words of Roberto Zurbano
In the most recent Cuban poetry, the one written by young people or the one written to them or by them, it is hard to find proposals today with a deep conceptual flight or an existential depth or metaphysic—such typical marks during that age—that reveal the anxious side of adolescence, its love for adventure, its suicidal vacations, its ignorance of danger, its angelical cruelty, its fantastic and real excesses in a context full of material shortage, surrounded by the sea, prejudices and incomprehension of every kind. Those books by Jose Ramon Fajardo, Verenica Perez Konina and Osvaldo Sanchez from the mid-1980s outlined the poetics of a change that had already started: a poetic and also social conscience that closes the door of adolescence with certain air of cynicism, insolence and nostalgia. The other side of the story back in those years can be read in ¿Quién eres tú, God de Magod?, by Jesus Lara, fiendishly intimate texts, marked by the circumstances of a teenager that wanders our city, that reveals us his short biography, recognizing and self-recognizing and at the same time imploding among the walls of this city.
There is no fashion a teenager can resist to. Present Havana is a city where the urban tribes retrace several roads and find themselves in a visual diversity that is the aleph for new gestures. Those hairstyles, these haircuts, these clothes and their varied, spectacular and imaginative ornaments speak of the irreverence the entire city need. The body of the city is like a teenager body, always at the risk of surprises, thumps and desires. A gothic fashion is displayed in the Havana from the 21st century: long faces, chains, paper chains, ribbons, bows, turbans, earrings, pendants and piercings decorate the landscape and the teenagers’ faces in many neighborhoods. They express and speak a language that evades the expected order by the national cannon: they build a different century, perhaps also a different country among apathy and desire; they hallucinate in a destroyed city and their bodies are the mirror of this city. The time in the city where this book is written is not yet the one from the 1990s, after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the economic crisis of the Cuban society, but the book aims at a generational crisis, an existential tragedy and a search for new horizons.
The time to suffer under the sky is not a lost time, as warned us the Ecclesiastes. This time, as a season in hell, has been testified by other adolescent poet in this, perhaps, weird book. A strange anxiety that every lyrical subject incorporates to his speech as an initiation act or as a deficiency, are prints that for many are necessary to erase. Jesus Lara makes out of this initiation an act of transcendence when he places writing as the witness of everything he suffered and how he assumed the excesses of his vital and aesthetic adolescence. The intention of this collection of poems is born from the questions that provoke to live with intensity, faraway from any prejudice, orphan of castrating limitations. The thing is not that the existential aspect is missing, but the experiences and the poet launches himself to look for them through different life lessons. As any other poet he needs them and he goes after them, questions them, provoking certain narcissism that explains him and saves him from the size and insults of the World or Reality when ultimately discovered by every teenager.
Jesus Lara’s Goth insists on sublimate adolescence as a reality and as an end situation, as the loss of a condition or a journey in order to get to the doors of maturity or a peak. All Goth appeals to what is profane, the irreverence of ways and ornament, I mean, to the extent of the explanation of senses, as if they were not enough for themselves: the poet proposes a sensualist answer, less rational and more well explained in the desires of the flesh and reason. The Gothic, as a style of architecture and visual arts—glassworks, calligraphy, engraving, sculpture, murals, etc.—proposes a new sense of the space, continuous, fluent, just like the teenager passion creates in this book of verses a decorated story, as a tattoo in the body of memory, through the most enormous moments of a youth that was lived to the limit of danger and on the edge of the most innocent losses, those that finish adolescence and are