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Poetry

Rimbaud in America

By Alberto Martins
Translated from Portuguese by Idra Novey

Fever in the knees
gold in the belly

and—almost forgot—
the varicose veins:

so you arrive
drenched to the bone

by the salt of Abyssinia.
Deep inside, a desire

to be ever departing
as if poetry were

—horror at solid ground—
the edge

of an absolute coast.
But there are reefs along the shore

and shark teeth
on the high sea.

Beyond that,
it's impossible to predict

when the spirit—
blessed

or maligned—
will speak.

For this, swallow the stones
you brought in your pocket.

Here you will have to begin again.

English

Fever in the knees
gold in the belly

and—almost forgot—
the varicose veins:

so you arrive
drenched to the bone

by the salt of Abyssinia.
Deep inside, a desire

to be ever departing
as if poetry were

—horror at solid ground—
the edge

of an absolute coast.
But there are reefs along the shore

and shark teeth
on the high sea.

Beyond that,
it's impossible to predict

when the spirit—
blessed

or maligned—
will speak.

For this, swallow the stones
you brought in your pocket.

Here you will have to begin again.

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