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sábado, 10 de agosto de 2013


Essex Hemphill 
(Nació en Chicago, EE.UU. el 16 abril 1957 - Murió el 4 noviembre 1995 por complicaciones relacionadas con el SIDA. Poeta y activista.
Es conocido por su activismo por la igualdad y los derechos de los homosexuales.  


(essay in) Boys Like Us: Gay Writers Tell Their Coming Out Stories , Patrick Merla (ed.) Avon Books. 1996
(essays in) "Life Sentences: Writers, Artists, and AIDS", Thomas Avena (ed.) Mercury House. 1994
Ceremonies: Prose and Poetry (1992)
Brother to Brother: New Writings by Black Gay Men (1991) (ed.)
Conditions: Poems (1986)


Tongues Untied
In the Life, anthology
Gay and Lesbian Poetry in Our Time, anthology
Art Against Apartheid, anthology
Men and Intimacy, anthology
New Men, anthology
New Minds, anthology
Natives, anthology
Tourists and Other Mysteries, anthology

Condiciones (XXI)

Juzgas a una mujer
por el largo de su falda,
por cómo camina,
habla, mira y actúa;
por el color de su piel la juzgas
y la llamas "¡zorra!"
"¡zorra negra!"
si es que no hace caso a tu:
"Eh, cariño, es que no quieres pedirle algo
a un hombre"

Juzgas a una mujer
por el trabajo que desempeña,
por su número de hijos,
por el número de ceros de su cheque;
por los muchos hombres con los que puede
haberse acostado
y te preguntas con qué trola
tratarás de ligártela esta vez.

Le dices a una mujer
cada verso que se te ocurre,
y después, como la aguja desesperada
de un yonqui con mono,
te zambulles en sus venas,
viajas alocado por su sangre,

confundes su mente, haces que odie
y que sea fría con los hombres que puedan venir después,
destrozando el hilo de tranquilidad al que se aferraba.

Juzgas a una mujer
por lo que pueda hacer sólo por ti
pero no tiene sentido que los esclavos tengan

Juzgas a una mujer
por la impresión que crees que le has causado.
Pides y ella te da,
tomas sin pedir,
le pegas y te obedecerá,
sueltas su nombre por las calles
como si se te escapara un silbido
-sabiendo que sus vecinos hablarán.
La sangre de su familia se derramará
como un riachuelo roto.
Y cuando te hayas ido,
queda una mujer
curando sus heridas en soledad.
Pero nosotros que nos llamamos hombres,
nosotros que nos llamamos hermanos
nos preguntamos por qué es tan difícil
amar a nuestras mujeres
cuando resulta que las amamos
del modo en que américa
nos ama a nosotros.


You judge a woman
by the length of her skirt,
by the way she walks,
talks, looks, and acts;
by the color of her skin you judge
and will call her "bitch!"
"Black bitch!"
if she doesn´t answer your:
"Hey baby, watcha gonna say
to a man."

You judge a woman
by the job she holds,
by the number of children she´s had,
by the number of digits on her check;
by the many men she may have lain with
and wonder what jive murphy 
you´ll run on her this time.

You tell a woman
every poetic line
you can think of,
then like a desperate needle
of a strung out junkie
you plunge into her veins,
travel wild through her blood,
confuse her mind, make her hate
and be cold to the men to come,
destroying the thread of calm
she held.
You judge a woman
by what she can do for you alone
but there´s no need for slaves to have slaves.

You judge a woman
by impressions you think you´ve made.
Ask and she gives,
take without asking,
beat on her and she´ll obey,
throw her name up and down the streets
like some loose whistle - 
knowing her neighbors will talk.
Her family´s blood will run loose
like a broken creek.
And when you´re gone,
a woman is left
healing her wounds alone.
But we so called men,
we so called brothers
wonder why it´s so hard
to love our women
when we´re about loving them
the way america
loves us.

de Conditions, 1986
en The Norton Anthology of African American Literature, Henry Louis Gates Jr. y Nellie Y. McKay, eds. WW. Norton & Co., Nueva York, 1997)
Traduccion de Arantxa Oteo Ugarte

The Father, Son and Unholy Ghosts


We are not always 
the bravest sons 
our fathers dream. 
Nor do they always 
dream of us. 
We don't always 
recognize him 
if we have never 
seen his face. 
We are suspicious 
of strangers. 
is he the one?


I stand waist deep 
in the decadence of forgetting. 
The vain act of looking the other way. 
Insisting there can be peace 
and fecundity without confrontation. 
The nagging question of blood hounds me. 
How do I honor it?


I don't understand 
our choice of angers, 
your domestic violence, 
my flaring temper. 
I wanted tenderness 
to belong to us 
more than food or money.
The ghost of my wants
is many things: 
lover, guardian angel, 
key to our secrets,
the dogs we let sleep. 
The rhythm of silence 
we do not disturb.


I circle questions of blood. 
I give a fierce fire dance. 
The flames call me. 
It is safe. I leap 
unprepared to be brave. I surrender 
more frightened of being alone.
I have to do this 
to stay alive. 
To be acknowledged. 
Fire calls. I slither 
to the flames 
to become birth.


A black hole, gaseous, 
blisters around its edge, 
swallows our estranged years. 
They will never return 
except as frightening remembrances 
when we are locked in closets 
and cannot breathe or scream.
I want to be free, daddy,
of the black hole between us.
The typical black hole.
If we let it be
it will widen enough
to swallow us.
Won't it?


In my loneliest gestures 
learning to live 
with less is less. 
I forstalled my destiny. 
I never wanted 
to be your son. 
You never 
made the choice 
to be my father. 
What we have learned 
from no text book: 
is how to live without 
one another. 
How to evade the stainless truth. 
Drug pain bleary-eyed. 
Store our waste in tombs 
beneath the heart, 
knowing at any moment 
it could leak out. 
And do we expect to survive? 
What are we prepared for? 
Trenched off. 
Communications down. 
Angry in alien tongues. 
We use extreme weapons 
to ward off one another. 
Some nights, our opposing reports
are heard as we dream. 
Silence is the deadliest weapon. 
We both use it. 
Precisely. Often.


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