Selected Poems by Antonio Porta

LOOK FOR ANTONIO PORTA'S METROPOLIS Translated by Pasquale Verdicchio Soon to be published by Sun and Moon Press

Self-consciuosness of a servant

1. (To produce) There: I'm already dead in other words I no longer produce I'm on this side of the window looking at what happens outside not that this condition is to my liking every rapport erased like when I produced and so there is no difference I invite you to find the error since life is not the same as death 2. (Body) inexorable is a light wind as well let's try to count these seasons and let's begin with shivers of fear life lost in the product so as to uphold life knowing the marvelous is not given awaiting that certainty is lost in the air a body to move since behind and beneath there is a body already dead of servant 3. (Atrophy) The pigeon clutching the vine beats its beak against the wall of ahouse with shuttered windows. The space of vital movements presses at the walls from the rear rooms. It wants to solicit with pecks and the sight the smell and touch used inside exude from the pores of the ancient plaster. Full of men and women hidden in the space that work precludes the pigeon has discovered living bodies attached now out here sniffing at the atrophied organs of the servants they are under the illusion that they are procreating! and they are still hungry for fruit! 4. (Death as Life) so then I go out and the other moves its head I move my head and the other raises his arms and I raise my arms he sits and I sit like this on and on and the other like others and all together then we stand and sit the arms the hands the eyes moves his lips and we move them too still living a servant like a dead man lives the boss since bosses recognize themselves from death and servants in life from this life another still is born the bosses distribute nothing and blood stains since I come from that death therefore I'm a servant so as to live then conscious of this you will see how death the bosses will erase themselves: the body seems to go on while the soul is dead! 5. (Zelda) if they attempt to save me the bars fixed to the windows when the fire is already too developed there is no way to leave leaving the wooden ladder they catch fire with the firemen straight down I'll be recognized from a slipper and let that slipper be preserved in every home barred shut since no-one comes to save themselves and will burn with you like the fire like slipper-woman like unhappy lover I run all my life as if they were two or three lives this means that I produce double and like everyone I surround myself with bars I lean down only to kiss my cat what else if not allow you to adore my slipper 6. (The invention of the sail) the invention of the sail observations about the wind the wind can push therefore the canvas over a surface smooth and without lumps water wood and canvas everyone runs on the water to see the canvas man disappear everyone runs on the waters serve the master of the wind and ships they are having fun keeping ready at the seashore is found the happiness of pups of masters of servants the scream the sails burnt 7. (Hymn to the Night) how much then you/I thunder rise from the voices everything not servant eyes and mouth in the forest of eyes free to be resucked faint at the memory of life sails from a home and inside looking at the open windows surrounded by benevolent insects tree foliage raised uncovers the breast of where you ran away upright prone eat shining so nothing? burial and exit from the earth around a ball teeth in the air at the borders in and out for a breath without doors full because suspended my oh invasion of space whistles screams of revolt 8. (Wood) dog among dogs chasers and chased at the edge of a very deep wood the nets already set of a boss that plays fruits and needles and soft moss and what freedom in the race field wood forest and stain the man that enters becomes unreacheable face and hands protected from the lights in mid-air leaves borders of the earth 9. (Visit to the Necropolis in Norchia) man/death man/earth life/death man/tomb tomb/tree dust/tomb rock/tomb horse/tomb man/life swords/life defences/life struggles/life water/life rock/man man/triangle man/digs man/leaf beats/man tomb/bird man/prey prey/death prey/life living/man man/death man/horse man/bird outside/inside you/me the other/me everything/me me/everything eye/tomb sound/tomb tongue/tomb rain/tomb tongue/rain tongue/sees growl/life circle/death love/death life/love dust/bird flies/death presses/earth slither/life burn/death sweat/life call/tomb tomb/life roof/death hole/death hole/flies tight/tomb have/life hole/emptiness tomb/without (august 1971 - january 1972)


Movements 1. he moves in the season it's allowed every place has rules dictated by climate in the unforgiving season he moves to survive or live in winter he will work inside knowing the customs of many places food will be given him in exchange 2. first riches are hands and intelligence the second richness brings the other close can return to similar places transhumant mutating itinerary repeat the rotation of the earth returns toward the end in a place established at the beginning 3. will have sons by one or more women takes the necessary time to instruct them what the woman knows or the women provide until the father returns to tell stories if the sons don't follow the father they will speak without roles 4. leaves behind him a preyed upon land surrounded by boneless men saying the riches elsewhere without lieing 5. when standing still in salute grow sink roots from the feet rip them away without pain at departure 6. the city is called Image it has no limits nor centers can reflect itself place where to meet is not therefore a city but a point of protection arcades or tents vegetable and animal place place of waters and cultivations men meet there or leave as they wish manifest thought language that should be taken literally system of planes and curves to move up and down behind women behind children and animals propriety of land does not exist 7. they move away from the plain occupied by Industry men without having themselves counted is not a leader abandoned territories mountainous habitable they learn to do without of that the Rich one may she disappear insecticide hole of the earth Chemical Cathedral


1. in the place of rotating high-plains simple butterflies raise brief pastures a lake as the foundation of motion everything is produced within those present this is what I have to tell you, dear ones 2. nothing more than a dark October night without yeast it can't be perforated no eyes and not even a memory passage object or image wall before speaking to ourselves we must get well 3. with a long pole pencil from far away I could I'm sure draw from a distance above multiplied many well-known faces change in many ways each of those faces while I press closer to walls and partitions everything has vanished and another day I discover them again from a distance I feel them fly off and return 4. along the walls drools of wind drag butterflies above the city that crush it these men in a dry mist luminous umbrellas open it's a sign they wish to speak, dear ones in the vanishing city 5. feet sink in the soft earth feet forget themselves in the soft earth forgetful he moves away on wooden crutches his legs give way at the edge of the brush here the ground flourishes all like a carpet there's a head resting on the windowsill a tongue sticks out in thirst exhausted by deception land of Spring remember 6. islands floating heavy with foliage slow islands navigate in the air the motion blows through the foliage soft wind men and women stretched out on the rocks watching suspended islands of celestial foliage floating men and women look up neither gifts nor fruit fall it is a vision for everyone 7. for a season of lethargy seasons beneath the earth under blankets of leaves a multicoloured body I dream a celestial sleep hanging bulbs all of you ready to receive me since everything must be decided as soon as one awakes [1972]


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