18 03 2010


Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Sleeping badly. Late. In fits and starts. Tossing and turning amid exaggerated systolic and diastolic pressures. Snoring perhaps, with a very dry throat, as if hung-over from drugs withdrawn after half a century or a Millennium of revolution. Turning over and over in the same place. Goose-bumps, perhaps night sweats. Going from political nightmares to nightmare politicians. Until daybreak. And even then not being able fully to wake up.

They are repetitive dreams. Cynical, cyclical, clinical. Orlando-Ouroboros eating his own tail. Violent and nasty scenes drawn down along a neural thread from I don’t know which cerebral extremity. I see my friends and people I know arguing with the mob, given the once over by their families, stigmatised by a certain lunatic leader of Cuba or another, the mascot of the global left, being hit by the police in their olive green uniforms or by plain clothes soldiers in their oh so patriotic little jerseys, shoved into modern vehicles with air conditioning, branded by the corrosive seal of an official prosecutor who’s just about to pass sentence.

Impossible to rest. Lawton, Havana, the Americas, early morning, like this, over and over again, every day. The deadly days of March 2010. Getting up exhausted. With puffy eyes. Hoarse. With muscle cramps. Doddering. Caught between the endemic paranoia and the sick politics of this crocked up cocked up parody of a country. Please…I would prefer not to have go back to sleep, today, for example.

And yet, during the day, there’s nothing in my body to suggest any stress. I’m fine, or so it seems. I survived, it’s a fact. I even have the urge to foster a felicitous if fallacious future, and I never try to wallow in the mortified memories of our imperturbable preterit.

So where does the oneiric short circuit that drives me to distraction every night come from? What is the aetiological, or at the least, the ethical cause of those political dreams where it’s always our turn to lose, and we’re incapable of arguing in our own favour, choked up on our own words, and in the worst cases, roughed up?

It’s a mystery. I’m at the edge, not of the abyss, but of paralysis. The idea of ideas going on strike comes into view. As if something naive in my neurons refused to contemplate the notion of our reality reset from here. Zero connectivity. As if it were pointless to live a human life amidst so many buried ideals. Virtuoso socialistsolipsism. As if Cuba had been just a bad little terror story read in my infancy, a story of a broken rhetoric which even now keeps me on edge the length and breadth of the early morning Cuban silence.

I need someone to tell me a favourable fable, healthy, clean, and redeemable, among so much savage deceit and zoocial wretchedness. I need an account that’s an accomplice too, preferably one that’s told in a whisper and not in crude caterwauling, nor by the aphonic microphones of a spokesman here, and a spokesman there. This time I need a voice. I need to recover the suddenly rheumatic rhythm of my breathing; to open the asphyxiating atmosphere between heart attack and emphysema, to believe that it’s not completely ridiculous to create, to imagine ourselves less alone after decades of first letting them cut us adrift before allowing them then to cut off our hands.

Which way to look? What to read before sleeping? How to go on paying attention to so much press and media hate? What becomes of my friends and acquaintances who, in my nightmares, are always beaten to the ground and who punctually proceed to a paradise of phantom policemen? Who among you can cure me with a lullaby from before any of us was born? Early this morning, for example, who can save me by reading something from before any cowardly cock-up of a revolution took place?

Translated by RSP