No xardín de palabras e fermosura: pensando en Wilson Bueno dende Montreal
Sewatahon'satat. Como pode ser, que xa non estás no teu lugar, Wilson! Que só existes agora no teu Mar, no teu Jardín. Na miña mente e nas lembranzas de moit@s. And in your texts, in the borders of languages, in the difficult and joyful foment of languages that is Brazil and you, and that connects you to my place, Montréal, also a foment of languages.
I encountered Wilson Bueno pola primeira vez in a text from his Jardín Zoolóxico, “O Agôalumen,” in a French translation sent to me by Andrés Ajens not from Brazil but from Chile. It was only ten years ago, a bit less than 10 years, and Andrés’ email of September 21, 2000 is still in my computer, with the bizarre accents of software that in those days only spoke English letters, or got confused.
Si, gústoume moito a peza de Wilson! I then read Wilson’s Mar Paraguayo in Montreal, sent to me by Andrés in a copy signed by Wilson, as the year changed from 2000 to 2001, and I was amazed and captivated. O portunhol foi unha descoberta para min, un idioma mixto nunha época onde aínda estaba escribindo O Cidadán, un poemario en inglés con frasas e palabras en francés, castelán, galego, – idiomas que afectaron e que afectan o meu inglés. I could never live in just one language.
E quería intentar de verter anacos do seu texto en “inglés,” ou non en inglés, nun equivalente invertido do noso franglais local (que emprega palabras inglesas con estructuras franceses), complicado yes yes por palabras de mohawk, de la langue kanienkeha, parlée par un groupe important d’autochtones en Québec, para traducir o guaraní… mesmo se en realidade, en Quebec, non hai interlingua que contén o kanienkeha, un idioma que nunca penetrou o inglés salvo en nomes de lugar). It was an enormous challenge to translate Wilson, un reto enorme, enorme, porque non coñezo o mohawk e só podía ter aceso a través uns dicionarios moi limitados no Internet (non recibín nin unha resposta ás miñas tentativas de atopar axuda da comunidade mohawk)…
I should write in English, for my grief is in English. An English that is not my language, that was never my language, but that is, it is the one that was taught to me, in which I was taught.
I should stop thinking in three languages at once, my three languages, porous in me.
The fact that in losing Wilson Bueno, Brazilian letters have lost a singular and critically significant voice, is beyond question. But English also loses, and my literature to the north, Canadian literature, loses when someone like Wilson Bueno is no more. His writing gave me courage, it was and is a companion writing. And I’ll miss the companionship of Wilson’s emails, his insistence that I translate, one day, more of Mar Paraguayo, his gentleness and generosity in exchanging books and words across all that divides north and south. Wilson, aínda existes! You still exist because you have to, Wilson. You still exist because you are too stubborn to go away and leave us. And yet you are gone, Wilson!!!, gone when you shouldn’t have had to go.
I’ll end with a small excerpt from Mar Paraguayo, “Aquiduana afternoon” from the Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry, where I finally was able to translate a few pages of Wilson Bueno successfully and bring them to a world that reads in English. It is his voice that surges up, southern, from beneath my northern voice, contaminating English in such a beautiful and urgent Wilsonian way. Addressing us with the fatigue of metals, the hour of disgraces, the lamp, the blood pressure, and the need to sing a new zany song, even if we never feel complete….
La fatigue des métals, l’oeuf de l’oegg du scorpion, the vigil, the tacit meat made a yoke, inheritance d’adulthood, what’s spent, les years, moitié ville, moitié vie, the scorched alley, rivière ébulliante de cinquante winteres, the dark face of exhausted blood, kidneys already failing, la pression artérial, nettle and paprika, the point, the sea, le cap, la mer, the facte and the cape of good hope, those lost in the brambles, the fact, the arc du sinistre, les pallid ones, dusk, our chambre, notre maison, all khe'kenhren'stha', the humblest lamp, our bed, the amputated sexe that still itches. And I choke it, the flaccid, le flou, the hollow of the hollowe of the middle, it’s all in half-light. And there’s worse: demain il faut que je me chante a new zany chanson, and maybe I will feel complete as are toutes the stations of the Hour of Disgraces.
erín moure / montréal