by Rosmon Tuazon
Sou somente o lugar
Onde se sente ou pensa.
1 Pessoa, Pessoa
Pessoa, you dispel the disquiet of strangers,
passing through, it looks like.
They wish each other an afternoon of quiet, Pessoa,
Pessoa. You pull the hat down the face
whenever you feel you will be trapped in the middle—
you were sure you will get away with it, Pessoa.
You were sure they will leave you be.
2 Persona, Pessoa
You goad them to their fake individual suicides,
a hand weighing down their hands, a manual
for jotting down their most courageous failures,
so that you can weave together the history
of your own demise, the end that did not proceed as planned
for you to be as one, again, to be you,
to be pure ambition and anonymity, Pessoa,
3 Pessoa, Persona
When the trunk of his writings was discovered
(verses, a love letter, a notebook
used to practice loops and lengths of signatures),
it was too late when they realized it was a casket
they opened. Because beneath the pile
of words, the corpses were gaping,
as if buried alive while giving their testimonies.
Not a casket really but a chest. Container.
From the pile of corpses emerged
the disturbed one, shaking off the dust, refusing to be assisted.
He left us alone who have found what we were looking for
and yet we are still excavating.
The epigraph is from a poem by Fernando Pessoa (writing under the pseudonym Ricardo Reis) called “Vivem em nós inúmeros.” As translated by Richard Zenith, the lines read “I am merely the place / Where things are thought or felt.”
Translated from Filipino by Ryan Fuentes.