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The thing is I have a fractured nose
the tico Lizano gave me with a brick
because I said it was obviously a foul
and he said no, no, no
I’ll never again turn my back on a Guatemalan soccer player
Father Achaerandio nearly died of fright
since in the end there was more blood than on an Aztec altar
and then it was Quique Soler who hit me in the right eye
with the most perfectly thrown rock you can imagine
sure we were only trying to reenact the landing on Okinawa
but what I got was a ruptured retina
a month confined to bed (at eleven!)
a visit to Doctor Quevedo in Guatemala
and to Doctor Bidford who wore a red wig
that’s why I sometimes squint
and look like a dazed drug addict when I come out the movies
the other reason is the rum bottle blow
Maria Elena’s husband gave me
I really meant no harm
but then every husband is a world
and if we consider that he thought I was an Argentine diplomat
we have to say thank God
the next time was in Prague we never knew who did it
four thugs jumped me in a dark alley
two blocks from the Ministry of Defense
and four blocks from the offices of State Security
it was the night before the opening of the Party Congress
for which reason someone said it was an anti-Congress demonstration
(at the hospital I ran into two more delegates
who had come out of their respective assaults
with more bones than ever)
someone else thought it was the CIA trying to get even for my escape
from jail
still others that is was an example of anti-Latin American racism
and some of nothing more than the universal appetite for robbery
Comrade Sobolev came to ask me
if I hadn’t pinched the ass of some escorted woman
before protesting to the Ministry of the Interior
in the name of the Russian Party
there were finally no leads
and again we have to say thank God
that I continued as the offended party to the end
during an investigation carried out in Kafka’s homeland
in any case (and for what’s of interest to me here)
the results were
a double fracture of the lower maxillary
a severe cerebral concussion
a month and a half in the hospital
and two more months swallowing even beefsteaks as a liquid
and the last time
was when I was coming down a hillside in the rain
with an iron pipe in my arms
when suddenly a bull comes out of who knows where
I got my ankles tangled in the weeds and started to fall
the bull rushed by but since it was a huge prick
it wouldn’t turn around to finish me off
still it wasn’t necessary because
as I was saying I fell on the pipe
which didn’t know what else to do except spring back like a revolution
in Africa
and it broke my zygomatic arch (which is crucial
to the aesthetic quality of the cheekbones) into three pieces
That at least in part explains my problem


Roque Dalton
Translation by Robert Marquez

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Canción Canción: Quinteto Ventarrón
italiano Traduzione di Irene Campagna ed Emanuela Jossa
español Original version