¡Feliz Año...porque todo comienza! / Adriano González León

Happy New Year…Because Everything Begins!

Christmas and New Year join together in the heavens, which have decided to alternate between El Greco and Fra Angelico. It has always been that way, except that during childhood we had no idea who those painters were, only the distance of the clouds with their reddish blues and that stormy grey made complex by a shimmer of radiance, peeking over the hills of yearning moss and treetops opening toward a certain mystery. It’s the same one that assaults us now from a distance and precipitates a desire to fill ourselves with memories of our friends. And they arrive in a simple, unexpected way. Now, for example, I think of Jesús Sanoja Hernández sick in bed and I almost can’t imagine his ailments, when he has been for us an example of vigor and firmness. Of course he’s not afflicted by anything that can weaken him. His spirit has made plans serenely and joyously ever since we met in our high school classrooms. Now I begin my wishes for a happy new year with him, because I know he’ll arrive so we can peruse his resplendent poetry, which he admonitorily called, the magical illness…That magic will make you rise to celebrate with good beers, like that time it occurred to us to create the Friday Clarín, a supplement that in those years gathered the new expressions and the combat of a generation. We are alive in plenitude, with all the strength we always used to build our words and with your vigilance, always ready to intone and celebrate the creative task of our comrades. Happy New Year… Jesús!!!

Thus the sky’s secrets return with happiness. Thus we feel better and thus we are. The end of the month fills us with enthusiasm. In the next one, we will rebuild the forests. And the adventure can continue infinitely. It’s a challenge. We were always enacting it and that’s why Oswaldo Barreto and I, who were coming from celebrating Marx and Engels, one day encountered, in the illuminated chapel of a girls’ boarding school, the words of Kierkegaard that signaled to us with a certain fear and trembling. It seems unheard-of. But our idea was to nourish ourselves to the utmost and Oswaldo was insatiable. That’s what he proved later on in his wanderings throughout the world and in his exercise of adventure, which was like the poetry that always accompanied us. A delirious luck, because we had also read Rimbaud and we pedantically wanted to endure our little season in hell. Oswaldo launched himself much further. But at the core, for exclusive devotional reasons, behind us there were always the flickering hills of our city in the provinces and the exercises for recreating our memories of the solitary town square.

So these are the provocations at the end of the calendar. One saw suns fall multiplied and double moons within the confines of the afternoon. Once a kite slipped far from us with its spars resisting the cross winds and the string that others provided so the message could fall, after bouncing, onto the terraced roof where she was revealing her eyes and her flowers. Because on New Years one needs to return to admired streets and windows, to the cathedral’s challenge, with its towers that were covered in swallows and fireworks.

Thus it’s good to penetrate our memories. Although it might seem egotistical, I invite my fellow countrymen to return through the eaves. I don’t know where Juan Mendoza Pimentel might be now. I don’t know what happened to the girl in college we called Resumito. She must be walking the paths of the air. That’s where we found people from other latitudes and Luís García Morales was arriving with his Orinoco river at his side. A good time to celebrate what he called spring.

Earlier I said countrymen. I return to the zone of memory. And then I think we need to return to the places we loved with imagination and dreams. Let’s go back…Let’s go…David, Alfonso, Marcos… Polaco Méndez, Saúl Miguelito, Argimiro…Take Héctor Malavé and his exploding book on petroleum with you, and Harris the Panamanian who became a native of Trujillo. The one who’s erudite in useless things, since he has memorized the gospels of Lucas and Matthew and he also knows what happened between the Yankees and the Dodgers in the 1931 series. Let’s go…the roads are there waiting…And the seven hills sparkle in the distant city. It seems as though Cleto, the eternal drunkard, is still wandering its streets, with his screams and complaints and he wants to tell us, like he always did: “Happy New Year…God dammit!”

Translator’s note: Poet, historian and journalist Jesús Sanoja Hernández’s only book of poems, La mágica enfermedad, was first published in 1969. It was republished by Monte Ávila Editores in 1997.

{ Adriano González León, El Nacional, 28 December 2006 }

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