I turned sixty on Sunday
It’s a round figure, or should I say rotund.
as solid as a rock.
In reality I feel like I’ve come to a new dwelling place,
where even that true romanticism of the fifties
gets diluted with something so well-aimed, so right on target,
to be like a stone headed straight to the head.
I ignore why,
but this morning I awoke a bit sad,
and it has nothing to do with asking myself if my life has been good or bad,
nor if I ended up a failure or a loser (the two things are by no means the same)
or if I’ve lost or gained anything with the time:
these are trifles
even more ho-hum than the occurrence of the birthday, itself.
Several significant lovers thought about me
and I received congratulations from a scant few friends,
who range from extremely laudable to quite in dubious character
depending on which shelf that day’s librarian has relegated them.
My few living relatives have grown, frankly, quite tedious,
but I know some of them will have thought of me
because they belong to those generations that still keep track
of birthdays and anniversaries of tragic events, without the aid
of some sort of modern appointment book.
In the end, they do much more than I.
I’ve thought a lot about my mother; the number of years would have surprised her,
Probably being an inconceivable dream to her.
Other souls have come by as well, just as if showing up at a party
and receiving the enthusiastic greeting reserved for a kindred spirit.
They take me to a far-away steakhouse, to dine on meat and passionfruit drink,
and heart of fowl which I dared not taste because hearts
bring out either pity or disgust in me.
But it’s all right, Ma: I’m not even bleeding.
I arrive just in time for the inauguration of a new kind of social service
that grants a special rate of merely one euro
to go to the movies one day a week.
What more can I ask for? Now I’ll immerse myself once more
in the aromas of the movie theater, in those red, cushioned seats,
with my bag of pop corn and a cold Coke,
like those times when I was as tall as Peter Pan, flying next to him
across the starry sky of Varadero, from Kawama to Oasis,
and then from Oasis to Kawama, back and forth continually,
until I turned sixty.
© 2010 David Lago-Gonzalez
© Kurt Findensein, translation