Outside Times Ten and One Within

09-23 Castellon
Blanca Castellón
Nicaraguan
b. 1958

 

I
Outside

is desert
keen to be river

there’s laughter I don’t listen to

folk walk around
whose hearing is blind

outside no hugs are given
there’s haste and abysses

bridges have gone missing

II
Outside

there are no dogs in the street
no tiny red turtles

not one lizard
basking in rooftop sun

III
Outside

is the moon whose breast
gapes with wounds

a plague of poets
fouls the silence

the tree says goodbye to its roots
and no one feels sad

art like crime
leaves its trail of clues

IV
Outside

there’s dirty linen
shamelessly displayed

trash is deep
outside it’s sickening

deep is the past
deep the future

there’s dried-up vomit
in the volcano’s crater

field on field
of lamentation

there’s Washington
Iraq
Somalia
Haiti

V
Outside

it’s dangerous
to break the spell

there are black verses
forever on everyone’s lips

outside I panic
the sweet names
are exhausted

VI
Outside

there’s no cosy bed
no sheet without stains

no eye pure in its seeing
no easy distances

no mother
no father

outside is a landscape
of forgotten letters

VII
Outside

a child
bursts waiting into tears

there are ulcers in the shadows

traffic in caprice
and other narcotics

books no one will read
outside is absence

VIII
Outside there’s reliable evidence
of angels who rain down coffee

there are tricksters
old photographs

clever flowers
that fade on cue

outside dreams hurt
and drums rumble with evil

cracks in the earth
are spreading

IX
Outside

the poor come back
to die in traps

there’s hunger and a
closed horizon

outside is long

narrow
dry

there’s dust
bones

and a welter of bodies
in a common sky

X
Outside

another outside
is under construction.

XI
Within

joy is here within
deep within

dig
and water gushes

within is Nicaragua.

Celebration of the Body

08-13 Zamora
Daisy Zamora
Nicaraguan
b. 1950

 

I love this body of mine that has lived life,
its hip flask outline, its softness of water,
the spurting of hair that crowns my cranium,
the crystal glass of a face, its delicate base
that ascends faultless from shoulders and collarbone.

I love my back, gullible to turned-off stars,
my revealed hills, fountains of the chest
that provide the first sustenance of the species.
Coming out of the ribs, mobile waist
overflowing and warm vessel of my stomach.

I love the moon curve of my hips,
moulded by alternate pregnancies,
the vast roundness of the wave of my gluteals,
and my legs and feet, foundations and support of the temple.

I love the handful of dark petals, the hidden fleece
that stores the dawning mystery of paradise,
the humid cavity where blood flows
and living water shoots out.

This hurting body of mine that gets sick,
that festers, that coughs, that perspires,
secretes moods, feces, saliva,
and that gets tired, exhausted, and withers.

Living body, link that assures
the infinite chain of successive bodies.
I love this body made of the purest mud:
seed, root, sap, flower, and fruit.

Love Poem

June Beer
Nicaraguan
1935 – 1986

 

Oscar, yuh surprise me
assin far a love poem.

Ah sing a song a love fa meh contry
small contry, big lite
hope fa de po’, big headache fa de rich.
Mo’ po’ dan rich in de worl
mo’ peeple love fa meh contry

Fa meh contry name Nicaragua
Fa meh peeple ah love dem all
Black, Miskito, sumu, Rama, Mesitizo,
So yuh see fa me, love poem complete
‘Cause ah love you too.
Dat no mek me erase de moon
An de star fran de firmament.

Only somehow wen ah remenba
how yuh bussing yo ass
to defend dis sunrise, an keep back
de night fran fallin,
ah know dat tomara we will have time
fa walk unda de moon an stars.
Dignify an free, sovereign
Children a Sandino.

May

Gioconda Belli
Nicaraguan
b. 1948

 

Kisses don’t wither
like the flowers of the malinche tree,
hard shells of seeds don’t grow over my arms;
I’m always flowering
with this internal rain,
like the green patios in May
and I laugh because I love the wind and the clouds
and the singing birds that pass overhead,
even though I’m entangled with memories,
covered with ivy like old walls,
I go on believing in the secret whisperings,
the strength of wild horses,
the winged message of gulls.

I believe in the countless roots of my song.

Rain

Claribel Alegria
Nicaraguan
1924 – 2018

 

As the falling rain
trickles among the stones
memories come bubbling out.
It’s as if the rain
had pierced my temples.
Streaming
streaming chaotically
come memories:
the reedy voice
of the servant
telling me tales
of ghosts.
They sat beside me
the ghosts
and the bed creaked
that purple-dark afternoon
when I learned you were leaving forever,
a gleaming pebble
from constant rubbing
becomes a comet.
Rain is falling
falling
and memories keep flooding by
they show me a senseless
world
a voracious
world–abyss
ambush
whirlwind
spur
but I keep loving it

because I do
because of my five senses
because of my amazement
because every morning,
because forever, I have loved it
without knowing why.

Fatality

Rubén Darío
Nicaraguan
1867 – 1916

 

The tree is happy because it is scarcely sentient;
the hard rock is happier still, it feels nothing:
there is no pain as great as being alive,
no burden heavier than that of conscious life.

To be, and to know nothing, and to lack a way,
and the dread of having been, and future terrors…
And the sure terror of being dead tomorrow,
and to suffer all through life and through the darkness,

and through what we do not know and hardly suspect…
And the flesh that temps us with bunches of cool grapes,
and the tomb that awaits us with its funeral sprays,
and not to know where we go,
nor whence we came!