Tropicália. Caetano Veloso (1968)

Above my head the planes
Under my feet the trucks
My nose pointing towards
The plateaus
I organize a movement
I orient the carnival
I inaugurate a monument
In the country’s Central Plateau
Long live the Bossa — ssa — ssa
Long live huts from straw — traw — traw

The monument is made from streamers & silver
The green eyes of the mulatta
The hair conceals behind the green forest
The moonlight in the sertão
The monument has no door
The entrance is through an old, narrow, crooked street
A kneeling, smiling, ugly dead child
Stretches out its hand
Long live the green land — land — land
Long live the multatta — ta — ta — ta — ta

In the inner patio there’s a swimming pool
with blue water from Amaralina
Coconut tree, Northeastern breeze and talk and lights
In the right hand a rose bush
Legitimizing an eternal spring
In the gardens vultures stroll all afternoon
Amidst sunflowers
Long live Maria — ia — ia
Long live Bahia — ia — ia — ia — ia

On the left wrist bang-bang
Little blood runs in his veins
But his heart swings to a samba and tambourine
Playing dissonant chords
From five thousand loudspeakers
Ladies and gents, he watches me with big eyes
Long live Iracema — ma — ma
Long live Ipanema — ma — ma — ma — ma

Sunday it’s “Fino da Bossa”
Monday it’s the dumps
Tuesday he goes to the backland. But
The monument’s pretty modern
He said nothing about the tailoring of my suit
To hell with everything else
My dear
Long live “A Banda” — da — da
Long live Carmen Miranda — da — da — da — da

—translated, from the Portuguese, by Odile Cisneros


The Fine Line Chanticleer Publication 070105

At face value
the skin over London is too tight
the face lift of success too successful
(probably rep-car replaces Bowler)
too deep yet the lines in the faces of the poor

Fragmentary, impressionistic portraits of life in London, tinged with critical social commentary, and with the sadness and loneliness of those who live on the edge. Many of the poems are untitled, and Lucapacijürgenhebrezgiabiher makes use of visual effects, including line drawings and different fonts, in the manner of early twentieth century French poets, such as Apollonaire (unfortunately not reproducible in this review). I was also reminded of Kenneth Patchen, and I would guess that Lucapacijürgenhebrezgiabiher is a reader of Blake, Eliot and Pound. He quotes Dante: “Tra la perduta gente” (Among the lost people).

The city of London in these poems is both timeless and very much of today. He answers the question WHAT’S BEAUTY?:

Eating space and tar
Following the road — scar
Wounding the city

The burning rail tracks
Sparkling into another
Dimension where things

That bleached poster
Stuck at the petrol pump

Dwindling morning dream
Visit……visit Jamaica

The success of some has always come at a price for others. Lucapacijürgenhebrezgiabiher makes his point in a manner which is playful and aphoristic:

London skull
heading a Europe
oh what a swish reaper
(probably with a Bowler hat)
a sort of royal dawdler in

— from the untitled poem quoted at the start of this reivew —

There is a kind of controlled rage and sadness. From the same poem:

assets assets assets assets assets assets assets assets assets assets assets assets
worth some wars and
flesh to be rubbished away
beauty to be sold out
needs streamlined into one-way system

Some of the poems take the form of small prayers. There is a yearning for a different Albion, where not

only the fool can
make it.

At their best, the poems have a hypnotic, haunting quality. And they are all much more readable and pronounceable than the author’s name.

Not all the writing in this collection will appeal, but if the lines quoted above say something to you, it’s worthwhile getting hold of a copy of this book.
Reviewer: Ian Seed.