O Quereres

Lyrics from “O Quereres” by Caetano Veloso

Album:  Velô (1984)

Where you want a revolver, I’m a coconut tree

And where you want money, I’m passion

Where you want rest, I’m desire

And where I’m desire, you don’t want it

And where you want nothing, nothing lacks

And where you fly really high, I’m the ground

And where you step on the ground, my soul jumps

And gets liberty in the vastness

Where you want family, I’m a crazy guy

And where you want a romantic, I’m bourgeois

Where you want Leblon, I’m Pernambuco

And where you want a eunuch, I’m a stud

Where you want yes or no, maybe

And where you see, I don’t glimpse reason

Where you want the wolf, I’m the brother

And where you want a cowboy, I’m the Chinese

Ah, brutal flower of desire

Ah, brutal flower, brutal flower

Where you want the act, I’m the spirit

And where you want tenderness, I’m lustfull

Where you want free form, I’m decasyllable

And where you seek an angel, I’m a woman

Where you want pleasure, I’m what hurts

Where you want torture, meekness

Where you want a home, revolution

And where you want a bandit, I’m a hero

I would like to want to love you love

Build us a sweetest prison

Find just the right compatibility

All meter and rhyme and never pain

But life is real and it’s one of biases

And just look what an ambush love set up for me

I want you (and you don’t want) as I am

I don’t want you (and you don’t want) as you are

Ah, brutal flower of desire

Ah, brutal flower, brutal flower

Where you want a rally, an arcade game

And where you want romance, rock n roll

Where you want the moon, I’m the sun

And where pure nature, I’m insecticide

Where you want mystery, I’m the light

And where you want a little corner, I’m the entire world

Where you want Lent, February

And where you want a coconut tree, I’m a howitzer

Your wanting and your always being up to

What in me is in me so unequal

Makes me want you good, want you bad

Good – you, bad – your wanting way

Infinitely personal

And me wanting to want you without end

And, wanting you, to learn the total

Of the want that exists, and that doesn’t exist in me.


Caetano Veloso wrote this song in the structure of a cordel, or “string” folk song, but confesses the lyrics were influenced by Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe” (Another Side of Bob Dylan). While the message is a bit different, Caetano says both songs essentially say “I’m not where you want me.”

Find more about Caetano Veloso in the post on “O Leãozinho.”

Post by Victoria Broadus (About)

1 thought on “O Quereres”

  1. I am Brazilian but these lyrics in Portuguese are so complex! Good job on translating/making a version of it.

    Of one of the trickiest parts for me is that the Brazilian version of “Loves Me, Loves Me Not” is “Bem me quer, Mal me quer”, so I thought that at the end the “Querer-te bem, Querer-te mal” referred to that. But it’s hard incorporating that meaning considering the following phrase.
    Anyways, very tricky and difficult. You did a good job!

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