By Reynaldo García Blanco Translated by Margaret Randall

, by Margaret Randall


Honorable Roque Dalton, hell or heaven wherever you are we’ve been talking about you for a while. It rained in Medellin and the temperature was ten beers below zero. I despaired because my window looked out on the whores’ quarter and we were talking about Gramsci and Benny Moré as if there would never be another sky another crumb another Sorrowful Mother. Down there, history’s idiots make their stupid remarks, they’re saying not even Marx lasts a hundred years and Engels doesn’t hold up. The beer keeps coming and its golden foam and the opium smoke confuses them. Neither the Berlin nor the Wailing Wall exist now. As if everything were uncomplicated and neither Silvio Rodríguez nor Alí Primera are playing on the Victrola. Old Roque, nostalgia falls from the sky and some kids from the seventies sing at the top of their lungs with David Bowie Space Oddity and Medellin is worth the visa. Honorable Roque, in three days I’ll be in Havana that city with its sea wall and four trains, then in Santiago de Cuba the city of heroes. Here comes another round of domestic beer, light beer preserves friendship as the saying goes. Someone asks about Fabricio Ojeda and Rudi Dutshke changes seats. Guillermo Lobatón lights a cigarette and honorable poet if you could only see Stokely Carmichael as Citizen Kane. Suddenly I said: the country is a litmus paper. A faint scent of consensus rises from the whores’ quarter. Now Cohn-Bendit and Guillermo Lobatón are singing Guantanamera. I’m drunk to my bones Roque and long live the revolution. Eldridge Cleaver and Sei Fonós talk about theosophy. This is the U-Flekus Babel tavern. The guy with the guitar is Turcios Lima and the soldiers will come in a minute to fuck us all. I’m crazy for something to happen and I touch my rib but cannot feel the pistol’s heat. Goodbye, Camilo Torres wants to go to bed but we don’t, the night is young the news is shit Eldridge Cleaver shows up Frei Betto sings all sentimental, and honorable old Roque I never knew you but I’m writing you now from this Medellin overflowing with taxis and poppies where I’m drunk beside this window looking down on the whores’ quarter.