Christmas of 2012 / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

(Translation from the original Spanish “Navidades de 2012″ of OLPL by El Niño Atómico,

This prayer
a plagiarism.

It was read
ten years ago
her voice cracked with anger
by a girl
who was dying of cold
by a spring
without a name
in Matanzas.

It was
the Christmas of 2002
and we
were saying goodbye
to ourselves.
None thought
we’d survive too long.

It was Cuba
and the illuminated sadness
of each December
and new year’s eve
in our desolate
with a silence

She wanted to die
but dared not as much
in her long table without parents
after days of fears
which ended
in decades of betrayals.

I would have liked
to bring death closer to her
with my hands of loving her
of smearing
the wonders and lies of love
but I dared not, either
and that mediocrity
was our pettiest fear
and penultimate betrayal.

I remember her now
as then
reading her poem
“Christmas of 2002″.
A fucking awesome poem.

She read and wept.
She unread herself in tears
rather physiological
for no other reason
than hearing herself reading in Cuba
her own poem without a country.

In a tin cup
we toasted with bodega wine
that became the blood of the child God
in every sip
and every kiss without lips
without even a drop
going down
our throats.

The naked walls
like us.
From the ceiling hung
a dim couple
of saving bulbs.
In the neighborhood TVs
rang the hollow laughter
of a proletarian country
that demonic grin
that is all homeland in perpetuity.

We were excited.
We were crazy.
We could give birth to creatures
taken out of our heads.
We starred in a domestic gospel.

Never before the abyss of the sacred
looked at us from so deep.
Each slightest act
was immediately inscribed in eternity.

At twelve o’clock
she lowered his head
on the Formica table
and surrendered.

Dead tired.
Dead of words.
Dead time.
Dead of us.
Dead of treason.
Scared to death.
Really dead.

I carried.
I put her in her bed
as if in a womb
or a coffin.

I turned off the lights in her house
or crib
or manger
in a river neighborhood of Matanzas.
I laid at her feet.

The window open
to the sky’s clockwork.
The stars turned
always counterclockwise.

Then I began to cry
with that dirty silence
that scares even the suicides.
Crying of beauty
crying of gratitude
crying of humility
crying of perfection
and of being ephemeral.
How long will I take
to be able to tell this?,
I thought.

Ten, a hundred or a thousand more new year’s eves?
How many more times will in Cuba
be those
Christmas of 2002?

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo