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luís soares

Blog do escritor Luís Soares

Frank Bidart - At The Shore

All over the earth,
elegies for the earth.

The shore is in mourning. It mourns what it must soon

see, the sea

implacable, drowning chunks of the intelligible, familiar world.

Creatures of the earth filled with the instinct to wound
the earth. We fear that by an act of immense, unconscious

will, we have succeeded at last in killing NATURE.

Since childhood, you hated the illusion that this
green and pleasant land

inherently is green
or pleasant

or for human beings home. Whoever dreamed that had

not, you thought, experienced
the earth. We needed to rewrite in revenge the world that wrote us.


My parents drove from the Sierras (Bishop), to the almost-
city of their parents, carved from desert (Bakersfield).

To get anywhere you had to cross the Mojave Desert.

It was World War Two. In the Sierras my father was a big shot.
He said It’s better to be a big fish in a little pond. The government

didn’t draft—even

refused to enlist—rich
farmers. So to my mother’s dismay, night after night in bars

drunk, wronged, he fought soldiers who had called him a coward.

They drove their gorgeous Lincoln Zephyr across the steaming
Mojave at night.


carsick, I was in the back seat, inside,

Unprotected. Phantasmagoric enormous

tumbleweeds in the empty
landscape rolled aimlessly outside the speeding car.

Frank Bidart - Queer

Lie to yourself about this and you will
forever lie about everything.


Everybody already knows everything


so you can
lie to them. That’s what they want.


But lie to yourself, what you will


lose is yourself. Then you
turn into them.




For each gay kid whose adolescence


was America in the forties or fifties
the primary, the crucial




forever is coming out—

or not. Or not. Or not. Or not. Or not.




Involuted velleities of self-erasure.




Quickly after my parents
died, I came out. Foundational narrative


designed to confer existence.


If I had managed to come out to my
mother, she would have blamed not


me, but herself.


The door through which you were shoved out
into the light


was self-loathing and terror.




Thank you, terror!


You learned early that adults’ genteel
fantasies about human life


were not, for you, life. You think sex


is a knife
driven into you to teach you that.

Frank Bidart - Self-Portrait, 1969

He's still young—; thirty, but looks younger—

or does he? . . . In the eyes and cheeks, tonight,

turning in the mirror, he saw his mother,—

puffy; angry; bewildered . . . Many nights

now, when he stares there, he gets angry:—

something unfulfilled there, something dead

to what he once thought he surely could be—

Now, just the glamour of habits . . .

                                                                  Once, instead,

he thought insight would remake him, he'd reach

—what? The thrill, the exhilaration

unravelling disaster, that seemed to teach

necessary knowledge . . . became just jargon.


Sick of being decent, he craves another

crash. What reaches him except disaster?

Frank Bidart - If  See No End In Is

What none knows is when, not if.

Now that your life nears its end

when you turn back what you see

is ruin. You think, It is a prison. No,

it is a vast resonating chamber in

which each thing you say or do is


new, but the same. What none knows is

how to change. Each plateau you reach, if

single, limited, only itself, in-

cludes traces of  all the others, so that in the end

limitation frees you, there is no

end, if   you once see what is there to see.


You cannot see what is there to see —

not when she whose love you failed is

standing next to you. Then, as if refusing the know-

ledge that life unseparated from her is death, as if

again scorning your refusals, she turns away. The end

achieved by the unappeased is burial within.


Familiar spirit, within whose care I grew, within

whose disappointment I twist, may we at last see

by what necessity the double-bind is in the end

the  figure  for human life, why what we love is

precluded always by something else we love, as if

each no we speak is yes, each yes no.


The prospect is mixed but elsewhere the forecast is no

better. The eyrie where you perch in

exhaustion has food and is out of  the wind, if

cold. You feel old, young, old, young: you scan the sea

for movement, though the promise of  sex or food is

the prospect that bewildered  you to this end.


Something in you believes that it is not the end.

When you wake, sixth grade will start. The finite you know

you fear is infinite: even at eleven, what you love is

what you should not love, which endless bullies in-

tuit unerringly. The future will be different: you cannot see

the end. What none knows is when, not if.