From Portuguese Heritage Publications of California
Expanded English-Portuguese bilingual edition
Excerpts from English translations
[Read also the original Portuguese excerpts]
Gustine, at the Feast of Our Lady of Miracles of Serreta
The labial u the contracted vowel
a dropping of final syllables
dialect untouched in poetic prose
reminiscent of the islands’ wordgusts...
He inherited Africa in his skin and looks,
and when we saw him play soccer in high school,
we began calling him
In the Lung Wah restaurant with Manuel Homem
Your father talked with my father.
Life ran in a straight line.
Until just like your father and my father
We celebrated our first wine...
My cousin Manuel
My cousin Manuel from Prainha do Pico
lives in San Jose. He works in drywall.
Unlike his father he didn’t want albacore or bonito:
he labors under the California sun – from sun to sun...
The fisherman of San Diego
He brought eyes of the ocean weeping
from another sea’s black mountain
Pico’s ashes, mists from its stone-walled pastures
the salt – soul of the waters he furrowed...
bourbon with Tony Goulart
The men of Pico
embark upon the land
plow the sea...
So he speaks Altares-style
the sounds of his speech – with trunk and root.
He says ilhas in a way no longer spoken on the island...
the Portuguese Teacher
In his faraway language the greatest saudade
in the word saudade is the living language.
Not the little saudade of folklore
attractive and palatable...
Borges in the Portuguese Band
...besides at high school Steven
also plays in Portuguese, in the community band
white trousers white cap blue blazer
in consanguine step with the saudade
of the Borgeses...
He rests upon his knee the woman
smooth and voluptuous guitar. Eighth-notes
of rounded verse from charambas
chamarritas pezinhos sapateias...
to Onésimo (with an asterisk)
...this heart of yours is a voyager
unquiet wanderer and vagabond
that wants in your eyes an unharmed world
and unharmed the peoples of this world...
question for Álamo Oliveira
Álamo, how is the soul of Raminho
spread out along the Pacific coast
a freeway is it a route
into which your side road flows...
Conversing with João de Melo
We see the houses the cars the suits the dresses
we know the sweat the factories the machinery the cattle
we guess the meaning of life the feelings
of a saudade that throbs and at times kills...
Rose was Rosa’s name
Mother said no more
no more I no more you daughter
no more names in the rocks of the wharf
no more the island’s curtain...
Lord Holy Ghost of Whom I am a Brother
of Your Fraternity at Desterro. Bless
the abundance of the Californias – the meat the wine the bread
offered in the name of Your Trinity in the person
of this Queen of Atlantic festivities...
I know that times have changed Queen Isabel
And that California is the land of plenty
Of roses and oranges and suns of honey
Your prodigies of saint may not seem useful...
Salute to John Steinbeck
California – East of Eden
from my left side
European and rural...
Fairmont Hotel San Francisco.
in the bar swing, blues and jazz
daiquiris and Bloody Marys. It is clear
that a time is past and a memory fading...
The gods of Yosemite
The day the night the dawn exist
in Yosemite: time that is measured
with a compass. And there is the timeless Time
of the Gods who make their home here...
The man from Pico whom I ran into in Gilroy
When your boat reached the wharf
you came to my house. I filled your glass with wine,
tore off some bread, sliced some cheese, set out fruit...
Peoples of the pallid memories of this time
Tribes of your old world, out of focus in the recollection
of a faded movie-frame of a film, with an intermission
for cherry brandy, codfish pastry, sunflower seeds
slack idleness on insulated Saturdays...
My Californian Friends: Poetry, by Vasco Pereira da Costa
From the Colecção Décima Ilha (Tenth Island Collection)
P.O. Box 32517, San Jose, California 95152
ISBN 978-0-9789994-7-6 / Library of Congress Catalog Number 2009925325
Click here to order My Californian Friends now.
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