Formicid Form: El Hormiguero

The Daily Ant maintains “Formicid Form”, a Sunday ant poetry series. When possible, our Verse Correspondant, Natalia Piland, provides a short commentary at the end of each poem. Enjoy!


El Hormiguero (2010)

Song by Calle 13, English translation here

The ants have arrived here,
We are conquering enemy territories,
Invisible, silent, and simultaneous,
The entire invasion is subterraneous.

Without shooting into the air, without launching missiles,
Without having to kill people using projectiles,
We fight this war without using firearms,
From block to block like the bricklayers. [*albañil, m. noun = bricklayer; mason]

They have tried to stop us, a pair of cowboys, [*reference to USA]
But the anthill is already built.
We are many brothers with many cousins.
The family is large because we reproduce ourselves.

We displace the cowboys from their offices
Because we work full-time without tips.
We are not welcome, yet we enter anyway,
We sting you and we punish you.

When you most feel most safe, the ants fool you,
They attack in packs like the piranhas,
Even though they are small, thanks to unity, [*alt. thanks to their union]
All together they become a bus.

Poor cowboy who underestimates us;
When he sleeps, the colony overcomes him.
That’s why the cowboys at all corners…
We have them eating Latin food.

Chorus:
¿Tú quieres guerra? You want war?
[Repeated and answered in different languages.]

The ants can go up against any giant.
They enter through the trunk of any elephant,
They crumble them without shedding a drop of blood.
Formic acid so it stings ‘em.

Don’t feel safe if the sting does not hurt you, [*arde = burn; sting]
The burning of the bite, you will feel much later. [*quemazón = burning; itch]
Even though you have cowboy boots and a cowboy hat,
There are many ants and few cowboys.

The humble devoured the nobles.
By 2020, we will have doubled. [*Census Bureau and Pew Research projections.]
Here there is no racism, it isn’t about race,
If I mobilize* here, well, I have my home here. [*lit. If I work here…]

Being impartial, that’s what it’s about;
One must share the candy in the piñata.
Now if the cowboy mistreats us,
It may be that the ants pull out their inner Zapata. [*Mexican revolutionary whose army reappropriated land for the poor masses]

In a team, one can resolve any setback.
When we bite you, we bite at the same time.
Regarding our unity, there should be no questions;
Facing danger, ants die together.

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