Nicodemes Santa Cruz was an Afro Peruvian Poet and Journalist who revolutionized the face of Latin American arts. He boldly and shamelessly brought awareness to the rich African heritage behind the Peruvian culture. Unfortunately, all of the poems I found by Nicodemes were in Spanish. So I took it upon myself to translate a few of his poems into English based on my knowledge of the language. Now, different Latino nations have their own dialects and word expressions, so I had to do some further background research  in the vernacular of this particular region. Undoubtedly this was quite a task, but one I enjoyed very much. I wanted my English readers to be able to learn more about this iconic figure in Peru and how his poetry helped elevate the Afro Latino in a society during a time when the mainstream showed more favor to their European and Indigenous roots behind their Latino identity more than those with African roots. Hope you enjoy.🙂

América Latina- Latin America 

     Written by Nicodemes Santa Cruz (Translated to English by Arose N Daghetto)

My buddy!
my partner!
my brother!

sharecropper!
comrade!
companion!

my sitting duck
my little son
 civiilian…

Here are my neighbors.
Here are my brothers.

The same faces in Latin America
from anywhere in Latin America:

Indian white blacks
White black Indians
Black Indian whites

big lip blondes
bearded Indians
And just plain black

Everyone complains:

– Ah, if my country
had not so much politics …!

– Ah, if my country
Prehistoric people had not …!

– Ah, if my country
 had no militarism
 or oligarchy (i.e. small socio-government groups)
and chauvinism
and bureaucracy
or hypocrisy
or clergy
and cannibalism …

–Ah, if my country …

Someone asks where I am
(I don’t answer with the following):

I was born near Cuzco
I admire Puebla
The rum of the Antilles inspires me
 I sing with an Argentinan voice
I believe in Santa Rosa de Lima
 and the Orishas of Bahia.

I don’t color my continent
nor paint Brazil green
or Peru yellow
or Bolivia red.

I don’t draw territorial lines
separating brother and brother.

I crossed before the Rio Grande
laid stones along the Cape Horn
sunk my left arm in the Pacific
and dipped my right hand in the Atlantic.

By way of the East and West coasts
I sailed two hundred miles along each ocean
submerged hand in hand
so I can wrap my arms around our continent
in one Latin American embrace.

________________________________________

I Dream of Classifying (Cuba) 

                   ~By: Dulce Maria Loynaz

I had dream of classifying

Good and Evil,

the same way scientist

classify butterflies:

I had dream to pin Good and Evil

in the dark velvet

of the glass display case…

Under the white butterfly

a label that will read “The Good”.

under the black butterfly,

a label that will read “The Evil”.

But the white butterfly

was not the good, neither the black butterfly

was the evil… And between my two butterflies,

green, golden and infinite all the earth butterflies fly.

______________________________

YO SOÑABA EN CLASIFICAR…  (En Español)

                              ~escrito por: Dulce Maria Loynaz

Yo soñaba en clasificarel

Bien y el Mal, como los sabios

clasifican las mariposas:

Yo soñaba en clavar el Bien y el Mal

en el obscuro terciopelode

una vitrina de cristal…

Debajo de la mariposablanca, un letrero que dijera: “EL BIEN”.

Debajo de la mariposanegra, un letrero que dijera: “EL MAL”.

Pero la mariposa blancano

era el bien, ni la mariposa negra

era el mal…¡Y entre mis dos mariposas,

volaban verdes, áureas, infinitas,

todas las mariposas de la tierra!…

__________________________________________

If you love me, love me whole (Cuba) 

                          By: Dulce Maria Loynaz

If you love me, love me whole

not by zones of light or shadow…

if you love me, love me black

and white, and gray and green and blond,

and mixed…

love me day,

love me night…

and in the morning with the open window!

If you love me, don’t break me in pieces:

love me whole… Or do not love me at all.

______________________________

SI ME QUIERES, QUIÉREME ENTERA (en Español)

                                     ~escrito por Dulce Maria Loynaz

Si me quieres, quiéreme entera,

no por zonas de luz o sombra…

Si me quieres, quiéreme negra y blanca.

Y gris, y verde, y rubia,

y morena…

Quiéreme día,

quiéreme noche…

¡Y madrugada en la ventana abierta!

Si me quieres, no me recortes:

¡Quiéreme toda… O no me quieras!