"Campos Records a Death" is taken from George Monteiro’s 350-page book The Pessoa Chronicles: Poems, 1980-2016. -Published in April 2016 by Bricktop Hill Books
Hanging still from the festering
vine, the playboy shuts down
his high-wire act for his friend
back in Lisbon, for the few of
Orpheu, eager to bark their
applause, ever anxious to bite.
It’s no longer seemly to run in
place, with drafts from Africa a
thing of the past. He has plans;
no, a plan. Once, twice, three
times he hesitates, and tables.
When a fourth chance presents
itself, propitious to the moment
down to the minute, he strikes,
and with the trick accomplished,
fulfills his fate: discoloring—
His hat sits on a chair. Then—
poof—it vanishes, along with
a dead man’s trunk, hotel-held
for room-rent, due and unpaid.
Crazy for the singular rose,
the tart lives on, merely in regret
for her out-of-pocket luxuries.
May 19, 1990
George Monteiro, Professor Emeritus of English and of Portuguese Studies at Brown University, has interests in the areas of English-language and Portuguese-language literature and culture. He is the author of The Coffee Exchange and Double Weaver’s Knot, books of poetry. Among his other publications are critical studies of Henry James, Stephen Crane, Ernest Hemingway, Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, Luis de Camões, and Fernando Pessoa, as well as translations of the poetry of Jorge de Sena, Miguel Torga, Pedro da Silveira, and Fernando Pessoa, and the prose of José Rodrigues Miguéis and José Saramago. He and his wife make their home in Connecticut.