Santo Domingo: The Beach at Dusk

The following poem offended a number of people. Then again, it fascinated others. Some listeners said it sounded worse in Spanish, even if they were not fluent in the language. 

My point of blogging is not to project a Pollyannaish image of “we’ll all hold hands and sing ‘Kumbaya’ and be friends.” Sometimes there are serious differences that can only be resolved through poetry, even if it sounds harsh.

For now, I am using the nom-de-plume of Dionisio de los Ríos for this and a few other selections. With all the references to queens, sirens, sorceresses and prostitutes, it could have been written by a male poet. As a non-Latina woman, I am not allowed to be bitter or angry, so I am putting all my venom into the mouth of my male persona.

Litany of the Disenchanted Island

I renounce the sun the sea and all that sings:

take back your enchantment your sirens your illusions
I will no longer wreck my boat upon your island
beachless surrounded by jagged rocks and false promise.


Oh disenchanted island queen of lies:

how long have I listened to your Piper’s tune?

your malecón worse than the streets of Hamelin

where souls lured by black magic march toward death.


Whoring siren ungrateful Piper shall I pay you with my blood?

How long will you laugh at my cries a thousand ahs! cast into the sea?

Cursed be the day I learned the psalms that even David would hate

declaimed in a tongue as cutting as the rocks that choke the shore.


Sorceress of scorn inflictor of all pain

merciless mystic mother where is your chaste and cherished child?

I reject you and all your works oh empty house of fool’s gold.

Far from you shattered mirror of injustice I will seek other seas.

Dionisio de los Ríos

July 2012

The Spanish version is here:

Letanía de la isla desencantada

 Renuncio al sol y al mar y a todo lo que canta:

te devuelvo tu encanto tus sirenas y tus ilusiones
mi barco ya no naufragará en tu isla
sin playa rodeada de rocas serradas y promesa falsa.


Oh isla desencantada reina de mentiras:

¿desde cuándo he escuchado tu melodía de Flautista?

tu malecón peor que las calles de Hamelin

en donde las almas llamadas por la magia negra se marchan hacia la muerte.


Sirena prostituta Flautista ingrata ¿debería pagarte con mi sangre?

¿Hasta cuándo reirás de mis gritos miles de ¡ah! echados en el mar?

Maldito sea el día cuando aprendí los salmos aborrecidos hasta por David

declamados en una lengua tan cortante como las rocas que ahogan la orilla.


Hechicera del desdén la que inflige todos los dolores

madre mística sin merced ¿dónde está tu niño casto y querido?

Te rechazo a ti y a toda tu obra oh casa vacía de oro de tontos.

Lejos de ti espejo de la injusticia hecho pedazos buscaré otro mar.

Dionisio de los Ríos

julio 2012