Tumult [1]

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Did you sometimes dream of Cuba?

Of course.

I just can´t say why I´ve found it so difficult to free myself of that little, insignificant, crazy island.

Surely you must have brought some things back from Havana?

Show me your souvenirs.

A machete, brand name Crowing Cock, with a 60cm handle, made in China. Polaroids that have long since faded. A frock coat, made by Franz Winter, Braunaui. B. before the First World War. Rolls of film in a metal box. An album from the Consejo Nacional de Cultura containing marvelous examples of artwork―allegories of pleasure and wealth, gold printed stickers for cigar boxes with crowns, medals, buxom ladies with rosy butcher´s-wife cheeks representing Ceres and Industria, the goddesses of tillage and manufacture. Qualité somptueuse! In a tin there´s a miniature model of the cruiser Aurora. And then there´s a silk, paisley-patterned Indian wrapover jacket, neverworn; on the label it says: Burlington´s Ashoka Hotel, New Delhi. Cambodian coins, rouble notes, Hong Kong dollars. A brown, crumbling 2-peso banknote that was never worth very much, signed by Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, Head of the National Bank of Cuba―by him of all people who could never handle money!

This residue is like a Sargasso Sea on dry land.

[1] Enzensberger, Hans MagnusTumult. (Translated by Mike Mitchell.). London, NY, Calcutta: Seagulls Books, 2016.

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