Take This Waltz

30 Jan

They shot the poet Buñuel Portabella in a badly-paved street near Alfacar.
They who.
Who the hell knows. The Nacionalists probably. They shot him like a dog, in the head. And then they threw his body in an unmarked grave between Viznar and Puebla de Don Fadrique.
— You’ll be famous when you’re dead, cabrón.
And he was. There’s a bronze statue now in the Plaza de Santa Maria. It’s an emblem of the contested past. Each day the Left places a red kerchief on the neck of the statue, and later, someone from the Right comes and takes it off.
Buñuel Portabella hated politics. And politics hated him. He was gay and tormented by his decision to stifle and bury his orientation from his friends. Most people think the Nacionalists shot him because of that. They despised homosexuals. In any case, when he came back from his tenure at Columbia in the States, he chose to live in a city reputed to have the most conservative oligarchy in Andalucía. In a prophetic confession to his friend, the famous sculptor Alejandro García Machado, he foretold his fate in a remarkable moment of mysticism:
— Then I awoke and realised I had been murdered. They looked for me in cafés, cemeteries, and churches…but they did not find me. They never found me. All along, I had been in the street. But they never looked there.

The olive tree in the street near Alfacar where Portabella died, was chopped down in 1999 by Sunset Estates, a land developer which went on to build the Archidona Golf and Country Club in Andalucía. For years, after Portabella’s murder, people would come and leave quotations from his work in the tree’s olive branches.


5 Responses to “Take This Waltz”

  1. Kunstemaecker 01/02/2008 at 8:41 PM #

    I once recited Federico Garcia Lorca’s poem ‘a las cinco de la tarde’ in front of his house in Granada.
    An almost on topic comment.

  2. (S)wine 01/02/2008 at 8:57 PM #

    Nice K-man!

  3. Lazy 04/02/2008 at 8:10 AM #

    and did anyone hear your recital? did you declaim to the street and inspire a surrealist riot by a band of ventriloquists? or did you, like the pious humble poor man in the temple recite silently while the pharisees thundered their ostentatious poetic self-righteousness?

    will this kunstmaecker guy come back and answer this? what the fuck am i talking about anyway?

  4. Lazy 04/02/2008 at 8:11 AM #

    is short stories really hyphenated?

  5. (S)wine 04/02/2008 at 4:32 PM #

    it’s not.
    i need an editor.

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