THIS IS THE DAY THAT WILL MATTER BY EUGENIO INFANTÍL Carlos Hernandez
Eugenio Infantíl was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, in 1959, a child of the celebrations that ensued once Castro deposed Batista. He took a Master's Degree in Engineering from the University of Havana in 1985 and never used a single thing he learned in school. Instead, he worked on his family's hog farm outside of Varadero, drove a cab to earn American dollars to spend in the black market, and turned to writing to keep himself sane. As have many writers of his generation, Infantíl employs a vatic, highly experimental style so as to confound Cuban censors. But it did him little good: Infantíl was arrested in 1997 for Crimes Against the Party and has not been heard from since.
1. The fruit flies are swarming about the scientist’s elbow. Bend it, and the world changes: All intentions are momentarily halted. Her husband pauses before going out the door for the last time, and in that scurfling gap envisions a return, happy, where everything that makes him leave now is absent then. To give himself a moment, an instant longer, he blows on his elbow as if scattering flies and the breath creates a shift in probability so thin and real that his impulse is to curl a finger around it and pull, like a pop-top, like a cord to a chute that won’t open. When he closes the door behind him he thinks of orange.
2. Garbage. Trash. Detritus. Ash and waste. A boy with one leg in an aluminum can in the alley. He stands, that boy, legs close, this side and that, and positions his penis on the rim of the can, balanced nearly perfect, this side and that, and the thick in-between. Behind, the can parts his ass cheeks. Someone, no one, will convince him that the can did not lust him as he lusted the can, that aluminum vibrations did not emanate like the warm fragrance of old pizza and coffee grounds and a jar broken and its mayo clear-yellowed as mucous leaking. All the dirty things loving him rancid and raw because he is polished clean.
3. Cherry pickers from this distance appear static under the fringed branches. Birds rise and school and return. We are a painting, are we not.
4. Inside the Bantu’s circumscribed plain the plane trees are cups of love, handfuls of cool water for the one, the only only, so beloved that the springbok sings in sleep. Perhaps science defers to those who would fall off the planet were they to disbelieve. What does it matter, the monkey spreading fog over the trees out of jealously? Imagine the hundreds dead not knowing. What benefit do you have, Mrs. Frederick, knowing so very finely, you say, how those plane trees burn after lighting?
5. Breathe your squall down to a hum, you bitch. Every time you sing it high like a rusted spring you sound the fawning aged sycophant who should have, by now, nothing to prove. What friendships smizzle from clerical encounters, anyway, anyhow? Don’t give a shit that they love you, like you, you’re not running for prom queen again. You were crowned at sixteen.
6. Pigs squeal as their balls are sliced away. The vet fries ‘em up and eats ‘em with horseradish. Funny. Animals surround him, and his children are lumbering beasts who will be lumbering forever. And the F he writes in forever will be more lovely than his big cow of a daughter. Privilege opens the sty, every sty in the country. The odor of shit and blood sharp in the nose’s memory. Once in a while, yes, one pig in a thousand looks you in the eye.