El Nuevo Coloso

Translated into Spanish by Giannina Braschi

I have always looked for what is foreign to my nativity. I don’t want to understand what I already know. I want to feel confused, be bewildered, sense awe, make the comfortable uncomfortable. I want to misplace myself. When I am misplaced, I am noticed as a misplacement—and I like to be figured out as somebody you have to keep misplacing—and changing the view you had—because the foreigner is invading the native—the native is becoming foreign—and in a country where foreigners become natives—and natives foreigners—languages must be demolished and rebuilt—not on a geographical continent with a boundary called flag, but in the infinite space of a nutshell.

Giannina Braschi is the author of Empire of Dreams, Yo-Yo Boing!, and United States of Banana. She is a fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts and has won grants/awards from New York Foundation for the Arts, Puerto Rican Institute for Culture, Rutgers University, Ford Foundation, Danforth Scholarship, among others. She holds a Ph.D. in Hispanic Literatures from the State University of New York and has published on Cervantes, Garcilaso, Machado, Lorca, and Bécquer.

No como el gran pendejo de mala fama americana
Que construye murallas separando nuestras dos Américas,
Aquí a la entrada de nuestra ciudadela
Brilla la antorcha de una mujer preñanda
Que les da la bienvenida a todos los inmigrantes
From the tippy-top of the Yukon to the tippy-toes of la Tierra del Fuego.
Su nombre es Madre de los Exiliados. Ella se lamenta, jalándose las greñas:
Yo era un monumento a la inmigración.
Ahora soy agente de fronteras. Trabajo para la migra.
Con mi antorcha saco a la luz actividades sospechosas que ocurren bajo mis faldas.
Pero nunca solicité este empleo del gobierno.
No soy espía. Ni soy policía. Soy una esclava de la libertad.
Siento lástima de todos los prisioneros. Yo también soy prisionera.
Quiero ser free from freedom. Free.