Because if you write it enough maybe you can save them? by Yovanka Paquete Perdigao

Beautiful and sad and strong and vulnerable.

– See more at: http://brittlepaper.com/2015

By Yovanka Paquete Perdigao

I.

You are one of those introverts that fidgets way too much and, drinks too much wine to conceal how shy you really are. It’s not easy for you to connect with people, usually it takes a second meeting to come out of your shell and a third to really be comfortable around someone. But first time encounters you do the standard nodding at whoever is talking and smile even though you have no clue what they just said. Then they ask you the usual niceties of your background, you gladly volunteer that you used to be a refugee. “Three times a refugee, once in my country and twice in Ivory Coast.” They usually look at you unsure to offer pity, hugs, or just act as normally as possible. You’ve always loved to throw off people with the refugee line, it’s sometimes the best icebreakers for an introvert like you. You chuckle. If pressed, you tell them that you spent the summer of 1998 underneath a bed with your sister afraid a bomb might rip the ceiling.

II.

They become awkward, and you laugh even more. You remember that strangely enough you spent that whole summer too laughing away. Like when your aunty was too big to fit underneath the bed so she hid in the closet. Or when you crossed your city waving around a white flag. Just in case. Or when you finally arrived in Senegal and sat inside the bathtub of the hotel looking at the luxurious soap bottles.

 III.

You don’t tell people that although you are one the fortunate ones, although you pretend like it’s nothing, although you pretend like you barely remember it, you live in a house of ghosts with a pen that doesn’t stop writing.

Because if you write it enough maybe you can remember what went wrong?
Because if you write it enough maybe you can give them another life?
Because if you write it enough maybe you can save them?

Because if you don’t write, who will tell their story?

The door closes ,and you hear Nha Clara sighting as usual:

“Guerra fidjo, Guerra ta dana tudo” (War child, war ruins everything)

 

– See more at: http://brittlepaper.com/2015

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Swiss-Italian poetry by Alberto Nessi and Giorgio Orelli. Cat and pouring rains!

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Photo: Lambert Wolterbeek Muller, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Italian poetry by Alberto Nessi and Giorgio Orelli. Peta italiano

Two poems for the cat by Alberto Nessi.

The Disappearance

Little is left from her life: the the wall boards
scratched by her claws, her ghost that visits us
every night when we think we spot her in the geraniums, the stories
of her adventures among the cacti
pirouetting, pouncing, dancing with the flies
the rivalry with the other cats we’d shoo away
as if she was of a higher feline race
and not a just a gentle moggie. Only traces and ghosts
of life remain
A cat like her
someone has poisoned her on purpose
or some peasant skinned and ate her —
but what if she ran away from home, a young girl looking for love
and what if we saw her again tomorrow, standing still
in the middle of the patio
protecting our equally precarious lives?

[…cat returns…]

“due poesie per la gatta La scomparsa della sua vita è rimasto poco: il pannello di pavatex graffiato dalle…”

In autumn by Giorgio Orelli.

Catlike in the salamander’s
slimy yellow
between the hedge and the tarmac: I didn’t even
see the face of the boy who
almost ran over me at the bend with his bike.
The rain was hosing down sideways
so much that it darkened the mood of the cows
near the high school:
in groups, dazed,
they forsook the grass,
and lowed miserably at the sky.

(Outlines, 1989)

D’autunno

Felinamente in giallo
viscido di salamandra
tra siepe e asfalto: neanche la faccia
gli ho visto al ragazzo che in bici
quasi m’investe allo svolto.
Tanto fitto pioveva e di traverso
che alle vacche vicino al liceo
l’anima s’annegrava:
in gruppo, stralunate,
disprezzavano l’erba,
mute muggivano al cielo.

(Spiracoli, 1989)

“Poetry Editor’s note: Contrappasso bids a sad farewell to Giorgio Orelli, who passed away […] at the age of 92. Below are the five poems of Orelli’s that appeared in Issue 3, translated by Marco Sonzogni.”

Poems about the body: African-American poet, Yusef Komunyakaa.

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Poems about the body: African-American poet, Yusef Komunyakaa.

[…]
I love my crooked feet
shaped by vanity & work
shoes made to outlast
belief. The hardness
coupling milk it can’t
fashion. I love the lips,
salt & honeycomb on the tongue.
The hair holding off rain
& snow. The white moons
on my fingernails. I love
how everything begs
blood into song & prayer
inside an egg. A ghost
hums through my bones
like Pan’s midnight flute
shaping internal laws
beside a troubled river.
I love this body
made to weather the storm
in the brain, raised
out of the deep smell
of fish & water hyacinth,
out of rapture & the first
regret. I love my big hands.
I love it clear down to the soft
quick motor of each breath,
the liver’s ten kinds of desire
& the kidney’s lust for sugar.
This skin, this sac of dung
& joy, this spleen floating
like a compass needle inside
nighttime, always divining
West Africa’s dusty horizon.
I love the birthmark
posed like a fighting cock
on my right shoulder blade.
I love this body, this
solo & ragtime jubilee
behind the left nipple,
because I know I was born
to wear out at least
one hundred angels.