Thursday, January 02, 2003


Canto 1

I’ve found a worthy subject for my song:
The hero of the cunning brain and tongue;
A devious child of wit, called Malasartes,
(First name Pedro), and king of all con-artists.
If honour he has none, at least he’s bold
The serpent dandified, who went and sold
The Eiffel Tower to a bunch of tourists,
And to three well-respected German jurists.
Muse, let me sing the glories of the brain
Of this one puny man whose life-long aim
Was to deceive the bulk of humankind,
Not out of spite, but out of joy of mind;
To trick and con and dribble other people
With money for a ball, and life his simple,
Enormous football field sans referee.
Proverbial Muse, oh thanks for helping me:
An epopee in Times New Roman ten
Is no mean feat. Beyond all Angel’s ken,
A task so bold I thank you with a sigh;
And here I am all grateful, and like Danae,
I feel your aid coming to me in droplets.
I never thought I could write rhyming couplets.

Of Malasartes then the earliest pics:
Come back with me to nineteen eighty six.
Sol through white curtains tans the youthful face
Unfurrowed yet, and watching Lost in Space;
His light brown eyes, and his dumb-looking smile,
Display no early signs of trick or guile;
A trickster, though, he is – for in his pocket
(Together with a melting stolen nougat)
A silver dollar shines in utter darkness,
That once belonged to his old schoolmate [Andreas.
The story of that bet I cannot tell,
Lest you cease wishing Malasartes well;
Suffice to say a dildo was involved,
And Andreas’ sister’s name was sadly soiled.
Enough! For now his father calls his name,
To come upstairs and watch with him the game;
Our hero smells the popcorn in the kitchen,
And goes for one brief moment to the garden,
There to inspect the sky - but no firecracker.
Then to the foreign clouds he shows his pecker:
“How dare you show indifference for the match!
You foreign geeks!” And up he goes to catch
The first few seconds of Brazil and France.
You know how that one went- and what [mischance;
But Malasartes doesn’t know as yet.
And what he’s bound to see he won’t forget.

(To be continued, if I feel like it. Era para ser a história em dez cantos de Pedro Malasartes, que ia se envolver com vários trambiques, inclusive com a final da Copa do Mundo de 1998. Seu inimigo iria ser um certo Johannes Haberganges, figura sinistra do futebol mundial. E, sim, o título - é porque Malasartes ia terminar gordo, muito gordo e rico... Ah, mas quem, hoje em dia, escreve épicos em dez cantos? Se vocês querem ler um bom épico em cinco cantos, que não comete a atrocidade de rimar nougat com pocket, leiam "The Rape of the Lock", de Alexander Pope.)

Alexandre Soares Silva