DESDE URUGUAY: UN POETA INFORMES

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                             FROM  URUGUAY : A POET REPORTS

                                       ~ Celebration of Fantasy  ~
 
It happened at the entrance to the town of Ollantaytambo, near Cuzco.  I had detached myself from a  group of tourists and was standing alone looking at the stone ruins in the   distance when a small boy from the neighborhood, skinny and ragged, came over to ask if I would give him a pen. I couldn’t give him my pen, because I was using it to write down all sorts of boring notes, but I offered to draw a little pig for him on his hand.
Suddenly the word got around. I was surrounded by a throng of little boys demanding at the top of their  lungs that I draw animals on their little hands cracked by dirt and cold, their skin of burnt leather: one wanted a condor and one wanted a snake,  others preferred little parrots or owls, and some asked for a ghost or a dragon.
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Then, in the middle of this racket,  a little waif who barely cleared a yard off the ground showed me a watch drawn in black ink on his wrist.
       “An uncle of mine who lives in Lima sent it to me,” he said.
                              “And does it keep good time?” I asked him.
                              “It’s a bit  slow,” he admitted.
                                ~~ Eduardo Galeano ~~
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                                            BIENVENIDO. PASA. ENTRAR.
                                            WELCOME. COME IN. ENTER.
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EL MUNDO ES TU REINO. LAS PIERNAS SON SU PASAPORTE, VÁLIDO PARA SIEMPRE.
THE WORLD IS YOUR KINGDOM. YOUR LEGS ARE YOUR PASSPORT, VALID FOREVER.
                                          ~~  EDUARDO  GALEANO ~~
                                           Thank-you, Paul Seimmering

Under Uraguay’s Dictatorship

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                                                    EDUARDO GALEANO
                                       CELEBRATION OF THE HUMAN VOICE/2
 
 
“Their hands were tied or handcuffed, yet their fingers danced,  flew, drew words. The prisoners were hooded, but leaning back, they could  see a bit, just a bit, down below. Although it was forbidden to speak, they spoke with their hands. Pinio Ungerfeld taught me the finger alphabet, which he had learned in prison without a teacher:
 
“Some of us had bad handwriting ,” he told me. ” Others  were masters of calligraphy .”
 
The Uruguayan dictatorship wanted everyone to stand  alone, everyone to be no one: in prison and barracks, and throughout the country, communication was a crime.
 
Some prisoners spent more than ten years buried in solitary  cells the size of coffins, hearing nothing but clanging bars or footsteps  in the corridors. Fernandez Huidobro and Mauricio Rosencof, thus condemned,  survived because they could talk to each other by tapping on the wall.  In that way they told of dreams and memories, fallings in and out of love; they discussed, embraced, fought; they shared belief s and beauties, doubts, and guilts, and those questions that have no answer.
 
When it is genuine, when it is born of the need to speak, no one can stop the human voice. When denied mouth, it speaks with the  hands or the eyes, or the pores, or anything at all. Because every single one of us has something to say to the others, something that deserves to be celebrated or forgiven by others.”
 
 
 
Galeano, Eduardo. “Celebration of The Human Voice/2.” The Book of Embraces.
Trans.  Cedric Belfrage. New York: Norton, 1989. 25.
 
 
 
THANK-YOU, PAUL SEIMMERING