El Salvador Tragic: 10 Roque Dalton Poems from 3 Books

By | 1 February 2013
IX Love Poem

The ones who widened the Panama Canal
(and were put on the silver roll and not on the gold roll),
the ones who repaired the Pacific fleet
at the military bases in California,
the ones who rotted in jail in Guatemala,
Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua
for being thieves, smugglers, scammers,
for being hungry,
the ever-suspicious ones
(‘I bring forth this individual
arrested for being a suspicious bystander
with the aggravation of being Salvadorian’),
the ones who filled the bars and brothels
of all the ports and capitals in the region
(The blue cave, The panty, Happyland),
the ones who grew corn in foreign jungles,
the kings of the crime section,
the ones who no-one ever knows where they’re from,
the best craftsmen in the world,
the ones who were mowed down with bullets while crossing
      the border,
the ones who died from malaria
or scorpion or snake bites
in banana plantation hell,
the ones who cried drunk for the national anthem
under cyclones in the Pacific or snow in the north,
the freeloaders, the beggars, the potheads,
Salvadorian sons of bitches,
the ones who barely made it back,
the ones who were a bit luckier,
the eternal illegals, 
make-all, sell-all, eat-all,
the first to pull out a knife,
the saddest sad people in the world,
my countrymen,
my brothers.

XVI Poem Laws are created to be followed by the poor. Laws are made by the rich to bring some order to exploitation. The poor are the only law abiders in history. When the poor make laws the rich will be no more.
I’m Telling You Homeland identical to yourself the years go by and you don’t rejuvenate there should be an endurance award for being Salvadorian Beethoven was deaf and had syphilis but the world has the Ninth Symphony however your blindness is caused by fire and your muteness from screaming. I will return I will return not to bring peace but the lynx’s eyesight the hound’s sense of smell ravenous love with national anthem you’ve already eaten the body of Francisco Morazán from       Honduras and now you want to eat Honduras you need to be slapped given electric shocks psychoanalysed to return to your true self you’re not Don Rafael Meza Ayau or Colonel Medrano we’ll have to put you in bed on a diet of dynamite bread and water Molotov cocktail washes every fifteen minutes and then we’ll have a real war all together to see if you sleep like you snore as Pedro Infante used to say furious bride terrified mother.
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4 Responses to El Salvador Tragic: 10 Roque Dalton Poems from 3 Books

  1. Todd Jailer says:

    The ERP was not “the most extreme faction,” they were all equally left; Daltons murder led to the creation of the RN, the 5th org if the FMLN, so Dalton had joined 1of 4 existing orgs; and while his books were “banned,” most were piblished by the press st the Jesuit University — the UCA— and were widely known and available.

  2. Pingback: سه ترجمه از شعرهای راکه دالتون -Roque Dalton – به هزاران زبان سخن باید گفت – ژاله سهند

  3. Pingback: سه ترجمه از شعرهای راکه دالتون -Roque Dalton – به هزاران زبان سخن باید گفت – ژاله سهند

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for these translations!