Francisco Urondo trans. by Julia Leverone
Salvador allende died
Salvador Allende died and again
the apocalyptic wounds of Nicaragua,
of Brazil, of Guatemala, of Bolivia, of the whole
southern and central territory of the continent opened. The mountains sank, the rivers
dried; Pablo Neruda died and every single word
changed its meaning; Perro Olivares, perhaps Negro Jorquera,
so cheerful, the working class
was assassinated across the world and no one
came out to defend it in Chile, which barely
could do it though extermination
is the will of an imperial army. And the rivers already
have dried, the mountains have fallen, the cows
and the iguanas have aborted dead birds mid-flight, an entire
language has been left without breath, without campesinos, the air
without light, because alongside his people Salvador Allende died, fearless
as a boy, with weapons in hand
as one would expect with so much misfortune looming.
Read Francisco Urondo’s “Salvador Allende Died” and “Cardinality,” translated by Julia Leverone, in the print edition of The Arkansas International 6.
Francisco Urondo (1930–1976) was an Argentine poet, journalist, and Montoneros militant killed in public by the state at the start of the Dirty War. In his lifetime, he produced eighteen works of poetry, stories, essays, and, while briefly imprisoned in 1973, the famous interview with the survivors of the Trelew massacre. He held a position as Minister of Culture in Santa Fe and director of the department of literature at the University of Buenos Aires. His assassins were finally convicted in 2011.
Julia Leverone is a poet, translator, and lecturer of Spanish and creative writing at UT Dallas. She completed a PhD in comparative literature at Washington University in St. Louis with research on poetry of witness, cross-examining the work of Urondo and other US and Argentine poets. She has an MFA and two poetry chapbooks. Her book of selected translations of poems by Urondo, Fuel and Fire, will be published by Diálogos.