Saturday, August 1, 2009

"One About Winter" by Alex Fleites

Alex Fleites was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1954. A Cuban citizen, he is a poet, film scriptwriter, dramatist, narrator and journalist. To date, Fleites has published eight books in Cuba and two in Italy for which he received many awards, among these the Julian del Casal National Poetry Prize and the “26 de Julio” National Prize for Journalism. He has been editor in chief of important cultural reviews in Cuba like El Caimán Barbudo, Cine Cubano, Unión y Arte Cubano. He also directed the cultural section of the periodical Juventud Rebelde. Among others, he authored poetry collections like Un perro en la casa del Amor (A Dog in the House of Love, 2004), Omnibus de noche (Omnibus of Night, 1995), De vital importancia (Of Vital Importance, 1989), and A dos espacios (In Two Spaces, 1981), all published in Havana. His anthology of selected works, La violenta ternura (The violent tenderness, 2007) gathers the most important poems written in his thirty years of practice of the art of poetry.


As I walked along the corner of 10 de Octubre and Tamarindo streets, I saw a man in front of me signaling. He was in the middle of the street, confused. I dodged a guagua and a bus that were going up the hill with asthmatic difficulty. The cold afternoon wind played with the leaves that fell from the few surviving trees on the avenue. He was about seventy and wasn’t very well wrapped up in spite of the dampness. I helped him get his wheel chair onto the sidewalk. Then he asked me to help him up to the doorway, up to the doors of La Diana, a place with little light and dark walls, packed with unpleasant and ill-tempered people. He got into his chair and smiled at me as if to apologize. "I’m going to drink a bit of sun," he said. And he went into the bar.

Translated by George Henson.

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