A la Carmen

I woke up this morning with Carmen in my mind, just like every single day, and a sentence in my lips, “We haven’t ask death for an explanation,” except in Spanish: “No hemos pedido explicaciones a la muerte.” And I had to write a poem. I then proceeded to translate it to English (see below), which was easier than I thought, since the emotions are so present. With this poem, I try to fill the void, just like I attempted to do working on the oil pastel above. It started as an orange and blue painting, and soon became very blue, and black.


A la Carmen

No hemos pedido explicaciones a la muerte

No pudimos entender lo cierto

No nos dio tiempo.


No nos acostumbramos al vacío de las horas

El pozo que ayer rebosaba con tu risa

Se traga ahora negro los segundos.


Ya no existen en el mundo lágrimas

Para inundar la emoción a flor de piel

De días sin fin y noches sin sueño.


Tu ausencia llena cada instante

Como el eco de tu voz en la distancia

Que quiere dar consuelo.


Dime por favor que la vida es sueño

Que despertaremos de la eterna soledad

Para reír juntos de nuevo.


To the Carmen

We haven’t asked death for an explanation

We couldn’t understand what’s certain

We had no time.


We can’t get used to the emptiness of hours

The well that yesterday overflowed with your laughter

Now swallows, black, the seconds.


No more tears in the world remain

To inundate our raw emotions on edge

The endless days and sleepless nights.


You absence fills each and every instant

Like the echo of your voice heard in the distance

That wants to comfort us.


Please tell me that life’s a dream

That we’ll wake up from eternal solitude

To laugh again together.


©2012 Isaac Hernández


Carmen Alexander

Carmen Alexander (1968-2012), Mother, Teacher, Friend.

“Si nada nos salva de la muerte, al menos que el amor nos salve de la vida.”
“If nothing saves us from death, at least may love save us from life.”

– Pablo Neruda

Carmen de mi alma, how we miss you. You were such a ray of sunshine in our daily lives. Thank you for shining your light. Thank you for your intelligence, your elegance, and your laughter. Sobre todo por la risa. Thank you for your beautiful children, and for taking care of our children. Our community is stronger because of you. We were blessed by you sharing your life with us. You gave it all. Your generosity will continue to inspire us. Gracias por formar parte de nuestras vidas, por los siglos de los siglos.

Circle for Carmen.

Alex Kacik wrote a nice piece about Carmen in Noozhawk. However, the kids at OAS, where Carmen had taught in every single class, say it best, so I leave you with a few photos of their letters and drawings to Carmen, taken by Erica Bee, an amazing photographer and student at OAS who I’m honored to mentor; and with a photo I took of my son and his friend comforting each other.