Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cuba




The Memphis City Greyhound station, one of the coolest places in the world. Everything stood still, since the 60s,  a pharmacy that sold Coca-Cola in bottles, old wooden benches, Henry on the way to Miami to hook up with some Cuban fishermen, on his way to Cuba.

Henry dreamed of  meeting hot Cuban women, with big asses, tits and ass, women like sculptures, dark skinned, wild-eyed, full of fire. Women who loved to dance, smoke cigars and drink rum. 

The  socialist revolution of Cuba, very political, Henry liked privacy,  hiding out, not having many rules, only one, never piss anyone off.

Foolishly, Henry wrote all the time, sending it out on the internet, trying to write short stories, dedicated to it,  Cuba seemed like a place a writer would go, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, on mescaline, a mensch, free wheeling, partying, writing as good as Segovia played.

The old dirty Greyhound Bus rolled into Miami that evening,  Henry checked into a cheap motel in North Miami. Later going out, hungry, he ordered some tamales, boiled pork, some cuban soda with cocaine. He had a few hours to screw around, his boat to Cuba was leaving at 10 PM.

The plan was for the fisherman too take Henry close to the Cuban coast at midnight, Henry would  swim into Cuba. He had his clothes, money passport in a floating device, a sown-up raincoat like the ones used in the film "Alcatraz",  Burt Lancaster,  the shark, John Cheever's swimmer, makes it to freedom

Henry made it to the docks on time, the Cuban fisherman were drunk already, "Sea beinvenidoa bordo, gringo." Henry wondering how they would navigate? In the pilot house he noticed the boat had no functioning instruments. Drunk sailors heading out to sea, using only a sextant and the stars to navigate, blind drunk, unable to see the stars, romantic.

Once on shore Henry would  go to the  Cuban Municipality of the Socialist Revolution, surrender his US Passport, asking for exile on political grounds, telling the Cubans, being a socialist made it impossible for him to live in the imperialist west. 

Casting off, luckily a calm night on the Straits of Florida, Henry drank with the sailors, enjoying the peacefulness of the sea, the sailors gambling . Soon, you could see a few lights out ahead in the distance, it was Cuba. Maneuvering the boat with the current, the sailors told Henry to jump, he couldn't see a thing and jumped, he heard something splinter, seriously in  pain, he had jumped in the sand, breaking his arm, the drunk sailors didn't care, they were laughing.

Henry easily made it ashore, he used a scarf for an arm-sling, finding a trail through the bush, on the road seeing the lights in the distance, he wondered how far it was to the city? His arm was throbbing.

Later at the outskirts of city, Havana, he got a taxi and went to a local clinic, the doctor put a proper caste on his arm, there was no fee as most people know, Cuba,  free medicine for all.  Later, not far from the clinic, la secret policia arrested Henry and took him to jail.  

Off to a slow start, unable to sleep much in jail, the next day transported to a four story concrete building, the Socialist Center for Adjustment, telling his story, given a temporary visa, told to check back in a few months and go have a good time, given a cuban cigar factory name-card, with a map to a cheap hotel on the back.

Henry blessed by the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, laughing out loud, night-time on the streets of Old Havana, Cuban Salsa, Cuban Reggae-ton, cafes, saloons, whore-houses, cuban cigars.

Deadly rum, distilled rattle-snake poison, it blinded Henry, made him black out, sick. Watching TV,  a Warren Oate's films, "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia" or "Cockfighter."  Warren Oates on TV, looking  drunk all the time, Henry drunk allot too, same as Warren Oates,  hip, a real cowboy.

Las Tunas, Cuba was a twelve hour bus ride from Havana. Henry sent to work on sugarcane field, he worked the night shift as a guard.

Their was a barracks provided for  workers, men and women lived in the same barracks, they fought side by side during the revolution of Che, Fidel Castro, Luis Afonso Zayas.

Henry working nights free to roam the compound with a french carbine. He saw a flashlight in the jungle, not far away he walked to it. A young Cuban girl was reading a book under a tree,  Jose Manti. She went on to tell Henry that she loved reading and writing short stories. She told Henry her name was Dominga, she was off tomorrow and they could go to the beach if he wished? 

It rained that morning on the beach, Dominga and Henry sat under an umbrella. They went swimming anyway, holding each other in the water, keeping warm, foundling each other some, then making out, they where kids.

Back on the beach they talked about what the socialist revolution meant. Dominga felt it is was good and bad, Henry didn't care, he figured all governments were the same, the best thing in the world would be to ball Dominga. 

The two walked to Las Tunas, a very quiet town, just a few cars, old Renaults, Cuba rebelling, turning her back on fat westernization. Batista pushing it too far, like the film "Scar Face", Al Pacino, Tony Montana smacked up at the end, head in a  monogramed platinum bowl of fairy star-dust.

The world a stage, people can't see everything at once, our vision impaired, as the years pass it seems like things get more insane. It won't change, the unimaginable will happen.

Dominga and Henry found a club in Las Tunas, the Cafe Havana, a beautiful brown place with chipping paint, they smoked small Cuban cigars and drank espresso, ordering shots of brandy. They played Cuban Jazz on the juke box, the sun was going down over the hill.

Life, salmon swimming upstream, some eaten by bears, others caught by caviar companies, others connecting life.  

None of us can see everything that is going on everywhere at once, the  melodramas going on in every room and every city. Maybe God can, hopefully! Nobody knows for sure ? Most of what we see in are heads are past violence images from TV, it's the best we can do, trying to see it all using google maps, world news stations, it's here and isn't going anywhere, a warning signal, we need it to sound the sirens of tsunamis. It mirrors cultural reality,  a  mirror, getting caught in the gray of war at times.

In La Tunas,  the Socialist News Agency was uncomplicated, political programing, mostly repetitious, boring. Dominga and Henry figured, fuck TV, who needs it, the people who need it can watch, it's a free world. 

On Monday Dominga went back to work, she began spending more time with Henry, they observed each others habits, Henry working nights, dogs barking, nothing much happening in the sugarcane, the couple living in a medium sized tent past the cane-field, on the jungles edge.

Mostly they red books and listened to sound, smoking dope some helped pass the time. 

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