Buena Vista

9 Jan

Havana again. Only it’s now. We walk into a colossal, resplendent opera hall. She is barefoot. She is wearing a white skirt. The wind comes in through the baronial windows. It pushes the silk drapes inwards. Then it sucks them back.
“Do you hear it?” she says.
“Follow it down.”
We make our way to the stage—to the piano. A thin, brown man with long fingers is playing a samba.
“I am Chachao,” he says.
“I know,” I answer.
He smiles at her and then goes back to his piece.
“I’m looking for Manolito.”
His fingers work the keys smoothly.
“Do you know where he might be?”
He looks up at her again.
“When the woman bends,” he says, “then you will understand everything.”
She holds to my arm and scratches her calf with her other foot.
“Do you know?”
“You will find everything at the sea,” he says. He points out to the east.

The Revolution is Eternal

She asks about the banner, and the Greaser cars, and the colorful buildings with paint peeling off, and I tell her that, in a way, time in Havana has not moved beyond 1959.
“Nineteen fifty-nine? Were you even born then?”
She has a way of asking questions which disarms even the most mean-spirited of warriors. It’s something in her voice. The timbre. Her face. Lips. I cannot explain it or do it any justice with words. We slide down the streets toward the sea. The breeze attacks off the water, and gets caught in her long hair. She is momentarily frazzled. She touches her cheek and says something about her skin being bad.
I’m suddenly removed from this scene and I’m now watching the two of them work through the absurdity of her self-deprecation.

Karl Ma X

“Who is Karl Max?” she says.
“Karl Marx.”
“It says Max.”
“I know. There’s a letter missing.”
“Ok. Then who is Karl Marx?”
I tell her.

Che Guevarra Playing Golf with Fidel

We’re on the beach now. I can feel the powdery, white sand underneath her bare feet, as she feels it. It’s a strange, symbiotic sensation. She is pure and kind. She is beautiful. I hold her by her hips with my left arm. She gathers her hair in the wind, twists it, and puts it up with a clip. Manolito is there, playing the bass, and Chachao on the piano, Puntillita singing, and Amadito Valdes at the timbales.
“Show me again where you were born,” she says.
I point across the ocean, east and north.
“God. You’re a long way from home.”

Perez Prado and Celia Cruz belting out a pachanga and a cha-cha-cha

I step back, away from it all, and leave the two of them there, dancing to the rhythmic punto of the guajiros on the beach.
Havana again.
Only it’s 1959.


3 Responses to “Buena Vista”

  1. Slyboots 10/01/2008 at 3:45 AM #

    I think I’ve seen you re-work this one a couple of times before. And it always leaves me breathless. One of my favorites. Yummy.

  2. Kunstemaecker 10/01/2008 at 10:07 AM #

    I have updated your blog url and name. Thanks for letting me know.

  3. (S)wine 10/01/2008 at 12:50 PM #

    Hey Sly, yea, it’s gone through two previous incarnations…just sort of fine-tuning stuff before it gets shoved into the book.

    Kunstemaecker, thanks much.

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