The Complaint of Mara the Singer

Although my voice is the most beautiful,
Since what I sing and say
Is always proudly rebellious,
I am only worth a Maravedis.[1]

I would like two, if, like the others,
I deign, under the lights,
To play the false apostle
With celebrated singers.
The Stalinists of the "Song of the World"[2]
Will make their expensive records without me.
It is here where anger growls
That I sing: "Break your chains!"

I want here, where one is grateful for me,
To come, for a laughable price:
Among the immigrant workers,
The Leftist of the terrible project.
Only thus do I have the right to get respect.
Paco, as much for his origins,
As for his success, is suspect.
La Magny[3] is good for the dykes.

It is vile to be an owner,
Without managing one's goods.
All the people of the Earth
Know well that I support them!

And it is here, in my country,
In favor of the disinherited,
One dares to speak to me of Spain,
And stupid futilities.

When I sing of the armed struggle,
It is of the people who come to the point;
But this Plebe who is locked up
For three years. Who speaks of such things?

The problem is that one will leave them there
For another twenty years.
Is it fair that one presses me
To sing of such prisoners?

We have a democracy
Under Suarez, and they want better.
Perhaps it is a rancid trifle [this democracy],
But it remains a little, at least.

A king is here, whose person
Spares us, at least, from Tejero.
He only obeys, by telephone,
The calmest of the generals.

Segovia is a prison
Where are the libertarians are sent.
Mao said better who are
The real lords of the proletariat.

The unknown sing songs
To free their comrades.
And one addresses me! We pass on this.
Why would I want to fix their mess?[4]

All my friends disapprove of me
Being a star among such
Hoodlums, who moreover pay me
More than the customary rates!

Songs lacking political meaning,
Or a brilliant radicalism!
I am faithful to my stock in trade.
For anything else I don't have the time.

The response I must make
To those who would deputize me
Is my most sincere refrain:
"Soy una hija de puta."[5]

Pro-prisoner Committee of Segovia

[1] Name of the restaurant (nearby Saint-Etienne-du-Mont) in which Mara first started singing in the 1960s. [Translator's note: in Spain, a maravedi is a small copper coin. Thus this line says suggests: "I am only worth a penny."]

[2] Which produced Mara's recording Songs of Spain, with accompaniment by the guitarist Paco Ibanez.

[3] Translator's note: Madame Claude-Edmonde Magny.

[4] Translator's note: literally, Why would I want to sell their salads? (Pourquoi vendrais-je leurs salades?).

[5] "I am the daughter of a whore."

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 6: Janvier 1979-Decembre 1987 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2005. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! April 2007. Footnotes by Alice Debord, except where noted.)

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