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
The Dead Conquistadors
––by Antonio Cisneros
By the water they appeared
the men of blue flesh,
that dragged their beards
and did not sleep
to steal their skin.
Traders of crosses
began the cities
with a temple.
During the summer of 1526,
the rains erupted over
their daily chores and heads
when no one had mended
the old rusty armors.
There also grew, black fig trees
between altars and pews.
Among the rooftops
some sparrows snapped their beaks
at the bells.
Later in Peru, no one was free to
move their shoes through the house
without stepping on the dead
nor lie down next to the white chairs
without sharing the bed of some
Shit on by spiders and scorpions,
few survived their horses.
[Antonio Cisneros was born on 27 December 1942 in Lima, Peru. He is one of the most important Latin American poets and intellectuals of the twentieth century. He gained recognition not only as a poet but also as a journalist, literary critic, prose writer, chronicler, and translator. His books of poetry include Royal Commentaries (1964) and Ceremonial Song Against an Anteater (1968), for which he was awarded the Casa de las Americas Poetry Prize for all Spanish America. Translation by Ron Rodriguez © 2010. Originally published in NHS 2011, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs11/.]