Neither a Poet or a Cuban / Luis Felipe Rojas

It is the determination of the literary colonels of the Cuban Book Institute.  Five years ago, they officially ceased inviting me to artistic events, competitions, and public readings.  An edict, coming from the ditches of Villa Marista and aimed at cultural institutes, has automatically excluded me from any sort of intellectual debate.  Still, to this day, no one has showed me an official document which prohibits cultural promoters from including me in the learned spaces of my generation.  I know it is just a whisper, a card slid under the table.  There a dozens of my friends and acquaintances which have already been visited by the “colleagues of Security”.  Almost none of them have been tactically pressured, but they consider the warnings to be like yellow cards, and just like in soccer, some have challenged the referee and have reached for the red card.

The latest beauty of the list of prohibitions is that of “The Island in Verses: 100 Cuban Poets”, published by La Luz, 2011.  Each anthology is an authoritarian exercise, I know.  In just an instant, I have been left out of hundreds of bards which one day I believed I was part of.  Luis Yussef and Yanier Echavarria have understood, for the good of their poetic discrimination, that despite the fact that I was born after 1970 and before 1988, I do not count with sufficient literary quality to be ranked in the list.  I would say, in reference to the host Jorge Luis Sanchez Gras, that I am not a third world poet in the era of postmodernism.  I am not, according to the violation of the Hermanos Sainz Association, a human being who seeks change and not utopia.

However, it would not be just to say that- marginalization aside- I do not enjoy the selection which did make it to the list.  Among those 100 Cuban poets which I can say are part of my generation, are some which kept me up at night reading, those which I applauded during an afternoon of youth in the Gulf of Guacanayabo or under the shades of an Eastern beach.  Though I keep writing in isolation from San German and hover through the city of Holguin like a ghost, I still celebrate my mention in the other anthology: the one which includes the excluded and marginalized.  The ones who have been prohibited from publishing in our own country- Cuba- are more than a hundred and if we count those around the world, maybe even thousands.

As a writer and a mutilated artist (because of a military decree), I have no other option but to continue writing for me.  There is no editor waiting for me.  I have all the time in the world, even to read the island ‘one verse at a time’.

Translated by Raul G.

27 December 2011