Poem for Fernando Pessoa

On the question of sanity of Fernando Pessoa

How is it possible that no one calls you mad?
Pulling the wool over our eyes
creating persona after persona
like poems in an anthology

Look, I’ll show you Fernando:
Here you are. And here. And here.
Do these heteronyms give you permission
for the daily suicides you perform?

And Bernardo Soares, the one you call semi-heteronym,
the one closer to you than the others,
how close, Fernando, how close?

Do you wake mornings and not know where you are?
You praise dreaming and speak false silences,
you shrink your distinctiveness into nonbeing.

And I? I am so like you that it hurts. Alive and not living.

Your biographer never describes your hand
as part of an arm detached from a shoulder.
You shrug brilliantly, shake off the dust of time and place.

Place. Does your longing for Lisbon
mark you, create your pathology, your buried longings?
Your childhood passed in an orphanage of place
And when you could, you returned too late.

Too many parts of you to hold together.
Scattered parts, like tiny dried blossoms
or petals a flower girl drops one after one.

Certainly a poet, a child, and many men you are,
but was there no woman inside you?
The say you lived and died a virgin, afraid
of contact. Was life so treacherous you could only hide
behind shattered glass?

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