Ernesto Cardenal's
Managua 6:30 P.M.
 Translated from the Spanish 
by Jonathan Cohen

In the evening the neon lights are soft
and the mercury streetlamps, pale and beautiful …
And the red star on a radio tower
in the twilight sky of Managua
looks as pretty as Venus
and an ESSO sign looks like the moon

The red taillights of the cars are mystical

(The soul is like a girl kissed hard behind a car)
            TACA     BUNGE     KLM     SINGER
            MENNEN     HTM     GOMEZ     NORGE
            RPM     SAF     OPTICA     SELECTA
all proclaim the glory of God!
(Kiss me under the glowing signs oh God)
            KODAK     TROPICAL RADIO     F&C REYES
they spell your Name
in many colors.
                        "They broadcast
the news …"
I don't know
what else they mean
I don't defend the cruelty behind these lights
And if I have to give a testimony about my times
it's this: They were primitive and barbaric
but poetic

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