Retomada / Reclaimed

 

Street art in Floriano, Brazil. Photo: @chrisvonkoenig, Unsplash.

Editor’s Note: This text is available to read in the original Portuguese and in translation to Spanish and English. Scroll down to read in English, and click here to read in Spanish.

 


 

Retomada

Como você se atreve a nos chamar de pobres hoje
Se foi você que tirou nossa terra?

Como você se atreve a nos chamar de feios 
Depois de ter violado nossas mulheres?

Como você se atreve a nos chamar de preguiçosos 
Se foi você que nos matou de trabalhar?

Não somos pobres
Fomos empobrecidos

Não somos feios
Fomos embranquecidos

Não somos preguiçosos
Fomos escravizados, tutelados

Então, como você se atreve?

Há luas e luas
Nossos ancestrais teceram nossa história de glória
Por isso lutamos para reaver:
A terra que nos foi roubada,
A voz silenciada
O corpo ocultado

Nossas belezas
Nossos encantados
Nossos povos
Nossas vidas

Então 
Nunca mais se atreva a nos diminuir no seu espelho.

 


 

Reclaimed
 
How dare you call us poor today 
when you were the one who snatched our lands?
 
How dare you call us ugly
when you were the one who raped our women?
 
How dare you call us lazy
when you were the one who killed us with inhuman hours of work?
 
We are not poor
We were impoverished
 
We are not ugly
We were whitened
 
We are not lazy
We were enslaved and guarded
 
So how do you dare?
 
Moon after moon
Our ancestors weaved our glorious history
And so we fight to reclaim:
The stolen land
The silenced voice 
The hidden body
Our beauty
Our incantations
Our peoples
Our existences
 
So,
Nevermore dare to humiliate us, looking at your own reflection.

Translated by Christian Elguera

 

 

Christian Elguera is a Lecturer in Spanish at The University of Oklahoma and a visiting professor at Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (Lima, Peru). He has a PhD in Iberian and Latin American Languages and Literatures from The University of Texas at Austin. His research is concerned with the production and circulation of cultural translations by and about Amerindian peoples from the 16th century to present in Abiayala, particularly in Andean and Amazonian areas. His forthcoming monograph, Traducciones territoriales: defensoras y defensores de tierras indígenas en Perú y Brasil, analyzes poems, chronicles, radio programs, and paintings enacted by Quechua, Munduruku, Yanomami, and Ticuna subjects in order to defy the dispossessions, extermination, and ecocides promoted by the Peruvian and Brazilian States. Alongside his political interest in the struggles of Indigenous Nations, he researches the relationship between Marxism and the Peruvian Avant-Garde Poetry of the 1920s and 1930s. In this regard, he will publish the book El marxismo gótico de Xavier Abril: decadencia y revolución transnacional en El autómata (Ediciones MYL, 2021).

Languages

LALT No. 18
Number 18

In our eighteenth issue, we feature the work of beloved Cuban poet Reina María Rodríguez alongside that of João Cabral de Melo Neto, renowned Brazilian poet and third Latin American winner of the Neustadt Prize. We also highlight Latin American women poets, indigenous literature from Brazil, new works in translation, and a return to the essay through the words of Mariano Picón Salas.

Table of Contents

Editor's Note

Featured Author: Reina María Rodríguez

Dossier: João Cabral de Melo Neto

Fiction

Poetry

Essays

Interviews

Brazilian Literature

Indigenous Literature

Translation Previews and New Releases

On Translation

On Translation: Seeking Publisher

On the Essay

Nota Bene