AMP. Always Electric.

Volume 2, No. 1

La sombra de Martí
(sus versos turbulentos)

–English translation follows.

Yo soy un hombre insincero,
De donde no crece nada,
Y antes de morirme,
Quisiera vomitar
Mis versos del alma.

Vengo del condado de la Salsa y la Muerte,
Y hacia la perdición y la tumba voy
En camino largo y torcido.

Compré un boleto de ida sin vuelta, y punto.

Aborrecido y expatriado soy entre hombres.

En las calles, soy flor marchita—
raíz cortada de tierra infértil.

Yo sé los nombres extraños
De todas las drogas y las rameras

Sé de horribles engaños
Y de deshonrados dolores.

Yo he visto en la noche oscura
Llover sobre mi rostro
Rayos de electricidad negra
De la más infernal fealdad

Cuernos nacer vi en las frentes de los hombres.
De las mujeres trigueñas,
Criaturas enfermas vi salir llorando
De sus vientres cortados con bisturíes infectos

Y salir de los callejones,
Volando en zigzag, murciélagos de nefarios ojos rojos como zombies voladores.

He visto a un hombre
Con la pistola al costado
Malherido y rencoroso,
Chotear de una vez el nombre

Mi verso es como un puñal
Que, por la hoja metálica, relucen manchas salpicadas de sangre.

Mi verso es un pozo negro y profundo
Que suple el barrio de hediondas aguas negras
Y lo opuesto de la esperanza.

  

The shadow of Martí (his turbulent verses)
–free translation

I’m an insincere man
From where nothing fertile grows
And before I die
I would like
To spew forth
The fetid verses of my soul.

I come from the borough of Salsa & Death,
And towards perdition & the grave I travel in a long & crooked path.

I bought a one-way ticket with no return, y punto.

I’m hated among men & expatriated.

In the streets I’m like a wilted flower—
A cut-off, dehydrated root
From a condemned tropical wasteland.

I know all the strange names of the whores and the drugs sold on the street.

I know stories
Of terrible lies & betrayals
And the implacable, unrelenting pain men & women had to endure without honor.

I’ve seen on many a dark night,
With rain pounding my face,
Monstrosities imbued with the most infernal underpinnings of death.

I’ve seen horns growing out of men’s foreheads.
From dark-skinned women,
I’ve seen sickly, premature creatures crawl out of their C-sectioned loins
Which were cut open with dirty, infected scalpels.
Out of dark alleyways and sordid callejones, I’ve seen bats with nefarious, beady-red eyes
    flitting through the air like flying zombies.

I’ve seen a man
With a gun by his side
Mortally wounded & full of rancor
Suddenly shout out the name
Of the man that killed him.

My verses are like sharp knives with glimmering blood splatter & gore
On their carnivorous metallic blades.

My verses are profoundly deep black wells that supply the barrios with pestilent water
And the contradiction of hope.

Justin Alejandro Colón-Rabinowitz

Justin Alejandro Colón-Rabinowitz was born in Manhattan in 1983. He graduated from Dartmouth College with high honors in 2005 and received an MFA in Creative Writing in Spanish from New York University in 2011. He received an additional MFA degree in Creative Writing in English from Hofstra University in 2016. Colón-Rabinowitz has published his poetry in numerous journals and is currently working on a novel. He lives on Long Island.