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I Wanted

by Roque Dalton

translated from the Spanish by Alan West


I wanted to talk about life of all its melodious
corners I want to gather in a river of words
the dreams and the names what is left unsaid
in the newspapers the pains of the solitary
surprised in the nooks of the rain
rescue the leafless parabolas of lovers and give them to you
laid before the games played by a child
elaborating his sweet daily destruction
I wanted to pronounce the syllables of the people
the sounds of its grief
show you where their hearts limp
insinuate those who only deserve a bullet
in the back tell you of my own countries
impose on you from the exoduses from the great
emigrations which opened up all the roads of the world
of the love of even the bedraggled one over there
by the ditches
speak to you of the trains
of my friend who killed himself with another’s knife
of the history of all the men broken
by blindness by myth’s reefs
of the century which my three sons will outlast
of the bird’s tongue and the furious foam
in the stampede of the great four-legged beast
and I wanted to talk to you of the Revolution
of Cuba and the Soviet Union
and of the girl that I love for her eyes
of shortened storm
and of your lives filled with dawns
and of people who ask who saw you who said that
how could it’ve been done I got here
before you
and of all of nature’s things
and of the heart and its testimonies
of the last fingerprints before total annihilation
of the tiny animals and of tenderness
I wanted to yes say to you all of that and tell you
lots of stories I know and in turn were told to me
or that I learned by living in that great room of pain
and things said by other poets before me
and that are good for you to know

And I can’t give you more—closed
door of poetry—
than my own corpse beheaded in the sand.

 

Roque Dalton, the Salvadorean poet, was born in 1935 and executed by the People’s Revolutionary Army in 1975. (1990)

Alan West has been a regular contributor to Joven Cuba and Arieto and has published poetry as well as literary criticism in the United States, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Mexico. A short collection of poetry, En cincos tiempos (1987), is his first book. (1990)


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