Where Are The Nobel Poets Of Santiago? – OpEd


By

It was here that Salvador Allende died for our sins
Some say his own
But the Republic was torn to shreds by Nixonian men with stiff faces
Cold hearts
And loud bombs

Death caravans roamed the streets
And women fled to heaven looking for missing children
And also here I discovered that Santiago is still full of life, and treachery

It was here that Neruda wrote his ‘Song of Despair’
Though he lied
His name was never his own

You also changed your name
Hid your face behind a mask of tears
Stood with the ‘others’, angry, in military fatigue
And denounced my communist love of music

Where are the noble poets?
They ran away when the military took over
Now they write secret verses from Antarctica
Their voices muffled
Their words veiled
Timeworn
No encryption can solve their mystery

Here I learned to trust everyone, but myself
Here I sold my watch to buy you flowers
- which withered in my hands
when the gate remained sealed, and the dogs barked in the distance
Promising the return of soldiers

My father told me that Pinochet was a bad man
That his mustache was made in an American lab
That Allende was not a Senator
But a refugee from Gaza
He loved honest women
And walks on the beach
And told fantastic stories about the poor of Santiago

Here, I am lost
Confused
I can no longer locate my home on a map
Where is the start? The finish? Or the end?
Gaza, Santiago, and a million sad memories in between

The poem I wrote this morning disappeared
Along with the key to my room
But if the poets ever return to Santiago
They will find a short message
Written on the back of my restaurant receipt
tucked under my pillow
“Poets should not be killed twice
.. Not even in Santiago.”

(Ramzy Baroud, Santiago, Chile Jan 06, 2013)


About the author:

Ramzy Baroud

Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story (Pluto Press, London), now available on Amazon.com

Visit Ramzy Baroud's website

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