Etta James: “Mi Fuerte Amante” / “Tough Lover”

Etta James

“Mi Fuerte Amante” (1956)




Tengo un amante que me mueve tanto,

Sabe hacer ‘el rocanrol’,

Porque es fuerte – mi amante –

Es un amante vigoroso,

Amante recio,

Un amante fuerte – ¡eso es!


Cuando me besa,

Me emociona;

Cuando se sacude,

No me quedo quieta.

Es un amante vigoroso,

Amante recio,

Un amante fuerte – ¡aaah, sííí!


Las Siete Hermanas no lo pueden tener,

Estoy hablando acerca del Amor -

Y es veloz – él – como el viento.

Habla la gente que estoy enbrujada.

Pero no es el vudú – ¡es ese “twist”!

El Amante más grande de nuestra era,

Aún Don Juan no tiene ningun’esperanza.

Te hace reír,

Te hace llorar,

Se pone tan recio que

Pued’hacer a un’estatua de Venus resucitar.

Hace todo lo que quiera – aún:

Pisotear los zapatos de gamuza-azul de Jesse James.

Es un amante audaz,

y duro, y recio,

Un amante fuerte – ¡ajá, ajá!


¿Tienes amante que quieras amar?

¡Golpéale en la cabeza una vez – o dos!

Será tu amante vigoroso – ¡sí, sí! –

Un amante recio – ¡eso es!

Un amante fuerte – ¡aaah, sííí!





Las Siete Hermanas se llaman Las Pléyades – en la mitología griega.

Las dos más famosas – Electra y Maia – eran “Fuerzas de la Naturaleza”.

Jesse James era un forajido estadounidense de la era “Viejo Oeste”.




Etta James (1938-2012)

escribió las letras y grabó esta canción

en 1956 – a la edad tierna de dieciocho años.

Su personalidad era fuerte y burlona pero pudo

cantar también la música íntima del Blues.


Traducción / interpretación  en español:  Lidia García Garay




Etta James

“Tough Lover” (1956)



Well, I’ve got a lover that moves me so

He sho knows how to rock’n’roll

‘Cause he’s a tough lover – yeah, yeah

He’s a tough lover – wooooo

Tough Lover – yeah, yeah

Tough Lover – unh hunh!


When he kisses me

I get a thrill

But when he does that wiggle

I can’t keep still

‘Cause he’s a tough lover – yeah, yeah

He’s a tough lover – wooooo!

Tough Lover – yeah, yeah

Tough Lover – unh hunh!


The Seven Sisters have nothin’ on him

I’m talkin’ about love – and he’s fast as the wind

People all talk about he’s got me fixed

It ain’t hoodoo –  it’s just that twist!

He’s the greatest lover ever come to pass

Don Juan ain’t got a half of a chance.

He can make you laugh

He can make you cry

He’s so tough he’ll make Venus come alive.

He can do anything that he wants to do –

Step on Jesse James’s blue-suede shoes

‘Cause he’s a tough lover – yeah, yeah

He’s a tough lover – wooooo!

Tough Lover – yeah, yeah

Tough Lover – unh hunh!


You got a lover

That you wanna love right?

Just pop him ’side the head

– Once or twice!

He’ll be a tough lover – yeah, yeah

He’ll be your tough lover – wooooo!

Tough lover – yeah, yeah

Tough lover – unh hunh!




Etta James (1938-2012)

was a rock’n’roll “mama” even

at the tender age of 18, which is when she

wrote and recorded this song with her band,

The Peaches.   Her vocal delivery was often

rough-and-tough in sound – but also full of

fun.   The “wooooo’s” in her singing she

borrowed from Little Richard, with whom

she toured in the 1950s.   By middle age she

was undisputedly the best living Blues singer

in The United States.


Mildred Barya: “Una Gota de Sangre” / “A Drop of Blood”


Mildred Barya (nace 1976)

“Una Gota de Sangre”



El día que me llegó la regla

Exclamó mi madre:

“¡Ahora eres mujer!”

Entonces me pregunté:

¿Qué yo había sido antes?

¿Y cómo me ha hecho una mujer

Una gota de sangre?


Cuando llevaron a mi hermano al círculo,

Él se estremeció a la sensación de un cuchillo afilado.

Pero le convencieron:

“No debes  tener miedo,

No muestres ninguna cobardía.

Tan pronto como te cortemos la piel

Te harás un hombre.”


Cuando mi madre tenía a Junior

Tan pesado en su vientre

Se apuraba de la mesa

Y corría al lavaplatos.

El día que le llevaron al hospital

Cayó al suelo una bolsa de agua

Pues una gota de sangre.

Gritó mi padre: “¡Mujer!”


Leí en Las Sagradas Escrituras

Como fue sacrificado el Hijo de Hombre.

Antes de dar su último aliento,

Manaron fuera de él

Agua y la sangre.

En este momento se hizo Hombre

Que era el Dios.


Supongo que haya algo en una gota de sangre

Que nos hace hombres y mujeres.




Mildred Barya (born 1976)

“A Drop of Blood”



The day I got my first period,

Mother exclaimed:

“You’ve become a woman!”

And so I wondered,

What had I been earlier?

And how could a drop of blood

Make me a woman?


When they took my brother to the circle,

He flinched at the feel of a sharp knife.

But the elders convinced him:

“You must not fear

Do not show any cowardice

Once we slice off the skin

You become a man.”


When mother was heavy with Junior,

She would rush off the table

And run to the sink.

The day she was taken to hospital

A bag of water dropped to the ground,

Then a drop of blood.

Father cried: “Woman!”


I read in the Holy Scriptures

How the Son of Man was crucified

Before he breathed his last.

Water and blood flowed out,

There he became Man,

Who was God.


I guess there’s something in a drop of blood

That makes us men and women.




Mildred Barya,  poeta,  nació en Uganda.

Ganó el Premio Pan-Africano del Foro Literário

en 2008.   Barya también es periodista y escritor

de viaje.   Vive en Syracuse, Nueva York, EEUU.


Poet Mildred Barya was born in Uganda.

She won the 2008 Prize of the Pan African

Literary Forum.   Barya is also a journalist

and travel-writer.   Currently she lives in

Syracuse, New York.


Translation from English into Spanish /

Traducción del inglés al español:   Alexander Best

Ataulfo Alves: “In a masquerade of Joy I hid my Sadness…”

Ataulfo Alves  (Sambista brasileiro, 1906-1969)

“Ilusão de carnaval”


Mascarado de alegria

Escondi minha tristeza

Terminada a folia

Sou mais triste com certeza

Ilusão de carnaval

Enganei somente a mim

Sem pensar que afinal

Carnaval também tem fim.


Ataulfo Alves 

(Brazilian Samba composer, 1906-1969)

“Carnival Illusion”


In a masquerade of Joy

I hid my Sadness.

Revelry done,

More sad than ever

Am I…


You Illusion – oh Carnival !

I merely tricked myself

Without thinking that,

After all,

Carnival too comes to an end.



Translation from Portuguese:

Alexander Best

Nigel Darbasie: “Empires of Imagination”



“Monday Jump-Up”



Is ol’ mas’ one carnival,

the best we could have fashioned

from our fathers’ discarded clothes.

In fat-pants and suspenders,

felt hats at our eyebrows,

we went to the railway station,

jammin’ steelband a cappella

as we headed for the city.


Almost everyone was on the hadj

to Queen’s Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain.

Royalty from unknown civilizations,

in silk and lamé, hobnobbed

with families of spectators

whose baskets filled our carriage

with aromas of peas and rice, and curry.


Outside the city terminus

a pack of half-naked devils descended.

Skins oily blue, and ochre.

Horned foreheads.  Upturned tails

bobbing in wicked waist motion.

“Pay de devil!  Pay de devil!”  they chanted,

hustling purgatory dues from the crowd.


An ol’ mas’ band came along:

women in men’s clothes,

men in diapers, sucking carnival formula

from nippled Vat 19 and Old Oak rum bottles.

We revelled with them awhile

before jumpin’ behind giant butterflies

all the way to the Savannah.


There, at the confluence of worlds,

fantastic creatures swarmed overhead.

And down the streets,

from the empires of imagination,

flowed waves of mortal souls

dancing in the sunlight.




Nigel Darbasie lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

He emigrated from Trinidad, West Indies, in 1969.

This poem, from his collection “A Map of the Island”,

brings us a nostalgic memory of Carnival in the 1960s

from the point-of-view of a lively, observant boy.

“Monday Jump-Up” is here used by permission of

The University of Alberta Press.


Editor’s note:

This year, 2012, today – February 20th – is the

“Monday” in the title of Darbasie’s poem:

a.k.a. J’Ouvert  (Opening Day) of Trinidad Carnival.


Djavan: “Face of the Indian” / “Cara de Índio”

Letra da canção de

cantor e compositor afrobrasileiro

Djavan (nasce 1949)

“Cara de Índio”(1978)



Índio cara pálida,

cara de índio.

Índio cara pálida,

cara de índio.

Sua ação é válida, meu caro índio.

Sua ação é válida, válida ao índio.

Nessa terra tudo dá,

terra de índio.

Nessa terra tudo dá,

não para o índio.

Quando alguém puder plantar,

quem sabe índio.

Quando alguém puder plantar,

não é índio.

Índio quer se nomear,

nome de índio.

Índio quer se nomear,

duvido índio.

Isso pode demorar,

te cuida índio.

Isso pode demorar,

coisa de índio.


Índio sua pipoca,

tá pouca índio.

Índio quer pipoca,

te toca índio.

Se o índio se tocar,

touca de índio.

Se o índio toca,

não chove índio.

Se quer abrir a boca,

pra sorrir índio.

Se quer abrir a boca,

na toca índio.


A minha também tá pouca,

cota de índio.

Apesar da minha roupa,

também sou índio.





(Brazilian songwriter, born 1949)

“The Indian Face” (1978)



Indio pale-face

Indian face.

Pale-face Indio

Your action is just, my dear Indio.

Your action is valid, right for the Indian.

In that land everything grows

– the Indian’s land.

In that land everything grows

– but not for the Indian.

When someone can plant,

who knows? The Indio.

When someone inspires,

Isn’t it the Indio?

An Indian wants to call himself

an Indian name.

Indio wants to call himself himself

– I doubt it, Indio

– that might take time – take care,

That might take time,

The Indian thing.


Indio gets just

A little “popcorn”.

He wants “popcorn” too

– it’s your turn, Indio.

If the Indian touches his head

it doesn’t rain.

If he wants to open his mouth

– Smile, Indio.

If he wants to open his mouth,

Don’t touch him.


I also have little,

An Indian’s share.

Despite my clothes,

I’m an Indio, too.



Jorge Ben Jor: Day of the Indian / Dia de Índio


Jorge Ben Jor (nasce 1942)

“Curumin chama cunhãtã que eu vou contar

(Todo dia era Dia de Índio)”  (1981)

Hey  Hey  Hey!

Hey  Hey  Hey!

Jês, Kariris, Karajás, Tukanos, Caraíbas,

Makus, Nambikwaras, Tupis, Bororós,

Guaranis, Kaiowa, Ñandeva, YemiKruia

Yanomá, Waurá, Kamayurá, Iawalapiti,

Txikão, Txu-Karramãe, Xokren, Xikrin,

Krahô, Ramkokamenkrá, Suyá !


Curumim chama cunhatã que eu vou contar

Cunhatã chama curumim que eu vou contar

Curumim, cunhatã

Cunhatã, curumim


Antes que os homens aqui pisassem

Nas ricas e férteis terraes brazilis

Que eram povoadas e amadas por milhões de índios

Reais donos felizes

Da terra do pau-brasil

Pois todo dia, toda hora, era dia de índio

Pois todo dia, toda hora, era dia de índio


Mas agora eles só têm um dia

O dia dezenove de abril…

Amantes da pureza e da natureza

Eles são de verdade incapazes

De maltratarem as fêmeas

Ou de poluir o rio, o céu e o mar

Protegendo o equilíbrio ecológico

Da terra, fauna e flora.

Pois na sua história, o índio

É o exemplo mais puro

Mais perfeito, mais belo

Junto da harmonia da fraternidade.

É da alegria,

Da alegria de viver

Da alegria de amar.

Mas no entanto agora

O seu canto de guerra

É um choro de uma raça inocente…

Que já foi muito contente

Pois antigamente

Todo dia, toda hora, era dia de índio.


Jês, Kariris, Karajás, Tukanos, Caraíbas,

Makus, Nambikwaras, Tupis, Bororós,

Guaranis, Kaiowa, Ñandeva, YemiKruia

Yanomá, Waurá, Kamayurá, Iawalapiti, Suyá,

Txikão, Txu-Karramãe, Xokren, Xikrin, Krahô,

Ramkokamenkrá, Suyá !


Todo dia, toda hora, era dia de índio…..

Curumim, cunhatã / Hey! Hey! Hey!

Hey! Hey! Hey! / Cunhatã, curumim…..


Jorge Ben Jor

“Every day, every hour, was the Day of the Indian”

Hey  Hey  Hey!

Hey  Hey  Hey!

Jês, Kariris, Karajás, Tukanos, Caraíbas,

Makus, Nambikwaras, Tupis, Bororós,

Guaranis, Kaiowa, Ñandeva, YemiKruia

Yanomá, Waurá, Kamayurá, Iawalapiti,

Suyá, Txikão, Txu-Karramãe, Xokren, Xikrin,

Krahô, Ramkokamenkrá, Suyá !


Call:   “Curumim cunhatã” – I’m going to tell it.

Cry:   “Cunhatã curumim” is how I’m going to tell it.

Curumim, cunhatã

Cunhatã, curumim


Before people trod here

Upon this rich and fertile land of Brazil

It was populated and loved by millions of Indians,

Happy moneyless owners

Of this land of “Brazil-wood”.

Back then, every day, every hour, was the Day of the Indian.

But now they have only one day,

The 19th of April…


Lovers of purity, of nature,

They knew truth, incapable of

Mistreating Woman

Or of polluting river, sky and sea,

Protecting the ecological equilibrium

Of earth, flora and fauna.

And so, in history,  the Indio

Is an exemplar most pure,

Perfect and beautiful.

Together in the harmony of humanity

He gives joy – joy of life,  joy of love.

Now, though, theirs is a war song – and it’s

The cry of an innocent race…

In olden times they were most happy because

Every day, every hour, was the Day of the Indian.


Jês, Kariris, Karajás, Tukanos, Caraíbas,

Makus, Nambikwaras, Tupis, Bororós,

Guaranis, Kaiowa, Ñandeva, YemiKruia

Yanomá, Waurá, Kamayurá, Iawalapiti,

Txikão, Txu-Karramãe, Xokren, Xikrin,

Krahô, Ramkokamenkrá, Suyá !


Every day, every hour, was the Day of the Indian.

Curumim, cunhatã / Hey! Hey! Hey!

Hey! Hey! Hey! / Cunhatã, curumim…..



Jês, Kariris, Karajás, Tukanos, Caraíbas, etc.,

–  Ben gives us a list of names of the

Indian/Indigenous/Native Peoples of Brazil

The 19th of April – throughout Latin and South America,

this day – Dia Americano del Indio – draws attention to the

cultures, struggles and progress of Indigenous Peoples;

initiated in 1940 at Pátzcuaro, México, during the first

“Congreso Indigenista Interamericano”

/ InterAmerican Indigenous Congress

Jorge Ben Jor: “Em fevereiro tem carnaval…” / “In February there’s Carnaval…”


Jorge Ben Jor (born 1942)

“Tropical Country” (1969)



I live

In a tropical country

Blessed by God

And beautiful by nature

( and oh what beauty )

In February (February)

There’s Carnival (there’s Carnival)

I’ve got a VW “Bug” and a guitar

I’m from Flamengo*, and I’ve got a black girl

called Teresa!

( Samba, baby,

Samba, baby! )


I’m a young boy of average

intelligence (oh yeah)

But even so I’m happy

Because I don’t owe anything to anyone

(oh yeah)

Because I’m happy, yeah happy

with me!


I may not be a band-leader

(oh yeah)

But at home

all my friends

my buddies

respect me (oh yeah)

That’s what it means – being nice,

That’s the power of something extra

– and the joy-oy-oy-oy!


I live

In a tropical country

Blessed by God

And beautiful by nature

(and oh what beauty)

In February (in February)

There’s Carnival (There’s Carnival)

I’ve got a VW “Bug” and a guitar

I’m from Flamengo, and I’ve got a black girl

called Teresa!

( Samba, baby!

Samba, baby! )


Got a “Bug”,

a GUIT-ar,

Me, I’m Flamengan,

with a black gal called

Treeze… – from my Brazil!




* Flamengo – a neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil




Jorge Ben Jor (nasce 1942)

“Pais Tropical” (1969)



Moro num país tropical,

abençoado por Deus

E bonito por natureza

(mas que beleza)

Em fevereiro (em fevereiro)

Tem carnaval (tem carnaval)

Tenho um fusca e um violão

Sou Flamengo

Tenho uma nêga

Chamada Tereza!

( “Sambaby!”

“Sambaby!” )


Sou um menino de mentalidade mediana

Pois é, mas assim mesmo sou feliz da vida

Pois eu não devo nada a ninguém

Pois é, pois eu sou feliz

Muito feliz comigo mesmo


Moro num país tropical,

abençoado por Deus

E bonito por natureza

(mas que beleza)

Em fevereiro (em fevereiro)

Tem carnaval (tem carnaval)

Tenho um fusca e um violão

Sou Flamengo

Tenho uma nêga

Chamada Tereza!

( “Sambaby!”

“Sambaby!” )


Eu posso não ser um “band-leader”

Pois é, mas assim mesmo lá em casa

Todos meus amigos,

meus camaradinhas me respeitam.

Pois é, essa é a razão da simpatia

Do poder, do algo mais e da alegria-a-a-a!

Tê um fu, um violão,

Sou Flamê

Tê uma nê

Chamá Terê… – do meu Brasil!






Editor’s note:

Today is the opening day of Carnival 2012 in Rio de Janeiro,

and this song from the 1960s with its zest for life captures the

feeling of being young and alive,  Brazilian and Black!

This Passionate Earth: “To Patrice Lumumba” by Roberto Armijo

ZP_Portrait of Patrice Lumumba by Bernard Safran

Roberto Armijo

(El Salvador, 1937-1997)

“To Patrice Lumumba”


This passionate earth.

Earth in love with the bare feet of the antelope’s nomadic gallop.

Earth exploded into reeds ants fountains and geraniums.

Tortured earth climbing in the wild vine that formed your flesh,

Your tongue, your nightingale breast, your assassinated whistle.

You came from the dark sorrow that

bled in the deep African night, you came from a village,

And you wanted the world of tomorrow to also be for Black people.

You didn’t want them extinguished between manure and the dark insides of mines.

You told your brothers that beyond sea, sky, and trees

Humanity was already tilling its path, destiny, and hope.

You knew it was necessary to open their eyes,

Extend their hands and ignite them with joy,

But those who hated your voice,

Those who shook and hovered around your shadow,

Those who assassinated you

Distort your death…your silence:

They pulled out your murmuring heart

And drowned the dove asleep in your blood

But they couldn’t cut off your clear and wild voice,

And since then you haunt their dreams

And the fearful search for you in your apartment’s darkest places

So as not to hear the rumour spread by your songs and poems

That sing in every young breast, on every separate untamed lip

And is freed, trembling,

To arrive each morning at the markets where the partitioned earth surges with

Flowers, vegetables and fruits,

As your voice travels over cities remote regions, wilderness,

Reaching jungles where the wild leopard, the rhinoceros and

The birds are sheltered below the shadow of trees.

Today more than ever they hate you, cannot stand

Hearing your name:

They corner you and blind you under portfolios and padlocks,

In their feverish anger they spit at you and crush you.

But they can’t, they can’t extinguish your voice,

Because in every abused heart, in every affronted Black person,

You are awakening man-the-sleeping-creature, and

With your songs you sing of hope for Black people

And all the people of the world.



*     *     *     *     *

Written in the 1970s, Armijo’s poem was a deeply-felt

tribute to a revolutionary hero – Patrice Lumumba –

from an earlier time, 1960-1961, and from another continent,

Africa – The Republic of The Congo specifically.

Patrice Lumumba was briefly Prime Minister of his

newly-independent country, was deposed in a

military coup then executed.  The “Congo Crisis” lasted six

years and involved a Cold-War power struggle among

Belgium, The Soviet Union, The USA, and the

secessionist province of Katanga.


Roberto Armijo’s own country, El Salvador,

was at the onset of a similar conflict at

the time he wrote this poem – a civil war

exacerbated by powerful foreign (mainly

the USA) manipulation of the country’s

internal affairs.



*     *     *     *     *


Roberto Armijo

(Poeta d’El Salvador, 1937-1997)

“A Patricio Lumumba”


Esta tierra ardorosa.

La tierra enamorada del pie descalzo del nómada galope del antílope.

La tierra torturada trepadora en la enredadera salvaje

Modeló tu carne tu lengua tu pecho de ruiseñor tu silbo asesinado.

Tu venías del dolor oscuro que sangraba en la honda noche de Africa

Venías de la aldea

Y deseabas que la mañana del mundo también fuera del negro.

Tu no querías que el negro se apagara entre el estierco

Y la oscuridad de las minas.

A tus hermanos les hablabas que mas allá del mar del cielo y de los árboles

El hombre ya labraba su destino su misión su esperanza.

Tu sabías que era necesario abrir los ojos

Extender las manos y encenderlas de júbilo

Pero los que odiaban tu voz los que temblaban y rondaban tu sombre

Urdían tu muerte tu silencio

Te asesinaron

Te sacaron el corazón rumoroso

Y ahogaron la paloma dormida de tu sangre

Pero tu voz clara y silvestre no la pudieron segar

Y desde entonces temen

Te sueñan y medrosos buscan los sitios más oscuros de tu habitaciones

Para no oír el rumor dilatado de tus canciones

De tus poemas que en cada pecho joven

En cada labio indómito y segregado canta y se suelta temblando

Para llegar matinal a los mercados donde se alza la tierra repartida

En las flores las verduras y las frutas

Tu voz recorre las ciudades las regiones remotas y agrestes

Llega a las selvas donde se guarecen bajo la sombre de los árboles

El leopardo salvaje en rinoceronte y los pájaros.

Hoy más que nunca te odian ya no quisieran

ni oír tu nombre.

Te arrinconan y bajo portafolios y candados

Te ciegan y en su fiebre colérica te escupen te estrujan.

Pero no pueden pero no pueden apagar tu voz

Porque en cada pecho maltratado en cada negro afrentado

Estás tú despertando al hombre a la criatura dormida

Y con tus versos cantas la mañana del negro

Y del hombre del mundo.




Translation from Spanish into English:   David Volpendesta

Traducción del español al inglés:   David Volpendesta


Poemas de Amor del idioma Zapoteco

Victor Terán

(nace 1958, Juchitán, Oaxaca, México;

Idioma:  Zapoteco Istmeño / Language:

Isthmus Zapotec)



Lu ti nagana



Lu ti neza

chupa ná’



Tobi ri’

nadxii naa,

xtobi ca

nadxiee laa.







binduuba’ gu’xhu’

ndaani’ bizaluá’.







Sobre un camino

Que se bifurca,


Me hallo.


Me ama,

Aquella la amo.



Lava con mucho esmero

El alma mía.

Sol en flor,

Sol en flor,

Barre el humo

De mis ojos.







Upon a road

which forks,


I stand.

One woman

loves me,


I love.



meticulously cleanse

my soul.

The blossoming sun,

the blossoming sun,

sweep the smoke

from my eyes.


_____     _____     _____







Ne ngasi nga laani.

Lu neza zadxaagalulu’

Ca ni bidxagalú cou’

Biá’ dxi

Gúcalu’ bandá’ xtibe;

Ti bi’cu’, ti bihui,

Ti binni.

Gasti’ zadxaa

Ne laaca ca bigose

Guxhuuna’ íquelu’

Gusiquichi ique badunguiiu

Bichaabe lii.

Ne laaca decheyoo

Bizucánelu’ laabe

Gusicabe guendarusiaanda’ xtibe.

Gasti’ zadxaa.

Lii siou’ nga zusácalu’

Guidxilayú ma qui gapa

Xiñee guireexieque,

Ma qui gapa xiñee

quiidxi guendanabani.

Ne zoyaalu’ guendanabani xtilu’,

Ladxido’lo zapapa

Bia’ qui guchendaxhiaasi layú,

Ne nalu’ ne ñeelu’

Zusiaandu’ laaca’,

Qui zánnalu paraa zuhuaalu’,

Ne nisi lulu’, nisi nalu’

Zaniibihuati guiá’ ne guete’.



Se acabó




Se acabó

y eso es todo.

Sobre tus pasos encontrarás

las cosas mismas que hallaste

durante los días

que fuiste su sombre;

Un perro , un cerdo,

una persona.

Nada cambiará

y los mismos zanates

que te ensuciaron la cabeza

blanquearán la del joven

que tomó tu lugar.

Y detrás de la casa

donde se recostaban

ella asentará su olvido.

Nada cambiará,

sin embargo supondrás

que no tiene sentido ya

el movimiento de la tierra,

ya no existen motivos

para afferarse a la vida.

Y morderás tu hombría,

tu corazón vibrará

con las alas a punto de golpear la tierra,

y tus brazos y tus piernas

los pondrás en el olvido,

perdido en tu sitio

te verás moviendo tontamente

los ojos y los brazos de norte a sur.




It’s Over



It’s over…

and that is all.

Along your pathway you will find

the same things you discovered

during the days when you were her shadow:

A dog, a pig,

A person.

Nothing will change…

And the same “zanates”(little crows)

that soiled your head

will whiten that of the young man

who took your place.

And behind the house

where you and she

used to lie,

she will lay down her memory.

Nothing will change…

However, you will think

that the earth’s movement

no longer makes any sense,

that there are no more reasons

to cling to life.

And you will swallow your manly pride;

your heart will pulsate,

its wings nearly striking the ground,

and your arms and legs

will be caste into oblivion…

Lost within your space,

you will find yourself

foolishly moving your eyes and arms

from north to south.





Traducciones del zapoteco al español:  el poeta

Translations from Zapotec into Spanish:  the poet

Traducciones del español al inglés /

Translations from Spanish into English:

©   Carlos Montemayor,  Donald Frischmann,  2004


Poemas de Amor del idioma Maya

Gerardo Can Pat  (1957-1994,

Tibolón, Yucatán, México;

Idioma:  Maya / Language:  Maya)



Teech yeten teen


Wey yóok’olkaabe’ teech yéeten teen,

ka’atulo’on tyo’lal yaakunal núupo’on,

in yaakumech teche’a k’áaten,

yaakumabaa ka’ach to’on ka’atulo’on.


Teche’ mina’anech tin wiknal nejla’e’,

le yaakunale’ p’áat chen túun bejla’e’,

ba’ale’ tene’ leyli’ tin pa’tike’,

le yaabilaj ma’ táan dzikteno’.


Ka’atulo’on t-wayak’taj ya’ankach ba’alo’ob,

ti’ junp’éel lu’umkabil k-ti’al ka’atulo’on,

mix jach chichani’ mix jach nojochi’,

tu p’iis u ti’al k-yaakuntikbaa ka’achij.


Jaytéenak táan k-máan in lochmaj a kaal,

jaytéenak ta wa’ajten a yaakumajen,

le o’olal chan junp’éel ba’al in wojel,

teche’ mixbiik’in  ken a tu’ubsilen.


Tin dzajtech u dzook ba’ax yaan tene’,

in yaakunal yéeten mis juntuusil,

ba’ale’ teche’ we’ek’ech men sajkil,

le o’olal bejla’e’ bey ma’ k’ajobae’.


Wa ti’ junp’éel k’iin ku suut a tuukule’,

wek’ a sajkilil ki’imakunta wóod,

tumen in sa’as tech’ mina’an mixba’al,

juntulili’on tu ka’atéen k’p’áatal.




Tú y yo



En el mundo tú y yo

fuimos hechos inseparables por el amor.

Igual que tú, yo te amo,

juntos el amor nos hizo.


Juntos muchas cosas soñamos:

un mundo sólo para nosotros,

no grande ni pequeño,

exacto para este amor.


¡Cuántas veces caminamos, abrazándonos,

y tú diciendo que me amabas!

Sólo una cosa sé:

no has de olvidarme.


Te entregué lo que tenía:

mi amor sin un solo engaño.

Hoy el miedo te ha derrotado

y por eso parecemos desconocidos.


Pero si algún día tuvieras firme otra vez

el pensamiento

y vencieras este miedo, escucha:

no tengo nada que perdonarte,

otra vez seremos los dos uno solo.




You and I



In this world, you and I

were made inseparable by love.

Just as you love me, I love you.

Love made us as one.


Together, we dreamed of many things:

a world just for us…

not large or small,

but just right for this love.


How many times we walked,

our arms around each other

– and you saying you loved me!

I know just one thing:

you will not forget me.


I gave you all that I had:

my love, without deceit.

Today fear has overcome you

and we are like strangers.


But if some day you were to

recover your reason

and overcome this fear, remember:

I have nothing to forgive you for;

we will again be as one.





Taan a bin



In wojel ta bin, mixbik’in suunakech,

ma’alob xen ta beel, min tuklil in k’áastikech,

in dzíibolale’, ka’a anchak máax yaakuntikech,

wa le ka tuklil, le te’e ku binitiktech.


Ma’tuklil tyo’lal, wa kin p’áatal tin juunal,

kex mixmáak yaanten, ka’a páatak u náayskinwóol,

ma’ táan u páajtal, in k’at-óoltik u laak’ ba’al,

xi iktech ma’alobil x-ch’úupal ki’imakchak a wóol.


Kex túun yajtin wóol, tyo’lal tun tan a p’atken

ma’ tin tuklaje’, wa bey ken a beetiten,

tyo’lal óotzilen, lebeetik ma’ yakuntken,

wa túun ta bine’, mix u suut a wich ti’ ten.


In k’áat-óolale’, xi’iktech yéeten ya’ab utzil,

tumen tin wicho’obe’ táan u yalkab u ja’il,

tyo’lal mixbik’in bin suunaken in wilech,

tu xu’upul in wiik’, tu bin xan in kuxtalil.


Teche’  táan a bin.  Tene’kin p’áatal.




Te vas



Yo sé que te vas y no regresarás.

Si, prosigue tu camino, que no te detendré.

Ojalá haya quien te quiera,

si acaso eso te falta.


No pienses que si quedo solo

no tendré a nadie que me consuele.

¿Que más pudo desear para ti?

Que estés bien, que seas dichosa.


Me lastima que te alejes,

pues nunca pensé que esto hicieras.

Si por mi pobreza te vas,

ni siquiera a mirarme vuelvas.


Pero deseo que te vaya bien.

Corren lágrimas ahora en estos ojos

que nunca te volverán a ver.

Se me acaba el aire junto con mi vida.


Te vas, yo me quedo.



You Are Leaving



I know that you are leaving and will not return.

Yes, follow your path, I won’t stop you.

I hope there will be someone to love you,

if that is what you need.


Don’t think that if I am left alone

I won’t have anyone to console me.

What more can I wish you

– but that you be well, be happy?


It hurts me that you are going away,

since I never thought you would.

If you are leaving because I’m poor,

don’t even look back.


But I hope things go well for you.

Tears now run from these eyes

that will never see you again.

My breath and my life are running out…


You are leaving,  I am staying.




Traducciones del maya al español y inglés:

Translations from Maya into Spanish and English:

©  Carlos Montemayor,  Donald Frischmann,  2004



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