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luís soares

Blog do escritor Luís Soares

James Tate - Fuck the Astronauts

I

Eventually we must combine nightmares
an angel smoking a cigarette on the steps
of the last national bank, said to me.
I put her out with my thumb. I don’t need that
cheap talk I’ve got my own problems.
It was sad, exciting, and horrible.
It was exciting, horrible, and sad.
It was horrible, sad, and exciting.
It was inviting, mad, and deplorable.
It was adorable, glad, and enticing.
Eventually we must smoke a thumb
cheap talk I’ve got my own angel
on the steps of the problems the bank
said to me I don’t need that.
I will take this one window
with its sooty maps and scratches
so that my dreams will remember
one another and so that my eyes will not
become blinded by the new world.


II

The flames don’t dance or slither.
They have painted the room green.
Beautiful and naked, the wives
are sleeping before the fire.
Now it is out. The men have
returned to the shacks,
slaved creatures from the forest
floor across their white
stationwagons. That just about
does it, says the other,
dumping her bucket
over her head. Well, I guess
we got everything, says one,
feeling around in the mud,
as if for a child.
Now they remember they want
that mud, who can’t remember
what they got up for.
They parcel it out: when
they are drunk enough
they go into town with
a bucket of mud, saying
we can slice it up into
windmills like a bloated cow. 
Later, they paint the insides
of the shack black,
and sit sucking eggs all night,
they want something real, useful,
but there isn’t anything.


III

I will engineer the sunrise
they have disassembled our shadows
our echoes are erased from the walls
your nipples are the skeletons of olives
your nipples are an oriental delight
your nipples blow away like cigarette papers
your nipples are the mouths of mutes
so I am not here any longer
skein of lightning
memory’s dark ink in your last smile
where the stars have swallowed their train schedule
where the stars have drowned in their dark petticoats
like a sock of hamburger
receiving the lightning
into his clitoris
red on red the prisoner
confesses his waltz
through the corkscrew lightning
nevermind the lightning
in your teeth let’s waltz
I am the hashish pinball machine
that rapes a piano.

James Tate - Untitled*

I sat at my desk and contemplated all that I had accomplished
this year. I had won the hot dog eating contest on Rhode Island.
No, I hadn’t. I was just kidding. I was the arm wrestling champion
in Portland, Maine. False. I caught the largest boa constrictor
in Southern Brazil. In my dreams. I built the largest house
out of matchsticks in all the United States. Wow! I caught
a wolf by its tail. Yumee. I married the Princess of Monaco.
Can you believe it? I fell off of Mount Everest. Ouch! I walked
back up again. It was tiring. Snore. I set a record for sitting
in my chair and snoring longer than anybody. Awake! I set a record
for swimming from one end of my bath to the other in No Count,
Nebraska. Blurb. I read a book written by a dove. Great! I slept
in my chair all day and all night for thirty days. Whew! I ate
a cheeseburger every day for a year. I never want to do that again.
A trout bit me when I was washing the dishes. But I couldn’t catch
him. I flew over my hometown and didn’t recognize anyone. That’s
how long it’s been. A policeman stopped me on the street and said
he was sorry. He was looking for someone who looked just like
me and had the same name. What are the chances?

 

*This poem was found in the poet’s typewriter after his death.

James Tate - It Happens Like This

I was outside St. Cecelia's Rectory
smoking a cigarette when a goat appeared beside me.
It was mostly black and white, with a little reddish
brown here and there. When I started to walk away,
it followed. I was amused and delighted, but wondered
what the laws were on this kind of thing. There's
a leash law for dogs, but what about goats? People
smiled at me and admired the goat. "It's not my goat,"
I explained. "It's the town's goat. I'm just taking
my turn caring for it." "I didn't know we had a goat,"
one of them said. "I wonder when my turn is." "Soon,"
I said. "Be patient. Your time is coming." The goat
stayed by my side. It stopped when I stopped. It looked
up at me and I stared into its eyes. I felt he knew
everything essential about me. We walked on. A police-
man on his beat looked us over. "That's a mighty
fine goat you got there," he said, stopping to admire.
"It's the town's goat," I said. "His family goes back
three-hundred years with us," I said, "from the beginning."
The officer leaned forward to touch him, then stopped
and looked up at me. "Mind if I pat him?" he asked.
"Touching this goat will change your life," I said.
"It's your decision." He thought real hard for a minute,
and then stood up and said, "What's his name?" "He's
called the Prince of Peace," I said. "God! This town
is like a fairy tale. Everywhere you turn there's mystery
and wonder. And I'm just a child playing cops and robbers
forever. Please forgive me if I cry." "We forgive you,
Officer," I said. "And we understand why you, more than
anybody, should never touch the Prince." The goat and
I walked on. It was getting dark and we were beginning
to wonder where we would spend the night.