SILENCIO & the Southern Devil

Heriberto Yépez

I

Concrete poetry as such began in a global meeting of counter-histories.

In a SILENCIO which is not only mystical and monastic reclusion but also a transatlantic prison.

An order spelled by the colonizer to the colonized in his own colonial tongue:

 SILENCIO SILENCIO SILENCIO
 SILENCIO SILENCIO SILENCIO
 SILENCIO        SILENCIO
 SILENCIO SILENCIO SILENCIO
 SILENCIO SILENCIO SILENCIO

At the center of these three metal bars, there is a split, a crack, an empty mouth.

Through that missing center, through that hole, you are invited to utter the word.

This poem by Eugen Gomringer is a colonial command.

It is asking you to keep silent.

This poem by Eugen Gomringer orders you to give yourself the order.

SILENCIO

This is what Open Works of Art really are.

Once you say, or just think, this word-order the prison cell closes with you inside.

At the same time, the Southern Devil escapes this micro-concrete jail.

This Southern Devil did not want to obey the German command to remain _____________.

To keep quiet the story of who is being thrown away by the powerful woman from Vienna and the U.S.

The critic that controls the memories of the emerging forms solidifying into canon.

There’s an order you should follow.

There’s a hierarchy no one should dismiss.

History will be written so that the people from the South are erased.

Or put in second place.

SILENCIO

You must obey.

Who’s the Father.

Who’s the First.

II

And now repeat after me:

“If you are

“Or I am

“A Brazilian black

“Any kind of black whatsoever

“Any negro

“A Native American

“A Messed Up Mestizo

“A migrant

“A Muslim

“A refugee

“A Stateless non-citizen

“A poor woman

“A poor man

“A poor queer

“An illegal-alien

“A non-English speaker

“A terrorist

“An extremist

“A radical

 SILENCIO SILENCIO SILENCIO
 SILENCIO SILENCIO SILENCIO
 SILENCIO        SILENCIO
 SILENCIO SILENCIO SILENCIO
 SILENCIO SILENCIO SILENCIO

III

But guess what, Lit Lady?

The Southern Devil refuses to comply.

No fucking Silencio, Señora.

No fucking Silencio, oh Man.

NO

NO NO NO

NO NO NO

NO NO NO

NO NO NO

NO NO NO

NOT

ANYMORE