Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, Translator: Claudia Diaz Alemany
The future is so distant. Such a lie that we are going to live it. Such
a panic. Such a coward. That. It's better to inhabit it a bit in writing
just now, when no one can see or hear us at the level of the Cuban dark
morning hours. Better the sense than the experience. Better the rethoric
than the repression. Both so real. So, such. Better to begin with a
random date. The First of July of 2011 for example. Friday, just like
every day you can think of in which I have dared to open my eyes and
pronounce the words: "I am here and now, I am true, I am a hundred,
death brothers us and betters us, never again will anything bad happen
to us (again), come."
There's a thing that kills Cuba. It doesn't kill the government or the
people or any of those concrete words that are gobs of spit in the
mouths of the demagogues by turn (or eternal). It kills Cuba, I said.
There's a thing that kills the Cuba that is the poetic expression of
what we could never put a name to. That thing is us, postponing our
biographies, refusing to protagonize, overdying to the alien time of
another unknown, atrocious generation.
The nation no longer produces a nation. Any of us plays a role for some
time, pretends to play the part of the prop. Then gets tired, with
reason. They collimate him, without a reason. Then he adapts or leaves.
Applause. It's called growing up. Maturing. Being others. It is the
Darwinian democracy of the self-preservation instinct. It is also the
death of the very idea of a revolution, be it internal or public.
From so much preserving, we no longer preserve anything. Except the
imported objects of our childhood, of that other exile that awaits us in
a short while, no longer. On Fridays all that material emerges like a
volcano of memories. Sad, cooled lava. A murmur in the uncivil heart.
The first day of a month precipitates killing each other. And July could
very well be the anonymous name of our last month. Who will talk about
us after we so intensely resist talking about ourselves?
Unknown. Bedroom citizens. Humiliated before the previous History.
Avoiding the siren of the political patrol or the touch of a security
officer's knuckles. Zigzagging. So handicapped, so precious, so
contemporary. I would have liked to know the Cubans of my generation.
But it was not possible. They do not exist. They did not hug me.
Crazies. They did not soak in my sweat. I did not captivate them with my
voice. They did not smell my smell, so repetitive. I did not see them
around, in any post-habanera corner such as, for example, that of 23 and
12, right in the center of Vedado, Cuba, America. In half a century or
half a millennium the only thing spontaneous has been the lack of
Today I found out that the waves of nonsense turn to burst against the
mental wall of our malecón. I hear a hashtag that one cannot pronounce
out loud, twitthab. I myself recycle it and spread it into the infinite
and diffuse it into the infinitesimal. Who spoke? Where does it come
from, that social rebelliousness of looking at each other face to face?
Who is responsible before the cameras and microphones of the press or
before the prejudicial interrogation? Which official will be the first
to exert physical or labor violence? It was nice. Now, enough. It's not
necessary to stretch tedium like chewing gum until two Fridays after.
Today is the last Friday. Time ran out. For a day we were free and lucid
and loquacious and playful. Today the dark forces will begin with their
effective work of disintegration; a Creole Chernobyl with as many
victims as it is necessary, in a prophylactic domino effect that in Cuba
we call "governance."
It was already the first of July, in our visionary imagination. It was
already Friday again, like today. We already saw each other with
t-shirts and printed avatars, redefining the fossil map of our society
without blue that flies. We already projected ourselves in public with
the candor of buccaneers and with pizzas in our national currency. We
already filmed our neorealism so expressive in a wave of tweets. We were
already accused of being puppets or puppeteers. There are already names
(that is, the harm is done). We were already unable to explain ourselves
(because being able to explain oneself is the only mistake). We already
kept our clothes on and did not dare to undress among perfect strangers,
wild animals that frolic like pups and then escape so as to not fail. We
didn't even stop traffic. Yet again we made fools of ourselves as a
I am sorry. I have the lead because of my absolute state of temper
(read, my inconsolable state of desperation). There will be no #twitthab
in Havana. The city doesn't deserve so much either. This epitaph is a
way of protecting a priori the victims of this marvelous maneuver that
condemns me to not lose all hope. It wasn't now. It isn't now. It won't
be now. It's ok; remain calm. We are so nervous. We are so close. So
there. But it is necessary to wait. A bit. One more bit. Pretend. We are
almost out of breath. Almost. Remain alert about me. Any of these
Fridays it will be I, myself, who will suddenly raise the alarm.
Translated by: Claudia Diaz Alemany
June 17 2011