Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo: Street Sense
It’s called Street Sense, which is sort of like El Sentido de la Calle in Spanish, which is a much better title than any Cuban magazine or newspaper has got; and that obviously includes the ones published abroad.
It comes out fortnightly in Washington D.C., which isn’t just the capital of the empire, but it’s also North America’s Homelessness Central. I have never seen so many homeless as I have here. Mostly, they are in the subway stations, where they take up residence according to some kind of timetable, and where, according to Wikipedia, they have the world’s longest escalators. But I also see them out in the open, exposed to the dreadfully cold springtime rain. And, before that, out in the worst of this city’s infinite winter.
You never come across the same homeless people, not even if you pass by the same place two thousand times. They have either moved, or they have died. No other possibility.
Many of these humble homeless guys get published in Street Sense. Those of them who have not been eaten up by hate, crime or illness. Those who have retained enough mental clarity and nobility of spirit. Those who are trying, as best they can, to get back into the machine that once vomited them out, or who were crushed by it, possibly because they tried to resist the hypocritical mediocrity which comes with any kind of success.
Now I am someone without a home. And, more than that, without a country. I know that one day I am going to decide to sell these sheets to strangers going into or out of railway stations. El sentido de la calle in the United States of Nothing America.
I came from Cuba without wanting to, swept away by too many people being bumped off while the world looked on, and consumed, in secret, by love. The academy of the left filled me with friendly disgust. I was bored by earning money. The right wing is a delusion of the academy. But I am never going to go back to my island, the island that we love, which is intact in our most personal and most aggressive imagination.
My dear Cubans, I am not going to return, even in the event of God or Google restoring democracy there, whether it is with or without the destruction of the corpses of the dictators. I would find it impossible to see my home without me in it, or my mother left to die alone on the hundred year old boards of 125 Fonts and Beales, or my loves dying of my indifference and desperation, although never because I have forgotten, to realise back in Cuba that the United States was an acceptable nightmare and that Cuban exile is an evanescent eternity, and to then live in my ever-present homelessness, in my arrogant foolishness as a free healthy man in the only city I understood while I was alive, and also after that, when I died spitting fuck-words in the face of the tyranny in power: Havana.
Read it all HERE.