Nancy Morejón: “Black Prince for George Floyd”

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Many thanks to Richard Price for sending us this poem by Nancy Morejón, “Príncipe negro para George Floyd” [Black Prince for George Floyd]. Nancy Morejón, Cuba’s award-winning poet laureate (2001), essayist, critic, and former director of Caribbean Studies Center at Casa de las Américas, in Havana, has allowed us to post her new poem “Black Prince for George Floyd.” We are honored to share it with you today (9 June 2020) as George Floyd’s funeral is taking place in Houston. (Translated by Ivette Romero; see the original poem below.)

Nancy Morejón / “Black Prince for George Floyd” *

Although his dream was to throw you into the Mississippi,

that cannibal in opaque uniform

has silently burned his knee

into your inert neck.

The smoke from your flesh rises to the wet sky.

Skipping among the flowers, the air from your bronchi

chases after its ghost until you bite

the cannibal’s bloody fang.

And you breathe energy, untamed, onto the wet asphalt,

under the still shadow of an apple tree

in Minneapolis,

where we will place, for you,

this brilliant, this

immaculate black prince of ours,

in your memory.

Cerro, Cuba. June 4, 2020.

[Translated by Ivette Romero. *Príncipe negro/Black Prince is the name of a dark red rose.]

 

unnamedNancy Morejón, PRÍNCIPE NEGRO PARA GEORGE FLOYD

Aunque su sueño era lanzarte al Mississippi,

aquel caníbal de uniforme opaco

ha quemado en silencio su rodilla

sobre tu cuello inerte.

El humo de tu carne va subiendo hasta el cielo mojado.

Saltando entre las flores, el aire de tus bronquios

persigue su fantasma hasta morder

el colmillo sangriento del caníbal.

Y tú alientas, indómito, sobre el asfalto húmedo,

bajo la sombra quieta de un manzano

en Minneapolis,

donde colocaremos, para ti,

este brillante, este limpio

príncipe negro nuestro,

a tu memoria.

 

Cerro, 4 de junio, 2020

Photo above by Omer Messinger / Sipa / AP, from https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/after-the-killing-of-george-floyd-fury-at-america-and-its-values-spreads-globally.  For more information on Nancy Morejón, see https://www.smith.edu/academics/poetry-center/nancy-morej%C3%B3n

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