words of Pedro Oscar Godínez
So many times, the painter turned into a poet or the poet turned into a painter, which is kind the same thing, the painter-poet or the poet-painter—Jose Marti was one of them, and going beyond the national area we can also mention Indian Rabindranath Tagore, Arabian Khalil Gibrán, Spanish Rafael Alberti and German Gunter Grass, who took as a model for his drawings and paintings a very familiar and symbolic character: rats—talks with himself—because what is poiesis but a monologue, a soliloquy, a conversation with our interior angels and demons—and he even rebels against his own formulations—affirmative or negatives—and using the most subtle sarcasm he makes fun of apparent truths that sometimes pretend—and sadly get away with it—to swindle.
In the book we are talking about ¿Quién eres tú, God de Magod?, Jesus Lara seems to have declared a real all-out war against all those passions, feelings, positions, thoughts or attitudes that weigh down human beings with negativity, not letting them fly above the dung and all sort of mundane excrescences like envy, excessive egoism, ambition, self-sufficiency, lie, hypocrisy, deceit, insincerity, calumny and greed, among other disasters.
A crash of old anxieties with philosophical and existential worries that had their origins in a stage of the poet’s life, when he had barely entered his twenties; a proof of rebellion against what is empty, outdated, imposed, sick or morbid, imbued with a strong eclecticism since it takes for itself what is known, lived and experienced. The author infringes the rules dictated by precepts, building “another” language or a kind of “proto-languague”; he gives us an introspective speech full of meaning with space for God, Love, Man, Nature, Life itself, in all their cosmic extent.
In a way, his is an ontological fight, where the axiological component plays an important role, for the victory of the human being/ nothingness, good/evil, love/ hatred, peace/war, truth/ lie, beauty/ugliness, justice/injustice, freedom/ oppression.
Thus, the need of Faith, the name of God, and therefore, the full confidence in “another life”, in “another” world have a special place in this poet’s discourse—as it warned us Russian writer Fiodor Mijailovich Dostoiewski when he stated: “If there is no God, then all is permitted”, which already evidence the existence of God, since it is clear that if this supreme being had not existed, then the human beings with their excesses, yearning for hegemonies, insatiable appetite, anger and wars, would have destroyed everything, including themselves as a species, and the world they live in, and even the universe they are part of.
In most of his texts, an ironic, sarcastic Jesus Lara refers to a so called “healthy envy”, as well as it is often spoken about white lies or as it can be heard today in the international political scenario when speaking of “good terrorists” and “bad terrorists”, which is nothing but “bad good people” and “good bad people”, asking and answering at the same time about the truth of these phrases, hollow paradoxes or simple play on words.
This way it will be Lara himself who will exclaim in the paroxysm of his exaltation:
My basement is flooded with tears! I am drowning!
I am scared! Every heartbreaking tear threatens
To wrongly give birth reflections of a festive world,
That repeats: Cheers! Let’s drink up! It is all good!
Let’s pretend, let’s drink! Let’s give all the superlative form, yes/silica:
Our suicidal show shall begin!
Cesar Vallejo, Jose Marti, Jean Arthur Rimbaud and Jose Lezama Lima meet in this twisted, baroque verse of Jesus Lara. Words, turns, verbal archetypes and phrases are proof of that. By using intertextualities, the poet appropriates other poetics that he adds in a beneficial way for him to his language of search, and then he makes them his by sifting through his personal experience.
It is a kind of poetry free of any classifying element that would place it in a specific geographic area, cloister, or cell, exempt from folklorist, ideological, racial or regional control, archetypes of a given ethno-culture. Poetry without color, unless it is the one shed by the light transformed into verb in the uncomplaining ribs of the poet of whom we can say, using the poetic note, that whoever touches his verses, touches a man as well. In other words, his poetry like his paintings, like his whole work—split off in different aspects of the creativity that meet in a same place—despite its apparent halo of darkness is made of pure transparencies that allow us to see the artist, naked through, talking with his inner ghosts and the tribulation of not being himself.
Havana City, October 29, 2007.