5 04 2010


Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

These Fidel, alas, you see now,

lonely fields, withered hill,

were once a famous Havana time.

Havana that was Thursday

January 1, 1959 was a Thursday. No one remembers this in Havana. Among other reasons because, save a couple of parking meters and am opportune poem of survival, there is not much to remember. Havana was like that. Mad and amnesiac, invaded by comics more than marines. Apathetically pathetic. As heroic as Santiago de Cuba, but cynical and northern. Impossible to count on then with her as the star of the bearded barbarian of his epic.

January 1, 2009 was a Thursday. No one in Havana will remember this. Among other reasons because, save for a couple of million of Cubans outside Cuba, and so many other poems opportunists of the desktop, still there will not be much to remember. Havana continues like this. Loquacious and hyperesthetic, regurgitating ridiculous aftertastes with an infantile inertia. Patriotically stateless. As hedonistic as Santiago de Cuba, but civil and still northern. Impossible to count on today with her as the star in the epic joke of his alopecia.

Hiroshimabana, mon amour

The Havana of the year zero is a balloon: a bubble of axes, a gas chamber against the Aedes mosquito We fumigate with Russian roulette against the pandemic. Central America is a focus. The flow of students is very intense. And every hear there are hemorrhagic outbreaks that receive free therapy but not diagnosis: Dengue is a top-secret national security.

The firefighters clear the neighborhoods while the sirens announce that it is not another false alarm The emphysema sabotage the morbidity statistics of MINSAP, but Havana has has within the fungus that makes it invisible and weightless in the midst of the holocastro: cleansing not ethnically but etymologically.

Soon, the city reincorporates with punctual Pioneers: We are Phoenixes Here, parodying the propaganda. In an unbreathable atmosphere, Havanabrasive, neither the insects nor the people are given the Kafkaesque luxury of suffocating themselves. The smoke does not kill the humor in us, the uberdying, who owe a tracheotomy to no one.

Scheherazade before dawn

To the Havanan, there is no speech that rises above the concrete vision of the city. I ask a streetsweeper for the time for signs: “The 7-1/2” stands and looks up. It’s not a man but an actress fetish of no one. Her pupils furious at a live kidnapping of the third Lucia: perhaps the most amateur and plausible of all the characters of Cuban Cinema.

I retire without thanking her, brooding on the runes in the ruins of my exterior monologue (more autstic than artistic): il n’y a pas Habanors du texte. Havana has no outside: Havana is the outside.

Unseasonable weather. Temperate Havanachronicle in the subjunctive mood. Sidewalks urine-scented and streets constellations of sputum: legs wide open and pupils prudishly closed. Daring of the dishonor before the disobedience. Substantive beyond adjectival Urbe, healthy udder on the point of a summary mastectomy: you refuse in writing three times before the street of the cock, because Fontovajuno wasn’t right, rather the Attorney (quod scripsi is crisis).

The inconstant Havaninfa

According to the posthumous novel of the literally deceased Infant, Havana seems — appears — indestructible in the memory that makes her immortal.

In the autumn without the patriarch in the year 8, in a Havanula level of hurricanes not as eolian as ideological, with the spurious hope that our XXI will not be an alphabetic anagram of the XIX, we must recognize that now no one inhabits this sacred tongue of Havana muteness discovered by G. Cain. We do not know how to read reading, nor does it matter to us. We have blurred the instructions in our school notebook.

Thus, we pass prodigious pages and we remain in white, as if we were reading in Latin: Latiniterature for a heart-attacked Havana. To write, to dregswrite: sounds apocalyptic, but is rather psychalyptico. Havana does not breed tears, although it would dry the eyes. Havana is one ‘ho keeping on becoming familiar Lolita with old age. Havana is, in effect, literary bait. Havana is, in defect, a carnival. But raw.

The illusion of the Havanaut

The brakes on the asphalt and the driver accuses me of pedestrian coprophagy. I apologize to this worker blinded not with me, but with the visit to Cuba of three cyclones or Three Bad Kings: Gustav, Ike and Paloma.

From Havana intellectual brigades leave to redress the disaster. They go in a communism campaign, according to our flat press, in a gesture of willingness also very useful as blackmail. Who [no] stands today with Cuba, [no] stands for all time: the appointment passes the leaden pen of José Martíto a light videoclip of the Moncada group.

I kneel at the Virgin of the Road and ask for nothing. I cross the bridges and stairs of Lawton. The Loma del Burro shaved of pines gives pain like landscape. I ascend the straight line of the Avenida de Porvenir. All movement in a plane, To Cubanize the cadaver of an exiled ex-Soviet with the Nobel Prize, is a spatial form of self-confirmation.

Now that president Medvedev rediscovers the element Cu for the Political Table of Mendeleev, Saint Petersburger and Havanagrado send me archaeologically to this archipelago for such secret acronyms: GULAG, UMAP. For something we went together to the cosmos to bless the native dust of the most Holy of Holies. For something we shared the guns of Aurora and a 50 year period of Subafrican safaris and spy microphones and 9550 genes in Russianol and the socialistica realism of Sovexportfilm and even a nuclear reactor turned into an Orthodox cathedral. For something we float in the frost of the Potemkin Yacht or in a Battleship of cork called Granma, which still hibernates the insomnia of those just waiting for a human time, too human, that never comes.

L is for 50

We howl at the Plaza of the Revolution: Free-dom, Free-dom. A Polish pope and the press stuck between Jesus Christ and Che Guevara were our safe-conduct pass with impunity.

During 100 hours of accompaniment Gabriel Garcia Marquez served as Chancellor. The Cardinal squandered his 15 minutes of fame on Cuban TV and his beatific smile was a Gordian knot in our throats. Fidel just about stripped off his magister ludi suit in the middle of the reality show.

That controlled party is today known as an unmentionable fiasco: prophylaxis of the cross in a yard of choirs. The freedom fell far short even as worse performance, even though luckily the black heralds of our postmodernist provincial is still howling (with 50 anniversaries of delay): Let’s all be free next year, like we have never been before.

An omen, right in the Edipo Rev of our Pax Raulmana nonsecular, jumps abruptly from the subliminal to the subversive: Rev in peace, 1959-2009.

I, who doesn’t know how to say: Revolution

The winter starts (word without etymology in the Cuban climax) and continues stopped in stop-motion the Wall of the Malecon. Havana is a stopped ball game that no one wants to kick: do you want to watch from the sidelines or plow with these oxen until the final whistle?

I turn at Dolores Street to the rather deformed road of 10th of October: republicambrico milestone become revoillusionary herd. The light is too fragile, but the dust forms early from these columns more barruecas than baroque that are the bars of this city.

The corner of La Vibora functions like an evil Aleph: toilet paper cubes from the balconies, sugar cane juiceries with waterworms and a farmer’s market, animals butchered under the lights and tispy Havanaholics on the curb, plus a scholastic concentration campus in whose austere classrooms we betrayed our first love. Now they go back again the adolescents in their uniforms, but at my age I already feel the very old body through three sad decades of disciplinary decadence.

Not far away rise the spotlights of Villa Marista, private school turned into a Panopticon headquarters of State Security. The house still retains it maieutics majesty. Some friends spend their Military Service as custodians there. As they will not tell this necrotic niche of the nation, I interrogate them to the point of torture.

From their posts, not one saw a single act of violence nor auto de fe. In any case, expressions of sleepiness: bursts escape at midnight, street brawls outside, smarmy sweet compliments of vigilance to the passers-by and a rosary sub-rosa of incredible naivety without the Interior Ministry.

Sweet Havana

My rundown 24-hour-Havana is a storyboard not as Aristotelian as aristocratic. A post-proletarian generation does not repair its city on foot, nor in the voice of the voiceless, nor in the magical guerrilla sagas, nor in the zoosocial complaint, nor in all this bling of the boom that persists like a web dog in la the past of the text.

More profitable and risky wold be to tell of the Brave New Havana that since 1868 or 1895 or 1902 or 1933 or 1959 or 2003 no one dares to interview: The glamor in the times of coolera?

Such an alternate history of an Alter-Havana fashion, debris and counterculture, cannibal before Caliban, prosperous and without perspectives, futile more than futuristic, Havanywoody; such a city narrated by deliveries from some bobo blog or blockade (delirious on the border of delight) would be a cure of horses against the tedious Trojans of the Cuban reliterature: a corpus texti that no one knew to name Havana nor its choking voice with one consonant (abstract).

The Cuban in the newspaper

Hundreds of accordions seal off the capital: they are articulated buses of the Yutong Brand (Made in China). Comfort aside, they still stink and lack lights and are full of graffiti and they leak, and roll slowly like stoves or forty cent scams. This tangle of routes replaces the subway planned in the eighties by MITRANS, when Stalin’s Iron Curtain (Back in the USSR) collapsed.

In the State newsstands tabloids sprout with solemnity. The color of the ink is slightly different textures: Orbe black, Granma red, Workers orange, Rebel Youth blue, and the experiment  was not as democratic as demochromatic of Le Calle del Medio. The old men got up early to hoard them for resale at a 500% markup, even though the next gain is less than a Cuban peso per copy.

To buy printed paper to read is not very elegant in Havana. But, like Hemingway with the programs at the racetrack, between owners I always run in the melted iceberg of truth: A city for the blind, Delay could benefit, Rowers with good plans, In Cuba the largest pride of lions in captivity in the world, Flying national land, The Record of the absurd is expired.

Perverse death, State of coma

A friend died in two steps: one nurse’s flirtation resuscitated him the first time, when they already told is there was nothing to be done. My father died with a clinical case until after the autopsy: metastases merciful that never hurt. Another mother almost ambulatory in the surgery. Always death and its brief pose, without index nor indemnification.

Havana, open up and swallow: we are caught in a tradition rich in suicide without cause. But a verse from our Virgil is not enough to convert us to necrophilia, though death surrounds us on all sides like a damn fact: Ubicuba and Havanasiente.

O Death! Where isn’t thy sting? In the Reflections of the Premier, re-read later by the mass media or perhaps the fear of death. In the funeral processions, that are banned from passing through the Plaza of the Revolution on their way to the cemetery. In the black sound that echoes from exile to inxile: attachment, invasion, a bulldozer from one end of the country, the Cuban Adjustment Act (Account?) Cuban secret clauses of the Code De Bush and a license 3 to 3000 days to kill.  In a Cubavision Roundtable, together with vague inhumane antisocial mercenaries and other extravagant zeros. In a painful panel Channel 41 where phobia sells more commercial spots. In the death penalty an state of emergency from a sinister tome of law, hanging over our bodies without organs but organized mass. New Homer in our Utopia in the end: Pioneers for vancomycin we will be like Simpson!

Stomping death everywhere except in the blessed fact that boasts an outspoken intellectual independence, but before the power is rhetorical makeup with Naif (Homemade) brand mascara.


Bypassing Sports City, the conductor of the route P-3 explains why Beijing gave more Para-Olympic golds than Olympic. Some complain about this incontrovertible reverse in victory. Others, cautiously, blame certain concepts and leaders inside INDER. And the undecideds don’t understand why all the fuss for not singing the Cuban anthem in Cantonese.

We overtake the Zoological 26, with its beasts who survived the end-of-century famine and now are dying of boredom. The Acapulco cinema announces Kangamba live. And its onanistic front seats are excited by the heroes without Eros of this ICAIC-MINFAR co-production; a script between bellicose and bucolic where a Fidel double places (we only see his epaulets and a few degrees of props with the maximum rank).

The P-3 bus is going to die in the mouth of the Almendares, near the Iron bridge which serves as a prosthesis in this river. In the mouth there are boats stranded for lack of oil or a Coast Guard permit. There are fishermen on land, with their gnawed networks for an island platform not so much desert as deserted. There are jets of witches and triple tail fish with mouths gaping for their ration quote of manna from sewage sludge. Amen!

At the exit of the tunnel of the Americans, where they filmed that flight on bicycles in the Special Period in Times of Peace, a ranger with camouflage and dog without a muzzle asked me the time by signs: “7-1/2,” I stand and under the gaze, before I retire without receiving the thanks of this Aldeano remake of Rambo: je suis un Havanature, savoring the palimpsest of my pedantic despair.

But Havana, Ay! continued living

The haughty Havanan doesn’t want chaos in his city, but neither does he want to ignore: around half a millennium of 50 years, Havana is spelled with the L not only libidinal but liberty.

In consequence, the rest of the national territory takes revenge against its libertarian spirit. It is a relentlessness with airs of education: a humiliating revolection against our impoverished but never humble capital.

This Havana ruralized by Cuba still isn’t the worst place there is. As our fascination with the disaster is greater than all the frustrations, we fold our arms in an endemic mirage of patience, regardless of all the politics and all the poetry that has been mechanically imposed in this city, and that it has always musically overcome: Viva siempre Victrola!


Havana has — seems — Havanalzheimer Syndrome. Clumsy from a history without histology, in vain today it tries to rehabilitate itself to make it habitable.

But if a promise could produce deafness, if the indifference removed the flesh from the lips, if the dementia pulled out the hair, if the sadness dried up the sex, if the loyalty killed all of the 7-1/2 this same morning, for example, the gift of citizen forgiveness that it never had for its children, us, its bastards, yes we’ll have our rheumatic Havana, even if only a reactionary requiem of epiphany or perhaps epitaph.

Ah, our vanity who made this land, your name will always be nationalized. Tell us today our daily discourse. Execute us for our sins. Do not let us fall into the temptation of freeing ourselves from you by sea. Havana, if you didn’t exist, we would have to reinvent you to burst your half silence or half century later. Cubansummatum est!




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