Sunday, February 26, 2017

Cuban Fantasia

My most recent fantasy: live part-time in Havana and start an English-language walking tour, modeled after Brendan's Isherwood's Neighborhood tour in Berlin, retracing the sites and scenes of Reinaldo Arenas' last years in Cuba.

On the right you'll see the site where Reinaldo heckled world-famous novelist and sellout Alejo Carpentier during a public lecture. Around the corner--where the Santa Clara Cathedral stood until Reinaldo and his friends, in an act of charity for the artist and prostitute who lived next door and could no longer earn a living after her breasts fell, pulled it down after absconding with what post-Revolution valuables remained.

We'll walk from the Morro down the Malecón. We'll stop for ice cream at Coppelia, indulging in the flavors offered to the locals because we'll hire a Cuban national to buy them for us in CUPs. We'll tramp through Lenin Park where he read the Iliad while evading the police for months, visit the Monserrate Hotel, his home after his release from prison, and pass by the Episcopal church in the Vedado, the setting of many orgies during the mid-70s.

To end the tour, over a mojito or canchánchara, I'll read Reinaldo's suicide note as he's dying from AIDS in the US. His last written words: "Cuba will be free. I already am."

This fantasy makes me happy.

Monday, February 20, 2017


To all you Presidents of the United States of Love this Presidents Day.

And, lest we forget, the original: