Translation Tuesday: “Forbidden to pass by and stay” by Oriette D’Angelo

I allied with your former lovers / emerged victorious / in the midst of the void

In this week’s Translation Tuesday, we are witnesses to a protest pulled forth from the body by outrage, sorrow, and an inherited music. Oriette D’Angelo’s poem is set to a revolutionary thrum of defiance against injustice. As we move with its lines, we arrive at a place that is not quite as simple as solace, but a space that resounds with the necessity for love. 

Forbidden to pass by and stay

My country is a protest march
a cry of rage
with thunder and dance music

You couldn’t handle the birds sleeping on my forehead
you fractured the entire structure of my deformed breasts
squeezed the throat to silence my body
so it wouldn’t scream:                    I don’t like what you say!

You silenced my tissues
shut off all possibility of dialogue
forcing my move

I allied with your former lovers
emerged victorious
in the midst of the void

Together, we condemned your present
so full of exile and mutilation
so full of censorship and regulations
because we know that even though you like to kiss
they forbade you all the invasive lips
they forbade you to pass by me and stay
they forbade you to tell me about your earthquake
to remember me in the form of a vibration
of a body tremor
you could never touch

They forbade you to bite my eyes
tear at my neck
laugh with me
write a story
obsess about my lips
about my bone structure
and even so
I know you feel me
in each quake of your homeland
and although you never listen
to Silvio Rodriguez
today I say with him
I don’t want any failure
in the wise crime that is to remember.

Oriette D’Angelo is a Venezuelan poet who is in exile from her native land. She fled Venezuela in 2015. Currently based in the United States, she is the editor of Digo.Palabra.Txt, an online Spanish-language literary magazine. This poem is taken from her award-winning debut collection, Cardiopatias.

Lupita Eyde-Tucker writes and translates poetry in English and Spanish, is a Fellow at The Watering Hole, and was selected as a 2018 AWP Writer to Writer Mentee. Her poems and translations have appeared in Baltimore Review, SWWIM, Nashville Review, Small Orange, The Acentos Review, The Florida Review, and Contrapuntos VI. More poems can be found on her website.


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