So my phone was stolen during Carnival down by Orient Street,
As I looked for a poem in the faces painted yellow and white.
In the distance I stared at the way of all flesh going this way and that,
Looking for a poem in a place where thought does not belong,
A place where someone looked through pockets for a phone.
I tried to forget it, tried to feel lighter, like my pocket, and counted
To ten and beyond the people I was glad to lose with my phone.
This was brief relief, I still felt like a gringo on Copacabana beach
Spotted from a distance, stalked like a prey, a poem, a victim,
Looking mesmerized at the play of hill and sea, free verse,
Written long before the imposition of meter by architects
Who left the word on the street outside their Parisian plans,
Sending it uphill, free verse with blood on the throat, the favela,
The Brazilian blues, tonight I samba, where is my love?
I tried to forget about my phone, listening to the drums,
Of the Carmelitas carnival bloc, but it was sober humdrum.
I tried to forget about my poem, approaching the blonde
Who thought I was English, while I thought she was a nun,
From the movie with the song John Coltrane profited from.
Alas, I was not English, but I traded a phone for a poem.
JORGE JAMESON is a writer living in Sao Paulo, Brazil, near where he was born. After living in the US, Portugal and Angola, he now translates patents and contracts for a living. His art output comprises rock 'n roll songs with Brazilian musical influences, poetry, and a novel.