To Paya / Baltasar Santiago Martin

Your last name lends itself

to jokes of the kind that Cubans

are masters of

but you, luckily,

are the opposite

of your last name,

the jokes,

and what’s more important,

everything that smells of dogma,

eternal socialisms

and redundant death,

collecting the signatures

that will unveil

the tomorrow

that won’t be long.

Translator’s note: Payá sounds like “pa’llá” which is a very Cuban contraction of “para allá,” and is part of the phrase “pa’llá y pa’cá (para acá)”  which translates as “coming and going.” A Miami based radio personality who opposed Payá used the phrase “Ni pa’llá ni pa’cá” (neither coming nor going) to refer to him and the Varela Project, which Payá founded, led and gathered signatures for.

From the digital independent magazine Voces (Voices) No. 16, which is an issue in tribute to Oswaldo Payá