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Cristiane Sobral

Cristiane Sobral was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1974. Primarily known as a playwright, she is the author of three books of poetry, including Nāo Vou Mais Lavar os Pratos (Editora Thesaurus, 2010). A member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters, she received the 2017 FAC Prize for Afro-Brazilian Culture. She lives in Brasília, Brazil. 

By This Poet

4

Black Eye

Translated from Portuguese by John Keene

I am a black renegade
I refuse the mirror daily
Which tries to massacre me inside
Which tries to deceive me with white lies
Which tries to discolor me with its rays of light

I am a black renegade
Determined to face the system
I drum up the black without a hitch
I bum-rush the stage

I am a black renegade
I advocate a necessary darkening
I unmask any racists in the closet
I shove my foot in the door and walk in

Time

Translated from Portuguese by John Keene

Time
is an essence
I carry within me
Time and its strands
They've been coiled inside me since my navel was knotted
It has as its complementary counterpart
The space between time and its options
Time, lord of the hours
reigns sovereign
Subtly, on a silver cord
People don't kill time
He is the killer.

False Advertising

Translated from Portuguese by John Keene

The first time I kissed
It was my girlfriends who kissed
They invented a flavor, a style, a smell
My lips weren't there.

The first time I kissed
The prince was chosen by these dreaming girls
He was a jerk to me
A toad, a dragon that spat its fire on me

I don't know what it was like
They didn't see my closed eyes
I wasn't there.