more than meet the eyes….

10 08 2011

more than meet the eyes…., originally uploaded by orlandoluispardolazo.

Love is a limit game…!

Wendy Iriepa and Ignacio Estrada know it very well.

Felicidades. Congaytulations…!

August 10 2011

Ignacio Estrada and Wendy Iriepa

10 08 2011

Ignacio Estrada y Wendy Iriepa, originally uploaded by orlandoluispardolazo.

Loving in Cuba against the fierce force of socialist sadness, despotic death and institutional intolerance…

August 10 2011

Wendy Iriepa

10 08 2011

Wendy Iriepa, originally uploaded by orlandoluispardolazo.

First Transgender marriage in the history of Cuba. Ignacio Estrada and Wendy Iriepa. Saturday, August 13, 2011. Mayía Rodríguez Wedding Palace, 3:30 PM.

As happens with the great unknown events of the Island. Without a temper tantrum by the Catholic church. Without permission from the party. At the margin of CENESEX. With the ignorance of the Cuban press…

August 10 2011


9 08 2011


Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

The old Club Atelier at 17th and 6th in El Vedado, has been coated with a luxurious Beatlemaniacal iconography. “The Yellow Submarine” it’s called now. And from within is evoked the music of John Lennon sitting without his glasses in the little park next door (the glasses have been stolen about ten times).

The discipline within the club, as with all space in the nations, is quasi-military: not in vain is the submarine the fleet insignia of sixties Cuba, though it is full of youngsters with the tickets (paid in hard currency). You can not jump back and forth too much between the tables, let alone sing along to edge of madness when some group performs a cover. You can’t lean against the walls. Only the local crew can move the tables and chairs. And, most coherent in the case of a straight band like The Beatles: You can not kiss people of the same sex (in the bathroom, go for it; but on the floor, no way).

And it is not homophobia, please, The Yellow Submarine’s security machos don’t want any clash with the Marielitas of CENESEX*. It’s just that to show labio-lingual affection in public violates the rules of this and perhaps all nocturnal Cuban institutions. If, moreover, the flirting is between girl and girl, or between boy and boy, or between both in any random disorder, then the proletarian morals of the New Hetero that never completely went away are compromised.

This Saturday they came to expel various ex-Atelier young people, after admonishing them as if it were a school assembly (kissing from inside the closet, I say: is it so hard to understand that behind the relaxation nothing less than the Revolution itself is resigned? It even rose to physical violence when one of the expelled tried to film it with a cell phone. It is known that in classical socialism (unchanging by definition) cameras and VCRs are sneaky weapons of the enemy abroad.

I don’t want to give data. Nor details. I don’t want to be credible. I don’t give even half a damn. So get out of here right now by clicking, to comment and applaud at those demagogic speeches on Cuban Day Against Homophobia. I’ll stick with this anachronistic anecdote in the XXI Century (which in Cuba is read as an anagram of XIX). I’ll stick with the certainty that the repression in Cuba, rather than physical (which it greatly is, of course) is chromosomal: Cro-Magnon.

I know a thousand girls who are partners of girls and who don’t dare to show affection in the street. I know thousands of boys who are partners of boys and who believe in God and don’t dare to even whisper it to their neighbor. In this cynical and para-militarily uncivil Havana, the “tolerant” sites are filthy and full of gays who prostitute themselves on the edge of criminality. They are girls and boys I know who don’t even consider themselves gays. In fact, they aren’t. They are girls who desire or love girls. They are boys who desire or love boys. Why distinguish them as if they were patients who require specialized attention. They are Cubans, and no social process is better than the intimate soul of each and every one of them.

Anyway, I invite one of these island children of the night to drop into “The Yellow Submarine” with me. If you’re a girl, I will nod calmly at your side and not flirt with you overcome by hormones. If you’re a boy, Oh Darling, I swear by my mother who sleeps now in Lawton, I will not fall into the temptation to kiss you.

Translator’s note:
CENESEX is the National Center for Sex Education, run by Mariela Castro, Raul’s daughter.

May 29 2011


8 08 2011

August 8 2011


8 08 2011


Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

José Lezama Lima waited for the death of his mother before feeling guilt-free enough to publish the scandalous Paradiso. Virgilio Piñera waited to amass 18 boxes of unedited material before letting himself die of loneliness or of State Security. Dulce María Loynaz sat down, like a character from the TV show Survivors, to wait among the spiderwebs of her garden for a pre-posthumous Cervantes Award. Heberto Padilla trusted that the Cuban Ministry of Culture would forgive him for leaving the game and would give him a visa to die in his homeland (which, since the XIX century, is supposed to be living**). Eliseo Alberto waited for the death of his father to report, in liberty, about himself, about ourselves.

The list is infinite. An island infinitely in line.

Cuban Literature is that oedipal wait, that dirty closeted little secret or that hysterical tantrum before our father in chief (who reads it all, can do it all, can wait for it all, like love). Writing in Cuba has been crouching for decades under a desk in boots in the National José Martí Library.

Cuban writers continue to wait for a domestic, historic death before having their hands free to write (that is why they allegorize all the time instead of just saying). Such complicity silences them and subsidizes them in terms of an intellectual nation, in terms of a dead class without a ticket to the future, in terms of sterile spectators of a fiction that is never capable of protagonizing reality, that prosaic term (that is why they poetrize all the time instead of simply narrating). Such is the typical trauma of the familial or political totalitarianisms, that in the Island they have already become indistinguishable because of the comfortable and criminal habit of waiting.

Deep down, we have to understand them, it’s about a bourgeois tic. No cowardice: it is elite lucidity, aesthetic instinct. They know the most important thing in the universe is to write their own little complete pieces. No hypocrisy or opportunism: it’s a sense of the transcendental. They know they are a caste chosen to create the Cuban beauty that will transcend them. Ars longa, Revolutium brevis. So they wait, if it’s possible with an insular career splashed of little races to capitalism.

In each new book Cuban literature dreams, in its collective unconscience, with strictly obeying the slogan that isn’t as fierce as it is faithful: within literature, everything; against literature, nothing.*** The Cuban author is too intelligent to be an author. Postpones, rather than proposes. A speech, rather than a delirium. Constructs, before deconstructing. Isn’t desperate (there’s more time than there are maximum leaders). That is why Cuban literature is so exasperating.

Translator’s notes:
*The original word in Spanish, “orto,” means the appearance of the sun or another star in the horizon.
**Reference to Cuban national hymn: “don’t fear a glorious death, for dying for the homeland is living”.
***A play on the renowned slogan of the revolution: “Within the Revolution, everything; against the Revolution, nothing.”

Translated by: Claudia D.

August 8 2011


8 08 2011

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

The dictatorship of the market. I have heard the phrase on countless occasions, in boring meetings of this, that or the other state institution. The market mutilates and kills the best. The market is one of many modern masks of mediocrity. The market is shit, my love.

Invariably I felt guilty in those official premises. A hypocritical insect in midst of an applause in unison. An opportunist who, in his heart of hearts, only desires to succeed and succeed. A social climber with no talent (in the two senses: the spiritual and the numismatic). Someone who should renounce the identification card of his trade (the UNEAC: Cuban Union of Writers and Artists) before being expelled from the sacred amateur temple of national culture. A fucking merchant, my love.

Later I grew up, and I became a mental (metal?) adult. I saw how my colleagues tore their worker’s clothes to leave on the tour of any symposium or book fair abroad, events corrupt with capital in little checks empty of solidarity, only to the order of the author. I saw how they lost sleep over housing (to the last degree of humiliation) visitors with dollars brought to our homeland from that “absurd First World”. I saw how they sweetened the retrovolucionary tale of our bare reality, with their little moronic smiles in the role of tourist guides. I saw that money existed beyond art and beyond the paternalist speeches of the ministries of art. And I saw that money was good, my love. And a right of the people.

That’s how I became a radical of copyright law in the field of letters. I theorized lucid nonsense on the matter, like this very column. I concluded that there are no authors without copyright. That the dictatorship of the market is nonexistent or essential to resist another much worse dictatorship: that of the bureaucratic volunteering. That’s why there are no best sellers in Cuba. No good readers. No credible critics. That’s why the opinion or the thinking prestige of writers does not count (the political police considers them, not without a reason, fickle and irresponsible: a pioneer intelligentsia). That is why no part of the government budget is spent on promotional campaigns that legitimize names or shape the trend of each season. That is why the insular literary field is as insipid as it is insulting, literarid. Thus the zoocialist lack of solidarity. Thus also, the fear of finding ourselves suddenly in a bleak plateau of sincerity, among the applauses in unison of our expelling of a grotesque but gratifying trade: contests, positions, conspirator juries, little invitation letters, basically, The Forces of Evil… Thus the flight and never the theft of brains towards the “real world”. Cuba, so sad an island, my love. Whoever offends her loves her the most.

I don’t think the new generations come with values or courage to dynamize and much less dynamite such an absolute apathy. From being a radical I now become a residual. I made my nihilist niche, I dug my creative catacomb, I amassed 30 or 300 or 3000 hard currencies and I then bought a very expensive helmet of virtual unreality. I am happy, I am free, I am untouchable, I am immortal (immoral, my love?).

The state of things, tells. The state of the soul, tells. Ha. The dictatorship of the market, tells. The dictatorship of the proletariat, says. He-he. The civil society, tells. The civil war, tells. Hee! Responsibility, rhetoric. Ho. Generation, degeneration. Huh.

But sometimes, my love, only sometimes, in my gloomy nights of silent steps in Lawton, when the limiting moon isn’t crazy but loquacious, a steppe wolf jumps his way out of my throat with his claws. A pure beast of barbarity. Without concealment or taboos or fear of those who kill and lie only for the treat. A brown wolf, free, lucid, and ludic. Without style or aesthetics, without age. An animal that accelerates ideas and images (the beauty of poetry isn’t more than that: the truth of velocity). A mammal that howls, but now no longer flees. The last of the mohicubans. The pain made flesh tonight, my love. The flesh made text before dawn, my love. Face to face and body to body and Cuba to Cuba daily, my love. And then, only then, hope and disease cease to be synonyms in our future that never was. And then, only then, I feel good and real in midst of what’s not so much. And then, only then, do I forgive myself with a materialist prayer that always leaves an empty desk, of state property, just in case one of these deadly nights God wants to seat beside me.

Translated by: Claudia D. 

June 19 2011