translated by Alison Entrekin
Mars is closer to Earth precisely today 56 million kilometers a glowing red dot we’d say a star from here from this other dot where fireflies survive precisely today the hues of Autumn provide the palette for photographers and the newspaper prints the word solastalgia: homesickness without ever having left home the hues of Arctic white 56 million kilometers from the next planet to be colonized fill one’s eyes with homesickness without ever having wanted to allow home to be colonized (a verb in pursuit of tense) by the time of men but the progress of boots the cracking of the glaciers – it’s all recreational in the eyes of the observer: green eyes in the hue of the green dunes of a Trump Golf Club in Dubai or Aberdeen or even Jupiter, Florida (eighteen holes) that we cite to keep up the planetary theme solastalgia is longing for a home that has never been left behind grief over the violent bite of the time of men when everything transmutes everything yacks everything lacks everything is mute in the Arctic white noise of this dot of light what does Earth look like from Mars? the Arctic is melting and the fireflies provide the palette for philosophers Earth seen from Earth contradiction of contradictions (should’ve been poetry) let eyes roam the stars supposing that one’s feet at least are here the inhabitants of the Arctic worn down by solastalgia Earth seen from Earth Earth in sight the heart a glowing red dot the new colors of the Arctic provide the palette for the news that is read with a pained click of the tongue we’d say a funerary stele we’d say a road to where 56 million kilometers closer to Mars than to us * all that is form (the form of Mars the form of a golf ball of a marble of autumn straw of ice) is all the while becoming all that is form (the form of Jupiter of Florida the imaginary form of the Arctic Circle) is all the while ceasing to be beneath the gray wing of the day this lead denser than the newspaper my friend wants to know where the forms of beauty the forms of joy are hiding the heart a distant red dot all the while becoming all the while ceasing to be systole a fist closing diastole a ship setting sail but if it does will it be for one more conquest a violation mitral valve regurgitating the world blood flowing backwards history running backwards and a man with his boot on another man’s neck pressing as he says I can't systole diastole I can’t the forms of beauty the forms of joy I can’t breathe we’re mistaken: can Earth really be seen from here from this cracked red surface the flayed skin of Mars in the palm of our hand? or could the ship setting sail be headed for an ampler time a time of temples open to all a time free of sacrificial altars the heart a distant red dot the heart a pulsating red temple systole a fist closing all devils are alike there are deep abysses so deep that angels can’t get there or light * and yet there are fireflies little stars flickering around the Palácio do Planalto in Brasilia life is more important than architecture said the communist who designed it remember? solastalgic capital of what was meant to be but wasn’t contradiction of contradictions (should’ve been poetry) there was no diastole systole this preposterous thing that is the heart form is emptiness but looking from another angle form is content so how strange it is when the young man says art is more important than life (not that the fireflies care) * I live in the same place but everything has changed so much everything around me looks so different that I'm homesick for home even though I'm still here she suggests we close our eyes and imagine: the phone rings it’s the doctor he says the exam results aren’t good and we only have one year to live heavens! one year everything around me maybe I need to go say goodbye to a friend my dad a forest the city seen from above when the phone rings again it’s the doctor he says the reviewed exam results are worse than they thought and we only have one month to live everything around me looks so different and what’s going on in me maybe I want to go to a planetarium to look at Mars ask the neighbor to turn up the volume and buy some beers I’ll settle up later (best do it soon) the phone rings again it’s the doctor he says it’s actually worse much worse and we only have one week to live we look around and we’re alive I live in the same place but will there be time to settle up? a stroll around the neighborhood a message for the doctor calls again just one day now and time a bleed-out the heart a pulsating red temple sweep the room make some rice systole one hour diastole half an hour until it’s the last time of everything of the ship that in the end was just a raft the other shore of when everything is allowed to be depleted that I'm homesick for home even though I'm still here and there is no longer a raft home or longing or settlement the bleed-out of the red planet the organs torn out in sacrifice for ever so carnivorous gods always more partial to blood than to sap than to water than to air in the end the boot trampling the fist clinging to life the last voice of everything around me wasn’t around me everything around me was inside inside of me * 56 million kilometers what an excessive number impossible to appraise it’s easier to think fifty thousand five thousand Cape fur seals the drones count the bodies there are five thousand tiny opaque dots along the Namibian coast everything around me looks so different but if the poet thought up a Paradise where the birds sang in Greek and repeated eros eros eros what would Earth look like from there Earth from the bird’s-eye view of a drone that counts five thousand tiny opaque dots Cape fur seal fetuses strewn along the Namibian coast soon the females will give birth but in times of food scarcity they often miscarry or abandon their newborns the Aztec god demanded red human hearts still beating the Greek poet desired red human bird hearts still beating inside the body inside the abyss of the body of the enjoyment of life systole a muscle that contracts diastole a scream what does Earth look like seen from the other side of us I live in the same place but everything has changed so much everything around me looks so different and soon the females will give birth what does Earth look like from inside the light where Eros revokes the devils what does Earth look like from inside the green of a leaf grazed by a free sun at this time of the afternoon and now this one * for the silent river of time for the time it takes to say life is more important than architecture poetry art the ways to build a palace a wall or a bridge the forms of mystery of human misery the palaces and those who are outside the temples and those who are outside those who seep beneath the lights of the cities of the flight of a drone over the Namibian coast form is emptiness continent is content everything is on fire and a glacier is cracking in Earth’s sky a planet shimmers unfirm crimson for the time it takes to look at it for the silent river of the time it takes to look at it I'm homesick for home even though I'm still here what does Earth look like from inside time from Earth as if we actually belonged more to her than to Mars still faithful lovers glowing red dots we’d say stars from here Author's Note: This poem takes its inspiration from an article by Ossie Michelin in The Guardian, published on 15 October 2020, entitled “Solastalgia: Arctic inhabitants overwhelmed by new form of climate grief.” The lines “I live in the same place but / everything has changed so much everything / around me looks so different / that I'm homesick for home / even though I'm still here” have been adapted from a statement by Ashlee Cunsolo, who studies the Inuit communities, transcribed in the article: “‘People are expressing this deep pain,’ says Cunsolo, ‘saying I am still living in place, but my home has changed so much, everything around me looks so different, it feels so different that I am homesick for my home even though I am still here.’” The Palácio do Planalto on page 6 is the official workplace of the president of Brazil. The poet on page 9 is Odysseas Elytis (1911-1996). Excerpted from the book of poems, "O vivo" - Relicário Edições, Belo Horizonte (Brazil), 2021.