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Fernando Iturburu

Alexis Levitin

Hipolito Alvarado






© 2005 - 2008 Per Contra: The International Journal of the Arts, Literature and Ideas. 





a passing glimpse of the first of may, storypoem


this is the morning filled with little flags



people at the fiesta in the park

first of may on all the banners

squadrons of workers parading their posters

shouting out down with the crooks

there is no work, there is no bread

what have you done with all the dough

hunger canīt take it anymore

people are walking pushing standing on their toes

flooding the street the balconies applaud

people are massing on the sidewalks the arcade

               the corners

mom look at him, itís him itís him a child cries

pointing at a man in the parade

maybe his papa his brother his uncle

before them the armory overflows with uniforms

hot dogs skewers of meat

                                   yucca tortillas

gimme one

gimme another donít push dammit

in the entrance soldiers on alert

watching impassive and neutral

                       tommy guns at their side

municipal workers gesticulating



furrowed sour brows

sunlight gilding the trees

                          the statues

the necks of men clambering in the branches

transparent haze shimmering from the ground

sweat trickling down

soaking hot through the shirt to the skin

while the girls have taken the park by storm

little maids and cooks needed immediately

good pay including sundays

friendly environment your own television

working just for two and extra benefits

and the boys their pants slung below the waist

baggy-legged spruced-up sunday-best

for the fiesta in pascuales and the discos

their little dance so close together just the two of them

and later maybe another little something

and the boys are looking

the girls look back as if they donít care

waiting with longing

promenading in  the park

the girls in one direction

in the other the boys

ardent looks setting cheeks on fire

little winks of the eye

a little cough

a friend introduces them

in effect anything that serves

to kill this sunday

this first of may 1980



a passing glimpse of the first of may, storypoem

by Hipolito Alvarado

translated by Alexis Levitin and Fernando Iturburu


Read the poem in Spanish