A Legacy of Wallace Stevens

Translated from the Portuguese by Maryam Monalisa Gharavi


Just like someone who
—agnostic, skeptical, sarcastic unbeliever—
extends strings of garlic throughout the house,
to ward off bad luck.

Just like someone who plurifies
the ferocity of the mind,
watches over the aura, aurora of each word,
penetrates with rhythm, sexualizes speech,
colors with finesse, hues of tissue paper,
the thought balloon
making it even more chiaroscuro, spermatic;

and with wax made of ground glass, cobbler’s glue,
sharpens, brazes the magic lasso
that wags luck around, compels the future
and furnishes a corner, a varied spin for each act.

A rectangle hill /
a cut diamond blue-turquoise sky /
the gestural-masturbatory theater of the hands / lines and lines and lines /

and the mobile breaks clouds,
rips new designs across the celestial map.

To fulfill an ancestral recipe,
of pristine purity:

to drench the entire length of the poem,
from beginning to end,
metaphors, metaphors, metaphors.

Metaphors by the handful:

the hoi polloi
to be god among gods.


Cover of TLR's "Fight" issueWaly Salomão (1943-2003) was a Syrian-Brazilian poet. His book Algaravias: Câmara de Ecos won the 1995 Prêmio Jabuti, Brazil’s highest literary prize.

Maryam Monalisa Gharavi is an artist, poet, and theorist. Her translation of Salomão’s Algaravias: Echo Chamber appears from Ugly Duckling Presse in 2016.

“A Legacy of Wallace Stevens” originally appeared in FIGHT (TLR, Spring 2016).