There comes over me an impluse to kiss passion itself on both cheeks
Me viene,
Hay dias

Cesar Vallejo

There comes over me some days an urge, abundant, political,
an impulse to kiss passion itself on both cheeks,
and from somewhere deep down that urge overwhelms me
to stroke, flagrantly, with consent or by force,
whoever detests me, whoever rips up the boy's notebook,
whoever weeps because someone else is weeping,
the king of wine, the slave of water, whoever
is hiding, and press myself --- hard --- on the fury
of whoever's sweating, whoever's passing, whoever wriggles out of himself into my
And I want, I very much need, to give little improving touches
to whoever talks to me: the woman on her braids, the soldier on his haircut,
the great man on his glitter, the little man on his grandeur.
I want, I'm impatient, to start ironing
a handkerchief for anybody who can't cry
and, when I'm sad or when joy makes me ache,
to patch up and heal the children and the geniuses.

I want to help the good fellow show a bad streak
and I've a huge yen to sit myself down
to the right of some lefthanded guy, and chat with some mute,
and try to become just as useful as I possibly
can; and also, I've a mighty desire
to kneel down and wash the lame man's crippled foot
and help the one-eyed man next to me get some sleep.

Ah, desire --- this my own, and this the world's,
humanity --- wide yet parochial, raging forever!
There rises in me, in the fullness of time,
out of the source, out of the groin of the people,
surging from somewhere far off, my lust to caress
the singer on her hoopskirt
and, on his frying pan, whoever suffers,
and, fearlessly, the deaf man on the noises in his skull,
and whoever returns to me what in my heart I'd forgotten,
on his Dante, on his Chaplin, on his shoulders.

And I want, in conclusion,
whenever I'm on the celebrated verge of violence
or my heart swells up and fills my chest --- I want
to help whoever is smiling to laugh out loud,
and to set a little bird down on the scruff of the scoundrel's neck,
I want to nurse the sick, so much that I annoy them,
and buy up all the things the salesman's trying to sell,
and help the murderer murder --- terrible thing ---
and I want to have been completely straight with myself
in every way.

--- Translated by M.L. Rosenthal

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