por: Luis Marré
When I finished reading the book of poems by Jesus Lara Sotelo titled ¿Quién eres tú, God de Magod?, I had the impression that I read it out of the context of which the Cuban poets have been writing since the first works by those poets from Orígenes group, even though the transgressive intention might point to a distant relative with some poems by Virgilio Pinera: Many times I did not know if the poem I just read was a prayer or a blasphemy.
The prologue of¿Quién eres tú, God de Magod?, written by Rufo Caballero, does not leave anything new to say about this book written by Lara several years before its publication; I will just add this: I was surprised by the explosion of images I found in every poem. Rufo Caballero is right when mentioning Rimbaud in a certain line of his excellent prologue for this book.
When Lara asked me if I wanted to write something for the presentation of one of his books titled Alicia y las Odas prusianas I said that I was not an art critic and that I have not even read the book.
You might be wondering why I finally accepted to say these words in this tribute that my friend Jesus Lara makes to Alicia Alonso with the presentation of his book Alicia y las Odas prusianas. I accepted because it deals with a tribute to our great artist, to someone I also paid a tribute too in my youth, and which Alicia knew of about thirty years later.
I saw Alicia Alonso dance for the first time in a performance that took place in the stadium of the University of Havana, during the first years of the 1950s. My friend Pedro de Oraá and I arrived late and we could not get in, but we went to a wall without anyone noticing. I was so impressed by ballet, by Alicia’s ballet, that I even wrote a poem titled Danzante. It is very short:
You emerge from yourself as another person.
Black water—music—washes you,
Down your shoulders it runs.
Your body goes from the bird to the stone
And from the stone to the bird
What kind of rose seduces you?
And if you are a statue, what kind of star captivates you?
Do you find your voice that leads you naked in your own body?
Thirty years later, Alicia knew of this poem. I sent it to her, and she even returned it in an edition of the magazine Ballet de Cuba, with a beautiful thank-you letter.
For the second time I saw her at the Fine Arts Museum, among writers and artists—I don’t remember if it was for a May Day parade in 1959 or 1960. When I got there, I looked for a familiar face; I found Onelio Jorge Cardoso, who made me notice that in front of us were Alicia Alonso and another member of the company. Besides being a great artist, our admired Alicia supports the revolution—I thought. That’s why I accepted, without being an art critic, without having read my friend’s new book, saying the thank you words in this tribute to our Alicia.