H e a r t   S o n s   &   H e a r t   D a u g h t e r s   of   A l l e n   G i n s b e r g

N a p a l m   H e a l t h   S p a :   R e p o r t   2 0 1 4 :   A r c h i v e s   E d i t i o n






Prelude in Boricua

––by Luis Pales Matos


Tuntun of raisin and kinky hair

And other black African vanities.

Uproar of black secret societies

Where its warm tobacco water

Supports the wild Congolese drums.


With the cackling of the maraca

And the deaf growl of the gong,

The island curtain detaches

A drunken aristocracy

Based on funche and mondongo.


The solemn Haitian shaman

Opposes the habanera rumba

It’s serenade of shoulders and thighs,

Meanwhile the black Cuban

Tames the wild mulatta.


From your drinking spree through the runways

Cuba flies, it’s sails let loose,

Recovering in its thighs

Its golden Niagara of tourists.


(Tomorrow they will be shareholders

Of any ingenious cane grower

And will carry on with the money…)


And in a corner- the land, the bay,

The embankment or sugarcane field-

The Negro drinks his cold sorrow

Stupefied in the melodies

That comes from faraway.


Jamaica, that fat mandinga,

Reduces her lingo to a spicy stew.

Santo Domingo dresses up

And in an impotent civic gesture

Its heroic muse replies

With a hundred odes to the president.


With his wagon full of sesame seeds

And his magical white eyes

Towards the market comes Haiti.



(Translation by Ron Rodriguez)



Prelude in Boricua

––by Luis Pales Matos


The windward Antilles

Have tremendous anxiety

Beating out the cyclones

With fly swatters from the palm trees.


And Puerto Rico? My desert island,

For you everything has finished.

In the wilderness of a continent,

Puerto Rico lugubriously

Bleats like a stuffed goat.


Tuntun of raisin and kinky hair,

This book that goes towards your hands

With Antillean ingredients

Composes a day…


and in summary, wasted time,

That my boredom ends.

Something foreseen or foretold,

Not visibly real

And very much a story or a lie.



(Translation by Ron Rodriguez)



[Originally published in NHS 2009, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs09/Ron_Rodriguez.htm.]