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three poems by Leila Miccolis, from Portuguese


Te olho

me molho


I look at you

I’m soaking


Teu lado feminino me erotiza:

são belos, sensuais e muito caros

certos instantes gostosos, em que te encaro

menos como homem e mais como menina:

quando passas teus cremes para a pele,

ou pões o avental pra cozinhar,

ou quando em mim te esfregas

até gozar os teus gozos sem fim,

ou quando tuas mãos, leves e lésbicas,

desabam como plumas sobre mim.


Your feminine side makes me erotic:

it is beautiful, sexy and very dear.

There are certain moments when I regard you

less like a man and more like a girl:

when you apply creams to your skin,

or when you put the apron on to cook,

or when you massage me

so that I enjoy your endless joys,

or when your hands, light and sapphic,

fall like feathers upon me.


Meu homem eu quero,

enquanto puder,

molhado e úmido

feito mulher.


I want my man

to be able to be

wet and damp

like a woman



I do things not because I am particularly skilled or
good at them but because they are fun. Translations are a wonderful
example. Of course I don’t know Portuguese or any other language—I
hardly have a grasp on English—but muddling through puzzles,
decoding, deciphering, finding that something totally alien is
beautiful and amazing … that’s why I wake up in the morning. Once I
attempted to translate a Pablo Neruda poem and thought I had done a
kinda/maybe/sorta good job (I checked it against other English
translations and it didn’t seem to have any horrific flaws) so I
posted it on my blog. A couple of days later someone from Uruguay
wrote to me saying, “what have you done to my beloved Pablo?”
Apparently some of the words I decided to use weren’t the correct
ones. Another time I found a Federico Garcia Lorca poem that I had
translated getting torn apart on an on-line forum because, as one
person put it, if I “had any grasp of the Spanish language at
I wouldn’t be making such obvious mistakes. Translators
seem to be a very unforgiving bunch, at times. Since then I mainly
focus on poets that I’ve stumbled across who have never been
translated into English because, as Marilyn Hacker put it, “even
a bad translation is good because it might cause someone more fluent
in that language to make a better translation.”
Life is too
short to apologize for having fun.