Let's Go!

DISTANCES

  1. The irony
  2. The Understanding
  3. The cowardly nation
  4. Local logic
  5. The question
  6. Light and Shadow
  7. The lesson of the assassinated

I.

In 1935 Hitler said
“The Third Reich
Will last a thousand years.”

What did Hitler say
ten years later
under the ruins of Berlin?

A few years later
Mister Dulles, snoring
Like a caterpillar
Said “This decade will see the end
of the slavery of communism.”

What did Yuri Gagarin
do a few years later
sending his greetings to men
over the wide oceans
and vast territories of America?

Thomas Mann was right
when he said
“Anti-communism
is the most ridiculous mode
of the twentieth century.”
Still
the interests
the profit
continue their fanfare
continue killing
still.

2.
Under the bitter December air
a friend says
“I’m disillusioned. Everything goes
so slowly.  The dictatorship is strong.
I’m desperate and pained
by the calvary of my people.”

And I, sensing his anguish, the gray
and noble sadness of my friend,
knowing his fight
to keep on fighting,
do not say: coward or go to the mountains
or lazy or pessimist,
rigid, poor devil.

I only put my arm around his shoulder,
so the tearing cruelty of his cold
be less.

3.

A knock
at the door.

Before me, two sore eyes
And behind them, a chid whose six years
barely support the national misery,
the national infamy, the cowardly nation.
He extends his hand
and on the face of my country
the pieces of my heart
fall split by blows
protesting this man’s death
already dead

Still
when I give him bread
his tender eyes speak to me
from the depths of his ignorance.

4.

Someone hums the national Anthem.
in the street.  I get up
and look from the window
of the house where I live now.
He who sings is barefoot.
Surely also without breakfast.
He is a hawker of lies
morning
and afternoon.
Fifteen years at best.
Fifteen years of misery, I bet on that.
And from his hoarse throat,
like a Greek god well fed,
emerges the National Anthem of Guatemala.
If I hadn’t seen it, surely
I’d have said: “A soldier singing.”

5.

Recently returned from Europe
one of my nephews asks me
if I know Madrid.

I say no, brusquely,
and continue talking about Paris.

But my story goes pale.
The blood, hitting hard
and sudden in my heart,
the horrible bleeding.

6.

In the days of Ubico the tyrant,
end of ’42, as the story goes,
there was a mason in the parish
who dared paint “Livery,
Doun with the blody jenral”
on the city walls.
The mason was caught,
questioned,
--why was he so crazy
as to hate the General
if  the General had complete military support
and his power was invincible.

And the mason said: Ubico will fall.
And everyone laughed.  This is a crazy man,
they said.  The General will rule forever
in Guatemala.  Until he dies. Like God,
he is all powerful.
No one will lift a finger against him.
His power was infinite
and the people are cowardly, resigned,
afraid of his granite strength.

But the stubborn mason said: Ubico will fall.
He will not rule forever in Guatemala.
The people will rise against him.

And they shot him in the morning,
in the barracks,
more for disbeliever than subversive,
the mason of the parish who wrote:
“Liverty.  Doun with th blody jenral”

7.

In the streets someone stops me
and cries against my chest.
Those who pass look and close a bit more
the obscure rose of their nonconformist blood.

“They’ve killed, my son.
They’ve killed him, those gorillas!”
she tells me, letting the ashes
of her voice fall, blackened forever.

And I, who love life so,
who fight so that all will love it
and no one will have to complain of it,
feel the desire to kill
he who killed, blind, awkward,
rude Indian
desire to revenge the killed
by killing.

But I say and do nothing.

I stroke the white head
of the old women crying on my chest,
and life is more painful than ever.
And still I know: there are many ways
to give life for life.
The important thing:
to give it as it must be given !