Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"Half a Minute of Occidental Silence" by Lia Villares

Lia Villares is a narrator, cinephile, guitarist, and author of the blog habanémica: "rhizomatic, multi-faceted, and nocturnal, a cyberspacial hermit". She was born in Havana, where she "lives and resists, still".


Taba: Astragalus (heel bone). Side of the taba opposite to the chuca. The game consists of throwing into the air a goat’s heel bone. The player wins if the side that falls facing upwards is the one called carne (meat), and loses when it’s the side called culo (ass); there is no winner if it falls on the taba or the chuca.

Got ink? A little.

The day stealthily approaches, like a leper.

Miller says that God hasn’t died. There’s osmosis left somewhere. Still. Some articulation.

And then again this being with oneself.

These silences.

This harassed being.

I lie down. The action is repeated ad infinitum.

Gottfried Benn, twice at most: feminine dark brown (dirty) staggers on the masculine dark brown (dirty).

Hold me, you, I fall. I am so tired at the nape.

So that you know, it’s also animal days that I live. I am another water hour.

In the evenings my eyelid un-rests like wood and sky.

Having tea, eating rice… my time comes dressed as the baker who was up all night on a double shift.

Not a tactile organ. Are you a happy person, are you sad… are you a sad person, are you happy?

Like wisps of dust or scattered ashes, ideas leave no trace of a path.

Passing torrent, salt desert storm. I use petals to make myself an igloo at the ancient hour, glare that blinds me not any less.

Contemporary sterile drowsiness, I award myself half a minute of occidental silence.

Nothing to do, nothing to see, in my headphones Charly is what is going on.

(Only the silence watches over the silence)

Someone approaches me and slowly tells me to be reasonable, because my ears are small and I shall tell them a sensible word.

I am not your labyrinth, bitch!, I yell thrashing my arms so that she leaves me alone.

Impertinent fly.

The couch suspends me into nothingness for a fraction of time, frozen on the floury apron. Someone makes the shot and it’s four years old me sitting on a sepia tricycle. Smiling at a sepia emptiness. In front of a trolleybus. The ways to Santiago. Narrow streets. Two ridiculous scooters hide my ears.

The extinction of double perception.

It’s Beckett’s Film: Expel the animals, block the mirror, cover the furniture, tear off the illustration, rip the pictures.

Is being to be perceived, is existing to allow being perceived?

I allow the swinging to rock me, immobilize me once again, twice at most, let the swinging go and come and go. Back. Forth. Back

Let it not sto-sto-stop. Stumblingly

I thrash my arms again, more ideas.

What appalls me is the perception of me through myself.


Disarticulated Bayamo boulevard, marbled granite sun.

Ultraviolent sun. In spite of cold and fictional Bayamo, Bayamo for the bayamese, run.

I randomly compile samples, and when fatigue grows strong, I stop.

I lie down, I allow myself half a minute of occidental silence.

My epidermis being so sensible, I sleep through national celebration days as a preventive measure against deep scalp irritations.

I sleep as much as necessary, lengthily. Any productive effort is rejected.

Later on, I take out the camera and convince the photophobics to the sepia of their ancestral retardation, in the end I tell them a sensible word. After all, their souls’ preservation is as insignificant as their faces, degraded in silver and jelly.

I soften my hands, hydrate my body with Water from the Earth, registered trademark.

I lick my hands and ruffle my hair; I lick my cat’s legs, overhanging out of the fruit bowl, and ruffle his bluish back.

We breakfast on a piece of crap children’s dominical television show of thundering music.

The deterioration and screeching of a city –I write on the door of my balcony with red chalk– match the deterioration and screeching of its inhabitants.

It’s impossible to prevent –I keep on writing– the blood-curling outside from rubbing against the inside.

Someone approaches and tells me that I have a pessimistic tendency towards the negative. I smile back in silence.

Be reasonable, Ariadna; she asks me what the fuck I want to do, seriously.

I shouldn’t go about like that with my generational disorientation, with my weariness and lethargic sleepiness, my sterility and proneness to meditation, to contemplation and masturbation.

(Having tea, eating rice)

Dragging the hours of gambled days, Lezama was clear when he said that in La Habana we used to wager the years and gain on their loss.

Enough, I am not your labyrinth, get lost in the days, get erased out of history, my smiling silence means that I don’t want to do anything, absolutely seriously.

I am what is going on. I lie down.

I want to play until each of my bones is exhausted, until I dislocate my soul the fuck out. Anything rather than think about where I am, still, breathing dust instead of air. Anything, but not this morning sickness, this thin disgust of burnt coffee and tar through my lungs. Inside and out, the screeching. Inside and out. The screeching. Dot and dust.

To reach the absurd in the middle of the death and routine which are reserved to a dismantled city, it is necessary to cancel out all sensibility: sensibility is hope.

I turn the volume of my radio down, I stand up with the firm conviction of my reduced hands.

Juan Piñera walks in front of me. It’s his usual Vedadian night walk. I rush to give him one of my personalized little cards with a phrase by his uncle Virgilio: I hold nothing; nothing holds me up. Our great sorrow is not having any sorrows. He crooks a smile and nods.

(Sempre avanti, avanti).

And I await that in return he reveals some mystery or fascinating secret hidden in his impenetrable gaze, that of a master wizard, alchemist of unsuspected musics.

But no, insomniac nocturnal ghostly marauder just like me, he merely looks at me with his disturbing style of penetrating, dark and tired eyes and I feel stupid with my two braids beneath my hat, which covers my small ears and helps keep away the musical noise-sounds from the Street.

He only says that I take care of myself, one’s got to be careful when wandering, and bids goodbye recommending this or that urban bus route to get to the outskirts where I’m headed for at these total and complete off hours.

I stick my tongue out at him and run again much further away than I want to until I lose consciousness.

Havanemic state, so mad, weekly spell.

Confront. Traffic light and delay, I chew degree after degree.

In his baker disguise, time insists on chasing me.


(I hum meaninglessly, accelerating the rhythm: I-have-a-cake-a-cake-with-meringue-and-I-fear-that-someone-puts-his-finger-in-I-am-a-friend-of-the-baker’s-who-gives-me-flour-who-gives-me-eggs… and I can’t sto-stop).

It stealthily approaches, like a leper.

Is there osmosis left, anywhere? Miller’s voice slows down.

Any articulation?

I am suspended into nothingness for one last moment.


Must expel the animals, block the mirror, cover the furniture, tear off the illustration, rip the pictures.

The echo of my voice gets distorted.

My body abandoned to the excess of the atomic accident, to the accident of atomic excess, to the atomic excess of the accident...

I am allowed to award myself yet half a minute.


- Translated by Julio Leon Banfi. Photo by author.

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