Compañero in September

17 စက်တင်ဘာလ 2001

A poem for Orlando Letelier, Sheridan Circle Memorial Service, 18 September 1977.


TNI and the Pinochet precedent


We have made it for a year
oh, so lonely
the family
the Chilean people
the friends

Ronni and Orlando
your death meant quite a challenge
You died
you live on
guiding, teaching, cajoling
You, Orlando
protect your family with your faith
in the Chilean people

Twenty years ago your hair burned in the sunlight
and your heart throbbed through your eyes
your skin prickled with energy
amidst lovers and beggars in Parque Forestal
A year ago your body
beat cueca rhythms with mine
on September's lawn


and many of you were there, my friends
You left home a year ago and did not return
September weighs on us
the month of your gravestone weighs on us

In Chile
Independence is celebrated
snow recedes but winter chills our independence

Chile remains on our lips
but we don't say it with arrogance
we don't stare at the Andes
No spring comes this year
September means death
means winter continues
but means that your memory provides warmth
gives us determination to carry on

we miss you all year around
In Parque Forestal you talked of
dreams of a better life and
in La Moneda you tried to provide it
In death your dream lives on
We try to make it our future