Untouched and Alive

Yesterday was my Birthday. Alas I am finally 25 and very, very happy to be here…a passenger on Earth. It seems my lack of expectation was unwarranted. Everyone has called to wish me a Happy Birthday. I’ve received gifts, smiles, e-cards and warmth from a lot of people that I haven’t heard from in a while. I also received some pretty long distance phone calls. Yesterday was beautiful! I am very happy. Thank you all for making my birthday so special.

Ok. I’m only going to say this once. Send Elian Gonzales back home to Cuba with his father. The family he has in Florida has never even gone to Cuba to meet this child…they are, for all intents and purposes strangers! The kid has a home, friends that he goes to school with, a father, a life. Whether that life is of better or worse quality than the one that could potentially be offered here in the US is irrelevant. I don’t see Cubans protesting against the poor quality of life of the rest of the kids in Cuba, or the embargo which has caused so much hunger and poverty, or any other serious Cuban issues like political imprisonment. What is the outrage all about? Yes, the child is entitled to claim political asylum but he’s 6 years old for God’s sake. The media blitz has got to be disturbing this child’s fragile psychological framework. He is stressed, grieved by the loss of his mother, saddened by his unfamiliar surroundings, and lacking a real family life, something he desperately needs right now. I’m Cuban, but let me just say…I don’t get these Florida Cubans. What are they looking for? All they do is sit around and talk shit…play with their dominoes on the street and drink cafecitos on the corner. I think they’ve completely lost their grasp on the reality of the situation. They choose strange platforms indeed to get their voices heard. This is a six year old child we’re talking about, not a battleground. He is a human being. Fine, grant him asylum, when he is eighteen let him make his own decision and grant him a visa so he can return to the US, but don’t continue depriving him of a normal life. It’s not like he’s going to die if he goes back to Cuba. I grew up in Cuba…and while it is true that I didn’t have shiny toys and the greatest clothes or even the best food to eat, I was happy. I had a wonderful childhood and a family that loved me. Leave the kid alone!!!

Last night was really bizarre. I got sung Happy Birthday Indian Disco style. There’s this place on 6th St. and First Ave. here in the city that has great food. This place is really unique. The inside is covered by red and pink holo-graphic paper that reflects thousands of chili pepper lights and plastic flowers that hang from the ceiling. It is very crowded to the point that the waiters have to hunch from all the lights hanging from above. It is as if they took all the lights from the Rockefeller Christmas tree and stuffed them into this 2 x 4 restaurant. Anyway…funny thing is everytime we’ve been there, it’s been someone’s birthday; at which point the lights go off, they turn on a disco light and this crazy birthday song plays, every-one clapps and sings happy birthday. So…here I was sitting won-dering whose birthday it was…and then I see that the waiter is coming over to my table with a lit up scoop of ice cream. Woa…it was totally unexpected…I think by that point I had forgotten it was my birthday. Slightly embarrassing but cool.

Last night I picked up a three foot statue of Santa Barbara from Robert’s building with ideas of repainting it. I don’t know why I’m so attracted to Catholic art…guess I love the opulence of Catholic churches, built mainly to intimidate and belittle. There is something stifflingly beautiful and stagnant about all those saints in their niches lit by tiny red and green candles. Some holding daggers others leaves…each with his/her own little bit of symbolism…some martyrs other converted heathens…it fascinates me. So much of the world’s visual art revolves around religious themes…makes you think. I was laughing this morning thinking about finding myself involved in one of those road-rage accidents where people get out of their cars with clubs or guns or whatever…and I picture myself getting out with a 3 foot statue of a virgin and using it as a weapon…what a laugh that would be. Freak on the road!!! LOL The thing is still in my trunk. I was afraid to bring it into the house, but that is hispanic Santeria paranoia. For all I know some brujero had this statue in his house, using it to curse people, blowing smoke from a big fat tobacco into her face and cutting open the heads of chickens in front of it. Ay! Que carajo voy a hacer con la estatua de la Santa Barbara. Ahora le tengo miedo.

R—- was laughing last night telling me how the thing was going to start bleeding from its eyes…well I hope it does cause I’ll charge at the door. I tell you…I must own like one piece of white clothing (a dress I bought in the French Quarter, New Orleans). Interestingly enough the dress is very Santera in style…you know the ones worn by all those convulsing women you see in the televised rituals :) Anyway so I decided to wear this dress the other day down Bergenline (this shopping avenue defies description…you have to be there to really appreciate it…as very fat hispanic women strut about in white spandex wearing pink cha-cha heels and there’s merengue music playing everywhere…guys blasting music from their 6 foot car speakers…you know total barrio shopping street, 99¢ stores everywhere–gotta love it!) Anyway so I wore my white dress and everyone, and I mean everyone just got out of the way…looking at me with those, “quitate del medio que ai viene la santera” eyes. Robert was impressed. I thought it was funny, how deep seated our belief in this mumbo jumbo is. Guess that’s why it works right. Santeria like most religions is highly symbolic in nature, that’s why something as simple as a white dress or caracoles (shells) set off those superstitions.

Ok so there you have it…my bizarre existence. Hi John, Zak, everyone. Live, love, be happy and don’t pick up strange statues. This online journal thing is really therapeutic in many ways. Oh, before I forget here are some Cuban links…a lot of these sites are very Communist…Mabe hates commies. Go check these out and find out more about the patria. See you tomorrow ;)

[learn_more caption=”Santa Barbara”] Barbara lived in the 4th century and brought up as a heathen. Her tyrannical father, Dios-corus, had kept her jealously secluded in a lonely tower which he had built for that purpose. Here, in her forced solitude, she gave herself to prayer and study, and contrived to receive ins-truction and Baptism in secret by a Christian priest. Barbara resisted her father’s wish that she marry. Then on one oc-casion, during her father’s absence, Barbara had three windows inserted into a bathhouse her father was constructing. Her purpose was thereby to honor the Trinity. Dioscorus was enraged by her action and by her con-version. So he himself de-nounced her before the civil tribunal. She was horribly tortured, and at last was beheaded. Her own father, merciless to the last, acted as her executioner. It is said that after her death a flash of lightning struck Dioscorus. The life of St. Barbara is a vivid reminder that there can be much anger in our world and in our lives. Being in touch with God’s presence can do much to-ward relieving our-selves of our tendency to allow anger to control us.[/learn_more]