lunes, octubre 30, 2006

Two Poems from Sydnee Stewart

American Arrogance

We are conditioned, oppressed, depressed, accessed

Excused, confused and intrusive.

We are proud, rude and cruel.

We choose capitalism as a spiritual tool.

We are corporate, ignorant, combative, consumers

and humorous.

We are intimidators and interrogators.

We are litigious and imperialists.

We exploit our young and discard our old.

We convince ourselves we are just

Just because

We are Americans.

We are leaders, teachers, students and philosophers.

We are believers, volunteers, dreamers and achievers.

We are mathematicians, astronauts and iconoclasts.

We are Americans.

We have landed on the moon yet have no use for

Harmony with humans.

We are global yet local

We are survivors lost and slaves paid for with a cost.

We are abusers and users mistrusted for

corruption and consumption.

Who can believe an American?

Will repentance reap grief from decadent soil?

Who is to blame for a tarnished name?

Only an American knows which side

the green grass grows.


We wild women ride railroads with combat boots strapped and laced tightly

Protecting our young like sheep our children who sleep with nightmares

We keep our emotions frozen from fiction in history books

We the daughters of Sheba, heirs to the throne

We imbibe on intuition

We bear our burdens on backs barren our gender specific

We are the superwomen

The ladies who give birth to revolutions in boardrooms

Break rooms, bedrooms, bodegas and brothels

Some of us finance romance because of personal circumstance

We survive

We build bridges that generations will cross

We crochet uniforms for marching armies

We pray, repeat mantras, we chant and sing warrior lullabies

We connect with ancestors for answers to questions that six year olds conceive

In Georgia where blood colored soil echoes dreams of four little angels

We climb heights with deer and send out warnings about lightning and thunder

Rain washes our wounds clean and we are positioned for battle again

Our memories are like elephants and our swords are like tusks

We travel in packs and use our weapons when necessary

Our words pierce through flesh that is diseased

We bring forth healing in our metaphors

Some of us are doctors. Some of us midwives.

Some of us serve as counsel and the rest of us wait.

We use our gifts and barter with our dignity to gain honor

We consider property, friends and fruit.

We choose carefully.

Our wisdom has been the passport on this journey

We rub cocoa butter on scars and mend broken bones

We survive

We look until we find the red orange yellow sunset

We sleep until we are tired of being tired

We rise until we kiss the sky

Our mothers are silent because they cannot speak

It is our time now and we have to rely on the moon inside of us

The tide is current. The tomatoes are ripe and the harvest is ready

It is the woman in the mirror who will make history hers

Change around physics to make the earth rotate with her cycle

We are the axis. The center of creation consistent with theology

The marrow in our bones is where Solomon hid his riches

We are virtuous and yet simple complicated and creative

We the mothers of nature daughters of the dusk

Our names are written by scribes and translated into hieroglyphics

We are Julie Dash, Dorothy Dandridge, Lisa Zuré, Martha Stewart, Shab Bahadori, Matahari, Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Madam CJ Walker, Zora Neal Hurston, Brenda Stewart, Barbara Walters and Betty Boop

We are the sisters of Lotus. Fuck Charlie.

We love him but this poem is about us!

We forget and we remember

We are welfare mothers with no man at home and five mouths to feed

We succeed

We are crack heads with habits trading places with movie stars

We breed

We are aid to dependent children

We breathe

We are public in our quests to conquer the world

We dream

We are the heads of state, chairmen of the board, senators and presidents

We are free

As we walk miles on roads less traveled with shoes tight around our ankles

The footprints we make are indelibly recorded in the computers of little girls

Who in turn play hopscotch with other little girls and they pass the lessons on to little boys

Our names are documented in court dockets

Scribbled on prison walls in notebooks and typed in code by paralegals.

We are eagles

We aid and abet we teach the alphabet to kindergarten classes

We help the illiterate we make breakfast for the poor and needy

We build homes for the homeless

We make no excuses and apologize only to ourselves

We are the superwomen. We call ourselves She short for Supershero

Our men call us blessed and learn Lamaze

They purify our breast milk for us when we are sleeping. When we sleep

Our spiritual teachers send messages and we use the ocean to interpret

The moon changes our moods and so we are balanced

We believe in ourselves and so we are brilliant

We use the colors of aura to paint our destinies

We are infinity.

We are the Superwomen. We call ourselves She short for Supershero

We discern decipher and identify bullshit with ease.

In our suffering and pain we have conceded

We wild women ride railroads with combat boots strapped and laced tightly

So only the unattainable can render us insane.

Sydnee Stewart is a performance poet, actor and writer. She has won various poetry slams and competitions, was featured in the Langston Hughes documentary called Hughes’ Dream Harlem, which aired on the cable networks BLACKSTARZ, was a featured poet on BET’s Lyric Café and starred in a feature film called Everyday People which premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, the prestigious New Director’s Film Festival at Lincoln Center and is aired on HBO.

At present, Stewart is completing her second book of prose and poetry with an accompanying musical poetry album. She has been featured in The New York Times, Variety, Jane and People, and has published works African Voices, Rolling Out, QBR Magazine, The Lasting Joy (1998), America at the Millennium (2000), Signifyin’ Harlem (2002/2003), and Under a Quicksilver Moon. She is currently writing a screenplay.

Four Poems from Surekha Vijh


travel in an orbit,
through space: we think—
we know ––
we control—
we brag about
our mortal bodies—
skin, hair and eye color, private mansions,
exclusive neighborhoods
until object disintegrates into a million parts
just like the Shuttle Columbia
giving back to Mother Nature
within the fold of five elements.
Where do we learn who we are?
No barricades,
no boundaries
or borders in Space.
Earth looks a tiny marble,
its inhabitants invisible.
Only visible is blue water
and brown land, celebrating
the unity of earth and sky,
humanity and cosmos.
Seers and sages throughout time
and now the astro-explorers
narrate the lesson clearly—
We are only visitors
We are not owners.


A rose arrived
in early summer
without a buzz, a murmur.
Nature played adroitly,
its finest symphony.
Splendor touched the mundane.
The raindrops fell gently
on leaves, buds and flowers.
Composing an aria.
And a new cavatina.
My heart beat stopped,
absent for awhile. Then
the bud turned blue
its acceptance questioned.
My rose was depetaled---
by strong winds.


day they
crucify the messiah

the name of color,
race and religion.

day they find reasons
to fight wars on Earth,

power, greed
or just for fun:

Darius, Babar,
Caesar, Napoleon

others fought
the wars for

of evil,
for bringing unity, for

or for colorless continuum.

war a necessity
or only an occupation?

this war is
another story.

I will try to understand….


the stars you arrived – crossing
the cosmos, the atmosphere, then touching
the peak of the Himalayas,

in the pure and purple Ganges, you arrived
in my prayers, as if emerging
from the sacrificial fire of Maha Yajna, from fire

Dropadi, who rose to the history and
became a Queen. From earth, she, Sita, who
rose to the height of the sky,

Lady. From a child of negligence, he,
Prahlad, became the pathfinder and guide
and others who found a nourishing place.

say all this to give you strength and meaning.
You too, most cheery, most sparkling
sought a virtuous vision within my heart.

wishful presence, although cut short,
enlivened my being. Was I to pray along
for your stay? Should I cry for your loss?

gentle essence in human form.
Will I eventually arrive at my destination
to rock you? Or will I seek forgiveness

you. The song you started still
hums its wondrous tune, although my eyes never
saw you blossoming, all that magnificence,

change a seed into a plant,
watching your tender gestures, glorious pranks,
pure ragas when cried - I miss the companionship

mother and children—
The whole of that experience. The majestic
lapses of “life” in my lap.

Mahayjna: grand
fire sacrifice
Raga: Indian classical notes
Sita, Dropadi and Prahalad: characters from Indian mythology

Born in India, Surekha Vijh was educated in India, England and the USA, receiving her master’s degrees in English Literature, journalism and bachelor’s degree in sciences. A published and award winning author, she concentrates on domestic and international affairs and human-interest issues. Her journalistic career has involved work for The Washington Times, Capitol Hill, United Nations, The Times of India, and the BBC while also contributing to various local newspapers, magazines and TV and radio programs. She leads poetry workshops and readings internationally at various universities, colleges and book festivals. Her published works include poetry books Without Echo, Until the Next Harvest and Uttrarddh Kavita and poetry anthologies. Surekha’s works are often a reflection of her travels, and the cultures she encounters, prompting her works to be translated into many languages. She lives in New York City and Washington DC.

miércoles, octubre 04, 2006

Two Poems by Gonzalo Rojas in New English Translations by Andrew Baron

Beautiful Darkness

As of last night I’ve touched you and I’ve felt you
unless my hand from my hand flew
unless my body flew, or what I knew:
in a manner almost new,
I’ve felt you.

Pulsing, not knowing
whether like blood or clouds I’m
through the house on tiptoe, darkness coming
darkness cheating you ran through here shining.

You ran through my wooden house,
You opened its windows
And I felt you shake the entire night.
Daughter of the abyss silent in your
Spite so terrible so slight
That as much as everything might
Be for me it’s not
without your light.

Oscuridad Hermosa

Anoche te he tocado y te he sentido
sin que mi mano huyera más allá de mi mano
sin que mi cuerpo huyera, ni mi oído:
de un modo casi humano
te he sentido.

no se si como sangre o como nube
por mi casa, en puntillas, oscuridad que sube,

oscuridad que baja, corriste, centelleante.

Corriste por mi casa de Madera
sus ventanas abriste
y te sentí latir la noche entera,
hija de los abismos, silenciosa,
guerrera, tan terrible, tan Hermosa
que todo cuanto existe
para mi, sin tu llama, no existiera.

Subject of Summer

Out of great mercy runs the water in its transparent
vibration and today is Tuesday, and
running south the wind
that comes from God.
years old the man, and his 5 or 6 years left
are cherry trees
shaken by the wings
of butterflies.
From here
The diamond-fold memory would think
on its own: Praised be
that lost wanderer that sees one by one
all the stars at midday and ears the earth
down to its core, as he himself is earth
of rebirth, and spins
the thread of his movement
with mind clear and gaze
fixed. Praised
in him the other him be illumined.

Pasto del Verano

Entre mucha merced va el agua en la vibración
de la transparencia y hoy es Martes, y
corre sur que es el viento
que viene de Dios,
son los años del hombre, y lo que sobra
5 o 6 son cerezos
estremecidos por el resplandor
de las mariposas.
De ahí acaso
que la memoria diamantina piense
para si:-- Alabado
el longevo por
errante y perdedor, que va una a una
todas las estrellas al mediodía y oye a la tierra
por dentro en cuanto él mismo es tierra
de reniñez y además hila
el hilo de su traslación
con seso lúcido y plazo
parco. Alabado
en él el otro el alumbrado.

Gonzalo Rojas was born in 1917 in Ovalle, Chile. He has published many collections of poetry, among them Contra La Muerte (1964), El Alumbrado (1986), and Antología del Aire (1991). He has served various positions as a professor of literature in Utah, Germany and Venezuela and was awarded the Premio Reina Sofia de Poesía de España in 1992. Cinco Visiones, his selected poems, was published in 1992 by La Universidad de Salamanca y Patrimonio Nacional.

Gonzalo Rojas nació en 1917 en Ovalle, Chile. Sus colecciones de poesía incluyen Contra La Muerte (1964), El Alumbrado (1986), y Antología del Aire (1991). Ha tenido varias posiciones de professor de literatura en Utah, Alemania y Venezuela, y ganó el Premio Reina Sofia de Poesía de España en 1992. Cinco Visiones, una selección de su obra poética, fue publicada en 1992 por La Universidad de Salamanca y Patrimonio Nacional.

Andrew Baron translated Gonzalo Rojas' book Cinco Visiones as part of a translation project at the University of Utah in 2001. Translations printed here are from his collection All Echoes and Shadows: A Selection of Poetry in Translation. He currently works as a Latino community organizer in Portland, Oregon.

Andrew Baron tradujo el libro Cinco Visiones de Gonzalo Rojas como parte de una projecta mas de traducción poética a La Universidad de Utah en 2001. Las traducciones en este edición viene de su colección All Echoes and Shadows: A Selection of Poetry in Translation. Andrew trabaja como organizador en la comunidad hispana en Portland, Oregon.