Nemesis the Salvadoran


Poem by Facundo Rompehuevos

Nemesis the Salvadoran

no one knew his real name but
he introduced himself as
nemesis – a common practice
among the perpetually
persecuted and undocumented
and they gave him the nickname
of la muerte not because of some
fantastic story of death but only
because the fucker was so skinny
he looked like a skeleton

he came from war-torn 1980s el
salvador never a problem finding
work never a problem finding

found himself on a hospital bed
with so much alcohol poisoning
doctors were astonished his
internal organs were able to
survive pickled and he was
given a second chance at life
and so he continues to drink
but balances it with the
occasional crystal meth

he is christian without a church
has a common hate for catholics

and liberation theology and
proudly upholds violence and
an incomplete un-marxist
conception of communism

he abhors his fellow latinos
especially his compatriotas
hijos de mierda

but more than anything he hates
his country will never go back
refuses all family has no kids
and he is asked why why he has
no kids and why hates el

he says once upon a time in a far
off land of new wave and cumbias
and stonewash jeans and thick un-
mexican tortillas and bullets and
dead raped nuns and foolish
priests who speak of peace and
demand state soldiers lay down
their guns and so the priests are
promptly shot down their bodies
foolishly carried in funeral
procession where sniper bullets
rain down upon the suspecting
and mourning masses

this is the stuff of movies this is
the stuff of forever trauma this
is the stuff of nightmares and
sorry for the length of the poem
but some things require more
words and he is deserving of all
the words i in this moment am
able to produce and offer onto
him like an awkward half-
unwanted hug because if left
alone this is the stuff of
imperialism wining claiming
a victim forever

he says around that time state
soldiers came to his house based
off information a neighbor-
snitch gave them that his family
were communist guerrillas and
so the soldiers tied up his two
small cousins and others to the
trunk of a tree and gathered the
family to witness the stupid and
terrible execution of non-
communist guerrillas

fuck my country and how do i
know these other former state
soldiers weren’t the ones who
fired the shots at my family how
do i know they weren’t the ones
who raped the monjas

he perhaps for the first time in a
long time let’s down his guard
to confess the reason for his sins
the reason for his reactionary
hate the reason for his slow and
painful suicide and his self-
punishment he is catholic after
all he thinks or is made to think
well this is life this is all there is
to it death and meth and hospital
beds but we don’t give up on him
and who is we haven’t we been
here before we is secret no-
mames no-names security culture

we show him there are people still
that share the care those nuns and
priests some secret communists
had but take it a few steps farther
by saying we don’t believe in
peace and that yes the world is
violent and ugly but only because
like those salvadoran state soldiers
it is ruled by the enemy that knows
it’s sick and dying that sorry but
you are no nemesis you come from
a country of farabundo martis of
feliciano amas of roque daltons
of comandante marcials of
communists and though the war
is over in your country it has yet
to initiate here and instead of
fearing it you will be released by
it and into it freed from the torment
that has gone nowhere but inside
you ravaging you eating you from
the inside out you will be finally
transformed into something else
and the thing that was thought to
have killed you will make you
immortal and liberated free to
reclaim the violence used against
you and your family washing
away your pain in a sea of blood
and beautiful redemption

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s