Musical Monday: A Classic from Ricardo Arjona

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I was thinking on what music I should use to resurrect the musical monday feature and it hit me almost instantly that I should begin with a song from a paisano of mine, Ricardo Arjona, that was popular at the time I took my trip.
Ricardo Arjona is one of the foremost Spanish poets of our time. Even people who don't like his music will begrudgingly admit the beauty of his lyrics. While a translation will never do his song, Mojado, justice, it's probably a better contribution then any kind of commentary that I can provide. The word mojado translates roughly into the word "wetback," or better, "wet person," but it's important to state that the word doesn't carry the same negative connotations or systemic oppression in Spanish.  Let's see if I can do better than Google Translate:

Wetback

He packed a pair of shirts, a hat,
His calling as an adventurer,
Six pieces of advice, seven photographs, a thousand memories.

He packed his desire to stay,
His state of transforming himself
From a man who has dreamed but has not acheived.

He said goodbye with a grimace disguised as a smile.
He prayed to his God crucified on the shelf
To protect those that are His,
And he perforated the border however he could.

¿If the soft moon slips over every surface
Without any permission,
Why does the wetback need to prove with visas
That he is not from Neptune?

The wetback wants to dry off.
The wetback is wet because of tears of nostalgia.
The wetback, the undocumented person,
Carries a load that a legal person would not carry,
Even if he were obligated to.

The torment over a piece of paper has converted him into a fugitive.
He is not from here because his name does not appear in the archives
Nor is he from there because he left.

Wetback,
Your truth tastes like a lie,
Anxiety tastes like the sadness
Of seeing a freeway and dreaming of a road
That drives to your house.

Wetback,
Wet from so much crying,
Knowing that somewhere
A kiss waits for you suspended
On the day you left.

¿If the universal visa is granted
On the day we are born,
And expires when we die,
Why are they persecuting you wetback
If the consulate of the heavens
Already gave you permission?
Ricardo Arjona (Translation by Kyle de Beausset) - Mojado (2005)

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This page contains a single entry by kyledeb published on July 18, 2011 5:05 AM.

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