Alberto Peraza Ceballos was born in Pinar del Río, Cuba in 1961. He writes poetry for children and adults as well as short stories for children. Ceballoss’s books include Escapar al olvido (1992); Sobornos Clandestinos (y otras utopías) (2006); Máscaras interiores (2011); and others. His writing has been translated into English, Portuguese, and Chinese. Ceballoss has also been anthologized in the United States, Uruguay, Brazil, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Cuba. He has received several national and international literature awards, including Premio Baragaño (1988,1989,1990); Premio Loynaz de poesía 1992; Premio Hermanos Loynaz de poesía infantil 1992; Premio especial nacional de décima Hermanos Loynaz (1992); Premio "17 de mayo" (1995). He’s also a member of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC).
Journey to the Void
Mother Washes the Clothes on a Photograph
I Used to Believe in the Three Wise Men
Journey to the VoidJust a few lights ago I changed my face, I, who blindly believed in brightness while watching the sky pass by my window. Now I run from one wall to the other, deeply breathe in to get to the end but I lack strength and stay at the mercy of my consciousness. Without firm direction I walk inside myself, with my hallucination I feed the walls and feel the collapse of the days on my body as heavy as a knock out. My door is besieged; I put signs here and there but nobody draws attention. I can only see how, between one light and another, I get lost.
Mother Washes the Clothes on a PhotographSo white were my mother’s clothes that tears could stain them. She used to spend day and night by the tray watching her fingers bleed while water was washing her misfortune through her breast. My mother used to starch and spray the clothes before ironing them in the quietest corner of the house, near the music and the radio novels, through which she used to see the world pass by far from her pains and furies. When she was gone, the clothes weren’t white anymore, and father, my brother and I lost orientation inside the house like blind people do. Even now, it’s troublesome for us to find ourselves, although a long time has passed, and my mother keeps on catching our sight from an old photograph, follows our steps with her eyes.
I Used to Believe in the Three Wise MenI never had a plane as a child, nor did the three wise men ever come to my bedroom; my shoes were quiet by my bed. When I opened my eyes in the very early morning, there was my letter without a sign or a print; my brother was sleeping, dreaming maybe, that he was polishing his new skates. The only thing I needed by that time was to breathe pure air so that I could escape the drama that didn’t let us sleep through the night. When we were inventing happiness, writing down our dreams on white papers, my mother was saying the Lord’s Prayer while searching her chest in the mirror, trying to find where the uncommon pain was coming from. The mirror knew nothing about her claims: distant, like other people’s birthday parties. That morning nobody was concerned about a small letter having to wait for another January to be read. I have wished so much for a plane that I have lost the urge for flying over the snow. Now I just feel the snow over my body, under my body, inside my body; that everlasting snow where nobody can make a home.
Conservation InstinctYou feed yourself with your homeland the same way one person sucks a finger stuck with aloes; you walk along the streets with the fear of not appeasing your hunger and see they are watching over you. You cannot come back home with orphaned hands because you’re being anticipated by a swarm and the dogs who used to belong to nobody. You set the table and enjoy seeing the tongues dancing as if they were following the rhythm of a song being played by an orchestra and you conducting it. This way you can believe that Beethoven’s madness was true while in ecstasy. There are red apples dying in somebody else’s yard where a thick snow swallows the letters before coming into words and we can’t reach but the eyes looking here and there on the streets trying to bring home a piece of life for today, tomorrow is another day, distant like the end of the universe. In the act of searching you may not watch your step and you may become itchy, that itch you can’t hide when you are too slow to heal the skin you don’t have anymore.
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