My Poetry Corner September 2017 features the poem “Sadness has no end” (Tristeza não tem fim) by Brazilian poet and educator Elisangela Martins, who self-identifies as Eli Macuxi or Elimacuxi. She teaches history and art criticism at the Federal University of Roraima located in Boa Vista, capital of the state.
Fascinated by verse since childhood, Elimacuxi began writing poetry in fifth grade. At fifteen, she dreamed of having her work read and studied by others. “But the desire was totally blunted by the pessimistic awareness of reality,” confides the poet on her blog. “I was a skinny teenager, without luck of getting a job, studying at a night school on the periphery, ‘daughter of a drunkie,’ with lots of younger siblings. To be a writer? Poet? It was laughable.”
While she earned her Bachelor’s degree and then Masters in History, her love for poetry never waned. In 2013, she published her first poetry collection, Love For Those Who Hate (Amor Para Quem Odeia), which portrays love in its various forms of human experience.
Inspiration for the title poem came from a classroom discussion about same-sex love. “Because I don’t understand or accept the discourse of hatred against love,” she notes at the end of the poem.
and neither demons nor churches
nor envy that beats
in the malignant head
of those who judge without love
will make us stop!
Her poem, “Abomination,” questions our “perfect world” in which violence, intolerance, exploitation, hatred, and misunderstanding rule the day against different ways of living that many still perceive as an abomination.
We are skillful in survival
blacks, poor people, whores
transvestites, gays, daredevils
we move about dangerously free
becoming a risk
for you who don’t change,
who have no doubt,
for you who willingly live the script
and remain half giddy
to see how we reaffirm
in the crooked lines of marginalization
our existence and pride
our resistance against your humiliation.
In her poem, “Law of Life,” Elimacuxi speaks of hate that drips and spreads within our failed lives. It dirties the floor where [we] tread and blocks the way. Like a faulty razor blade, this hate causes pain to all involved. She concludes:
A wise friend taught me:
life has no mercy
and if it’s just pain that you sow
only pain will be harvested.
In the featured poem, “Sadness has no end,” Elimacuxi laments her powerlessness to shelter children at home and worldwide who suffer the consequences of our violence and wars.
I wish I had the courage
and even more power
to shelter children devastated
and by fathers and mothers disappeared
in police barricades.
I wish I had a word of comfort
but education, love, care, courage,
hope, faith, tenderness, time
genuine interest, kindness, compassion
are just words
when the whole world all around says no
and sinks into darkness
in a miserable chaos.
To read the complete featured poem and learn more about the work of Elimacuxi, go to my Poetry Corner September 2017.