Academic journal article Afro - Hispanic Review

Demand from a Maroon

Academic journal article Afro - Hispanic Review

Demand from a Maroon

Article excerpt

Demands from a Maroon

I

Do you remember Christopher?

the one and the same

the second rate navigator

the one that arrived in 1492

Do you remember him Quisqueya?

or should I call you Hispaniola?

the little Spanish girl

the beloved daughter of Spain

that same Spain that sterilized you

What do you say Quisqueya?

Do you remember Mr. Ovando?

you should remember him

there are many streets with his name

there are many statues of him

there are many men that admire him

And what about me, Quisqueya?

Do you remember me?

remember that when Ovando arrived

I was already here, there and everywhere

I had already fled

I had already rebelled

I was a maroon

II

Do you remember, Quisqueya?

they called you Hispaniola back then

you were a source of pride

you were Spanish

you were nothing and I labored over you

you were nothing and I gave of myself

you were

Damn it, Quisqueya!

not even a street

not even a statue

not even a memory of me

Me, the one that arrived bound to you

the one that gave you my voice

gave you my sweat

gave you my culture

sculpted your rocks

tilled your lands

cleaned your mines

built your temples

cut your sugarcane

Me, the one that..

Me, what, Quisqueya?

III

When Diego governed you

I rebelled

when the brothers of St. Jerome educated you

I rebelled

when judge Suazo cut off my ears

I rebelled

When Father Las Casas...

I rebelled

When I arrived

I rebelled

Quisqueya, Quisqueya

in Guinea

there were no sugar plantations

in Angola

there were no sugar plantations

in Biafra

there were no sugar plantations

in Ethiopia

there were no sugar plantations

IV

Do you remember the Tainos, Quisqueya?

you should remember them

there are many statues

there are many streets

there are many memories

only memories of them

memories of the miners

your miners

that race of nightingale men

that culture that you destroyed

that you destroyed in order to be Spanish

there are only memories

because there were less of them than the slaves

they were Indians

Do you remember, Quisqueya?

or should I call you Hispaniola?

Someone finished the Tainos off,

they,

the Europeans

the ones that brought me

the ones that came to rob

the ones that even now, only want to take

the ones that came and carried things off

the ones that come and carry things off

the Tainos

the gold

my voice

in exchange

in exchange for Quisqueya

V

Yes, Quisqueya

they exterminated the Tainos

and only my sweat was left

only my heart to sing to you

only my soul to give you and my sweat

my sweat

my sweat

That sweat in the mines

in the sugar mills

in the sugar plantations

in the kitchens

in the meadows

that sweat

that sweat in my rebelliousness

that which pushes me towards liberty

that which makes me a maroon

a thousand and one times a maroon

VI

And the French Revolution arrived

and I was a maroon

and you, half an island

and I, a complete maroon

and the French Revolution arrived

and my sweat

and Napoleon

and my sweat

and Toussaint arrived

and my liberator arrived

and not even a statue

nor streets

nor memories

VII

Damn it, Quisqueya! …

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