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We cannot grasp ruins before we become ruins ourselves.

(Heinrich Heine)



I he ar the sad te ars of his to ry re tre at ing o ver its pa ra bo lic tra jec to ry. At a gi ven mo ment I see be low me a beg gar pos ted by my hat as a guar di an of sto ne. E ven be low me the beg gar is a bo ve me. Or is it i won der the ex a ni ma te so ul of the sum of his to ry?

(Yi Sáng, after the Portuguese translation by Yu Jung Im)

this poem-website is entirely a collage between voices of the defeated, even if they can only arise through the voice of the victors, mixed with and partly indissociate from the victors, like a possibility of history, when the defeated speaks, who speaks for her, who speaks through him, who could in reality occupy this space? every encounter of fragmentary cuttings suggests discourse, not a clear voice, not a from whom, or a for whom—without just a dichotomy between the hangman and the victim, but even then like a monument to the unterminated massacre of history: from Troy, archetype of the defeated, to Canudos, this mother of today’s favelas, where the defeated remain to see out their days; from slavery, immemorial and ubiquitous, to the indigenous, still silenced in our discourse, the names would never end, unless perhaps for some eventual tikkun for the rags of this pain.  

1. the texts were cut, freely translated, reworked and rearranged from three ancient tragedies:  

Hecuba, by Euripides (424 BC) [referenced as H]; 

Troiades, by Euripides (415 BC) [T]; 

Troades, by Seneca (c. 54-64 AD) [S]; 

and the aphorism 9 taken from "Über den Begriff der Geschichte" (1940), by Walter Benjamin [W].


2. the music "Genocide — Symphonic Holocaust" is from the album Blut und Nebel (2005), by Maurizio Bianchi, taken from Wikicommons.


3. the photographs, also cut and altered, were chosen from Wikicommons:

1. Genius of grief, carving, 2nd century AD, by anonymous;

2. Will Brown lynched and burnt, 1919, by anonymous;

3. Porušena, Borovnica, 1944, by anonymous;

4. Slave girl bound in Tunisia, c. 1900, by Lehnert & Landrock;

5. Jews murdered in Kiev, 1942, by anonymous;

6. Dead Confederate soldier, 1864, by anonymous;

7. German soldiers killed in the Battle of Bastogne, 1944, by anonymous;

8. Russian soldiers in the Russo-Japanese War, 1905, by Victor Bulla;

9. Children hanged in a tree, Italy, 1923, by anonymous;

10. Cannibals, during the famine in Russia, 1921, by anonymous;

11. Enslaved Native Americans, 19th century, by anonymou;

12. Young German girl in front of 800 slaves murdered by the SS, 1945, by anonymous;

13. Tomb of Inês de Castro (1360), by André Luís;

14. Poland, 1939, by Julien Bryan;

15. American Civil War, 1865, by Thomas Roche;

16. Lynching of Laura Nelson, 1911, by G. H. Farnum, postcard;

17. Operation Barbarossa, dead Russian soldier, 1941, by anonymous;

18. Russian soldiers in an open grave, 1905, by Underwood & Underwood;

19. A long geographic shadow, 2008, by Evelyn Simak;

20. Slave in Mississippi, 1863, by MacPherson & Oliver;

21. Dead Crow Indians, 1874, by anonymous;

22. Delia, slave in Columbia, 1850, by J. T. Zealy;

23. Dresden bombed, Germany, 1945, by Richard Peter;

24. Survivors from Canudos, 1897, by Flávio de Barros; and

25. Tombs of Palmyra, Syria, 1935, by Pierre Antoine Berrurier, aerial photo.

4. the site was created on Wix, a pre-fabricated platform and reorganized within the limits of the format, as in all previous cases the printed Portuguese edition, by the publisher Editora Patuá, is a box made of ready-made objects, such as postcards. in both cases, this support determines the possible results.


5. my immense thanks to reading, reactions and critical commentaries from Adalberto Müller, Adriano Scandolara, Bernardo Lins Brandão, Ernesto von Artixffski (Sergio Maciel), Fernanda Baptista, Glaysson Zamt, Leandro Rafael Perez, Mauricio Cardozo, Odete Cardoso Gontijo, Pádua Fernandes, Ricardo Domeneck, Ricardo Pozzo, Rob Packer, Simone Petry, Tarso de Melo, Tal Nitzán, Vinicius Ferreira Barth & William Zeytounlian.


6. this is the second part of the tetralogy All the Names We Might Have Had (Todos os nomes que talvez tivéssemos), begun in 2013 with the book false blaze (brasa enganosa). 


7. the English edition of Tróiades was translated and versioned by Rob Packer in June and July 2016. Some of the texts were translated to remain close to the Portuguese originals; while in others there have been updates to a more contemporary setting in language, diction or technology: in each case, the guiding aim has been to maintain the emotional and fragmentary fluency of the originals while bringing them into English. Alternative renderings of some texts are also available on Rob Packer’s blog.



immersion in pain could be perhaps the image of redemption.

therefore, to each unknown victim.

26 September 2014 / 23 July 2016


guilherme gontijo flores

at 3200 years from the burning of Troy;

2160 years from the obliteration of Carthage;

807 years from the siege of Béziers;

524 years of the extermination of Native America;

371 years from the butchery of Yangzhou;

119 years from the war of Canudos;

101 years from the Armenian genocide;

84 years from the holodomor in Ukraine;

78 years from the rape of Nanking;

76 years from the foundation of Auschwitz-Birkenau;

71 years from Hiroshima & Nagasaki;

34 years from the massacre of Hama;

22 years from the Rwanda genocide;

13 years from the Darfur conflict;

the inestimable time of the enslavement of man by man.

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