Seattle in Flames



the city feeds,

it grows with its concrete arms


primordial virtue,

creating ecosystems of opulence,

of fantasy, of misery,

of utopia versus reality.

The city

keeps growing


cold, humid, impatient

with its steel, long-necked beasts

devouring forests, lakes

history, martyrs

stories and memories,

washing away faults

and fortunes,

creating magnificent infrastructure

in pursuit

of modernity.


The city flickers and shines


it knows it is powerful

it dresses in light every night

seducing the court

of a nebulous imperial palace.

And it lies


in its cradle of mountains,


in an almost eerie verdure,

its towers

rise up defiantly,


it expands into boulevards,

bridges and streets,



museums, houses, and businesses,

plazas like temples,


more mansions

and more businesses

dealing in moments that satisfy lives,

in truths that taste of lies

and general prostitution.


The port opens


with its giant, threatening iron crows

waiting to disembark,

fat floating fish

from Asia, Oceania

Latin America, and Canada

they arrive, they make offerings

and they leave.

To the south,

the airport

flowing with history, desires

with its thousands of currencies and passports

nourishing the city.


The monorail moves forward rapidly

from Seatac to the exorbitant university,

the cars, the taxis, trucks

rush headlong in a stampede down the grand highway

from north to south and from south to north

like a spinal cord.

Don’t you hear it?

They scream

the inhabitants scream


some living and others dead

the innocent

and the indecent of unspeakable notoriety,

listen to them scream

in the glaring stadiums,




and streets, hospitals,

in pain, with jubilation, out of hunger,

for justice

or on the corners

dressed in fictitious poverty,

starving for pity,

for heroin

victims of a system that is never discussed,

dozing off in a toxic breeze

called reality.

They also scream

Oh sacred and exemplary democracy!

in their marches

marked by ambiguous propaganda

by indifference, by short-lived truths

or truths that burn,

the anarchists,



those from the reclaiming and bleeding right,

the first-world left,

the hipster bourgeoisie,

the nonconformists,

refugees, activists,

absolutists, hypocrites,

the politically incorrect,

the whites, the blacks

and the whites against blacks,

those against everyone,

those who passed by here,

and… ah! the immigrants,

Asians, Africans, Latin Americans

trying to live a dream that does not exist

in the land of miserly freedom.

But they keep screaming


in the gardens of Mercer Island,

Medina, and Madison Park,

in kitchens,


construction sites

with their deformed lexicon

cultivating nine-digit dreams

that taste like social security.

It purrs,

the city purrs

like a drunken cat,

dizzy with prosperity,

in its alleys and under its bridges

with its indigents,

on Aurora Avenue like a seductive street-walker

or on the Hill with its bars and cantinas

or on any corner

of Pioneer Square.

And it laughs;

The city laughs shamelessly

don’t you see it?

because she knows she is worshipped

by the religious,


liberals and nationalists,

by those worth nothing and those worth everything

the city feeds


for the wise and the ignorant

it seduces the audacious,

dividing them

into ethnicities, genders, languages

into races, like dogs!

many prisoners

of their fears and misfortunes

of a blind, limbless, and mute government

and cities that look like prisms

incapable of bearing the weight of such diversity.


The city sings, the city cries,

the city lives, creates, destroys

and transforms itself,

it vibrates!

in each moment,

with each immigrant

with every laugh, at every station,

with each death and with each birth,

with every march and every scream of truth,

with every investor,

with every orgasm,

with every praise,

with every tree,

with every wave of the sea.

Long live the city!


Translated by Marie Garcia


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