Boot on the throat

To Black Lives Matter’s martyrs
in light of the BLM mural of Worcester

(Versión en español La bota sobre el cuello)

On the throat of History
there is a suffocating black boot
that bears
the weight of dominant whiteness.

The hands of History
are bound behind her by modern shackles
(white, of sharp-edged plastic)
that also hobble the black ankles
of History as she gasps and moans,

I can’t breathe!

The ancestral boot is powerful,
knows its own authority,
ignores the clamor of History.
Unfeeling toward that throat
and the life being snuffed out
under its weight of white centuries,
the boot perpetuates
suffocation for centuries—
repeated, castrating.

It discriminates, pursues,
accuses, beats
buries the tombs
to keep History hidden away
the same History murdered by the boot.
Dead, ignored, silenced, forbidden
History is now attired, enhanced with cosmetics, combed
by the force of the boot, that centuries-old oppressor
omnipresent in the streets, in the prisons,
falsified in the schools
denied before the altars
blindfolded in the courts of law.

It doesn’t matter what name History is given.
There have been so many of her sons stifled under that boot
that another is simply that, one more. And one more
like the one yesterday and tomorrow one more
until a volcanic eruption of asphyxiated throats
bursts the universe apart after that other corpse
(who will not be the last of the corpses)
and all of yesterday’s corpses explode like lava
with today’s howl down the multiple streets
with the cry of the world whose indignation floods
the walls of hate, the structure of hate,
with an oceanic shout of “Enough!” full of shame
and a telluric beat, a vociferous avalanche,


And the streets fill with angry hearts
and at every latitude among all races
there swells a roar in unison, a single fanfare
determined to destroy the genocidal boots,
and a shining clamor reinvents the future
without those infamous boots
on the body of a new History
to be written by The People. 

TR rpe

Vea la poeta Rhina P. Espaillat leyendo el nuevo poema de Juan Matos ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ “LA BOTA SOBRE EL CUELLO” y presentando su traducción en inglés “BOOT ON THE THROAT” con motivo del International Translation Day.


Regresar a las obras de Juan Matos