Yes, you say,

I am here.

Why are you there?


Are you afar

For unloving me?

Are you adrift

After I ‘ve washed away?

Are you mute

As you’ve ever been?

Are you sore?

 I do not care.

You say,

I am here.


I have crashed, dear,

Into many reefs.

As winds abrade you, 

statue of no grief,

I slash my strings

And voiceless

I crawl away from fear.

Amid stones and salt

I will survive

Here and there.


Photos by Mausilinda




He is the genius
whose first green
has been a rainbow
in a wet bough.

He has released a shy typist
to break barriers
and fight dragons behind minute keys.

I cast to trash
templates of time wasted.
I open up drawers
and share chains

of words
with sisters and brothers
of worlds
never ready before.

My fingers tickle soft keys
in messages of sweet breeze
to hush-hush crowds
atop the clouds.

He is the guy.
He has winged my flight.
On the mirror of a screen
I see my face gleam
As he and I rise upstream.


Photo by Mausilinda

This poem was written as a tribute to Steve Jobs who, with the first MacIntosh made texting a piece of pie for me and many others.

A poem I love

This morning, I came across one of my father’ s old reading books, and there, among other poems, was A Carolina, Machado de Assis’ most well-known sonnet. He wrote it in 1906, two years after his wife for more than thirty years passed away. He seemed unable to find happiness without her and, two years after writing this poem, in 1908, he died. I love his novels. However, his short stories are superb for their plots, language, and for portraying everyday life in diverse social contexts, of the town of Rio de Janeiro in the late 1890’s and early 1900’s.

Why do I love A Carolina? My answer is simple: Love.  It is the representation of the everlasting devotion of a spouse–I do not see him as a widower since she has continued close to him in thoughts and the daily visits to her grave. Machado de Assis tells the world he still loves Carolina. He proclaims his love in a sonnet with its fixed rules and this choice makes his proclamation a lesson of love made publicly and of his intense mastery of language.

The translation I present here has the sole aim of opening a tiny bit the door to Machado de Assis (1839-1908) to those that have never had a chance to get a peek at his writing.




My darling, at the foot of your deathbed

On which you repose from your long life,

I come and always will, hapless dear of mine,

To yield you the companion’s heart.


It throbs with that sincere sentiment

That despite all human strife,

Has perked up our existence

And housed in a corner the whole world.


I bring you flowers, remains I have plucked

From the soil that has seen us track together

And dead now it leaves us and apart.


Today, if l bear in my bruised eyes

Life thoughts I have once dreamed,

These are already gone and terminated.


A Carolina

(Original version in Portuguese)


Querida, ao pé do leito derradeiro

Em que descansas dessa longa vida,

Aqui venho e virei, pobre querida,

Trazer-te o coração do companheiro.


Pulsa-lhe aquele afeto verdadeiro

Que, a despeito de toda a humana lida,

Fez a nossa existência apetecida

E num recanto pôs um mundo inteiro.


Trago-te flores,—restos arrancados

Da terra que nos viu passar unidos

E ora mortos nos deixa e separados.


Que eu, se tenho nos olhos malferidos

Pensamentos de vida formulados,

São pensamentos idos e vividos.

Photo by Mausilinda


A dragon for homework



The setting here involves a large apartment in a vertical condo facing a calm ocean bay in Flowertown.

Birgit, nine years old, read a story in school about a family of dragons and, as a home assignment, she had to write an imaginary dialogue with the youngest and friendliest dragon of the family. At least, according to the story and its radiant illustrations, he was adorable. She wrote about how much she would like meeting him—she thought offensive to use the pronoun it for that sunny character. She started her composition by asking the creature what would make him very happy. His likely answer—placing herself in the dragon’ s place—was that eating a large pizza with rich chocolate borders after frolicking in a swimming pool filled to the brim balls with the colors of the rainbow would make him the happiest of all living dragons. Then, as she wanted to finish the school task, she closed her dialogue with an invitation to the dragon to visit her home.

The girl went to sleep. Her sister, Eill, was already asleep in the twin bed by the window.

At the break of dawn, Birgit figured that Bella, the family puppy elkhound, might not have water. So, she went to the balcony to check. Bella had plenty to drink and to eat.

She extended her eyes to the bay in front, bathed by moonlight. Then something panicked her. She envisaged a green rock at the top of the small cement wall that set the limit between shoreline and sidewalk, which was free of the usual joggers and walkers.

The moving green rock that started crossing the highway bewitched the girl. There were no trucks or cars: the traffic light must have been red, she thought.

As the greenish boulder moved closer to view, the girl realized it was not a rock! It could be a dragon. And it seemed to be coming towards her apartment building! She felt a relief for she lived on the 10th floor.

Her sister Eill came to the balcony to know what was happening: she had heard Birgit’s sighs and crying. Birgit told her tolook carefully at the moving rock. Eill then understood her sister’s tears, sighs, and fear because the unhurried stone was that dragon Brigit had invited to their home in the school assignment. It could not be for real! Homework was nothing but something one had to do with a school obligation and getting a grade.

Birgit was puzzled because it was—her own words—a stupid dialogue she had written for a dummy character of a silly story. Nobody had read it yet. Her homeroom teacher would get it the next day. How come such made up conversation had reached the small dragon’s ears?

The girl did not know what to do. Eill teased her sister with a weighty statement, “Once you have invited him, the creature is your sole responsibility“. She had to keep her word. The two girls took the elevator and went down to meet the dragon.

However, they stopped at the lobby. The noise from the four-lane-avenue became too intense for such an early hour. Mr. Wilson, the doorperson, told them not to go outside for there had been a hit-and-run accident with a victim. Birgit fainted. Eill asked him for details. His depiction was ghastly: the ambulance, which by pure luck was near, started collecting the victim’s pieces but stopped it all at once. The paramedics decided to call Flowertown’s Animal Protection Department to determine what to do with the remains of the trampled-over creature. The FAPD was at the scene of the crime—Mr. Wilson’s words—to decide. Birgit had recovered though she could not stop crying. He promised the girls he would go outside to bring them fresh news, not before asking them to call their parents. It was only six-fifteen. The sisters, though, did not want them there.

Less than ten minutes went by. All of a sudden, Mr. Wilson enters the lobby as if he had to run for his life. Mrs. Sombor, the gardener, came with a pitcher filled with water: half of it to wake Birgit from her blackout; the other halfto sprinkle Mr. Wilson’s face to prevent his collapse.

When both had gone back to their feet, Mr. Wilson eventually spoke, “Flowertown will make the CNN today! You cannot, not even in your wildest dreams, imagine the story behind the bits and pieces of that victim. I will tell you! It was not a person or a dog. It was something like a big fat lizard, though almost tailless. The guy from FAPD would send its remains to the United States to check on its possible species. The man believed it either had come from outer space or it constituted a specimen that had survived extinction and deserved serious investigation. He said it might be a member of the dinosaur family! God bless our souls! Who knows? The changes of weather in our world might bring strange things to our lives. Imagine, next a fire-breathing dragon is inhabiting our beach! The end is near, I tell you…”

Birgit, very cautiously, dared to ask, “ By any means, is there a possibility of the trampled over creature be a baby dragon ?”

Mr. Wilson sat on a padded chair. He scratched his bushy eyebrows and then his large ears. He looked through the crystal ornaments hanging from the chandelier and was about to say something. The girls waited for an answer. Mrs. Sombor stared at the man on the chair. She took her cell phone and hit some keys. In a hurry, she walked the girls to the elevator and told them to stay inside their apartment for a long while

Birgit and Eill entered the living room. Not a sound there. Not even Bella was around. Their parents and the puppy were still asleep. Eill checked the time on her phone: it was six-ten.


Illustration by Mausilinda

Feridas cicatrizam, mesmo?


A história de Justina acontece no contexto dos anos 1950. As pessoas usavam o serviço de Correio, com funcionários a distribuir, nos devidos endereços, qualquer tipo de comunicação escrita.  E as pessoas trocavam suas muitíssimas cartas (de amor, amizade ou negócios), redigidas à mão ou em máquinas de escrever. Havia os telegramas para assuntos urgentes. Muitas casas possuíam telefones fixos destinados, basicamente, a horas de necessidade de contato rápido. Já se viajava de avião, mas, quem tivesse medo de voar, podia escolher as confortáveis cabines dos trens-leito ou de navios.



Justina perdoara as traições do marido. Chorara demais a cada nova suspeita de mais uma aprontação do cônjuge. Sempre descobrira o essencial através de indícios que homens ignoravam: fotos caídas dentro de botas, roupas sumidas, perfume desconhecido, marcas sutis de batom , contas do telefone fixo, caixa de correio com cartões de hotéis a agradecer a preferência do Sr e Sra. Postreso. Lugares que Justina desconhecia, contudo, calava-se. Relevara por fora:  depositou no cofre da memória cada peça que se enquadrava nos quebra-cabeças das repetidas enrabichações de seu marido.

Sr. Postreso, décadas após esses arroubos de homem que se via irresistível, mostrava-se marido fiel e dedicado. Muitas vezes, tentava entender raivas repentinas da mulher. Especialmente, quando mencionava as viagens a negócios dos “ bons tempos”. Justina odiava tais comentários e silenciava, carrancuda. Tornara-se fria. Jamais iniciava qualquer aproximação mais chegada ao marido. E ele derretia-se, num crescendo, por ela.

Num abril, dia do aniversário de casamento, Sr. Postreso voltou de sua empresa mais cedo, abraçou a mulher com força, beijou-lhe a boca insensível e falou:

“Justina, meu amor, adivinha o que tenho aqui? Adivinha só? Duas passagens para Buenos Aires, com hotel Alvear e tudo a que tens direito! Assim, podemos reviver aqueles dias inesquecíveis…Lembras, amor?”

Justina livrou-se dos braços de polvo do marido. Soluços sacudiam-lhe o corpo. Hotel Alvear e dias encantados?  Quando?

Marido jurava que vivia, apenas com ela, plena felicidade. Justina trancou-se no quarto e sapateou sobre si mesma. Lavou o rosto. Passou um blush suave nas faces e acentuou, com rímel, seus cílios claros. Retirou os valores do cofre e jogou-os em sua bolsa. Passou por Postreso e arrancou-lhe das mãos as passagens com destino a sua liberdade tardia. Nem deu tempo de o homem falar qualquer coisa. Do sofá, Postreso ouviu o carro arrancar e tomar a estrada.

Agora, sim, pensava Justina, suas feridas iniciavam processo de cicatrização. Ligou o rádio do carro e,  em volume máximo, um tango de Piazzola inflava o ambiente. Sabia que poderia conviver com as marcas das feridas. Lamentava ter fingido ser quem não era por mais de vinte anos. Por que escondera dele os machucados infectados que causava com suas escapadas? Libertava-se! E o tango era a música que a transportava ao futuro. Depois era, isso mesmo, depois: importava o agora. Depois é depois, pronto.

Iria conhecer aquele hotel …


Foto by Mausilinda.

Vozes e Assobios

Chuva lá fora.

Calor , agora.



Chuva lá fora.

Calor dentro, agora.

Atrás do portão,

Lá no fundo da casa,

Uma sopa,

E Vovó, Vovô

E Inda

E minha irmã ao redor da mesa,

na cozinha.

Fogão à lenha nos alenta

E pinta de vapor as vidraças.


Paro pertinho da pia.

E  sonho vibra

Pela pele.

Sinto  falta da mesa

–Hoje tão vazia das vozes–

Da sopa gostosa

Com temperos do quintal

E daquela ária do Guarani

Num assobio.


Nos pingos da chuva.



Sopa e assobios

Persistem, porém.

Estão ali,

Atrás daquele portão:

Imortais na memória

Dos companheiros

De sopa, temperos e assobios.


Photo by Mausilinda.