Poetry

By Gema Santamaría

Afterglow 

Nicaragua, they tricked your children

or perhaps you tricked them yourself.

You felt content and abundant in your foreign elite,

in the whiteness of your ruling class.

 

  Nicaragua,

on the shiny mirror of the empire's boots

you lay down your pride

and abandoned reason.

 

The Yankee's boot is nothing but your brother’s new polished boots,

the bright white teeth of the office boy who still dreams of being a landowner. 

 

Nicaragua, I see you in the dying fowl eating their own entrails,

 on the dusty roads of underdevelopment;

on the 19th of July drunk,

 swinging your hips, moving your sex

in front of the smoking platform where they sell dry ice and fluorescent lights. 

 

Nicaragua, you are the pretentiousness of your children returned from Miami,

the rage of those who stayed behind,

the restlessness of those who travel to Tica land,

 feeling themselves second class citizens in a third world country. 

 

Nica, where are your flowers,

where is your pinolero smile and your insolence,

where the revolutionary glamor of yesteryear that kept

the hearts of Europeans and Americans alike warm;

where your glow, your bold and lightsome repertoire of imperatives:

vení, oíme, volvé, tené, mirame... 

 

Today you reinvent yourself in an elite of your own,

equally extractive, exploitative;

an elite that speaks your language,

dressed in olive green,

in emerald green,

in rotten green. 

 

Nicaragua, I see you turning into a huge landfill,

your people have the crystalline eyes of rage,

the restless eyes of those seeking revenge.

That is why you stand before the mirror and drink the revolutionary potion of yesterday,

because of  today's reaction

because of today's oblivion

because of the slippery promise of that which never was. 

 

Nicaragua, I see you in the teethless and flagless death,

in the firm and curved stomach of the animals of your kingdom,

 in your children trafficking their warm in exchange of the dollar dreams of the foreigner. 

 

I see you in your scorched earth,

in your religion of monumental virgins cast of stone whose tears will never cry;

in your blackouts,

 in your channel of Chinese tales,

 in your prejudices and your cycles of revenge,

in your sense of humor and your hammocks,

in your children piled behind the ever more grim silhouette of Sandino. 

 

Nicaragua, your smoky capitalism looks like ours,

like that of all Latin Americans,

waiting on the dry rivers banks that the steaming boats push us

to the other side,

into the other side,

where the dream green color sinks into the bottom of an incandescent sea.

 

 

Letter written at the age of thirty

-My mother says I was born in the midst of the war-

 

In the city and in the mountain,

fire opened up with the strongest of weapons:

that of a people that shouts patria or death

with a full throat

with a sharpened heart.

 

- Yesterday we were born small. Today we will be giants-

 

The sky broke. The children had known it for a long time:

that raging thunder was not the sound of fiesta,

it was the dry tremor of fear,

the spicy smell of gunpowder.

 

-Nicaragua free, Nicaragua-

 

I was born in the middle of the blood,

in the sky-blue corridors of that broken hospital.

Wounded, wounded in the flesh

wounded, never dead in the heart.

 

- "Christ has been born," they sang in mass-

 

And the fields dyed with red flowers

 and the city painted with signs of rebellion

but sisters and brothers, the war does not end

Oh, oh, this is just beginning.

 

-And the winter poured its warm rain over Managua-

 

My mother prayed to the Italian saint,

to the young woman whose faith opened her flesh,

while giving birth, while crying out

end the war, end the war, saint.

 

"The most beautiful flower," they sang to you, Nicaragua-

 

Every revolution ends.

30 years later and brothers, sisters,

 they eat their hunger, boredom, rage.

 

 My mother says that I was born in the midst of the war

but this war, has not ended.

 

 

Night in Managua, after the death of the roosters

Tonight’s throat is reddened.

She has shouted and is sick.

She sleeps on the floor, at the end of a white and illuminated room.

 

She is a fat pink swine.

 

Against the corner, she laments.

She has lost her lucidity and all her nails are broken.

 

She is dizzy

She is drunk.

 

This night does not have a bed where to urinate her fears.

That is why she crawls over the moldy roofs.

She feeds off the widows’ moss and steam left behind by children,

while sleeping.

 

The roosters that put an end to her delirium have died.

Only the crickets crack in the hours’ eternal garden.

 

She is alone with her mouse hole-mouth

she is tense

she is upset and hot.

 

We sleep in the gray stain

of her throat.

 

We dream of being dreamers.

We have not tried her edge.

We do not know her knives.