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        BLACK MAJESTY

Down the scorching Antillean street
Goes Tembandumba of the Quimbamba
Between two rows of black faces
—Rumba, macumba, candombe, bámbula.
Before her, a congo band thumps
A bombastic conga—gongos and maracas.

Steatopygously the Queen steps up
And her immense buttocks with drums collide
So that seductive wiggles slide
In curdled rivers of sugar and molasses.
Brown-skinned mill of sweet sensation,
Her colossal hips, those massive mortars,
Make rhythms ooze, sweat bleed like blood,
And all this grinding ends in dance.

Down the scorching Antillean street
Goes Tembandumba of the Quimbamba.
Flower of Tórtola, Rose of Uganda,
For you the bombas and bambulas crackle.
For you these feverish nights go wild
And set on fire Antilla’s ñáñiga blood.
Haiti offers you its gourds;
Jamaica pours its fiery rums;
Cuba tells you, give us what you got, mulata!
And Puerto Rico: melao, melamba!

Get down, my black-faced love-crazed rascals.
Jangle, drums, and jiggle, maracas.
Down the scorching Antillean street
Goes Tembandumba of the Quimbamba
—Rumba, macamba, candombe, bámbula.

autógrafo
Luis Palés Matos
English Translation: Paquito D'Rivera


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