Night of Calunga in the Bairro Cabula
Translated from Portuguese by Dan Hanrahan I died how many times in the longest night? In the motionless night, heavy and long, I died how many times on the night of calunga? The night does not end and here I am dying again nameless and again dying with each hole opened in the musculature of the person I once was. I died how many times in the bleeding bruised night? In the night of calunga so long and so heavy, I died how many times on that terrible night? The night most death and there I was dying again voiceless and again dying with each bullet lodged in the deepest depths of what I remain (and with each silence of stone and mortar that sheds the white of your indifference onto the shadow of what I no longer am and never will be again). I died how many times in the night of calunga? In the brackish night, night without end, the oceanic night, all emptied of blood, I died how many times in the terrible night the night of calunga in the Bairro Cabula? I’ve died so many times but they never kill me once and for all. My blood is a seed that the wind roots in the belly of the earth and I am born again and again and my name is that which does not die before making the night no longer the silent partner of death but the mother that births children the color of night and watches over them as a panther who shows, in the light of her gaze and in the sharpness of her teeth, just what she will do if the hand of evil even imagines troubling the sleep of her cub. I’ve died so many times but I am always reborn stronger brave and beautiful— all I know is to be. I am many, I extend across the world and across time inside me and I am so many one day I will make life live.
Originally published in the December 2018 issue of Words Without Borders. © Ricardo Aleixo. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2018 by Dan Hanrahan. All rights reserved.
Ricardo Aleixo was born in 1960 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Date Published: 2018-12-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/night-calunga-bairro-cabula