FLYING THE WORLD ON A WHITE HORSE
Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo
SHITTY SONGS that mark the death of our poor and provincial heart. Trivial ballads of course. Mournful poems that our progenitors interpreted while performing their domestic chores on the weekend or while making mediocre love at night (that other domestic chore).
Bad music. The worst. Inimitable and without equal. Tropical bedroom kitsch. Light boleros and popcorn melodramas of cuckolds and hard women. Stanzas crushed with unforgettable verses, harmonies that will accompany us beyond the Final Judgment before a State Prosecutor or God.
With that soundtrack we sucked on titties and learned the first native words of Spanish, español, ezpañol. Genetic melodies, ringtones, pleasant despite their ingenuity. All of the background of swept neighborhoods under the howls of the baby we were and the oneiric onanisms of the adolescent we aged into without ever being one.
Today Cuba has forcefully muted the cries of condemnation and political demagoguery, theatrical pasture for the masses: the racket of the non-aesthetic end of a Revolution whose little soundtrack no one will ever hum again.
Today we are like zombies in the key of G sharp major, the most boring of the chords. Monotony of a musical staff left with empty microphones. Just as no one remembers the apocalyptic threats of the Premier of our only Party, so no one remembers the lyrics of the latest hit of last season’s ballads.
We delete scenes. Vacate barely at the rhythm of the undertow. Cuba as a perfect paronym of Coda.
And then, when hope finally leaves like an endemic disease, when we know that we are alone in our generation, and that we will not do anything that will be worth the trouble of thinking, then, tired of beating our heads against the suicidal ghosts and the pragmatic functionaries which unknowingly we have become, when the brilliance of the day-to-day becomes a mist passing through our conceptual cataracts of people who stole the time they were called on to live, then, the softness of that music of our Mongolian childhoods is still waiting there, like a visa to save us, like a talisman against dictatorships, totalitarian or democratized, like a pillow on which to to lay one’s neck, to ask love’s forgiveness for how much we chattered in its name and for how little we practiced it.
The entire culture will only make sense, then, in two or three trashy phrases that will express better than any treatise what we were but we ignored. Wretched hendecasyllables of those who had no intention to escape, because among their noxious metaphors, in some of their thousand-and-one honeyed voices (better than the false intelligence of the poets of truth), the secret soul of the final phase of this so-called Cubanness, will resonate.
September 23, 2010