Relationships — (Buenós Aires, 1971-1973)

Selected Poems of Juan Gelman
translated by Hardie St. Martin

Reds

rain beats down on Río de la Plata and it’s going on
36 years since they killed Federico García Lorca but
what is the connection between the reality out there
and the reality in here? or
what is the connection between the unreality out there
and the reality in here?

I don’t know it the river’s gray line
is like the knife used to slash the sky
the knife used now to cut short children’s lives in Azul
they cut short children’s lives in Santa Fe and other parts of the republic
sometimes forever or always forever
it’s one of our country’s crosses

that’s a fact in the West
the sun doesn’t turn sunsets red here
the blood of children turns the republic’s sunsets red

children in Salta in Tucumán little angels
whose lost or spilled blood is swept away by sunsets
day after day after day

and what has it to do with Federico García Lorca’s death
with Federico García Lorca’s execution in Granada in 1936?
or do sunsets in the West of Spain
turn red not with the sun
but with Federico García Lorca the poet’s blood
day after day after day?

I don’t know I don’t know
“you’ll fall into the river, kid!”  Federico García Lorca said
“I understood when he disappeared into the water” Federico García Lorca said
“there’s another river in the rose” Federico García Lorca said
but why does his blood turn Granada red
day after day?

and why do children in Azul Santa Fe Tucumán Salta
turn red the republic’s sky
under which others forgot or pretend to forget them?
why did they fall into the river and disappear
into the water leaving squalid poverty
for the river of another rose?

what’s the connection between the reality
out there and this unreality in here? or
what’s the connection between the unreality out there
and this reality in here?
when did they kill Federico García Lorca in Tucumán?
when did they shoot him in Azul Santa Fe Salta?