I Have

When I see and touch myself,
I, Juan with Nothing only yesterday,
and Juan with Everything today,
and today with everything,
I turn my eyes and look,
I see and touch myself,
and ask myself, how this could have been.

I have, let's see,
I have the pleasure of going about my country,
owner of all there is in it,
looking closely at what
I did not or could not have before.
I can say cane,
I can say mountain,
I can say city,
say army,
now forever mine and yours, ours,
and the vast splendor of
the sunbeam, star, flower.

I have, let's see,
I have the pleasure of going,
me, a farmer, a worker, a simple man,
I have the pleasure of going
(just an example)
to a bank and speak to the manager,
not in English,
not in 'Sir,'but in compañero as we say in Spanish.

I have, let's see,
that being Black
no one can stop meat the door of a dance hall or bar.
Or even on the rug of a hotel
scream at me that there are no rooms,
a small room and not a colossal one,
a tiny room where I can rest.

I have, let's see,
that there are no rural police
to seize me and lock me in a precinct jail,
or tear me from my land and cast me
in the middle of the highway.

I have that having the land I have the sea,
no country clubs,
no high life,
no tennis and no yachts,
but, from beach to beach and wave on wave,
gigantic blue open democratic:
in short, the sea.

I have, let's see,
that I have learned to read,
to count,
I have that I have learned to write,
and to think,
and to laugh.
I have… that now I have
a place to work
and earn
what I have to eat.
I have, let's see,
I have what I had to have.

Translated by J.A. Sierra

by Nicolás Guillén

Other poems of GUILLÉN (1)

Comments (7)

Yes! You are right. Poets do need imagination. You certainly showed you definately have it in this poem! Interesting to read and good questions pointed out. A very creative piece of art. :) DC
That was ****ing brilliant, how the ***k did you think of that. Thanks for the good read and ****ing escapism. Steve
Thanks for cleansing the cobwebs from my f***ing mind, , , and allowing me some insight into what the f**k...this f***ing word really means. Forever, f***ingly grateful, JBE!
I like this... But I also Like Bukowski..... Its about context I suppose... Poetry... Sometimes a reflection of real life? Great write! Roger.
I'm not sure if you were trying to capture this. But by overusing 'the word' you effectively render it meaningless and reduce its power. From reading the poem I do think you did that deliberately. The frequency of its usage in society does beg the question 'Why are we still shocked by it? '. Good job.
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