The Violence
tatiana de la tierra

para Colombia

I learned to crawl on wooden floors
play with manes of Spanish moss
sing nana nanita nana nanita nana nanita ea

you baptized your rivers with flowing blood
the freshly sliced heads with puzzled eyes
open ear–less
bleeding pink life downstream
foreheads tumbling into rocks
hair snagging on twigs
veins dangling

I learned to walk with chicken cluck
dig down the earth, gather eggs
sing los pollitos dicen pío pío pío

you had a feast of wars on fertile land
the war of los narcotraficantes
cocaine cocaine
the CIA, DEA
the war of a thousand days
the war with Perú
la violencia

I never knew peace in you, I never

I learned to fly around your skies
make velvet of your mountains
sing lunita consentida colgada del cielo

you have a booming industry of death
car bombs and air bombs and hunger bombs
machine guns
sicarios that profit
secuestradores that swarm
guerreros that lie

I learned to swim in salt and foam
wander wide on your vastness
sing ya no vive nadie en ella

you let the opalescent beauties go
you gave away the emeralds, the gold
glitter glitter
you stole the promise of Galán
bitter bitter
let petroleum polish another land
burned down the palace of justice
buried any scent of hope

I never knew peace in you, I never

I learned to leave my native land
know you, love you from afar
sing oh gloria inmarcesible oh júbilo inmortal

junio del 1996, boulder, colorado.
Published as:

de la tierra, tatiana. “La Violencia.” Puerto del Sol Vol 39 No. 2 Summer 2004: 154-155.