FSG Works in Progress: Island Verses: A Cuban Poetry Primer, ed. Ilan Stavans

Achy’s translation of Nicolás Guillén’s poem, “Big Lipped Nigga,” appears on FSG’s Works in Progress page. It will be included in Ilan Stavans’s forthcoming Island Verses: A Cuban Poetry Primer.

Nicolás Guillén (1902-1989)
Big Lipped Nigga, translated by Achy Obejas

Why you get so mad
when they call you big-lipped nigga,
when ya mouth’s divine,
negro bembón?

Big-lipped as you iz,
you got everythin;
you live off grace,
you got everythin.

An still you bitch,
negro bembón;
in the thick of everythin,
negro bembón,
stiff white drill suit,
negro bembón;
two-toned shoes,
negro bembón.

Big-lipped as you iz,
you got everythin;
you live off grace,
you got everythin.

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