THE LEAST CUBAN OF ALL THE COVERS IN THE WORLD
Orlando Luis Pardo Laz0
Almost at the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Republic.
I, worse than the poet, Eliseo Diego, did not even know to write The Republic…
At night, by the light of the soul, with stars like snowflakes or soap bubbles. Little Christmas balls, of coldness. Blue night, of sapphires in the air and flashes of streamers in Technicolor.
We were politically naive and thought ourselves very wise. We were brats of illusion. We thought life was still possible. We trusted that sooner rather than later we would be won over by the kingdom of truth, beauty, and love. We suffered more from youthful insanity than a stateless one, so the barracks only made us laugh. We were literally dying of laughter at the colored fish. Hopelessly tropical, we undervalued the value of time, and suddenly, …what was I raving about, please?
And yet now I would give my life to lose my life in those years of the 1950s (but not, I suppose, in secrecy).
I would give my life to fall in love with a paper woman, like a languid and slender cut-out doll, with three-colored patriotic make-up, taken from a cheap (neighborhood) whorehouse; a very sad and certainly brilliant Armienne; a country girl with Wilson hips and skin like a peach and fingers like those of a taken concubine and an ermine coat given to her by some dying European grandmother (Aura Habanada, a Cubanesque Modigliani from the university (perhaps I had to leave my law studies to help out at home with her widowed mother); a model from Carteles magazine who will not bed Guillermo Cabrera Infante just to be on the front-page, for example, or even bed some Latin or Yankee thug, either, but to be a virgin, instead, to talk with me until the wee hours of the night about how it would be to die together of old age in a futuristic Cuba of 2000… (of course, we would promise each other to contemplate Halley’s comet, which no one else in Cuba would see at the beginning or end of 1986. spies with her eyelashes and modernistically bourgeois and kitschy lips); a Helen of the
I would risk death to probe her minimum sex, the scar of access to her art-deco loins, which no doubt would smell like sterile polyethylene like Lili the plastic doll: made in a factory that belonged to a Pole who came to Cuba escaping communism after the capitalist concentration camps (Cuba destroyed, like the caboose of a sickly street car named hope…). And also, I would risk death so we could be naked on the rooftop of a midget skyscraper in Vedado, but we would not make love that same night (or any other night).
I reread and I feel like crying again at this point. I will never be a good enough writer.
I have lost my life in no one’s 1990s. I have stepped all over the shitty brand of year zero or 2000. I have survived, and to top it off, also another decadent decade and left very much alone for ever, far away in our caricaturish 50s, my first papier-mache love (crushed).
What have I done? How and why? In exchange for whom? What idols dethroned the moonlight’s glow that shaded the skeptical profile of my girl? When did the metamorphosis occur? Why didn’t I kill myself, before aging so alone forever, beneath the insolent sun of an island so bland it is insulting? Is it possible to close your eyes today and rewind the murderous and romantic cartoon of a people imprisoned in their own country?
Almost at the fiftieth anniversary of the Revolution.
Neither will I know how to write Revolution…
Translated by: HEFA