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