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Manlio Argueta (El Salvador, 1935)

Manlio Argueta

(El Salvador, 1935)

Postcard

My country is a land of lakes, mountain and volcanoes,

but you’d better not come here
stay home.
You won’t like it here. No water lilies float
on our lakes.
The young women don’t look like
bathing beauties.
The roof in the mountain inn leaks like a sieve.
And the sun, the sun! If you aren’t careful
You’ll fry like a fritter.
Kids and dogs pee in the doorways.
Beggars steal bread in the hotels:
you can die of hunger
you can die of rage
never of death death.

Don’t forget the snipers, the car bombs,

the exploding bridges.
Lock your door at three p.m.
If you go out, don’t take your wallet, don’t wear your watch:
A thief might mug you
And snatch your lottery prize.
Oh, yes, be careful not call my country a shit hole,
we’ll tie you to the lamp post on the corner
and rape you
and rip your guts out with one slash.

Make sure you’re not around for a change of government,
I swear to God, you should stay home.

But my country is the land of lakes, mountains and volcanoes.
Drive two kilometers out of the city
And you’ll meet mountain lions and snakes,
giant wasps, scorpions, and spiders.
Best to stay in the city

and fill your lungs with bus fumes,
and listen to car honking
and street vendors yelling.

My country is a land of lakes, mountains and volcanoes
but don´t come here if you want to go on living.

A snake might bite you.
A mountain lion might eat you.
Just stay home, don´t pay for a plane ticket
or a hotel room.
We´d pluck out your eyeballs and gobble them up.
Or there might be a bomb, a stray bullet, a flower
with dynamite.
And your bones devoured by ants…
And your bones devoured…
Your bones…
And your… and…

Translated by Jo Ann Engelbert.

Última actualización: 28/06/2018