A Translation of Waly Salomão’s “Jet-Lagged Poem”

Waly Saloma?o wears his book Algaravias on his face in Carlos Nader’s Pan-Cinema Permanente. Screen grab by author.

My translation of Syrian-Brazilian poet Waly Saloma?o’s “Jet-Lagged Poem” is in the new issue of Asymptote, which focuses on literature from Latin America. (Special thanks to editor Aditi Machado.)

Asymptote, which is committed to the international encounter of language and literary translation, requested an audio recording of the poem being read in the original Portuguese, so one is included on the site.

Here’s an excerpt of “Jet-Lagged Poem“:

Large bird of an international route sucked
by jet turbines.

And bridge, rope, cable car, catacombs
of the wine club, sorbets, sherry, scanners,
hydrants, magasin d’images et de signes,
seven types of ambiguity,
all things
lose the commas that separate them
a wagon full of connectives explodes-implodes
the gentian violet sky reflected
in the needle of the glass skyscraper
stations Bouqinistes megabookstores
la folie du voir bistros cinemas cities
whole countries engulfed in the storm drain.
High cuisine and junk food alternate.
The kaleidoscopic carnival of the streets
where the hard metallic alloy of tongues
spills into the slangy verve of trip-ups
full of the bullshit of the motherfuckers and
mothersuckers and fuck yourself up.
Is it day? Is it morning? Is it evening? Is it night?

Sleeping? Awaking? Somnambulent?
Dayambulent or noctambulent?
Like an arrow, ripping the lap of the maternal
tongue. From the warm vagina, like a shooting
arrow.