17 01 2010

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Crushed parterres. Trails left behind by trucks of concrete beating on the asphalt, then pulverized until they form clouds of dust. To have to live with the doors and windows sealed, on the hill of the Avenida de Porvenir, with the paranoia of enduring respiratory illnesses or at least allergic reactions. Domestic lethargy within walls, outside the city rebuilds itself by fits and stars with cement and rum.

The neighbors complain in the official newspapers, but it as as much for the tragedy of this neighborhood of barriers as for the Department of the Construction. Lawton and Lawton and Havana want to grow, stretch, even break apart. In addition, they are resuscitating the Buttari softball stadium, the only semicircle where in my adolescence I could hit a home-run: literally hitting the ball out of the park.

Machinery, asphalt mixers and furnaces, rolling stones, inquisitive cranes all over Lawton’s roofs, pneumatic hammers, cables and sewer trenches, hard hats and boots, hunks of men of prosaic words and big naked torsos, all of it under the flat sun of our wintry January. People, we are in the middle of the second decade of the XXI century! Can we say that the exaggerated economic recovery has come to rescue us: Lawton as a canonic quarter, the paradigm to follow by Cuba and its villages?

More buses, state-owned taxis priced in CUCs, or unlicensed taxis at 10 pesos. Metro buses to Alamar or the Iron Bridge over the Almendares river, routes to Cotorro or the Malecon or Santiago de Las Vegas or Fraternity Park. I don’t want to leave here. I beg your pardon Lawton, if I ever insulted or maligned you, you crazy suburb, incurable crazy suburb, you.

Sometimes myopic and colorblind. Sometimes a piece of shit and a miracle. Almost never a token of luck, always a shroud. Don’t let my remembrances of you to go to exile. Do not tempt me to affront you in an “official period”. Better allow me to praise you in public, holding my ground in a blog. Do not let go of me Lawton, do not erase my name from your list of failures: I want to prostrate my self in the queue of those who did not learn how to abandon you at a proper time. Unrecognizable point and irreconcilable point of our country map.

The Hillock of the Burro shaved of his trees, baldness of the fatherland, deprived even of its pine trees. The Bus Terminal full of buses like in the “Golden Leyland Age.” Streetcar rails that the government does not stop selling to the best bidders in Japan as aseptic steel. Drugstores abandoned to their luck and the traders of snake oil. Cafeterias good to die in, without sandwiches and croissants. Staircases all over the place like in a wholesale market of stairs. A banished distillery even from itself, but still standing against the sepia skies of a post-revolution. The smoldering remains of “The Great Fire of Lawton-London” still full of smoke in the terror of the ancients (and there are almost no seniors left: everything left to us is effeminate comfort and modernity). The slaughterhouse, just the plain slaughterhouse, with its mooing cows abandoned to their luck standing in a train car (all Cuban travelers know by first hand experience of this classy bovine way of transportation). “The Count and the Railroad-Ferrari.”

And I, at the center stage of this jaundice iconographic nightmare, typing with shame, the mouthfuls and the potholes of true. I, silently screaming in your ear.

Translated by Zoquetote




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