r u y    v e n t u r a

translation:    b r i a n    s t r a n g

 

How to Leave a House

 

house—earth

door—place

books—apartment

building—birth

ache—equilibrium




















house—earth

 

a) the arch chooses whomever seeks
      the house
      descends until it is very close
      to the earth

b) two sacks of coal dust the carpenter’s shop
      on the corner
      no one seems to live here
      there is plenty of time

c) god or child? I encounter
      in the stone
      above all the hand and the heat
      of whomever breathes

d) two or three tiles lightly broken
      the instant
      a wall encircling
      the garden

e) the rain transports what is left
      of the city
      the bus climbing until it reaches
      the door

f) suddenly two children cry
      it is definitely
      on the other side
      of the reeds

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door—place

 

tonight
it opens
over the road

the door swings to the north and to the south

too far
the room
where a city
inside a river
(in a vase?)
rises to the middle of the mirror
ignoring the books

dividing itself as if a street

the only worthwhile way to save space
—an acacia spreading
in

its radiance

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books—apartment

 

the books
shield the living room from
the wind
that at mid–afternoon
blows over the whole valley

the eyes close with persistence
and only the voice—at sixteen kilometers—
can wake up
everything
in the apartment

over the bed
the night air
overtakes the blinds—almost shut

an automobile
starts on
the road
after hitting the door
(there was no parking)

two or three presences
might come from the pine trees
cut recently
for another field

an airplane tries
to fly over these hours
in the direction of the valley

everything unites around the music from the garden
from the pianos
—from the left side of the veranda
somewhere between the beach
and the tiny

garden

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building—birth

 

right before
the best place to cross to the other side
of the building was not certain—
a water tank, maybe an acacia
two or three balconies
on the last mornings of december

someone reduces the foundation of the house
—I remember the garden olive tree by olive tree
the cement stairs the arm
holding on to
melancholy

I decided to save the envelope in the last dresser drawer:
I put our names among the objects whose significance absorbs us
it is difficult to determine the resonances
when at ten in the morning we abandon
a city that grows

I never really had a garden—
too close or too far
at which we could arrive,
the image grows every fifteen days
though the trips would be just
the beginning of a birth

the door opens as a line on the horizon
between two rainy nights
everything is in everything we
belong to everything

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ache—equilibrium
∗co-translated with Elisa Brasil

 
this is how one leaves a house
(the house)
the forks the cups the plates the bed
the fire—firewood in the corner with the fireplace—
the pitcher protecting the distance between the fountain
and happiness,
the pocketknife hidden for more than thirty years,
the stove in the center of the kitchen
right in front of the door window

two photographs hanging on the wall
remembered the ache and the equilibrium,
the strangeness of having saved
various gusts of wind and of mystery

this was not the place of birth

just a pause

a window
shut so long ago

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RUY VENTURA (b. 1973, Portalegre, Portugal) is a teacher near Lisbon. He has published in poetry, Architecture of Silence (Lisbon, 2000—Revelation Prize of the Association of Portuguese Writers), seven capitals of the world (Lisbon, 2003), How to Leave a House (Coimbra, 2003—Portuguese and Castilian edition), A Little More On the City (Villanueva de la Serena, Spain 2004—Portuguese and Castilian edition) and The Place, The Image (also a bilingual edition). He has translated various Spanish, French and Flemish poets into Portuguese, has written essays on contemporary Portuguese poetry, traditional poetry and toponymy and has contributed to various Portuguese, Spanish and Brazilian magazines. His blog can be visited at alicerces1.blogspot.com.


BRIAN STRANG, co-editor of 26: A Journal of Poetry and Poetics, lives in Oakland and teaches English composition at San Francisco State University and Merritt College. He is the author of Incretion (Sputyen Duyvil) and machinations (a free Duration ebook) among others. i n v i s i b i l i t y, a special edition with drawings by Basil King, is forthcoming from Spuyten Duyvil. Recent poem/paintings can be seen at his site, Sorry Nature. His poem/paintings will be opening at Canessa Park Gallery in San Francisco on June 3rd.