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from the October 2005 issue

Nothing Remains Empty

Note: This poem was originally written in Mazateco. Although the subject matter of the following poem is contemporary, the style is traditional. As Juan Gregorio Regino has maintained the rhythms of Mazateco chanting in his Spanish translation, we have attempted to carry the rhythms through here.

Nothing will remain empty.
Nothing will remain forgotten.
There is a place in the Universe
where the memory of time
is recorded.
My words will be recorded there.

In clean books.
In pure books.
In books of gold.
In books of light.
In peaceful books.
Because I am writing with
a sacred pencil,
with a sprout for a pencil,
with a pencil of white light.
Thus I feel secure.
Thus I feel wise.
My word is sacred.
My breath is pure.
It is born from there.
My language is fresh.
It will be heard.
It will be written.
In clean books.
In pure books.
In books of gold.
In the books of light.
In the books of peace.
My words will reach there.
On the white table.
On the mother table.
On the clear table.
On the wise table.
Because they are not empty words.
Because they are not hollow words.
Because I speak humbly.
Because I ask for mercy.
Because I ask for justice.
I am not speaking to a vacuum.
I have my light turned on.
I have my breast open.
I have my heart pure.
It is born from there.
It springs forth from there.
It germinates from there.
I have my tender pencil.
I have my kindly pencil.
I have my pencil of light.
I have my sprouted pencil.
It is in between my hands.
It is in between my fists.
They will arrive at a clean house.
They will arrive at a white house.
They will arrive at a celestial house.
They will arrive at a house of flowers.
Because I am begging for clemency.
Because I am begging for justice.
Nothing secret exists.
Nothing hidden exists.
These images speak.
These images plead.
Between many dead letters.
Between many bad rifles.
Between many words
that do not reach the sky.
Now I hand it over.
Now I send it.
How far does the infinite light reach.
How far does the white light reach.
In the clean house.
In the white house.
In the celestial house.
My words will arrive there.
Because there are no lies.
Because there is no evil.
Because I deliver humbly.
Because I ask with just words.
Because my language is pure.
Because my word is wise.
Because my speech is sacred.
Because my breath is fresh.
They will be received,
they will be heard.
In the house of purity.
In the house of chastity.
Where the lovely table is set.
The white table.
The mother table.
The clear table.
The table of the dawn.
They will arrive like fresh medicine.
Like new leaves.
Like tender sprouts.
Like blank dew,
clean and transparent.
As my grandfather says.
As my mother expresses.
My young mother.
My tender mother.
My pure mother.
My dewy mother.
Thus I deliver this word.
Thus I deliver this book.
Thus I deliver this judgment.

Originally published in Que Siga Lloviendo, Escritores en Lenguas Indigenas, Mexico, 1999.

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