How To Be Perfect

ron padgett

Get some sleep.
Don’t give advice.
Take care of your teeth and gums.
Don’t be afraid of anything beyond your control. Don’t be afraid, for
instance, that the building will collapse as you sleep, or that someone
you love will suddenly drop dead.
Eat an orange every morning.
Be friendly. It will help make you happy.
Raise your pulse rate to 120 beats per minute for 20 straight minutes
four or five times a week doing anything you enjoy.
Hope for everything. Expect nothing.
Take care of things close to home first. Straighten up your room
before you save the world. Then save the world.
Know that the desire to be perfect is probably the veiled expression
of another desire—to be loved, perhaps, or not to die.
Make eye contact with a tree.
Be skeptical about all opinions, but try to see some value in each of
Dress in a way that pleases both you and those around you.
Do not speak quickly.
Learn something every day. (Dzien dobre!)
Be nice to people before they have a chance to behave badly.
Don’t stay angry about anything for more than a week, but don’t
forget what made you angry. Hold your anger out at arm’s length
and look at it, as if it were a glass ball. Then add it to your glass ball
Be loyal.
Wear comfortable shoes.
Design your activities so that they show a pleasing balance
and variety.
Be kind to old people, even when they are obnoxious. When you
become old, be kind to young people. Do not throw your cane at
them when they call you Grandpa. They are your grandchildren!
Live with an animal.
Do not spend too much time with large groups of people.
If you need help, ask for it.
Cultivate good posture until it becomes natural.
If someone murders your child, get a shotgun and blow his head off.
Plan your day so you never have to rush.
Show your appreciation to people who do things for you, even if you
have paid them, even if they do favors you don’t want.
Do not waste money you could be giving to those who need it.
Expect society to be defective. Then weep when you find that it is far
more defective than you imagined.
When you borrow something, return it in an even better condition.
As much as possible, use wooden objects instead of plastic or metal
Look at that bird over there.
After dinner, wash the dishes.
Calm down.
Visit foreign countries, except those whose inhabitants have
expressed a desire to kill you.
Don’t expect your children to love you, so they can, if they want to.
Meditate on the spiritual. Then go a little further, if you feel like it.
What is out (in) there?
Sing, every once in a while.
Be on time, but if you are late do not give a detailed and lengthy
Don’t be too self-critical or too self-congratulatory.
Don’t think that progress exists. It doesn’t.
Walk upstairs.
Do not practice cannibalism.
Imagine what you would like to see happen, and then don’t do
anything to make it impossible.
Take your phone off the hook at least twice a week.
Keep your windows clean.
Extirpate all traces of personal ambitiousness.
Don’t use the word extirpate too often.
Forgive your country every once in a while. If that is not possible, go
to another one.
If you feel tired, rest.
Grow something.
Do not wander through train stations muttering, “We’re all going to
Count among your true friends people of various stations of life.
Appreciate simple pleasures, such as the pleasure of chewing, the
pleasure of warm water running down your back, the pleasure of a
cool breeze, the pleasure of falling asleep.
Do not exclaim, “Isn’t technology wonderful!”
Learn how to stretch your muscles. Stretch them every day.
Don’t be depressed about growing older. It will make you feel even
older. Which is depressing.
Do one thing at a time.
If you burn your finger, put it in cold water immediately. If you bang
your finger with a hammer, hold your hand in the air for twenty
minutes. You will be surprised by the curative powers of coldness and
Learn how to whistle at earsplitting volume.
Be calm in a crisis. The more critical the situation, the calmer you
should be.
Enjoy sex, but don’t become obsessed with it. Except for brief periods
in your adolescence, youth, middle age, and old age.
Contemplate everything’s opposite.
If you’re struck with the fear that you’ve swum out too far in the
ocean, turn around and go back to the lifeboat.
Keep your childish self alive.
Answer letters promptly. Use attractive stamps, like the one with a
tornado on it.
Cry every once in a while, but only when alone. Then appreciate
how much better you feel. Don’t be embarrassed about feeling better.
Do not inhale smoke.
Take a deep breath.
Do not smart off to a policeman.
Do not step off the curb until you can walk all the way across the
street. From the curb you can study the pedestrians who are trapped
in the middle of the crazed and roaring traffic.
Be good.
Walk down different streets.
Remember beauty, which exists, and truth, which does not. Notice
that the idea of truth is just as powerful as the idea of beauty.
Stay out of jail.
In later life, become a mystic.
Use Colgate toothpaste in the new Tartar Control formula.
Visit friends and acquaintances in the hospital. When you feel it is
time to leave, do so.
Be honest with yourself, diplomatic with others.
Do not go crazy a lot. It’s a waste of time.
Read and reread great books.
Dig a hole with a shovel.
In winter, before you go to bed, humidify your bedroom.
Know that the only perfect things are a 300 game in bowling and a
27-batter, 27-out game in baseball.
Drink plenty of water. When asked what you would like to drink,
say, “Water, please.”
Ask “Where is the loo?” but not “Where can I urinate?”
Be kind to physical objects.
Beginning at age forty, get a complete “physical” every few years
from a doctor you trust and feel comfortable with.
Don’t read the newspaper more than once a year.
Learn how to say “hello,” “thank you,” and “chopsticks”
in Mandarin.
Belch and fart, but quietly.
Be especially cordial to foreigners.
See shadow puppet plays and imagine that you are one of the
characters. Or all of them.
Take out the trash.
Love life.
Use exact change.
When there’s shooting in the street, don’t go near the window.
Ron Padgett, “How to Be Perfect” from Collected Poems. Desejos para 2019.

Fantasy Block

ron padgett

I would like to have a sexual fantasy
about the young girl I see in the gym,
the one who undulates up and down
on an aerobic machine revealing
the smooth skin of her lower back
as it swells out toward her hips,
her hair pulled up in back
with a tortoiseshell clasp
and a misty blush spreading
from her high cheekbones back
to her ears in each of which
a small silver ring is glittering,
but I can’t think of anything.

Ron Padgett

Bastille Day

ron padgett

The first time I saw Paris
I went to see where the Bastille
had been, and though
I saw the column there
I was too aware that
the Bastille was not there:
I did not know how
to see the emptiness.
People go to see
the missing Twin Towers
and seem to like feeling
the lack of something.
I do not like knowing
that my mother no longer
exists, or the feeling
of knowing. Excuse me
for comparing my mother
to large buildings. Also
for talking about absence.
The red and gray sky
above the rooftops
is darkening and the inhabitants
are hastening home for dinner.
I hope to see you later.

Ron Padgett

Um Filme que é um Poema


Aqui há umas semanas, num daqueles domingos à tarde frios e cinzentos, pesquisámos os filmes que tínhamos aqui por casa para ver e decidimo-nos pelo Paterson. Eu ia completamente sem expectativas porque não sabia bem sobre o que era, só sabia que era de Jim Jarmush e que era com o herdeiro do Darth Vader. Por isso fui completamente surpreendida quando me deparei com um belíssimo filme sobre poesia, cheio dela, com tantas referências a autores que eu ainda não conhecia que estou há semanas a digeri-lo.

Paterson é o nome do personagem principal, um condutor de autocarros na cidade com que partilha o nome, e todo o ritmo do filme é como se fosse um poema. Vemos o acordar diário de Paterson, a sua ida para o emprego, o almoço a contemplar a paisagem enquanto trabalha nos seus poemas num caderno de anotações, até terminarmos com o passeio nocturno com o seu cão e uma cerveja no bar do costume. Toda esta rotina lhe permite observar pessoas e rituais e isso lhe serve de inspiração para a sua poesia, seguindo uma corrente americana que dizia no ideas but in things (expressão que podemos encontrar num poema de Williams Carlos Williams, poeta que serviu de inspiração a este filme) como quem diz que temos que olhar em volta para ter inspiração. Esse é um tema que ecoa muito em mim, que nas minhas fantasias de escrita procuro sempre inspirar-me no meu quotidiano e naquilo que me rodeia, só ainda não tinha descoberto que havia uma corrente literária que o explorava. Também não tenho a disciplina deste condutor de autocarros que escrevia religiosamente todos os dias, como quem se exercita. E vemos toda esta rotina e quotidiano através de imagens muito bonitas, um poema visual também. Um tesouro!

Os poemas do filme, que podemos ouvir serem escritos ao mesmo tempo que vemos as palavras desfilarem no ecrã para melhor nos envolvermos neles foram escritos por um poeta americano chamado Ron Padgett, amigo do realizador, que foi desafiado a trabalhar como consultor poético numa primeira abordagem e mais tarde a contribuir com os poemas que vemos o protagonista trabalhar. Gostei bastante e isso fez-me pesquisar mais sobre o autor, bem como outros autores relacionados.

Portando depois disto tudo posso dizer que se ainda não viram este filme, vejam. Não esperem grande acção, ou mesmo qualquer acção, porque não é essa a intenção do autor. Na realidade este filme é um poema de amor à própria poesia e por isso não poderia deixar de falar nele aqui. Se quiserem ler os poemas do filme vejam aqui. Se quiserem ler uma apreciação interessante vejam aqui, e se quiserem ler o poeta que escreveu os poemas de Paterson espreitem aqui.

Recomendo a todos os amantes de poesia, os que andam todos os dias de autocarro a ver pedaços de vida e a tomar notas mentais, a todos os que têm um emprego repetitivo e monótono mas que o vêem como uma estrofe do seu próprio poema. A todos os que sonham acordados e a dormir, a todos os que não se conformam na sua vida de conformidade, a todos os amantes da beleza.

Water falls from the bright air
It falls like hair
Falling across a young girl’s shoulders
Water falls
Making pools in the asfalt
Dirty mirrors with clouds and buildings inside
It falls on the roof of my house
Falls on my mother and on my hair
Most people call it rain