Friday, May 31, 2013

Reinaldo Arenas on Miami

The typical Cuban machismo has attained alarming proportions in Miami...[It] was like a caricature of Cuba, the worst of Cuba: the eternal gossip, the chicanery, the envy. I also hated the flatness of the scenery, which could not compare with the beauty of an island, it was like a ghost of our island, a barren and pestiferous peninsula, trying to become, for a million exiles, the dream of a tropical island, aerial, bathed by the ocean waters and the tropical breeze...I was used to a city with sidewalks and streets, a deteriorated city but where a person could walk and appreciate its mystery, even enjoy it at times. Now I was in a plastic world, lacking all mystery...An exile has no place anywhere, because there is no place, because the place where we started to dream, where we discovered the natural world around us, read our first book, loved for the first time, is always the world of our dreams...The exile is a person who, having lost a loved one, keeps searching for the face he loves in every new face and forever deceiving himself, thinks he has found it.

-Reinaldo Arenas, Antes que anochezca

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