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Ángel Lozada

Fragments from his upcoming novel
Don't Let Me End Up ALONE and EMPTY

translated by Emily Maguire

Honesty: That despotic virtue.

Self: That performance,
a chaotic pastiche of displacements and clichés,
always changing,
never fixed.

Truth: That, if we look at ourselves clearly,
we are,
all of us human beings,
truly pathetic.

Crazy from craziness, now the street is really all yours without the need for doorways. Stuck in the beginning of the loneliness, this time not blind but completely ready: with bruises and hickies on her back neck and chest. Sucking in her love handles. Tits purple and swollen from the unknown black guy’s biting, and a swelling, white and painful, just under the head of the penis – not herpes, but similar – from masturbating so much when the black guy bit her when he slobbered on her. With a headache, she pees urine that smells like an old man’s a light trembling of the hands from so much redeeming of green tickets at Splash from taking so many poppers when they did it and from not remembering to drink water on arriving home

La Loca finally realizes that the purpose is clear: No! She realizes that there is no purpose at all: that everything happens to you, and you end up as if nothing had happened: She gets off at Times Square her pupils contract on leaving the subway and she has difficulty focusing with so much light that blinds her that doesn’t represent her thousands millions trillions of kilowatts turning on and off stimulating her optic nerves at three in the morning and the green notice that moves to the left under the huge ABC screen nauseates her

As if she were Seven of Nine la Loca in Dunkin Donuts regenerates herself with a glazed cream-filled donut that she enjoys and that releases insulin from her pancreas

The spectacle overwhelms her: She looks at Virgin Records and tries for the first time to find herself reflected next to the add for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast by two gigantic images of Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez: She wants to project herself into The Cell: loca in the cellular fluid with her mind hooked up to a computer, over her face a veil of microchips suspended from the ceiling that connect her to the cybernetic system that integrates her dressed like the Virgin of the Candelaria to save the boy serial killer and she thinks that this image is the only thing she needs the only thing missing that declares her finally to be a citizen and that finally makes her feel honored

Yo La Suprema: I’m the one who gives orders around here! Shifting myself opening my legs in a V-shape facing upward and backward with my arms in the shape of a cross supporting myself on the back of the first bed as if it were the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico over the naked people as if I were Sila Calderón in the Fortress in the nighttime now totally for the people totally beautiful totally triumphant serving the public while I get rich without compromising myself running everything according to my whims. I know the only thing necessary to govern is solidarity with/on TV to appear with the unemployed workers with the victims of domestic violence with the people of Vieques with public school children with old people with the ones who have given up hope offering them my breast to cry on so they can identify with me in all the commercials

To Align oneself with Rubén Berrios. He’s now beyond everything. Inaccessible. Tie myself to some trees on the firing range with the Puerto Rican flag folded in four so the row of marines can take me. I say it again this time in English: Tie myself to one of those trees on the firing range naked in tennis shoes with the Puerto Rican flag folded in four so that after they consume me and take me and declare me independent shouting while I masturbate

Only when you shit blood and water

Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot to say it in English: You only need a good fuck in life. After that you can live off that memory forever

Only NASDAQ survives me (only the emptiness): Only the fractions moving towards the left with the arrows pointing upwards and downwards that she doesn’t understand and to which she has no access that get themselves inside her that support her that mysteriously guide her without even touching her

And Times Square: Between so many policemen people moving buying and tourists taking pictures and black rappers with green bandanas with money symbols on them leaving Virgin Records la Loca tries to focus among so many adds that light up that pass over her that temporarily paint her face with colored lines and flashes tries to see the sky but for some reason she can’t feels herself temporarily redeemed in ecstasy almost almost in Oh

But the memory makes her crazy displaces her from the mystic space and at the same time disconnects her: calling numerous times and no one answers three four five times a day and always the same message: I can’t come to the phone right now, please leave a message, and I will call you right back. And the Demented One remembers them each time her ass stings each time her ass hurts each time she contracts her ass she recalls them only to later meet them in Luchos in Splash in Monsters in Atlantis dancing with other guys and go up to them only to be stopped by a this is my boyfriend

And go back to being a man lost again in my loneliness this time the young Hector Lavoe but without repeating myself and without throwing myself out the window. To be him in Sombras nada más in the tremor in my voice, singing seated: quisiera abrir lentamente mis venas – mi sangre toda perderla a tus pies—para poderte demostrar que más no puedo amar y entonces morir después

Covered in warts to have to go to the hospital take off my pants put on the paper robe lie down in fetal position with my face towards the wall call the dermatologist who comes in with a tank of liquid nitrogen with a stream of almost-frozen gas that burns the warts off. And so they call me back and make me crazy and so I can incorporate another ritual: To touch myself every morning in that space, empty except for hairs and traces of feces, that they sometimes inhabit between the end of the scrotum and the beginning of the anal orifice to reassure myself that I don’t have them

Can you get MTV from kissing? And after having been fucked by so many African Americans, spend my whole life torturing myself waiting for blood test results

NIX kills them: LICE: I pick them off but they invade me bite me make me burn crabs under my armpits eyebrows and eyelashes and I spend ten minutes waiting for the shampoo to take effect as it spreads through my pubic area and kills them for me crabs between my ass and more crabs in the hair below my belly-button and my epidermis deserts me

Alone he/she breaks promises: It’s the beginning of the month and la Loca has a balance in her checking account of negative $365 and five checks have already bounced and she doesn’t get paid until the 31st. Don’t feel bad for her. She bought a CD player and some scuba diving gear for when she goes to Puerto Rico on vacation. Then look in the glasses in the cups in the containers in the jars: look for enough change for a can of beans to fix with some rice for dinner. Who can I go to for a loan of $40 just to get through the week? Then she opens her mailbox and finds an application from MasterCard: Even if you have declared bankruptcy you can still qualify for up to a thousand dollars of unsecured credit and, in tiny lettering that la Loca doesn’t bother to read – 19% APR and la Loca signs the application and mails it off: then she opens her mailbox and finds an approval for a MasterCard with a $500 credit line and, in another envelope, an application for a VISA: Even if you have declared bankruptcy you can still qualify for up to a thousand dollars of unsecured credit and, in teeny tiny lettering that la Loca doesn’t bother to read – 24% APR and la Loca signs the application and mails it off

Alone she repeats herself: She realizes that the goal is to finish herself off or end up intubated. If she wastes away, and doesn’t realize her physicultural objectives or if she gets AIDS or gets terminal cancer or loses a leg or an arm or if after age 50 she can’t seem to pick up any men and has to work so that she can pay them to fuck her, or if she gets Kaposi’s Sarcoma, she will have to take strong steps and finish herself off with one of Dr. Kevorkian’s techniques or with a drug cocktail in the tranquility of her apartment – not Pepita’s apartment in Georgetown but her own in Washington Heights- rented after preparing for death and getting herself up to her eyeballs in debt and falling six months behind on the rent and receiving an eviction notice. Or if she wants to suffer and save face for the tax payers she’ll put the teachings of the Tibetan Book of the Dead into practice and get rid of all her possessions so that when the HMO’s finally accept responsibility for her they fill her full of thousands of tubes with medicines and test drugs and nutrients to keep her alive as long as possible so they can bleed her dry (or inject her blood with very expensive drugs) and so the hospitals can use her body to bill Medicare that at the end will have to pay millions of dollars for her. Surrounded by machines while the medical system finally agrees to pay the bills now that la Loca is just a cadaver

To end up evicted, relocated to deep in the Bronx: Without wanting to paint anything. Painting your eyes and describing them with my ears so you don’t see them. Tracing your tits and your calves with varicose veins. To spend the rest of my life describing you in my mind. And not to let anything go with the wind. Not to forget the veins in your penis or your chest either. Raise my head to kiss you under the chin and later draw your face on supermarket bags so I can go to some corner in Soho and sell my work illegally to tourists and rich old ladies

And end my workday by going to a soup kitchen in the Bronx and then fall asleep surrounded by my bags on the 2 /5 line. Not having bathed, dirty and stinking, save seven dollars and go to Krash to try to pick up black guys even if they don’t let me in

I’ll wait until your picture is on the Web so I can put on my gloves and goggles and have cybernetic sex with you until my veins explode. I’ll squeeze your love handles before you go on a diet and go to the gym to make them disappear so you can be attractive to the nazi gringos. Touch my nose now. I’ll suck you and then I’ll touch the roof of your mouth with my tongue, while you finger me. And then, without a condom or any other plastic, you’ll fuck me doggy-style until I come and I wake from the orgasm with an acrid taste in my mouth

I’ll lift weights. Dedicate myself to going to the gym everyday to develop my pecs so that the whole world will see me and feel jealous while I turn myself into a machine. I’ll tone my biceps and rip my stomach so I can take off my shirt every time I go in a bar. I’ll make my entrance chest out so that all the other flabby locas can envy my body. I’ll carefully sculpt every line of my body and then without bothering myself with what’s happening in the world I’ll dedicate myself to drinking health shakes and buying new clothes on 8th Avenue. I’ll be a muscle queen, because that’s what Boricua genetics is good for. I’ll exclude everybody, and only let into my circle the few that have paid the heavy price on the weights. For the first time, I’ll feel like a man and I’ll get a tattoo on my forearm. I’ll get a buzz cut as if I were a Marine. I’ll wear Army green and since I will barely be able to move my overly-developed muscles, I’ll slide like a geisha through the streets of Manhattan with tiny little steps. I’ll remove my back and chest hair so my body is free of unwanted hair. I’ll pluck my eyebrows, and think myself a man in front of all those stupid breeders. I’ll use the tanning machines in the gym and tell the whole world that I tan in Miami when I travel

Plastic Surgery: chin tuck liposuction cheeks love handles thighs and back, remove the hair on my chest butt pelvis with a laser and inflate my lips with collagen

I’ll be Ednita because she makes turns me into a goddess: no voy a llorar – no me tengas lástima – voy a resistir – no verás de mí – ni una sola lágrima – no voy a llorar – no vale la pena – sin mirar atrás voy a terminar con esta condena – no voy a llorar

Don’t feel sorry for la Loca. She may be alone and empty, but she’s happy. She sleeps with machos. She picks them up on the Internet, in Splash Monsters or The Hanger. She lives disconnected from everything because she’s no longer of any use to the market. She can no longer qualify for an American Express card. She can’t buy herself any clothes now, but there will always be some bank willing to give her a line of credit so she can shop. And although she’s spent all the money from her 401K, when she’s old there will always be a church or a community center where she can get breakfast, lunch and dinner

End it, end it all now: I’ll go to Central Park to listen to the Dalai Llama and I’ll spend hours seated in the lotus position take deep breaths mortifying my flesh and remembering everything that they did to me and in an act of almost total surrender I’ll forgive them and I’ll ask them publicly to forgive me for having hated them so much. Afterwards I’ll enter Atlantis inhaling and exhaling deeply, guiding myself by my third eye, I’ll ask for Mirkala and then I’ll get on the microphone and order everyone to practice compassion, detach themselves from the material world and throw themselves into the void

I’ll be Shakira descalza: Estoy aquí queriéndote – ahogándome- entre fotos y cuadernos – entre cosas y recuerdos – que no puedo comprender. – Estoy enloqueciéndome – cambiando un pie por la – cara mía – esta noche por el día – y nada le puedo yo hacer

And if I’m unable to pick up any Colombian guys tonight I’ll pop into Music Box to see if I can pick up some black guy who will make me the only one, and I on my way home after pissing on the subway platform behind a trash can while I wait for the 7 train, with or without a black guy, I’ll meditate seriously and severely on this koan:

[Stop and shout, in front of the trash can, as if I was giving food to Eshu:]

Why did you allow me to be born if not to be absolutely divine?


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