Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Pedro Carmona-Alvarez

THIS IS WHERE WE ARE BORN (#5)

We rise up from childhood like birds
become first thirteen, then fifteen, sixteen
discover corners, backyards, walls
we burn cardboard and planks
in the newspapers we find
accounts of the cartels, in the autumn
nearly fifty corpses are found at a shopping centre
and the  public prosecutor is portrayed
with piercing glances in his office, the city
is to host a national conference, Falken is on TV
we see him in the display window
twenty-odd screens show the red head
the mouth that gapes
and assures the population;
the police and army are busy, working night and day
to localize gangs, the day after two headless
corpses are found less
than five hundred yards
from the defence ministry, the newspaper
has pictures of  states, ghost towns,
mass graves and the desert

we lie down
to sleep under bridges, we become a year older and forget
to be a year older, eat once every three days
the summer is cold and damp
full of fights under the sign by motorway x
we are princes and princesses, paperless
mercurial kids who dig anywhere
for debris, we travel in to the cities
we sell beads and earrings
now and then we cross the borders, what we own
in plastic bags and bundles
we smell, we know our feet
stink
our armpits and hands
rough as leather
our fingernails
ready to claw, defend, scrape up the future
that slurps down pneumonias and dirty mattresses
we sit perfectly still
outside the shopping centres and beg
with the signs round our necks
help me
I am hungry
pregnant, have two little ones
to look after, please

in the evenings we tell stories from our home districts, one of us
lived near an airport, grew up carrying suitcases
between cab and departure hall, another
talks about trawlers and the sea and his eyes become yellow and shiny
when night closes in
around us
like an even bigger night, we are called Josefina
Domingo, Rodriguez, we stand at the gates of a city
we recognize from a postcard, from the soap series
that is broadcast in the afternoons
which Marisol sometimes sees at the home of someone who pays her
for God knows what
we are called Elias, Rita, Ava,
lean against the wall, against eighty thousand switched-off lights
under the bridge the year it rains
the year when the water flows and flows
one of us says
the drops are big as turtles and we look up
at that grey sky
grey as the concrete floor
grey as the silence after curfew
like our own coughing
after being beaten senseless by a gang
of monkeys outside a pharmacy

we cringe
trembling birds
become sixteen, twenty, then it does not matter
if we stink of piss and blood, burn cardboard and planks
the future is inflammations, gangrene and shame
we hide our faces
we feed like rats, at night
we feed children who eat
with our mouths
who dig with our nails
and hunger with our hunger

DET ER HER VI ER FØDT (#5)

DET ER HER VI ER FØDT (#5)

Vi reiser oss opp fra barndommen som fugler
fyller først tretten, så femten, seksten
finner opp kroker, bakgårder, vegger
vi brenner papp og planker
i avisene vi finner
står det om kartellene, om høsten
blir nesten femti lik funnet ved et kjøpesenter
og riksadvokaten avbildes
med borende blikk på kontoret, byen
skal huse en nasjonal konferanse, Falken er på tv
vi ser ham i utstillingsvinduet
noenogtjue skjermer viser det røde hodet
kjeften som gaper
og forsikrer befolkningen;
politiet og hæren jobber, arbeider natt og dag
med å lokalisere bander, dagen etter to lik
uten hode blir funnet mindre
enn fem hundre meter
fra forsvarsdepartementet, i avisen
avbildes delstater, spøkelsesbyer,
massegraver og ørkenen

vi legger oss
til å sove under broer, vi fyller år og glemmer
å fylle år, spiser hver tredje dag
sommeren er kald og fuktig
full av slagsmål under skiltet ved motorvei x
er vi prinser og prinsesser, papirløse
kvikksølvunger som hvor som helst graver
etter rester, vi reiser inn til byene
vi selger perler og øredobber
av og til krysser vi grensene, det vi eier
i plastposer og bylter
vi lukter, vi kjenner det stinker
av føttene våre
av armhulene og hendene
grove som lær
neglene
klare til å klore, forsvare, skrape opp fremtiden
som lepjer i seg lungeinflamasjoner og skitne madrasser
vi sitter helt stille
utenfor kjøpesentrene og tigger
med skiltene om halsen
hjelp meg
jeg er sulten
gravid, har to små
jeg må passe, værsåsnill

om kveldene forteller vi historier fra hjemmetraktene, en av oss
levde i nærheten av en flyplass, vokste opp med å bære kofferter
mellom drosje og avgangshall, en annen
snakker om trålere og havet og øynene hans blir gule og blanke
når natten lukker seg
om oss
som en enda større natt, vi heter Josefina
Domingo, Rodriguez, vi står ved portene til en by
vi kjenner igjen fra et postkort, fra såpeserien
som sendes om ettermiddagene
som Marisol av og til ser hos en som betaler henne
for gudene vet
vi heter Elias, Rita, Ava,
legger oss inntil muren, inntil åtti tusen slukkede lys
under broen det året det regner 
det året vannet renner og renner
en av oss sier
dråpene er svære som skilpadder og vi ser opp
på den grå himmelen
grå som murgulvet
grå som stillheten etter portforbudet
som vår egen host
etter å ha blitt skambanket av en gjeng
aper utenfor et apotek

vi kryper sammen
skjelvende fugler
fyller seksten, tjue, så kan det være det samme
vi stinker piss og blod, brenner papp og planker
fremtiden er betennelser, koldbrann og skam
vi skjuler ansiktene
vi føder som rotter, om nettene
gføder unger som spiser
med våre munner
som graver med våre negler
og sulter med vår sult
Close

THIS IS WHERE WE ARE BORN (#5)

We rise up from childhood like birds
become first thirteen, then fifteen, sixteen
discover corners, backyards, walls
we burn cardboard and planks
in the newspapers we find
accounts of the cartels, in the autumn
nearly fifty corpses are found at a shopping centre
and the  public prosecutor is portrayed
with piercing glances in his office, the city
is to host a national conference, Falken is on TV
we see him in the display window
twenty-odd screens show the red head
the mouth that gapes
and assures the population;
the police and army are busy, working night and day
to localize gangs, the day after two headless
corpses are found less
than five hundred yards
from the defence ministry, the newspaper
has pictures of  states, ghost towns,
mass graves and the desert

we lie down
to sleep under bridges, we become a year older and forget
to be a year older, eat once every three days
the summer is cold and damp
full of fights under the sign by motorway x
we are princes and princesses, paperless
mercurial kids who dig anywhere
for debris, we travel in to the cities
we sell beads and earrings
now and then we cross the borders, what we own
in plastic bags and bundles
we smell, we know our feet
stink
our armpits and hands
rough as leather
our fingernails
ready to claw, defend, scrape up the future
that slurps down pneumonias and dirty mattresses
we sit perfectly still
outside the shopping centres and beg
with the signs round our necks
help me
I am hungry
pregnant, have two little ones
to look after, please

in the evenings we tell stories from our home districts, one of us
lived near an airport, grew up carrying suitcases
between cab and departure hall, another
talks about trawlers and the sea and his eyes become yellow and shiny
when night closes in
around us
like an even bigger night, we are called Josefina
Domingo, Rodriguez, we stand at the gates of a city
we recognize from a postcard, from the soap series
that is broadcast in the afternoons
which Marisol sometimes sees at the home of someone who pays her
for God knows what
we are called Elias, Rita, Ava,
lean against the wall, against eighty thousand switched-off lights
under the bridge the year it rains
the year when the water flows and flows
one of us says
the drops are big as turtles and we look up
at that grey sky
grey as the concrete floor
grey as the silence after curfew
like our own coughing
after being beaten senseless by a gang
of monkeys outside a pharmacy

we cringe
trembling birds
become sixteen, twenty, then it does not matter
if we stink of piss and blood, burn cardboard and planks
the future is inflammations, gangrene and shame
we hide our faces
we feed like rats, at night
we feed children who eat
with our mouths
who dig with our nails
and hunger with our hunger

THIS IS WHERE WE ARE BORN (#5)

We rise up from childhood like birds
become first thirteen, then fifteen, sixteen
discover corners, backyards, walls
we burn cardboard and planks
in the newspapers we find
accounts of the cartels, in the autumn
nearly fifty corpses are found at a shopping centre
and the  public prosecutor is portrayed
with piercing glances in his office, the city
is to host a national conference, Falken is on TV
we see him in the display window
twenty-odd screens show the red head
the mouth that gapes
and assures the population;
the police and army are busy, working night and day
to localize gangs, the day after two headless
corpses are found less
than five hundred yards
from the defence ministry, the newspaper
has pictures of  states, ghost towns,
mass graves and the desert

we lie down
to sleep under bridges, we become a year older and forget
to be a year older, eat once every three days
the summer is cold and damp
full of fights under the sign by motorway x
we are princes and princesses, paperless
mercurial kids who dig anywhere
for debris, we travel in to the cities
we sell beads and earrings
now and then we cross the borders, what we own
in plastic bags and bundles
we smell, we know our feet
stink
our armpits and hands
rough as leather
our fingernails
ready to claw, defend, scrape up the future
that slurps down pneumonias and dirty mattresses
we sit perfectly still
outside the shopping centres and beg
with the signs round our necks
help me
I am hungry
pregnant, have two little ones
to look after, please

in the evenings we tell stories from our home districts, one of us
lived near an airport, grew up carrying suitcases
between cab and departure hall, another
talks about trawlers and the sea and his eyes become yellow and shiny
when night closes in
around us
like an even bigger night, we are called Josefina
Domingo, Rodriguez, we stand at the gates of a city
we recognize from a postcard, from the soap series
that is broadcast in the afternoons
which Marisol sometimes sees at the home of someone who pays her
for God knows what
we are called Elias, Rita, Ava,
lean against the wall, against eighty thousand switched-off lights
under the bridge the year it rains
the year when the water flows and flows
one of us says
the drops are big as turtles and we look up
at that grey sky
grey as the concrete floor
grey as the silence after curfew
like our own coughing
after being beaten senseless by a gang
of monkeys outside a pharmacy

we cringe
trembling birds
become sixteen, twenty, then it does not matter
if we stink of piss and blood, burn cardboard and planks
the future is inflammations, gangrene and shame
we hide our faces
we feed like rats, at night
we feed children who eat
with our mouths
who dig with our nails
and hunger with our hunger
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