Cleaving Pessoa

The Imagination
—for Richard Zenith

“I used to enjoy all of this,
but only now do I realize
how much I enjoyed it”
—Fernando Pessoa,
#144, The Book of Disquiet

Pessoa laid—the paper
Down on—the restaurant table
Thinking about—the American
The millionaire—who had it all
Money, industry—fame, fortune
Henry Ford—the Detroit genius
A celebrity—known everywhere
His dream—his personal magnetism
Later engendering—spawning
Autobahns—Eisenhower Interstates
Who would have—guessed his
Detroit dream—would have
Grown into—such dimensions…
Only to fail—getting bailed out
By Congress—in the future?

I used to—enjoy reading
More than I do now—I suppose
For some reason—or another
Edgar Allan Poe—H. P. Lovecraft
I used to—lose myself completely
When I was young—impressionable
On Friday nights—after school
Whole weekends—mine to read
The best way to read—after all
Is to feel—to feel everything
In every way—to feel everything
Excessively—because all things are
Actually—hysterically excessive
And all reality—fiction or fact
An excess—a subversive violence
An extraordinarily—transgressive
Vivid hallucination—a shameless lie

A fake—“True Confession”
An ersatz—“True Detective Story”
A playful—“Pulp Fiction” movie
An “Autopsychography”—a facsimile
A palimpsest factless—autobiography
How we love—to delude ourselves
To run away—from who we are
Writers are such—hopeless cowards
Poets are even worse—ask Pessoa
Since writers—are liars by nature
And readers—their willing dupes
It’s easy to be— Nietzsche-like

This Will to Art—to lie, to flee
This flight—from “myselves”
How necessary—artistic lying is
Especially—when you’re Adolescent
Between two worlds—spontaneously
Promoting understanding—somehow
Trying but—never accomplishing it
The teenage—Will to Power
The Übermensch boy—never to be
Struggling hopelessly—heteronymically
With who I was —and would be
Incommunicable—never to accomplish
Myself—and all the competing others
Other than through—artistic lying

Reading—writing like Bernardo Soares
Or like Álvaro de Campos—Ricardo Reis
Consciously falsifying—who I was
By making others—feel what I felt
Thus freeing them—from themselves
By offering them—a gloss my personality
Pessoa recognized this—cultivated it
Art’s power to channel—a writer’s personality
And perhaps dominate—other people
Like Henry Ford did—Technology as Art
Sleek Mustangs—swanky Thunderbirds
See the retro T-Bird—in the window!!!

There’s more—than one way
To capture—the Imagination
Ford Pessoa—Lovecraft Poe
Poetry—can be stylish too

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