from Ordinary Tales of Melancholy

Luciany Aparecida

Slay Sea

This white is not seafoam.
I write so that it no longer exists.
I write, here.

I slap on white whatever I want.
I think of the voice that invented me and in all that
white has made suffer.
How ordinary is paper.

I’m embarassed by white.
I leak the voice of sadness with no solar protection.

Nalvinha’s Belt

Belt was passing by to pick up my mom.
“What a beautiful belt.”
“What a kind belt.”
“What color belt?”
Belt was going anyway.

Beautiful belt.
Belt looked at me in the eye.
The stomach laughing at belt.
Me Nalvinha’s belt.

I loved belt.
Belt loved me.

The hedge was growing.
I walked.
I fed lost time along the way.
“Eat up time, tell me a story.” Time
kept eating, that was all. Large road, steep slope.
A woman’s ass, one two, one two, many
pass by here, one two, one two.

“Not watermelon!” One two, one two, road
there it goes. Belt road there it goes. Cry on her. Cry
ten days and seven nights. Belt missing. Man
calms down on her. Walking to and fro on the road
that separates time from her. A highway won’t
feed the time of one two.

Market Day

         I came back home. It was Saturday. I clapped my hands. I banged three times on the gate. And proceeded with my story.
         “Sandro! Do you not hear me anymore?” I yelled.
         “The sun is hot, Sandro!” I said with agony.
         “The market was full of people! And you leave me waiting like this?!” I accused.
         “Again, Sandro?! What do you want?! To break down the door of your room?!” I gave my sentence.
         “Come on already, little boy, bring the groceries over here.” I interact with the only one around.
         “Take your money, go away!” I pay the spectator.

          I close the gate. And return to my story.
          “Sandro,” I said very close so that he wouldn’t long for the ugly outline of his name, “fresh meat or salted?”
          “Vegetable stew with meat on the bone so that we can smell that cabbage soaked in meat, hm?” I said, salivating.
          “Oh Sandro, you look so handsome like that,” I admired.
          “You’ve never been so handsome,” I praised him.
          “If it were up to me, I wouldn’t even wash you. I’d do it like this.” I imagined the task.
           “The red gave your skin more life.” My artful observation.
           “Son! Help me, let’s go, to the tub,” I cried out.
           “Oh my son, how your leg is beautiful!” I’m all admiration.
           “Look how beautiful!” I show.
           “It’s beautiful, but it’s going to give me work,” I complain.

            I did everything by myself—Sandro never helped me. I cleaned, skinned, separated the pieces, set aside the vegetables, appreciated the head of raw cabbage, anticipating the smell and the taste of its fine and wrinkled texture.
            Market day is the best day to prepare fresh meat on the bone. Wake up early. Make sure that the animal has rested. Go to the market, walk in the market, greet your acquaintances, everyone has to see, complain about the boy, everyone has to hear, pick the shiniest vegetables. Buy slowly, pick carefully, take your time at the watermelon stall, complain that you wanted a whole one, but you could never carry one alone. Call a little boy other than the usual one to carry your groceries home. Call him at the door of your home, and do the monologue inside.
            Dispatch the main witness.
            Serve for Sunday lunch a vegetable stew with the meat bone that was cured on Saturday. Let his mother—that indigestible image of every Sunday lunch—suck the bones at the table. Lament once again about her son. Appreciate the cabbage on the plate, nourish yourself with that strand of meat that adheres to the wrinkled, pee-yellow skin of the cabbage cooked with the meat bone cured on Saturday, say goodbye to his mother’s undesires.
            Breathe relieved.
            Accommodate yourself alone on the couch. Hug each one of the loose pages of recycled paper of the new limited edition of poems by Quintana and feel satisfied.

Ana’s Dance


       Ana didn’t know, of never, of having done, to dance.
It was then there, invited, to.
       “Don’t dance, Ana.”
       Ana wanted to dance, fixed up her dress,
fixed up her hair, fixed up her face.


       Lights out, I alone in the living room, in the glass,
your cold liquid, the music, a dance of mine,
I move my feet.
       Sweet, spotless, smooth feet, smoothed by two
hands dirty from cleaning. These hands clean the feet of
cows, nelore cows, dutch ones, white spots
mark the cleanliness of cow breeds.
       I am not this white cow, I am not the
hands dirty from the filth of bred cows.
       I am that other one with no definition, I imitate in
the living room, some dance that’s worth nothing.
       “Is swimming still a dream, Maria?”
       No longer think of anything, only dance. Drink
the cold liquid. Go up the stairs that appear in the living room
showing you the way, go, go without needing to
know the definitions of colors or the name of pure
bred cows.


       “Dance, Ana! It’s your turn to dance, god doesn’t
rule you anymore, wait no more, more of a
       “Go, cow with no breed, drink this liquid and fly.”

translated from the Portuguese by Elisa Wouk Almino