Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"National Theater" by Johan Moya Ramis

Johan Ramis Moya began writing in 1999, sparked by romantic disillusionment and the death of his father. He received his first literary grant in 2006 for a book of stories titled "Post-History", and that same year won a spot in the short story collection "Internacional Dinosaurio" with "The News." The following year, "National Theater" was also published. In 2008 Johan was a finalist for the Gaceta de Cuba Short Story Prize, one of the island's most prestigious literary prizes, with the story "Anathema of the City". He now studies theology, works in the National Library as the donation coordinator, and is a fan of many English-language writers, including Hemingway, Carver, Bukowski, Pound, and Nabokov, among others.

"National Theater"

For Charles Bukowski

It had occurred to me to be a writer and I invited them all home: Cabrera Infante, Carpentier, Lezama, Virgilio, Severo Sarduí, Reinaldo Arenas, and some others. The noise from the hallway was impressive. I listened to them from the doorway, not daring to get involved with them. My folks were sitting in the living room watching the telenovelas.

When’s this going to be over?, asked my mother.
I need to hear what they’re saying, I responded.
But all they’re doing is bullshitting!, my father protested.

Virgilio poked his head through the doorway and winked at the old man, who shouted: That’s it! I didn’t raise my son to be a faggot!
Let me listen to the telenovela, for fuck’s sake! my mother yelled.

Into this entered Lezama, who walked into the kitchen and ate half a pan of chicharrones.

That poor man, said my mother. Before he goes, remind me to give him a dietary regimen, poor guy.
There’s someone out there that’s going to get us in trouble with the CDR, alerted my father.
That must be Reinaldo, I said. He’s a non-conformist, but harmless.
Who’s the guy that talks so mixed-up even he doesn’t know what he’s saying?, asked my mother.
Carpentier, I answered. Severo entered with a bored look on his face.
I need a telephone, he said.
What happened?
Reinaldo shot himself in the head.
And I just cleaned that doorway this morning!, my mother complained.
It’s your fault for consenting to all this, said my father, pointing at me. I said nothing. I got up and accompanied Severo to the phone booth on the corner.

- Translated by David Iaconangelo

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