The Color of Summer: or The New Garden of Earthly Delights

The Color of Summer: or The New Garden of Earthly Delights by Reinaldo Arenas Read Free Book Online

Book: The Color of Summer: or The New Garden of Earthly Delights by Reinaldo Arenas Read Free Book Online
Authors: Reinaldo Arenas
she supports Avellaneda’s escape), Jane Fonda (who’s opposed), and Joan Fontaine (neutral). There are also sports stars and an entire basketball team, which spontaneously begins to play a pickup game with some of the crowd. Among the sports figures is José Canseco, who declares that he’s going to give a demonstration, right there, of his power as a home-run hitter. And sure enough, Canseco hits one so hard that the ball sails out of Key West and heads out to sea, where it hits Avellaneda in the chest, knocking her unconscious for a few seconds. While rumors fly that the presidential helicopter is about to land at any moment, there arrive, to the sound of snare drums, a delegation of radical feminist lesbians. On a broad lawn alongside the harbor of Key West, they give a demonstration of self-defense techniques, while the Guadalajara Symphony Orchestra accompanies them. When they complete their demonstration of martial arts (perfectly executed), the great poet Primigenio Florido steps up onto the stage.
    Florido is wearing a huge pair of earphones, an attempt to improve his hearing. They look like big earmuffs, or the big ears of a donkey, and they stick up high above his head.
    P RIMIGENIO F LORIDO : (gazing out at the sea where, in the distance, we can begin to see Avellaneda’s little boat)
Oh, there she is! There—on the far horizon!
A figure like a tiny island in the ocean,
like a bobbing buoy on the waves’ crest,
and far in the van, her peerless breast!
Oh, would that I might fly to save her,
would that these old arms could cradle her,
but we must wait—I’ll just wave at her . . .
Oh, that one day that grand, grand heart
beating beneath that bosom divine
might—it’s never too late for love to start—
beat, here, alongside mine!
That swelling breast—
I could gaze upon it without halt
as though I’d turned to a pillar of salt
or a colossus plunked down on the beach.
But the colossus (of poetry, of course) is she—
sailing toward us, but still just out of reach.
    (In the stiff wind, Florido’s enormous earmuffs sometimes lift the poet several feet up off the stage and set him down again in the same spot, where, unfazed, he continues reciting his poem.)
Yes, white statue, goddess of alabaster, row,
row! Flee fearsome Fifo Kaster-o.
For how well I know you know,
my dear peerless geographer,
    that fiery is the air
    and sulfurous the dew
you can’t even say Boo.
O kiss of paella,
toothsome heartthrob,
how glad we all are
that you
(as we do)
detest the ubiquitous mob.
Come to us, my steel-willed pigeon!
Come, fly that horrid dungeon!
Row, Gertrudis, seize that gusty wind
that’s giving me so much trouble! (Shoot!
I can’t keep my feet on the pavement!)
Come, for to you we’ve built a monument—
    a bright statue, our kisses mute,
And mumble, mumble, mumble, mumble . . .
    Florido’s words are lost as the wind lifts him up to a tremendous height. When he’s almost at the same height as the clouds, though, his earmuffs, I mean earphones, come off, and they fall straight into Avellaneda’s boat. She snatches them up and uses them for sails. They’re so efficient that the boat skims the water at tremendous speed before the wind.
    A VELLANEDA : (full speed over the waves)
    Anchors aweigh!
    Cut through the spray!
    On through the foam,
    the whitecapped waves!
    Far from home,
    sailing on—
    as we pull on the oars
    we sing out our song!
    Florido falls back onto the stage in K EY W EST and picks up the poem where he left off, not hearing the screaming of the crowd or the yelling of the Organizing Committee, who try to tell him his time is up. Finally, several people pick him up (still reciting) and carry him off the stage.
    Meanwhile, the mayor of Hialeah is addressing the crowd, suggesting that they should take Florido’s words literally and erect a monument to Avellaneda in Key West Harbor, where they are all standing, awaiting her arrival. At the mayor’s words, an

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