This is a poem given to me in Florianópolis by a homeless man who was also a recovering alcoholic.

It warns about the misuse of the Brazilian spirit cachaça – made from fermented sugar cane juice and best-known around the world as the starting point for the nation’s most famous drink, the caipirinha

Because of its reputation as something drunk by the homeless, it is often sold with no mention of the word “cachaça” on the front of the bottle, if at all – and is instead known by its respective brand name.

I asked the homeless man if I could put it on my blog, to which he happily agreed. A couple of months later, I just stumbled across the paper in my room. I’ve added a simple translation.


Gerador de desgraças
Tempestade de não passa
Falso prazer
Sorvido em amarga taça


Corda que enlaça
Qual líquida força
Levando a morte
Quem esse caminho traça


Animal feroz que das prateleiras
Espreita sua caça
Atacando sem distinção
de classe ou raça


Um dia já foi barco no meu cais
E hoje luto
Para um dia poder dizer
Cachaça nunca mais


Generator of woes
The storm that does not pass
The false pleasure
Absorbed in a bitter cup


The rope that entangles you
Whose liquid force
Leads to death
He who takes this path


A wild animal that
Stalks its prey from the cupboard
Attacking indiscriminate
of class or race


One day it was already a boat at my dock
And today the fight
So that one day I can say
Cachaça no more

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