Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo
I called an old flame from Matanzas (no love is old as long as one of the two doesn’t die) and she tells me: “I’m afraid of going crazy this Sunday, I’m afraid of doing something crazy, help me.”
We are separated by over 60 miles, but to survive this day we still cling to my spied-on-by-the-politica-police telephone to speak privately. Many times, at the beginning of the zero years, or in 2000, we made love by phone. An extreme experience. Her voice choked with tears, like now (she was always sad, like her province). Her freedom of a young mother who doesn’t fit in Cuba nor in her (also too sad) family. Her outrageous desires, her overwhelming polyorgasmia, her thighs raining below, like the posthumous rivers that cut through Matanzas until they lose heart in the bay (the “bahía”… this apocope of “vagina”). Her ethics of the obscure and austere writer. Her urge to annihilate herself and her panic that it is something genetic, an inheritance from her multiple suicidal ancestors. Her abandonment of the girl who discovers, first her parents, that everyone has to die.
I speak to her. A thread of tension between us. A rush of erectile blood in our crotches, I know. We are all still raw between memory and imagination. One slip could introduce us into each other for the thousandth time. We grope each other, we preserve each other. I tell her things. I speak of the utility of spite. I ask her not to be crushed by her own goodness. To despise and be vile, to escape her contemporaries and believe only in God and in me(many times resurrected after being discharged as a volcano, vomiting spasms and moans, so now I’m her more tangible god, as she was mine after the white screenshot of my supernovas). I demand that she hate Cuba and her depressing post-Castroism Sundays. Don’t be afraid, my love, if in any case the soldiers are going to kill us one by one, before the winter comes that purifies the hell that is this country.
She hears me. She cries. She sounds disconsolate. She speaks to me with a sepulchral calm (provincial cemeteries are worse than the worst death). I make note that for us life doesn’t even exist in any other place. We are alone. We get old (I see her as a baby through her forty years, as virgin as the decade of the seventies, as spring-like as someone born in her own backyard and within her shamelessly unpronounceable organs). It is too late for everything. The rabid vengeance is not enough to catch our breath. We are sick and no one will believe us. We cannot go on like this. What will we do, then, my love. And we won’t hang up the phone at least for the rest of today.
And so the crazy time of a Sunday afternoon in the Cuban September of 2012 stretches on. Sometimes I just hear her swallowing. Sometimes voices of the holocaust arrive. A dog. A girl. A horn. Trendy music that crosses the Bacunayagua chasm and brings us back to reality.
She reads me her latest wonderful poems. Texts out of nowhere in Cuban literature, because they were written before and after any literature or nation. She asks me what I’m writing and I have to confess that I stopped writing years ago. I am a puppet in the criminal hands of the Cuban State. I live in someone else’s biography. But I am proud to be just that, because it would not have been worth the trouble to have been me.
I tell her that there is a place in the world called Havana (she forgets it now and again), to come with me, that in the middle of nothing there is a reserve around me where I run into people worth loving, some very wounded because they have been ripped from the hands of their loved ones, some congenital suicides like her, others floating on the rhetorical surf of the Revolution, even some pixelated in another reality broken by digital despots. All bereaved, all nervous wrecks. But she must resist it. Bear witness to her intimate, trivial and colossal horror. Let me touch her. That I love her as we both know that we would never stop loving each other when we sent hundreds of letters, even the counterintelligence official in charge of Lawton’s mail interrogated me, not without curiosity, at the beginning of the year zero and two thousand.
September 9 2012