Patriot Days: A Message from the Republic, by Abigail Carl-Klassen

La obra de Abigail Carl-Klassen ha aparecido en varias revistas que incluyen ZYZZYVA, Cimarron Review, Guernica, Aster(ix) y Kweli. Fue nominada para el premio Pushcart y Best New Poets 2015 y su libro Shelter Management se publicará en 2017 con la editorial dancing girl press. Recibió una maestría de la Universidad de Texas en El Paso y enseñó en El Paso Community College y la Universidad de Texas en El Paso.

Abigail Carl Klassen’s work has appeared in ZYZZYVA, Cimarron ReviewGuernicaAster(ix), and Kweli, among others. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best New Poets 2015 and her chapbook Shelter Management will be released in 2017 with dancing girl press. She earned an MFA from the University of Texas El Paso’s Bilingual Creative Writing Program and taught at El Paso Community College and the University of Texas, El Paso.


Note on Translation

In their original Spanish, many of these poems utilize official governmental language that is recognizable in both content and tone throughout Latin America. In translation; unfortunately, these collective cultural connotations are muted, if not completely lost. As a translator, I try to minimize these losses while also acknowledging that many times nationalistic linguistic equivalents do not exist or create an entirely different affect given the history of imperialism and interventionism in Latin America by English speaking countries. “El Orgullo Juareño” in particular, presents many challenges, primarily the fact that the poem relies on the unique meanings of ser and estar to question what it meant “to be” in Juárez during the height of Felipe Calderon’s Narco-War, which was known locally simply as “La Violencia,”  or “The Violence.” I tried to signal the difference in meanings by contextualizing, as much as possible, which version of “to be” was used in the original and also tried to bring attention to the nuance of verb usage through the use contractions.


Fiestas patrias: un mensaje de la República

¿Dónde está El Míster?
Era su turno para

dirigir la asamblea
mañanera. La lección

del gobierno. El tema
semanal. Amor

a la patria. Dile no
a la inmigración.
Sus

alumnos listos. Anuncios
pegados. Hablen con una voz

más alta. Voz alta. Bien, bien,
háganlo así.
¿Y El Míster?

Ya viene más tarde. ¿Y
El Míster? Ya viene mañana.

¿Y El Míster? Ya viene. ¿Y
El Míster? No sé. ¿Y El Míster?

No sé. ¿Y El Míster? No sé, ¿Y-?
Ya se fue. Ya se fue. Ya se fue.

Patriot Days: A Message from the Republic

Where is The Mister?
it was his turn

to prepare the morning
assembly. The lesson

from the government.
This week’s theme. Love

Your Country. Say no
to immigration!
His students

ready. The posters stuck
up. Say it aloud. Louder.

Say it louder. Good, good
do it like that.
And The Mister?

He’s coming later. And
The Mister? He’s coming

tomorrow. And The Mister? He’s
coming. And The Mister? I don’t

know. And The Mister? I don’t
know. And The Mister? I don’t know.

And The Mister? I don’t know. And-?
He’s gone. He’s gone. He’s gone.


Una lección pordiosera

Pídale una naranja. Uy, él tiene
dos, pos, entonces, pídale
dos. Apúrate, ya sale, ya se
fué. Con tus naranjas—caminando.

A Beggar’s Lesson

Ask him for an orange. Uy, he has
two, so then, ask him for two. Hurry
up, he’s leaving, there he goes
with your oranges—walking.


El orgullo juareño, 16 de septiembre 2010, (Grito de Dolores bicentenario)

Si vives en Juárez
          Eres de Juárez 1

          Si eres de Juárez
Ya no vives en Juárez

¿De dónde eres?
    Ya no                     eres         de Juárez

          ¿Dónde vives?
Si vives,           no es     en Juárez

Si estás en Juárez
          No         eres

Si eres en Juárez
No           vives

Ya           No           Eres

Ya
          No
                    Eres

          Mi

BOOM
                    BOOM

                                                  ¿Quien, vive vive? 1

                                                                                                    Nadie, en Juárez

Pride of Juárez, 16th of September 2010, (Bicentennial Cry of Independence)

If you live in Juárez
          You are from Juárez 2

          If you are from Juárez
You no longer live         in Juárez

Where are you from?
    You’re no longer                     from Juárez

          Where do you live?
If you are alive,           it’s not in Juárez

If you are in Juárez
          You’re no longer

If you are in Juárez
You’re not           living

You’re           No           Longer

Ya
          No
                    Eres

          Mi

BOOM
                    BOOM

                                                  Who lives, who lives? 3

                                                                                                    No one, in Juárez


Un día que me habló María un poco sobre los valores

Algunas veces, pienso que
en los estados unidos

los animalitos que viven
sin hogar y sin comida valen más

que las personas que mueren
cada día al cruzar.

One Day that Maria Told Me a Little Bit about Values

Sometimes I think that
in the United States animals are

worth more than everyone that lives
without a home and food and more

than the people who die
crossing every day.

  1. ¡Dime otra vez hermano! ¡Estamos en el templo de la alabanza!
  2. A message from the municipal government of Ciudad Juárez:
    To be Mexican is an honor, but to be from Juárez is the best!
  3. Tell me again, brother! We’re in the house of worship!