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De Virgilio Piñera

La gran puta.

 

                                           Para Oscar Hurtado.

 

 

Cuando en 1937 mi familia llegó a La Habana

—uno de los tantos éxodos a que estábamos acostumbrados—  

mi padre —como tenía por costumbre sanguínea—

se dio de galletas y se puso a echar carajos.

 

Llegaron exactamente a la diez de la mañana

de un día de agosto mojado con vinagre;

antes de ir a esperar el Santiago-Habana

tomé un jugo de papaya en Lagunas y Galiano,

y como el deber se impone al deseo

perdí a un negro que me hacía señas con la mano.

 

Por esa época yo tenía veinticinco años

y toda la vida resumida en la mirada;

años mal llevados porque el hambre no paga:

"Virgilio —me decía Oscar Zaldívar—

no te alimentas lo suficiente. Hay que comer carne...."

 

De vez en cuando me llevaba a La Genovesa

en la esquina atormentada de Virtudes y Prado,

donde Panchita, una italiana operática,

le decía doctor a Oscar y a mí no me decía nada.

 

Las calles eran vahídos y las aceras desmayos:

En la cabeza los versos y en el estómago cranque.

 

Corría a la casa de empeños sita en Amistad y Animas

buscando que me colgaran entre docenas de guitarras,

yo, empeñado, yo empeñando un saco viejo de Osvaldo

para trepar jadeante la cazuela del Auditorium

a ver El Avaro de Moliere que Luis Jouvet presentaba.

 

Era La Habana con tranvías y soldados

de kaki amarillo, haciendo el fin de mes

con los pesos de los homosexuales;

entre los cuales, en cierta manera, me cuento, es

decir, en mi humilde escala: no osaría ponerme

a la altura de La Marquesa Eulalia, del Pájaro Verde,

del Jarroncito Chino, de la Pulga Lírica y del Marqués

de Pinar del Río, y aunque una noche, en el Don Quijote,

bailé sobre una mesa disfrazado de maja

mi alarde palidece ante la magnificencia

del Pájaro Verde dejándose degollar en el baño.

 

Según se mire eran tiempos heroicos, tiempos

que fueron cantados por guitarras alcoholizadas,

palabras tremendas que eran pronunciadas

con el filo de un cuhillo, mientras allá,

en Marte y Belona, los bailadores realizaban

la confusa gesta del danzón ensangrentado.

 

Esta gesta alcanzaba proporciones épicas

en el Cuchillo de San Miguel: allí Panchitín Díaz

le decía con su voz aflautada a la putica debutante:

"Muchacha, tienes toda la vida por delante...",

y dando dos pasos se metía en la barbería de Neptuno

para entablar un diálogo funambulesco

con la corpulenta Albertino, que se hacía afeitar

una barba imaginaria.

 

Una noche en el Prado, con su pedazo de cielo

particularmente convulso sobre leones de bronce verde,

sobre leones que temblaban al paso del

 

Emperador del Mundo –un negro tuberculoso con

el pecho constelado de chapitas de Coca Cola-,

se comentaba con terror manifiesto

la frase ciceroniana de la mujer que se tiró

bajo las ruedas del automóvil de Lily Hidalgo de Conill:

"!Habana, ábrete y trágame!".

 

Pero La Habana se hizo aún más rígida

para que ella pudiera ir hasta Colón sin baches,

para que esa noche las putas chancrosas

hicieran buenos pesos y para que lloraran los

sentimentales, entre los cuales también me cuento,

al extremo que podría ser nombrado presidente de

los sentimentales, y ahora precisamente recuerdo

al hombre que vi matar junto a la estatua de Zenea

con su mano convulsa aferrada al seno de mármol

de la mujer que eternamente lo acompaña.

 

Me pareció que llegaba el Apocalipsis,

pero justo en ese momento oí: "!Maní tostao, maní!"

y metían por mi ojos anegados en lágrimas

un cucurucho de voluptuosidad cubana.

 

Mi amiga, la Muerta Viva, una puta francesa

que recaló en Sagua allá por el veinticuatro

compraba todos los días el periódico para

ver si en la Crónica Roja aparecía muerto

el cabrón, decía ella, que la dejó plantada en Sagua.

 

Pero como la vida manda, seguía abriendo las piernas

sin sentimentalismos de ninguna clase.

 

Yo, que mi destino de poeta me impidió la putería,

soñaba persistentemente con abrir las mías:

cuando el hambre aprieta, sueños monstruosos

se perfilaban en cada esquina, monedas del tamaño de

una casa me caían encima, y todo terminaba

en una frita deglutida al compás de

"Bigote de Gato es un gran sujeto..."

 

Sin embargo, pensaba en la inmortalidad

con la misma persistencia con que me acosaba

la mortalidad, porque aun cuando viéndome

forzado a escuchar "la inmortalidad del cangrejo"

y ver al tipo pálido sentado en el café de

los bajos de mi casa, con un palillo en los

dientes y un vaso de agua sobre la mesa

pensando en las musarañas, yo me aferraba

a la mentira piadosa siguendo al mismo

tiempo con la vista los sandwiches de pierna

que rechinaban en mis tripas.

 

Suaritos anunciaba a Ñico Saquito,

Toña la Negra quebraba la luna con su voz

de tortillera mejicana, Batista daba golpetazos

en Columbia, Patricia la Americana se momificaba

en un disco y Daniel Santos galvanizaba los solares.

 

Claro está, en la ciudad del sol constante

los fantasmas acostumbraban salir a plena luz:

los he visto acompañándome por Monte y Cárdenas

el día del entierro de Menocal, con ron peleón,

porque de eso el general prodigó, enchumbó, anestesió

y el champán para él y Marianita en París.

"Querida, me dijo Jarroncito Chino, hoy todo el mundo

está jalao, haremos ranfla moñuda,

ya el General templó lo suyo y nosotras moriremos

con un troyó papá bien grande adentro".

 

Así murió efectivamente. Destino cumpliido,

vida realizada, strip-tease de pelo en pecho,

sacando palanganas de agua de culo.

 

Cuando se la llevaron había un Norte de

tres pares de cojones.

 

Estos son los monumentos que nunca veremos en

nuestras plazas, amorfa, sí, amorfa cantidad

de donde extraigo el canto, en cualquier parte,

bajando por Carlos III que entonces tenía bancos,

escuálido, tembloroso, con mi amorosa Habana

siguiéndome los pasos como perro dócil

entre años caídos retumbando como cañones

dejando la peseta en casa de la barajera

para saber - ¿para saber? - si mañana entraré

en la papa... Un pelado en el Mercado Unico,

un guarapo en el Mercado del Polvorín,

siempre avanzando, en brecha mortal,

buscando la completa como se busca un verso,

¡oh inacabables calles, oh aceras perfumadas

con orine! ¡Oh hacendados con pañuelos

impregnados de Guerlain, que nunca

me pusieron casa!

 

Sólo en mi accesoria haciendo mis versitos

veía pasar La Habana como un río de sangre:

y como una puta más del barrio de Colón.

 

 

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