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Daisy Zamora is the author of five widely read books of poetry in Spanish, most recently Tierra de Nadie, Tierra de Todos (No-Man’s Land, Everybody’s Land), 2007. She also edited the first anthology of Nicaraguan women poets, a book about concepts of cultural politics during the Sandinista Revolution, and an anthology of the poetry workshops from the Latin American and Latino Studies Department at UCSC. In 2007, she translated into Spanish a collection of George Evans’ poems, Espejo de la Tierra. Daisy Zamora was awarded Nicaragua’s National Poetry Prize, Mariano Fiallos Gil, in 1977, and in 2002 received the Nicaraguan Writers Center Literary Acknowledgement for valuable contributions to Nicaraguan literature, as well as a California Arts Council Fellowship for poetry. In 2006, she was honored as Writer of the Year by the National Association of Artists in Nicaragua. She lives in Managua and San Francisco. A combatant in the National Sandinista Liberation Front, she was the program director and voice of the clandestine Radio Sandino, and became Vice-Minister of Culture after the triumph of the revolution. Throughout her life, she has been a well-known political activist and advocate for women’s rights. Her poems, essays, articles and translations have been published in magazines and literary newspapers throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia, and her poems have appeared in more than fifty anthologies in Spanish, English, French, German, Swedish, Italian, Bulgarian, Russian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Dutch, Flemish, Slovak and Czech. English translations of her work include The Violent Foam (Curbstone, 2002), Life for Each (Katabasis [U.K.], 1994), Clean Slate (Curbstone, 1993), and Riverbed of Memory (City Lights, 1992). She has given poetry readings and lectures throughout the world, and was a featured artist in Bill Moyer’s PBS series The Language of Life.

Celebration of the Body
Spanish version

Celebración del cuerpo

Amo este cuerpo mío que ha vivido la vida,
su contorno de ánfora, su suavidad de agua,
el borbotón de cabellos que corona mi cráneo,
la copa de cristal del rostro, su delicada base
que asciende pulcra desde hombros y clavículas.

Amo mi espalda pringada de luceros apagados,
mis colinas translúcidas, manantiales del pecho
que dan el primer sustento de la especie.
Salientes del costillar, móvil cintura,
vasija colmada y tibia de mi vientre.

Amo la curva lunar de mis caderas
modeladas por alternas gestaciones,
la vasta redondez de ola de mis glúteos;
y mis piernas y pies, cimiento y sostén del templo.

Amo el puñado de pétalos oscuros, el oculto vellón
que guarda el misterioso umbral del paraíso,
la húmeda oquedad donde la sangre fluye
y brota el agua viva.

Este cuerpo mío doliente que se enferma
que supura, que tose, que transpira,
secreta humores y heces y saliva,
y se fatiga, se agota, se marchita.

Cuerpo vivo, eslabón que asegura
la cadena infinita de cuerpos sucesivos.
Amo este cuerpo hecho con el lodo más puro:
semilla, raíz, savia, flor y fruto.

English version

Celebration of the Body

I love this body of mine that has lived a life,
its amphora contour soft as water,
my hair gushing out of my skull,
my face a glass goblet on its delicate stem
rising with grace from shoulders and collarbone.

I love my back studded with ancient stars,
the bright mounds of my breasts,
fountains of milk, our species’ first food,
my protruding ribcage, my yielding waist,
my belly’s fullness and warmth.

I love the lunar curve of my hips
shaped by various pregnancies,
the great curling wave of my buttocks,
my legs and feet, on which the temple stands.

I love my bunch of dark petals and secret fur
keeper of heaven’s mysterious gate,
to the damp hollow from which blood flows
and the water of life.

This body of mine that can hurt and get ill,
that oozes, coughs, sweats,
secretes humours, faeces, saliva,
grows tired, old and worn out.

Living body, one solid link to secure
the unending chain of bodies.
I love this body made of pure earth,
seed, root, sap, flower and fruit.
Beach Girls
Spanish version


Las muchachas
bocas demasiado rojas,
ojos presos en círculos
demasiado negros.

Oscuras ellas como anguilas
contrastan violentamente
con sus trajes de baño.
Andan de week-end
con unos viejos funcionarios internacionales
que beben whisky
y pagan su compañía con ropas y baratijas.
Ellos generosamente las obsequian
con su más tierna halitosis
y sus impotentes taquicardias.

Cardumen de sirenas o sardinas
lanzan las olas: guirnaldas y espuma.
Y brincan brincando mejor en la playa ardiente
que en las camas otoñales.

English version

Beach Girls

The girls
with mouths too red,
and eyeliner
too black.

They are brown as eels
contrasting sharply
with their swimsuits.
They are weekending
with some elderly international businessmen
who drink whisky
and pay for their company with clothes and trinkets.
Generously presented
with their tenderest halitosis
and impotent tachycardias.

Shoal of mermaids or sardines
tossed on the waves: wreaths and foam.
And they gambol better on the burning sand
than in the autumnal beds.
News in the Supermarket
Spanish version

Noticia en el supermercado

Entre las verduras oigo sus discusiones:
Hablan del supervisor, reniegan de los turnos,
de si la fulanita no llegó a tiempo,
del mísero sueldo que para nada alcanza.

Hoy temprano hubo un accidente
en la carretera frente a mi casa.
Acababa de bajarse del bus una muchacha
y una camioneta la mató
cuando intentaba cruzarse al otro lado.
Un gentío rodeaba su cadáver
y algunos comentaban conmovidos
que no parecía tener más de dieciocho años.

De repente cesa la habladera.
Alguien dio la noticia
que se regó como un temblor oscuro y sordo
por el supermercado.

¿Cómo decirle a doña Mariana que su única hija
que tanto le costó,
que apenas iba a matricularse en la universidad,
y se despidió tan contenta esta mañana,
yace en media carretera con el cráneo destrozado
mientras ella despacha muy amable la carne a los clientes?

English version

News in the Supermarket

I hear them gossiping among the vegetables:
they are talking about their supervisor,
grumbling about their shifts, so and so was late
and their rotten wages that don’t go anywhere.

Early this morning there was an accident
on the road in front of my house.
A girl stepped off the bus
and a lorry killed her
as she was trying to cross to the other side.
A crowd gathered round her body
and some remarked painfully
that she seemed no more than eighteen.

Suddenly the gossip stops.
Someone has brought the news
which runs through the supermarket
like a muffled tremor.

How to tell Doña Mariana that her only daughter
for whom she has struggled so hard,
who was just about to start at university,
who was so happy when she said goodbye that morning,
is lying in the middle of the road with a smashed skull
while she is amiably serving customers with meat.
Vision of your Body
Spanish version

Visión de tu cuerpo

En la habitación apenas iluminada
tuve una dicha fugaz:
la visión de tu cuerpo desnudo
como un dios yaciente.
Eso fue todo.

te levantaste a buscar tus ropas
con naturalidad
mientras yo temblaba estremecida
como la tierra cuando la parte el rayo.

English version

Vision of your Body

In the dimly lit room
I had a brief glimpse of bliss:
sight of your naked body
like a god reclining.
That was all.

Quite unaware
you got up to get your clothes
just naturally
while I shuddered
like the earth split open by lightning.