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Jack Hirschman ¡Presente!

Jack Hirschman ¡Presente!

12/13/1933 – 08/22/2021

Querido Jack,

I write you these words

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From El Salvador

The land of poet Roque Dalton

You know, you remember Acta, your favorite poem of his.


In the name of those who wash other people’s clothes

(and cleanse from their whiteness other people’s filth).

In the name of those who care for other people’s children

(and sell their labor in the form of motherly love and humiliations)…

Here in El Salvador

It’s raining and I’m remembering, so many memories of you since 1980

Your love for El Salvador, your revolutionary joy

Your poetry on fire, in tears, in truth, singing always singing

Querido Jack, Poeta

When I come back to San Francisco

The city won’t be the same

Nor the North Beach bars, nor cafés, nor the Mission, nor Chinatown

I don’t know where

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Poets go when they go

But it’s raining for a reason, and dawn is a good vodka

And the dream of life is just, and it all fits, justice, love.

I accuse private property of depriving us of everything.

And for me, life hurts now, it hurts me to say

Life hurts me for depriving us of you

Let’s go forward, Jack, like children

Like sparrows, like you, a love poem

Translated by Elizabeth Bell

Poets Jorge Argueta and Jack Hirschman in 2019. Courtesy: Jorge Argueta

El Tecolote is 51 years strong this month!