Nieto’s Reproach in the Air of a Wayno

There is a saying in Cuzco that you hear all the time: “sacar la vuelta”. In simple English it could mean to betray, but it means more like to open another chat while continuing to chat with your love. There is a sense of anything being possible and nothing being absolutely secure. You never know but that your love is thinking about someone else, all the time she or he is with you.

People gossip about this lots. They will come up to you and say: “I saw Yudith walking hand and hand with some guy by the University the other day.” Or “Come on, come on. Look. There’s your Jhon in that car with a woman.”

It is like people live in parallel universes simultaneously, here with that person and there with someone else. Sometimes the two collide and your world falls apart.

Sure, betrayal happens everywhere. But there is something particularly Andean in this, where both men and women have to watch out to protect their interest in their love. They have to make sure others don’t come close. They keep them busy and closely guarded. But even then, you never know.

As the saying goes, “you cannot trust even your own shadow”.

As s result, people cultivate jealousy, almost to a fine art. They will tell you straight up, even with pride: “I am the jealous type”, as a statement of fine character, a badge of honor. It is also a way of warning: “Do not screw around on me.”

This is the world in which Cuzco’s great poet Luis Nieto Miranda locates his Reproach. He calls it a Wayno, a song style in which insecurity and betrayal is as common as falling in love. It is part of the eternal tension between the sexes.

As you read this, think of couples dancing back and forth, while stomping feet to a bouncy sound. These are the kinds of words that might sound from musicians or, these days, speakers.

Reproach in the Air of a Wayno

Yesterday, Antuca told me
like, she saw you with a grunt.
She just said it to prick me
so I would drop you.

If its true you were with
another guy, spending time,
better watch out, bitch,
it’s gonna cost you.

Your fuck-up’s gonna last
like a flower in a cup.
Ain’t no everlasting joke
nor hundred years of evil.

Shouldn’t have betrayed me.
I always treated you good.
(Someday you’ll want me,
but for me you go’ be dead).

You flirty, sneaky bitch.
You’re cold and it hurts.
My heart can take it,
not so much, so much . . .


Hot and sneaky bandit.
Why do you repay me like this.
My heart bleeds and breaks
but I won’t ever be your slave.

–Luís Nieto Miranda
(translated by David Knowlton)

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