Agneta Falk, Sweden

Por: Agneta Falk

Latinoamerican Poetry Magazine
84-85. July 2008.



The world’s cock
has run amok.
Inside it live
a million slaves.

Inside this gluttonous
pee-pee hole that can’t
have enough quick enough cheap enough,
it stiffens to a Heil or Hallelujah

in a pimpled jock-strap,
stretches its greed
to grab at saplings
from the third world

who are comatose
with fear and obedience
as it spreads its spermatosis
allover nature’s sweet breath.

These lascivious beasts
waddle about in porno-space
without a stitch of shame
and play hide and suck,

and the world’s innocence
again and again and again
is mortally



Big Shawl’s into the usury racket,
he wounds the pockets of the unemployed.

Rain or shine
hunger starts yelling taunts over our house.

Misfortune knocks.
What we ask water
We don’t ask fire!

O there are those who say
it’s the shadow of the wind they see passing
like a procession
of loonies
on the road of truth.

The sea sits down,
it’s sanding our rowboat from underneath.



I told Jack
the Artibonite River’s a snake
that slithers through the banana leaves.
Jack splits.
He goes
with the life that flows downward.

I was  sleeping.
I couldn’t find a rock for support.
I couldn’t find ground to stand on.
I was sleeping.

All waters meet in water
to tell tales behind my back.
Some days I lean my head
against the trunk of a banana tree
like a kalenderik’s* egg cracking open.
The Goslin River descends into my eyes,
you don’t see it.
The Artibonite descends into my eyes,
you don’t see it.

The Voldrog River comes down with a bunch of chairs,
it doesn’t offer me a seat.

   *a mythical animal




A barge with odds and ends at night on the sea!
I won’t say this, I won’t say that.

People on the sea, heads turning,
their bellies empty, their hearts full.
They find their hair
in the teeth of resigned combs.
I won’t say this, I won’t say that.
Just that it’s so!




The snail makes its house turn
on top of its head like a minute-hand.
We burst out laughing.

We burst out laughing
but the snail always stands
at the door of its house.

O man, when you see a snake
walking upright,
remember, it’s we who are crooked, dig?!



When we’re tired of hearing the sun shout,
we stand up in front of the riverboat
in order to cross into the dream.

It’s a funny thing!
I tremble, a hard piece of chalk
in the hand of a little kid.



Mango tree is swallowing a bowl of flies
in one gulp.
Me? I swallow nothing!

The Mez house,
The Brant house,
set table places for dogs.
For a little something solid, they’ll
soon ask for spoons.



We never talk in the voodoo vessel:
it carries windy voices.
Our own jug
carries spring-water
for those who thirst for vengeance,
for those who want to rise up.

When the blood calms down,
we can’t speak the same way


All doors open in the middle of the night.
All doors close in the middle of the night.

                                         Houses stand
                                       like wading birds
                                            with water
                                               their feet.

The sea runs through the whole town
with a torn wedding dress.



Every time the rainbow spreads out
with a stone in its brain,
a spring bursts at my face.

It’s not weeping I’m weeping.
It’s the water in my eyes barking
in its own way.
It’s the water in my eyes coming down
in its own way, yes,
to carry misery away.



Sand in my eyes, river water.

Evening steps on the tail of the day
but we stand up, hands at our jaws
all day long.

Sand in the water’s eye,
the river goes on and on,
forgetting us here,
carrying us away.



Don’t let the basin of their
blood sin reach the ground.
Don’t let, don’t let.
Don’t let them go on singing about us!

Haven’t they made that warship now?

Blood’s made its bed on Okap Street.
If the fire of shame burns the face
it’s in the power of water to wash it away.
A headache’s fire burns but leaves no ashes.

Don’t let the basin of their blood discolor
the clothese of our children.
Don’t let, don’t let.
Don’t let their warship draw near.

The sea to the North is washing its clothes,
fuck! don’t let them bother me.



At the cemetery
all the riders dismount their horses
Right there the horses turn into grass.

Nearby, all the dust coming from the houses
says good morning to death
as it’s normal to.

As it’s normal to,
the rainbow empties its drawer nearby
in order to hand out pen-points and red ink
to the children.



In my tiny region

I see a beautiful horse running at top speed,
I thought it was me riding it.

I didn’t realize it was age
that had mounted me.



O my country,

your fire is lit by your eyes,
in my very inner depths it burns me.
Only the water in my eyes
is always falling to the ground
at my feet.



kids stop up
the mouths of ants
for a bit of bread.

Like a boat that’s lost its destiny
that’s teetering
on sinking.

Little broken-mast boat
which once carried life
but finishes like chalk dust
that the wind’s erasing
under the moonshine thicket.



By what logic are they seeking reason

They fire on the ground as usual.
They look for extra in the ordinary.
They fire in the air

The rainbow’s wounded
but it’s blood that’s flowing.



We climbed onto the scaffold of the sea
to gaze further out.
Rumors fly, rumors come back.

The snail that leaves its house behind---
the rain drenches it.

Hey! We look at life with the back of a mirror
so we don’t see the color of our faces,

So we don’t see poverty mixing
all the countryside kids
like watercolors.



When I’m a little hungry
it’s a crust of bread that pinches my dream.

When I’m really famished
I stop dreaming,
I open an alley of stone
at the foot of the mango tree of a bourgie’s house.

Even the hounds at the archbishop’s house
recognize I’m mad as a dog.



All night long,
the sea scolds Cap-Hatian,
soaping it up real clean.

The river passes by very
sweet feet.



The cry of the jellyfish begins in the sea.
Our own cry,
tell me, where does it end?

We take off in dugouts,
we stop breast-feeling, we escape,
we find ourselves going to meet
the umbilicus of lies
all the way into exile.

There are people here who’d drink
all the water in the sea
in order to keep telling themselves lies.



Doesn’t it look like we’re caught in glue?
Here come the birds dying
in our hair!

Once we were pecking at food
like birds in the woods!
Today we’re like people
picking up the moon off the ground.



In Civic Center, every New Year’s Day
all the feet of the big shady trees stand up with false teeth
and swear at the mother of the sun.
What you want,
even when the rain doesn’t fall,
water getting in my eyes.



It’s ants what make the dead laugh.
It’s grass underfoot what makes the dead laugh.
Let the dead laugh their laugh, no?!

Blood’s in the cockfight arena,
the land’s red with blood
All the cocks stand before the mirror,
sharpening poverty’s spurs.

The same-old grimace every day.
Everyday the Artibonite spreads out
on a little pile of rocks so it can cry.



It’s when you pound your bed in the damp evening air
you know the nickname of the sun.

But in Port-au-Prince streets
all words make the noise of chains.

Our eyes are open, our mouths closed.



At the crossroads of water
I see the rain falling,
I see the sun rising.
At the crossroads of water
I’m all mixed up.

The Artibonite becomes a snake
sucking a child’s momma.



A single cry for help lifts the country.
Tangles all guts up.
Radio claims
it’s the wind leading the sun
down to the sea
in order to smother it.



A wrinkled mask on a face,
Death stands popping its shirt-buttons
at the crossroads of doubletalk,
it’s tangling
with skinny skelety kids.

Ai! They whack our dream
in our wattles.
We stand up like wet



If water doesn’t flow in our midst
how will we push our ship?
You’re here, you’re not here.

When you’re not here
what is it in the sea without a bridle
that gallops, mane in the wind,
onto the land?
The sea--- it’s dirty little water
in a puddle, all a puff of smoke passing
in order to oust misfortune.
When you’re not there, you’re there.



My country’s a place where the sea’s mouth is split
spread out on rocks, it needs to fight.
But also in my country
it’s madigras time,
it’s big-head, little-idea time.

Seems like, in my country,
we open windows
to see the carnival passing by,

the sun makes faces at us.



People are making shaky nests
on the sea.

What the bed-sheet promises, sleeping wraps up.

All night long
drum calls to drum
like cats in the darkness.



Bleeding on the hook
like fish.

All our dreams
are dizziness.
We had too much faith
in sucker words.

We put our feet in the water,
we’re bleeding on the hook
like fish.



A skinny dog on Senmark St.
wants to carry news of meat to the cows,
They bite their tongues.
But in the land where I come from
all meat is HAMCO meat.



A butterfly undresses in the fire,
aaying: Take me!
burn their old clothes for me!
It stands up very softly.
Night comes near, enfolds it.

It’s a poor man’s New Year that begins.
Nobody’s on the streets.
Night climbs the greased pole
in Civic Center.
The two Palace of Justice lions are laughing
in their double-chins.



Tissue-paper men, they,
Twiggy-waisted women,
big mud uncles,

they take foreign haircuts
with a mirror to look behind,
without a mirror to look ahead.

Water worms its way entering into their motor.

On Funeral St., history walks with them.
They make flowers laugh at them.



Ever since the Palace of Justice lion was tiny,
a jelly-baby,
Haitian authorities have been overturning inkwell ink
onto the people’s cause.

We grow our wisdom teeth.
We stop grinning.




Since we were born,
we see Americans entering as masters
to lead life to the cemetery.


When the authorities see our heavy heart,
in order to make it happy
they promise us
they’ll make poverty get fat.




Go bring a spoon to the dead.
That’s what you’ll get in return!

We’re tired of dying for you,
State cats.
We’re tired of dying for you,
big landowner.

Inside the cemetery
candles swallow butterflies,
swallow butterflies,
spit bits of wings on the ground.

Holy Moly!
our gourds have turned upside-down,
we’re throwing earth on the dead.
We’re throwing earth on the landowners
who think they’re the only bosses on board.

Natalia Rendón

Agneta Falk is a poet and visual artist, born in Stockholm 1946. After studying drama and literature, she moved to England in the late Sixties, where she worked as a teacher of drama, communication, literacy and creative writing. From 1992-1999 she was the co-director of Word Hoard, promoting writing in the community and organizing poetry events. For seven years she ran a women’s writing group and also worked with people in recovery and the mentally handicapped. She’s had several writing commissions, in collaboration with photographers and artists. For her first book in English, Here by Choice ( Trigram Press, 1980), she received a writer’s bursary from Yorkshire Arts. She co-edited The Long Pale Corridor with Judi Benson, ( Bloodaxe, 1995), an anthology of bereavement poems, the first of its kind.
In the late Nineties she moved to San Francisco, where she frequently reads her poetry and exhibits. Part of the year she spends in Italy and England, where she reads at festivals and other events. It’s not Love/It’s Love was published was by Multimedia Edizioni in 2000. Her poetry has been translated into many languages, and a forthcoming book of poems is being published in Venezuela later this year. She’s deeply committed to working against trafficking, and has used it as a subject in her poetry. At present she’s working on her next book of poems.

Here by Choise, was published by Trigram Press, London in 1980. In 1996 she co-edited with Judy Benson for a major anthology of elegiac poems, The Long Pale Corridor, published by Bloodaxe Books, England. In the millennium, Multimedia Edizioni, Italy, published their most important poetry collection in a bilingual edition, It's Not Love, It's Love. Her most recent books are Heart Muscle (Multimedia Editions, 2009, bilingual) and She, published in Los Angeles, 2009 by Caza de Poesia.

Última actualización: 25/01/2022