15 06 2012

What might the United States be?

A little Chinese box, camera oscura of liberty, a crazy car.

A wholesale parking lot, something Publix, democratic boarding home where we can take refuge from the horror: that is to say, of the politics Made in Cuba.

Lorenzo Garcia Vega (LGV) has died.

This occurrence doesn’t warrant a single line more.

He will cease writing his zen paragraphs. Only that. It will remain a bit truncated, the Cuban folly of the Transition.

For everything else, it had already been centuries that he was a man of another time, of other barbarisms, of other anguishes that would disfigure his face in that Havana where Lezama would get cars. And ass (or would pay to give it, as if to publish prepubescent poets.)

Cuban poetry will show no awareness of the case of LGV, like it shows no awareness of anything else, just like it has not seen that the end of the Revolution is written.

In some official venues they will publish a respectful announcement, funerary spit without sense of draft, of the dirty trick, without the least bit of style of our dilapidation.

Homages. Dossiers. Idiocies of suit and tie, with almost a derby hat.

How outdated we are, how timid, how frail, what Originists.*

In waiting he left an unbuilt Disneyland in the Sierra Maestra, our albino Alps. Little Trojan horses and catacombs of props, pop-up “Castricos”, little friction rifles, tiny wind-up tanks, tinplate books in exchange for a good tip under the outrageous sun.

It had already been centuries, since the prick-severing decade of the seventies, LGV was already the last of his generation. No one survives him. At least not a witness.

A young writer friend, privileged reader and the only one to take notice in Cuba his death, desired to deliver a common ground, almost a headline of a Republican court, pronouncing through our telephones which are grossly spied on by the government: “each day we are more alone…”

From that constitutional isolationism, that balkanization at this point in the debacle, from that sub-socialist silence, from that insufferable un-solidarity, we populate the helplessness of our barren lot. From those bedbugs is the habitat of our mat composed.

Each day we are more alone because each day we are closer to those salaried by the Castro Klan, because there are no intermediaries left, nor survivors, because those uniformed in olive green will leave us no option but to emigrate and let us be exploited by a First World capitalist, pushing the groceries of another in a mall, turning into octogenarians in an illegible state of unediting, like babies who don’t yet know how to read (and much less how to write).

Each day we are more sordid. Lorenzo García Vega won’t learn of our gallows, will think nothing of our literature to come, untranslatable texts with which we ingratiate ourselves with no one.

We are condemned at the canon of the triumphant, of the erudite scholars, of the contributors with their integral work in the big editorial houses of Spain.

We were no more cunning than the political police. We did not know how to timely part with our biography . We panicked. We were cowards. We have left only swallowing pills and publishing.

Translator’s note:
*”Orígenes” was one of the most important Cuban literary journals of the 1940’s.

Translated by: Maria Montoto

June 5 2012

Letters from Rastafarian Ñaño (Hector Riscart) from a Cuban Prison

9 06 2012

Holy Emmanuel I Selassie I JAH RASTAFARI, Light of This World and Creator of the Universe, May the Peace be in InI and his holy spirit illuminate us and protect everyone.  Let it be so!

Blessings, my adored family. After the passing of the tense moment, I ask you, my love:  how did you see everything?  To me it seemed like craziness, above all because the policeman who was in the cabaret, a so-called Ernesto (Martinez Ramirez), simply didn’t appear at the trial.

You saw, Ne, this was bad from the start. Look, before leaving the prison I had several run-ins with the Babilon, because they made me take off my white shirt. They didn’t want me to take the patchouli, incense, nor the turban I had on so that the judges wouldn’t see them.  Then I told them a few things without loosing my temper, all in good judgement, Ne, any which way I got tense.

When I go down, they handcuff me and put me in the car. They take me to the chief officials outside, close to where you guys come through when you come in here.  There they took me down and, Ne, waiting there was a man named Pacheco and a higher-up from the DNA (Dirección Nacional Anti-Droga, that is, the National Anti-Drug Administration).  He said he was the Chief here in prison.  He spoke with me, telling me to be careful  what I said at the trial, that he had learned about me, and everything was positive, but this has taken on a new path and I was going to calmly cooperate with his help in prison.  That my family had written, and that what will come to pass will be determined in the Vista Oral.

Then they put me in the car, and they followed us in their white Lada to the courthouse.  When we arrived, I was placed in a cell. Well, Ne, I don’t know what you think, nor how everything will turn out, not even what it is we are expecting.  Supposedly that justice be served, but there were subjects that were not even touched upon in the trial, and many details needing clarification.  For a moment I thought they would end the session in order to continue the next day, since two important policemen were missing: the one who assaulted me during the arrest (plate 45717), and none other than the accuser (Ernesto Martinez Ramirez).

But when the judges decided that the absent witnesses were not necessary, Ne, my heart sank. I believe they have decided on sentencing without clearing up the facts.  But I quickly turn around, my queen, and I think positive, because we cannot, no matter how unjust they are, be anticipating, nor putting negative thoughts which, like I told you, my Ne, that only brings bad things: to the body, mind, and soul.  And you know I wish for the family to remain in perfect harmony and good health.

Ne, tell mom to present a letter at the Prosecutors’ explaining well everything that was missing, and the importance of those two witnesses who irresponsibly didn’t attend trial.  The importance of the closed circuit cameras which are the ones who can say what really happened, those which we know have been used in some cases to incriminate persons who have committed crimes. The manipulation of my file from the station on Picota street: because, Ne, the agent from DNA who declared at the trial isn’t Yoandrys Solón Hidalgo: the one who went there I don’t even know, Ne, I’ve never even met him, and he wasn’t the one listed on the list of witnesses cited by the Prosecution in the Provisional Conclusions.

You saw what little seriousness there was in his declaration, he didn’t even know the address to my house. Ne, this is too much, I hope the judges have taken note of everything, or if not the fire of the Highest is going to burn all of them, because Jahovia surely does not allow tricks.

I, Ne, am a bit anxious, I barely sleep.  I awaken at four in the morning thinking, my queen, when will all this anguish end.  I think of the children who are so beautiful, Ne. You saw how Amani talked to me on the telephone? And Jahseh, how big he’s grown! There I write him a little letter, for I don’t want this situation to estrange us bit by bit and that communication be lost.

Ne, we can’t cease praying, demanding divine justice, my love, and without fearing what Man can do to us, always increasing our faith that everything is going to go well, with the help of the ABSOLUTE ALL-POWERFUL OMNIPRESENT CREATOR.

Ne, don’t go through difficulties.  If it’s necessary, we’ll sell the instruments little by little, but for(the three of you.  Don’t worry about me for now.  They are giving a bit of potato, and the brethren here always give me their’s, because they know how our (vegetarian) diet is and so I am surviving.

I would desire some fruits to heal my stomach, which burns a lot. Try going to 15 and K, to see if they will authorize you to bring them to prison.  And also garlic or scented clove for the molar, which gives me such pains, and the care of a dentist is bad or, better said: there isn’t any.  They fix things with pills and you know InI doesn’t take those.  Garlic is a natural antibiotic.

Ne, I also need, if you can, a sheet lighter in color: there are many mosquitoes and I think the green one attracts them.  Aloe vera, paper clips to organize my papers and pamphlets, a toothbrush.  If you can get pencil or pens, because this one is running out.  If you can, some natural oils:  pachouli, jasmine, whichever, Ne, because there is a lot of stench and humidity.

Also bring your beautiful smile and the boys.  Ne, don’t feel stifled, flow: if you can’t bring anything, that doesn’t matter. Ne, have faith and patience, nothing of sadness that soon we will be together again, my adored queen.  Take very good care of the boys, I know this is needless to say.  And take a lot of care of yourself. I don’t want you to destroy yourself thinking nor suffering.

Tell mom to come and see me.  Greetings to all the brothers who are close to you, who accompany you, give you support, and help you.  Give them my blessings.  Remember the Sabbath, Ne, to rest.  Don’t allow the good customs at home to be lost.  It is good for the health and you know it, nothing should change because the law of Jahovia is immutable.

I love you very much, my sweet maiden.




I dedicate these lines to Prince JAHSEH MAKONNEN from his dad TINGO FARI.

Jahseh, my son, I hope that in spite of this distance you find yourself in good health mentally and very fundamentally spiritually.  Nene, I am going through some difficult moments, but at the same time I am very calm, because I know that all of you back home, desire me to be there, and that is the energy that soon will take me there.

I don’t know how long it will be, son.  I can’t make any promises to you in that regard, since it doesn’t depend on me, but you have to be prepared because the time is JAH.  I only ask you, my son, as major head of all the males present in the household, that you take good care of mom for me, behaving well and taking on all of the responsibilities as if you were me.  You are already big and you can understand things better.  You should help mom a lot, so that she doesn’t get worn out, mainly harmonizing a lot with little Amani, teach him sweetly, guide him as the youth that he is in everything, and have a lot of tolerance for his immaturity, remembering that he is innocent, and love him, giving him a lot of affection, that he not be absent in any work when you refer to him.

You should always be head of the family and keep watch that peace cover the home.  This you accomplish behaving exemplary in school.  You should be attentive to your studies and also your circus school.  Concentrate your mind on what you must do so that come tomorrow you give happiness and prosperity.  Have your hand always at the ready to cooperate at home and that the last thing be playing.  You will have time to play, but first you must help your mom in all daily chores. I know this will be difficult for you, but think of the responsibility your father has given you, and sacrifice yourself so that good may govern at home and there won’t be sadness.

You can’t be a transmitter, yourself, of any energy that leads your mom to feel bad.  Be jealous with the house and careful with everything, learning always, my prince. You should become accustomed to praying with mom and with your little brother Amani. Even at bedtime, sing psalms and invoke JAH, so your wishes will be fulfilled.  Do not doubt it, dedicate your space to father Jahovia and he will give you reward.

I desire very soon to see you all, but first finish your classes.  I need that gift from you:  that you pass everything with good grades, that way we will be like always a happy family.

Blessings, my prince.

Sacred Emmanuel I Selassie I JAH RASTAFARI.

Translated by: Maria Montoto

April 23 2012


3 06 2012


Infinitely more lucid, more 20th century, less cowardly than he.

Infinitely more beautiful, more slutty, less reactionary than she.

Infinitely better than he and infinitely better than the woman with whom he would contract marriage out of fear.

She was a Virgo of 17 years. A Latin American virgin, (not by whim is she called Maria), a vision of the succulent jungles of Guatemala, popol-vahgina* martyr of love. Signing exclusively for a twenty-something Jose Marti as no one ever on earth was going to dare, as no one ever possessed him: Tu niña… she signed, your girl.

Tu niña,” almost the title of an unwritten novel, unwriteable. She was the daughter of a general. She was the daughter of a president. Quetzal that perhaps should have been the Eve of the then unknown Cuban nation (even of today’s unrecognizable Cuban nation). Pupil who from her desk would surrender herself open in soul and body, so that she be swallowed and later birthed by the impetuous little professor Marti. So he could split her life into a before and an after him. So he could split her dry, moist.

Maria Garcia Granados, crystallization of time and apocope of the truth. She had no need for his grandiloquent oratory. It sufficed knowing how to see him (mine him) without demagogy of adults, nor delight of the adulterated, nor the crime of adulterers (and this last Marti always was: for the extreme of calamities, between culpability and repression). Only she knew the genetic miracle to save him from himself, to stop time, with the independence of their two inconceivable hearts, that extended between the night of the thousand and one deaths that followed (still to come later).

I am certain they slept together.  I am certain they did it standing up.  In an incredibly lovely river scene, with an epiphanic (epiphalic) light, beneath the copious canopy like an ovary that covered the sky of the isms (enslavementism, abolitionism, autonomism, reformism, annexationism, colonialism, independentism, imperialism, republicanism, liberalism, conservationism, capitalism, syndicalism, socialism, communism).

I am certain in such a setting they fucked more alone than the first couple on earth, without violence and without anxiety, without maelstrom nor vileness (although later the archetypal Martian goodness had been no more than that: despotic dualisms where we all democratically fit, on a par that nobody fit but he, He).**  It must have been a copulation in more than one asexual sense, without genders (she the girl-man who could be nailed in the center of her spiritual axis by the woman-boy who he always was):  Marti and Maria “machihembrados“*** at the margin of the history of humanity as told by its so gloomy tribunes (and he ended up becoming one of the most pathetic).

I am certain it was in that same river that she would go the following spring and contract tuberculosis, when he impotently betrayed that freedom of procreating birds, in exchange for a bed of curdled milk in the intimate ill will of every matrimonial bedroom.

Marti killed her with impunity.  Worse: he forced her from afar to kill herself, with his insolent diplomatic immunity.  Two decadent decades later, he would repeat the same formula of Maria with the nation he invented for himself for lack of real people to love.  Apostles are just that:  they instigate for mere instinct to disappear afterwards.  They found only to burn out and flee at the hour of truth.  And instead of accomplice bodies to be contemporaries, they leave instead opportunist little poems with a rhyme of two by three, birthday prosody (memorizable by boys and girls not yet literate, if not barely the literary hope of the world), verses from the prudish to the perverse, written in the miserable middle of the night with the back turned toward their spouse out of conviction, who knows if out of convenience.

In the end, the young Jose Julian chose the word and not the person.  Ideas before lives.  The chronicle of his crime:  his contemplation in silence, which is more cowardly than perpetrating it (the rhetoric and not the redemption).  Perhaps he thought himself too grand to have something small to do (and Maria was small in spite of being so tall, little-ious, diminutivest:  because “tu niña . . .” is also the promise to never grow up).

There it ended, with his epitaph he sank verse by verse like a  human being light of the future.

There it ended,  a no-man being opaque with his suit weightless and his baldness of calvary, in countless cadavers in cloisters of marble, than in the midst of the 21st century we continue hiding in the closet of that Revolution.  Perhaps for that reason the young Marti y Perez did not merit leaving fertile decsent (he flew like Matias Perez****, in disposition and genes), paying his discursive gift of impotence with the stigma of sterility.  Lovelessness with lovelessness is paid.  Lovelessness with lovelessness is native land. Forgive him, Maria, for he knew all too well what he wasn’t doing.

Translator’s notes:
* Popol-Vah: an ancient Guatemalan text 
**Considered to be the “Apostle of Cuban Independence” for his role in Cuba’s 19th century battle against Spanish dominion, Marti was a fervent proponent of an independent and democratic Cuba.
*** Machihembrado is the Spanish word for woodwork that is assembled using tounge-and-groove or dovetailing. The origin of the word comes from a synthesis of male and female (macho y hembra).
****Matias Perez disappeared after boarding a hot air balloon in Havana on June 28, 1856. Since then, when someone disappears, people say: “Volo como Matias Perez” (He flew away like Matias Perez).

 Translated by: Maria Montoto

May 28 2012