Martí / Regina Coyula

This image is my favorite You can see the whole figure of Martí, the lean man, the wrinkled suit, an outfit with a glossy sheen from repeated wearings. An insignificant man against nondescript weeds in a foreign country. The impression changes when you look into his eyes. He looks at the camera, but slightly obliquely, as if it were an annoyance and his thoughts are deep in contemplation of a far away country, a lost family. I can identify with this man; he arouses in me the respect that comes from intelligence. This national icon, so quoted or ignored according to convenience, has left us a bottomless emptiness*.

*Translator’s note: The line is from a César Vallejo poem, To my brother in memorium.

January 28 2011