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New Poetry, Fiction, Essays

Featured Poet. Luiz Canha Machado

Luiz Canha Machado was born in Porto, Portugal, in 1971. He started writing poetry at the age of sixteen, drawing inspiration from his own life, the XIX Century Romanticism and the counterculture movements of the XX Century. He first wrote exclusively in his mother tongue but soon began to write in English also. Since then he alternates his poetry in both languages. Yeats, Neruda, Whitman, Ginsberg, Joyce and Kerouac are among his personal favourite poets and writers. Besides poetry and literature, his other passions are music and history.

He married his high school sweetheart and continues to write.  He has two books on Amazon, “Misplaced Poems” (2015) and “Chapters of Poetry” (2016). His poem “Utopia” (the original Portuguese version) was selected to be part of Portuguese contemporary poetry anthology “Between Sleep and Dream VII”, published in Lisbon in 2016.

You can visit Luiz’s website at www.luizcanhamachado.com

 


 

Poetry’s Not Dead

 

I’ve seen it on the underpass

In a winter’s dealer night,

Knifed by moribund moonbeams,

The spray on the fuliginous wall

Proclaiming poetry’s not dead.

I wonder if they know what that means

At the end of the inner tracks,

Where the heart synapses fade away,

At the bottom of the soul pit

Where the nameless feeling rests inert.

 

I’ve seen it on the underpass,

I’ve seen it on stone, wood and flesh;

I’ve seen it in a warrior’s glare,

I’ve seen it in a woman’s flare,

Poetry’s not dead.

I wonder if they know what that means

For those hurt by the undoing of life,

For the failed strategies of heaven,

For the runaway lips on whoring street,

For the bruised knuckles of the spirit.

 

I’ve seen it on the underpass,

I’ve seen it on the roaring sky,

Poetry’s not dead.

I wonder if they know what that means

To the moon’s desires as a whole,

To the wonders of humanity below,

To the smoke that rises unstructured,

To the shape of dreams floating above,

Feeding the common hope,

Untying the hanging rope.

 


 

Road of Words

 

On a late afternoon,

Under sick skies of bronze,

I pogo-danced

Barefoot and alone

On the road of words,

With the strength of a blacksmith

And my dark eyes burning

With the furnaces glow.

For my gods have deserted me,

Wildfires are burning horizons

In the east,

And I’m eager to reach

The endless tides of peaceful seas

In the west.

And there,

By the mouth of our baptismal river,

Have a rest from being known

For something I am not,

And daydream about you,

Far away

From that stinking swamp

Where I carried

The whispers of murder

In a machine gun,

With muddy water to my waist

And dirty magazines on my mind.

 

For my friends kissed me,

Like Judas did,

I was backstabbed

With sheer disdain.

I was hanged on the tree of love

And I was left there to die;

But I never learnt how to spell

The word goodbye.

And all I requested her,

When she was lying

On her lover’s bed,

Was to open her arms to life

And spread her legs to love,

Because she was not dead yet,

Nor she was death.

And though we longed

To be loved on the road of words,

Paved with the soliloquies

From the past seekers,

We took a detour

And we marched up the mountain

By the old forest trail,

Where we walked around

The burnt out ruins

Of the stone round houses

And search for the lost meanings

Of our forefathers’ language.

 


 

Poetics of Time

 

She left me a note in the night sky

Codified on a dance of stars,

To be read right to left

Starting from the chimney

Of the old abandoned textile mill,

Then upside down

Following the traces of the moon

Across the Milky Way gospel,

Punctuated by the fading fire

Of the tangential city lights.

 

She left a note in the night sky

Just to let me know

That seasons have no meaning

In the realm of poetry.

I’ve read it following the paths

Of faraway dead suns,

To learn that if space is the blank page

And matter is the dark ink,

Time is the entire language

With which everything was scribed.

 

She left me a note in the night sky

And I inhaled what she said,

The poetics of time running away

Like fast cars passing by,

Relativity of clocks on display.

These days I don’t care anymore

For the hours fading away,

Past, present and future

On the palm of my hand,

I crushed them all into a fistful of love.

 


 

Utopia

 

Utopia attended without a formal invitation

The assembly of your human reason.

It was announced as a beam of light

Breaking the veil of some dense cogitation

And it reflected the morning on the still water

Of the untouched well.

 

Utopia forced you to reach out your hand

Before a sudden fall victimised your brother.

And among the winds of famine and the fury of order

Showed you the world you could build,

Breaking the path full of mines,

The path that goes from the fist to the hand palm.

 

Utopia found you on a tired afternoon among ruins,

Watching the poignant emptiness with a voided look.

It introduced you to the son of the primordial father

And challenged you to love the daughter of the original mother,

Scattering on your dream the dawn of the impossible

And demanding you to rise up more than a bare man.

 


 

The Decay of Youth

 

The lights went on inside the lacquered doors,

As the starry sky rose over the waters

And summer scents swirled around the pines,

Fireflies in the hot evening summer breeze

Announced the Orchids’ demise,

Waning by the old stone wall covered with aged ivy.

It all started there! –

The decay of youth on a perfect night.

I poured myself a glass of Absinthe,

Listening to the poetry spoken in every word

Of my poetic brothers and sisters,

The joyful laughs and murmured confidences.

 

Some of them were discussing sorrow and happiness,

Some were ghost dancing by the ivory piano,

Some were talking in badly angled corners,

Some were in love next to the golden bannister,

And some of them were running from everything.

We hugged and we kissed on the nocturne blue sofa,

We recited, we loved, we drank and we fucked.

We gave each other punk haircuts,

We became gods for a moment,

We ended up servants for a lifetime.

And we praised the eternal and endless snake

Penetrating our world – mad with passion and refusal.

 

But it has always been clear to my road companion

That faking our age was not an option.

He had a serious soul condition

And he looked like a Moor in Gibraltar centuries ago,

Staring at sunsets feeling incomplete.

So he drank, he drank to deceive his own lies,

To see if there was something at the end of his sobriety.

And I always carried him home,

I always cleaned up his mess,

But I could never figure out what he meant

When he said he would meet his fate

On the day my heart betrayed all he believed in.

 

Now our highway came to an end

And we felt like a pair of worn out shoes

Left behind on some old lover’s apartment.

You never go back for something

That you wore on the road,

At least we knew that much by then.

So we posed for eternity one last time,

After exchanging so many whys and why nots,

Just to find that nothing really matters in the end,

Because we never possessed the reasons for

Why young hearts were naïve enough to believe

That a poem could change reality.

 

And in the morning brightness

I saw your ghost under the door frame,

Sent from a day yet to be born,

Conceived on a waltzing bed

On the other side of dreaming.

And your fiery smile lighted up the room

Like fireworks on some nonstop festivities,

Beckoning me home,

Whispering me across Spain,

Carried by the mesa scorching wind,

“Don’t be late, my street poet,

You know that life it’s just time fading away.”

 


 

You Have My Word

 

You have my word;

You have this word of mine,

This word forged

In the beginning of the world

By the fires of the gods.

And here you have it now;

Take this word,

Savour it on the tongue,

Feel the taste of the syllables,

Frame it to your breath

And release it from the lips,

To elucidate the significance

Of all that I meant to say

Throughout a lifetime

Of silent complicity.

 

You have my word;

You have this sacred word

Written in indecipherable dialect

Of love turned into flesh.

Here it is as it was

Before you were born.

Disregard the divine verb,

Don’t make that mistake.

React only to this word,

That is pure in its nature,

And it was spoken to you

In the instant before time,

Alone in its endless existence,

Fecund of all that I gave you,

Root of this love I have for you.

 


 

Declaration of Independency

 

I proclaim my independency

From the swirling flags

Of this world in decay.

On this present day

I’m border blind,

I can’t even read a map properly.

But I miss the poetic tribe of yesterday,

Those that with stained souls

Wrote with gallows humour

And died of thirst on the road.

 

I proclaim my independency

From churches and faiths.

I stand up before the gods

Like a pagan runaway.

I never get down on my knees

Because I love like the trees,

Proudly standing on my roots,

Aiming for the sky

With my unsoiled children,

The dancing leaves.

 

I proclaim my independency

From the rotten philosophies

Ruling over the nations

Under the burning sun

And the muddy crawls

They have enforced on their sons.

For I am not a dry horizon

And I deny the verbal and written lies

Passed from generation to generation

As the almighty true.

 

I proclaim my independency

From everything and everyone

That gives me an identity

As a man and a poet.

And among the stones,

Older than our time,

I stand in the dark

Of a moonless night

Letting go of my humanity

To become a piece of immortality.

 


 

Streets of Stone

 

I will beg on these streets of stone

For one more night in the stronghold of your shoulders,

Until the heavens catch on fire with the demise of the sun;

For I am the man who closed down the book of Revelation

When the dawn watered down the promise left behind.

 

For whom but she would I challenge my loneliness?

She held in her tiny hands my rootless soul,

Centuries of wandering renegade by a single gesture;

I will stand on these streets of stone

Until the heavens light up with the stars in tune.

 

And who are we at the end of the years, dear?

How many gods did we conjure for this love?

In the meadow, lying among your forget-me-nots,

I left myself be under the languish of the suns

As the night carved the word infinite in me.

 

I will be the undying man on these streets of stone

Until the heavens are ploughed with light.

Here are my flesh and my only thought,

The ultimate custom that consecrated me;

Give them a home in you, love of my time.

 


 

Poetic Nomads

 

I was born out of static;

She was born out of tune.

We felt in love under a lyrical moon

Down on the docks packed with winos pissing in the dirty river.

She gave me an eyelash for good luck

And together we took the windy road to level the cerulean skies.

We picked up a fight with a prose craftsman

On the streets of Salamanca

When we were fairly young.

He had the wisdom of a thousand philosophers,

We were just drunk.

We knifed him with a sharp verse

And shattered to pieces all his fancy sentences.

That’s when we first heard the ancient bards singing.

Later we were initiated into the Holy Church of Carnal Love

By the art of an infinite kiss on an Iberian plateau.

Then we were blessed by the light tamer.

He intercepted a single beam,

Made it dance before our eyes,

Taught us the ways of immortality.

 

We became poetic nomads,

We roamed the lands barefoot

From the coasts of the west to the steppes of the east.

We made love in Florence,

Put to shame the Renaissance.

Then we had dreams of steam,

An ethereal bloodstream of love’s eternal theme.

We slept by the side of the tracks

That stretched from the past to the future.

Halfway in our journey we felt like Omsk,

A Cossack song lost in translation.

But we were aiming for a Vladivostok death,

To stare at an endless ocean on the other side of life

And feel the peaceful waves moving inside us.

Because we were added up moments of being

And we mastered the talent of love

The day we spat out the hate we were forced to devour.

Much later we mended the broken strings of mankind

With duct tape made of beauty words.

Yes, we were happy and we never apologised for that.

 

 


 

 

 

 

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