Gin Blossoms and Hissing: Original Poetry from Brazil


FOREWORD: I love Brazil. Really, really love the place. A recent conversation in Portuguese with a guest here flooded my mind with warm memories. With saudades. Most of these memories were never recorded. But some were. Since I’ve been too busy lately to update this blog and some readers might be preparing for a World Cup visit, I wanted to share pieces from 365poems, an experimental poetry site I maintained while living in Brazil. Even if you dislike mediocre poetry, I’m positive you’ll enjoy the country. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled travel ranting soon.


How Not to Kick the Neighbor’s Chihuauha

Some nights
I have company
but usually I walk alone
past the bars and up the hill
to where a thick-walled church
reminds the city below
that God is a solitary word
painted yellow.

Past the church
whose wide-open door
I once entered when God
was on vacation
is a long driveway
that curves downward
through the jungle.

At the road’s end
one of five bedrooms
awaits me in the dark,
along with a reading lamp
unplugged at the foot
of a frameless mattress—
but that’s beside the point.

My day’s best thoughts
coincide with the barks
that mark my entrance
into the forested silence.

Unraveling night secrets
I’m one and everything
and barely notice
the neighbor’s Chihuahua
lunging at my heels.

Date & Location: 11/13/10 — Nightly walk home, Florianópolis


Barefoot to Moonshoes

To uncontacted tribes
in tropical lowlands
those satellites dodging stars
are young gods
searching for wives.

Date & Location: 2/7/11 – In Chapada Diamantina National Park, near Lençóis

These Americans Name Horses

Cowboy, trotting, home.
I pieced it together like bad punctuation
until he was real, not some Marlboro cut-out
flapping in the surprisingly cold sunset.

Nothing blocked the wind between horizons,
just trees stuck in the ground like toothpicks
in a sandbox or desolate Atlantic beach.

When distance was eye contact, he stopped,
I stopped. This is what civilized people do
on unpaved roads in policeless pastureland.

Then, I asked his horse’s name.

His face became distant thinking.
Naming a horse, he said, had never occurred to him.
Such was wisdom in old age: points A and B,
the complete absence of all the unnecessary.

Date & Location: 3/19/11 – Bicycling near Tainhas


monumental and stoic
I was Pelé saluting
the crowd while backpedaling
into defensive position.

The ocean swell
the stadium walls,
every jogger a fan,
every beachside studio
bought with cash.

the twelve-year-old
was Messi,
swank and sponsored
backpedaling untouchable.

Date & Location: 11/14/10 – Beach soccer, Itapema


We are Vitamin Supernovas

There are gin blossoms and hissing.
Nudes at affordable prices and cold beer.
Displays of all kinds of menagerie
to distract me if only I was there—

Tonight inspiration is far away
sputtering in stars where sound can’t be heard.

I have only incomplete ideas I could sell to radio
or transmit out of context under the assumption
that my life experiences are universal—

Stretching across the driveway
in the after-glow of her observation
that the body’s breakdown of vitamins
is as elegant as supernovas is enough.

No, it’s more than I could ever need
here and now and for long time to come.

Date & Location: 1/29/11 – Stargazing on family ranch, São Gonçalo

Want travel and biz updates from Europe/Asia/Australia? (No poetry, I promise).

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