace that loves you back?

 

 

 

 

here, everybody wanna be black & is. 

look — the forest is a flock of boys

 

who never got to grow up, blooming

into forever, afros like maple crowns 

 

reaching sap-slow toward sky. watch

Forest run in the rain, branches

 

melting into paper-soft curls, duck

under the mountain for shelter. watch

 

the mountain reveal itself a boy. 

watch Mountain & Forest playing

 

in the rain, watch the rain melt everything

into a boy with brown eyes & wet naps — 

 

the lake turns into a boy in the rain

the swamp — a boy in the rain

 

the fields of lavender — brothers

dancing between the storm. 

 

 

 

 

if you press your ear to the dirt

you can hear it hum, not like it’s filled

 

with beetles & other low gods

but like a mouth rot with gospel

 

& other glories. listen to the dirt

crescendo a boy back. 

 

come. celebrate. this 

is everyday. every day 

 

holy. everyday high 

holiday. everyday new 

 

year. every year, days get longer. 

time clogged with boys. the boys

 

O the boys. they still come

in droves. the old world 

 

keeps choking them. our new one 

can’t stop spitting them out. 

 

 

 

 

ask the mountain-boy to put you on

his shoulders if you want to see

 

the old world, ask him for some lean

-in & you’ll be home. step off him

 

& walk around your block.

grow wings & fly above your city.

 

all the guns fire toward heaven.

warning shots mince your feathers.

 

fall back to the metal-less side

of the mountain, cry if you need to.

 

that world of laws rendered us into dark 

matter. we asked for nothing but our names

 

in a mouth we’ve known 

for decades. some were blessed 

 

to know the mouth.

our decades betrayed us. 

 

 

 

 

there, I drowned, back before, once. 

there, I knew how to swim but couldn’t.

 

there, men stood by shore & watched me blue.

there, I was a dead fish, the river’s prince. 

 

there, I had a face & then I didn’t.

there, my mother cried over me

 

but I wasn’t there. I was here, by my own

water, singing a song I learned somewhere

 

south of somewhere worse. that was when

direction mattered. now, everywhere 

 

I am is the center of everything.

I must be the lord of something. 

 

what was I before? a boy? a son?

a warning? a myth? I whistled

 

now I’m the God of whistling.

I built my Olympia downstream. 

 

 

 

 

you are not welcome here. trust

the trip will kill you. go home.

 

we earned this paradise 

by a death we didn’t deserve.

 

I am sure there are other heres.

a somewhere for every kind

 

of somebody, a heaven of brown 

girls braiding on golden stoops

 

but here — 

how could I ever explain to you — 

 

 

 

someone prayed we’d rest in peace

& here we are

 

 

in peace             whole                all summer

Danez Smith - Differences

once, there was a boy
who learned to sing
who then learned not to sing

once, there was a boy
who heard another boy singing
then told him to stop

these are the same boy
this is every boy

another story: once, a boy
loved summer & so moved
to the sun

same story: once, a boy
ran from winter but could
not shake the dead trees

same story: once, a boy
stood in the woods
until he became it

same story: a boy is a tree

same story: my mother cries
whenever she sees a tree
//

Boy 1: We made love.
Boy 2: I was experimenting.

Boy 1: He loves me
Boy 2: He lives close

Boy 1: We have something between us.
Boy 2: He is warmest inside.

Boy 1: He’s clean.
Boy 2: I’m clean.

//

another story: last week a bird
flew into the window. He lived,

but he would not fly hours later
I did with a rock
what the lord would not.

same story: once, I taught
a bird a new flight, with a stone
I made stranger wings.

//

answer: I did not love him
answer: the curve of his shoulder at dusk
answer: It helps to lie
answer: like the iron in your veins gathering into a bullet
answer: the pale yellow of his teeth
answer: it was Thursday
answer: my blues turn red when they hit the air
answer: yes, you’re right

//

a night without questions
is a night where everything is a gun

//

Someone killed a black boy & got away with it
I am the murderer/the victim/the evidence

//

can say i’ve never had my heart broken
can’t say my heart doesn’t pump a broken formula

i have no equations for my new math
no addition for what in me multiplies

           i was negative.
                he was negative.
           we made a positive thing.

Danez Smith - The 17-Year-Old & the Gay Bar

this gin-heavy heaven, blessed ground to think gay & mean we.

bless the fake id & the bouncer who knew

this need to be needed, to belong, to know how

a man taste full on vodka & free of sin. i know not which god to pray to.

i look to christ, i look to every mouth on the dance floor, i order

a whiskey coke, name it the blood of my new savior. he is just.

he begs me to dance, to marvel men with the

                                                                                   dash

of hips i brought, he deems my mouth in some stranger’s mouth necessary.

bless that man’s mouth, the song we sway sloppy to, the beat, the bridge, the length

of his hand on my thigh & back & i know not which country i am of.

i want to live on his tongue, build a home of gospel & gayety

i want to raise a city behind his teeth for all boys of choirs & closets to refuge in.

i want my new god to look at the mecca i built him & call it damn good

or maybe i’m just tipsy & free for the first time, willing to worship anything i can taste.