Four songs from Spanish into English

Por   ・ Inglaterra
Image: Cover of Liliana Felipe´s CD "Trucho". Source: 26 noviembre, 2018

Sometimes I wanda
Who will translate
Fe de inglish?

Benjamin Zephaniah


Veins are lines inside our bodies. Veins have colour because there is blood pumping through them, but open veins get depleted of blood’s oxygen. Dried or empty veins make corpses. Every single and collective body dies, because immortality is only possible in our fictions. With the body brain as our starting point, consider what makes you and me very different and the same as well, beyond alternative news and fake facts. It is a good idea to start a short story with things true to most bodies. Us (they) and them (we) eventually just exhale.

I was born in Mexico, and currently live in the UK with Spaniard papers. I am familiar with the tastes and flavours of the Spanish language that I am presenting, and in adapting them into English, my aim is to contribute a small portion of perspectives to the grand table of global experiences being set out in this lingua franca, where some sit and some serve behind. Some are still waiting in line. Some rave on top of the table whilst others have to hide underneath it. It all seems so abundant already, the seats and the illusions of the banquet.

I have roughly and freely translated, butchered and paraphrased the following four songs. I even added some lines of my own. It all happen in a haze whilst I interpreted in a hurry. These themes require haste, yet must be digested slowly, passing the information. Fruitful dialogues benefit from quiet listening. How is the positive atmosphere in the stomach of your ears? And I don’t even know if these songs are déjà vu. In the homes and shelters that is human language, mi casa es tu casa. Perhaps you have visited before. Here are some sounds, conceived many years ago. I am grateful to you for travelling here and silently observing, unless of course you feel like talking back.

The Four Songs


Let’s talk about their kids, if they have any. Their legacy. Our friends the presidents. Take it all from them. Leave them with nothing, not even their own teeth. They have rightfully earned to get looted. Let’s not be deluded. They all death-entrepreneurs and cartels. Real estate and local land resources, sex, slaves and weapons. And what about my system? What about your system? What about The System? What of and about it? They do live off the money from the lower and the middle and any class below them. Thieving and selling.

Perhaps those presidents are no more than smoke-screens, doodles, cannon-fodder and avant-garde. No. They all life-entrepreneurs and cartels. If their police catches you on the streets with a gram, is usually because they planted it themselves. If the police stops and searches you, you’ll most likely get locked up and locked away. You minority you. How else to raise the stakes?

The prices they put out go up, the revenge they lay down falls hard. All carry laundered wealth. And now it comes again. And now what? They may end up in trials, with considerably small fines. They all life-gamblers and cartels. And what of the leaders of social media and communication? Are they in charge of keeping us distracted, entertained? Are we only data to be mined? In the south, as long as we don’t hassle there will come no death squads to our doors. Love their dirty fingers. The food from this Establishment has that stench. Who bleeds the most!? Who bleeds and jerks the most, deep in the world’s hole?

After the Berlin Wall, after all that trouble, it turns out democrats are wreckages and pacifists are hypocrites. It’s all broadcasted and hash tagged into our phones, so we dance to the patterns of chaos and paranoia. They will chase us if we are not heteronormatives, if we don’t provide all our information, if we don’t buy, if we don’t progress and if we don’t have the right papers. They will chase you if you steal just to feed your family. Anger. Fear. Burn. What will we have left after the fire’s end? Elections or re-elections, we know well it is all the same. Listen closely, you can hear the gun-shots. The relentless cheer. Who has the power? Why do they fight for it? No one gives up power, it must be taken. Take it or leave it. Do you want the power? Click here for lyrics in spanish.



Who gives me the power? There is police harassment and police extortion. They do live out of the taxes you pay though. If they treat you as a criminal remember it is not your fault. Be grateful for the change of the new government in power. Is every bureaucrat just trying to get crumbs for themselves? Always see people in poverty, but nobody does anything because why should anybody care? You are detested by those high above. Even so, there’s groups of many who yearn to see the heads of the few roll. The more power you give to their power, the harder they will rape you. Many old empires were once world powers.

Many of today’s poor are basically just badly administered. They mainly lack mobile phones and social media accounts. Because nobody is born in a place where food can’t be found. Can it be done? Many pull together, away from their perversity and undeniable success. You are not your status. You are not their products. They give and take only through their own desires, your work-related exhaustion suits them. Contribute up-dates and up-grades. Your anxiety, sweat and tears. Give everything you got. Your skin is the rug decorating their living office spaces. There is always fresh free trade food at their tables, warm advert bodies at their disposal and no rubbish rots outside their streets. Click here for lyrics in spanish.



Flies dream of buying their own dog. And the nobodies dream about breaking their cycles of poverty. Perhaps one day good luck will rain down from the skies. The nobodies. Sons and daughters of no-one, owners of nothing. The no ones. The oppressed. The subalterns. The Wretched of the Earth. The hares keep running and life goes on dying, and they are well fucked. Forever fucked. Irrevocably fucked. Painfully and diagnostically fucked. They have no self, even if they are. They don’t speak languages, but dialects.

They don’t have religions, but superstitions. They don’t create art-works, they manufacture crafts. They don’t have culture, only folklore. They are not humans, they are human resources. No face, only arms. Not a name, only a number. You won’t find them in the books and archives of our universal and recorded human history, only in sensationalists tabloids of the local press. The nobodies, who are worth less than the bullet that kills them. Click here for lyrics in spanish.



And again, we return to death. They say death is after my bones. I do want to kiss it, so I guess I’ll hold on. That doomed silly thing can’t keep up, so I slow down for a moment, just to admire that angry face. Folk say Death’s been dead busy, collecting oldies, toddlers and youths. It really scares some with their own mortality, for it will come and get you, regardless and eventually. Yet there are those who don’t fear it, not one tiny bit. They are big in reason and big with insanity. And if you get closer to those open graveyards, you’ll see many other people at their own mysteries. Click here for lyrics.

The End

Why more angry messages? Where are the real love songs? Do these words bridge empathy, bewilderment or reflection through their images of the world? I have surely missed a lot of other songs. For all the songs missing and all the ones that will come, give us a hand from your own lives, songs and languages. The problem is that the solution for human’s inhumanity is probably untranslatable. It eludes me. I don’t know it and can’t speak it. Surely it can only be acted.

I cried one day with the wrong words in my mouth. Jackie Kay

Some also cry through symbols typed into their screens. Perhaps there will be no right or wrong words anymore, just silent feelings, spilled into realities that we need to improve. What would our new truths be? Let us not lie to each other. Wink. Love. Don’t just tell me things to believe in. Translation can show the complications of truth. Or rather the fact that, through language, there can be many truths.

Yet, after those songs, we know that suffering and fear are events, not words, and they need little translation. Our future dialogues will need more than the languages we know. You can have so many sleepless nights thinking of what we are capable of. The possible fates of humans, inhumans, non-human species and posthumans is now in the making. Look around you because we were never alone.

Life can sometimes feel so small. Such a drop in the oceans, whose rivers are veins that respect none of our political borders. They just flow into the land, waiting to be cherished or polluted. Water has many colours because there is life and death in and around it. An Earth that is only good for consumption will keep on drowning. And after that, will it then dry into a prune? A lonely obscure asteroid, a celestial corpse circling the galaxy, wondering what could have been.

Responsibility for the information and views set out in this publication lies entirely with the authors. And do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Miradas Múltiples.

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