I can’t stand ideas. I aspire to a pure understanding of reality and of myself but I have to postpone it. I read in order to erase, in order to find within the forgotten. Or in the memory, which is the same. I get scared seeing myself in the street surrounded by people who cause a tremendous sense of exhaustion in me and I like to just stay in my house. Nevertheless, I have to go out, to take my daughter to school, to prevent the confusion that can cause her to think that mom believes that the heroes are not heroes, that vowels are not red nor are consonants blue. It’s too bad that I don’t have at hand that book by Rimbaud that neither gives me the true color of the vowels but music, the rhythm of beauty transformed into a chord.
Today my daughter has cut out for me a pile of paper jewelry, a necklace, earrings, rings. After having seen a documentary that included the testimony of a widow from Villar, I feel like quitting everything and staying shut in with my daughter in my ark until the flood that hasn’t stopped for 53 years, where plants , animals, and people have been lost, finally passes. I don’t know if I have an ark. And worse, after the deaths of so many people considered pariahs by the Brahmans of communism, is the fact that the majority of Cubans on the island are apathetic regarding the suffering of opponents of the regime. They repeat fragments of the speech of the flood not because they are even convinced but because they have come to forget the fear, just looking for alternatives in order to survive and to get the impression that they live in the most contemporary style.
So if I were to ask a DJ who works a disco, he will say to you that politics are not his thing, that one has to live. David Torrens, who I do not know, but with whose stuck-up representative I exchanged a few words while looking for work, would say that art is their thing. My friend Taisuki, who’s getting more and more lost to my sympathies, has told me that her thing is beer and cheap clothes that she treasures as if they were out of a copy of Vogue magazine. The ration book shopkeeper has told me that he was born into “this” and that he can’t do anything about it and that “you have to live”. Cuba will have, as some say, “human capital” but it’s hard to find people who persist in the effort of discerning between good and evil.
I detest the preaching of virtue since we’ve already seen where San Ignacio de Loyola leads to by effect of the butterfly, the poor; what a trap! I prefer forgetting. Or, simply that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and I insist that responsibility is inseparable from freedom. There is no end in the creation of ideology, I wish the ocean would just wash away ideology. In a brain inhabited by only one doctrine, with an ideology that cannot pass the test of forgetting, to truly format itself, there are vast extensions, that by absence of blood circulation, are dead. The power of mirrors but it’s necessary to test which images reflect the face of our humanity and which do not, which images call together the amazing company and which drive them away to leave us alone.
To Theresa of Avila, the experience of climbing the Jacob’s ladder is a symbol, it left her stunned. What would Theresa de Avila do if she wakes up in Cuba? Would the silliness of this infused understanding make her desist from the compassion of my Virgin before the downtrodden? Could the ground upon which we step be planted with the emptiness of love? Not with the emptiness but with its image, without saying the word “love” too much, love has to be a void in speech, the powerful trumpets of the Temple of Jerusalem, the reign of the image. This is my ark. If I can still try, without guilt, to be happy tomorrow, it is not because the “Battle of Ideas” that is forming the “New Man” (read: “political police”) is any less bitter, paranoid schizophrenia induced from the Tribuna* all the way to the eastern half of the island, that killed Villar.
If I can be happy tomorrow, it is for the perseverance of life, because not even the Totalitarian State has power over dreams, but it’s necessary to get Teresa out of her silliness so that the lizard is not stuck so firmly to the inside of the pot, so that earthly happiness is given up, the rain, the paper jewelry, and to be able to enjoy all this without threats. Is it necessary to give up making laws in the world that guarantee that the right to life does not exclude the right to freedom? Lezama has written a beautiful text entitled Teresian Non-rejection. If all this effort were impossible for us, there would remain hope for the awareness of good and evil. One does not condemn a man for cheating, one does not let him die of hunger, one does not separate him from his family, he is not to be tortured, he is not to be left in the cold, never, but much less so, for having declared himself opposed to a government that condemns him to misery, to fear, to not being.
*Translator’s Note: The “Tribuna” is a stage with a podium that has been constructed in front of the U.S Interest Section in Havana. It is here that officials of the Cuban government including both Fidel and Raul Castro, give speeches, often condemning the United States.
Translated by William Fitzhugh
January 31 2012