I finished rereading “I’m afraid of a bullfighter” one of these nights with the crackling bolero sweat on the crotch of my misunderstood loneliness and now I go around the world talking like this in this baroque psycheptic, so much his, and wanting madly to help commit some assassination . In Pedro Lemebel’s novel, a queer dazzled by one of the bearded members of the Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front finds herself involved as one more collaborator in the preparations for the attack that in 1986 could end “the pig” and change history. It could not. Those who wanted to kill Pinochet said that When the town is attacked with bullets, the town cannot reply with slogans. And the Loca from the front used to say: “When they make a revolution that includes the crazy women, let me know, I’ll be in the front row there.” And they were all right.
I remembered that a year before he died, Pedro gave me an interview in which he spoke of things that are also behind this book now beautifully republished in Spain by Las Afueras, in which Lemebel wanted to “cross the left with homosexuality”, such as in other essential works, The kiss of spider women, the novel by Puig, or in the film by Gutiérrez Alea, Strawberry and Chocolate. I did not think he was going to publish the interview, and at other times he had been duped by journalists, so he forced me to ask my editor to send him an email assuring him that I would publish the interview that Sunday, and I did. When I sent him the link he told me, “The interview we did was very nice, my friend, it shows that you are a poet more than a stinky journalist” and added: “Don’t be arrogant either, chronic wolf …”. So here I am, remembering it in my daffodil candor.
He had just lost his voice in a laryngectomy and won the José Donoso award. When asked what she was going to do with the money, Lemebel said she would put on boobs, four. I asked him if it seemed symbolic to him that they gave him an award called José Donoso, who lived his own homosexuality in painful silence, and he replied: “I don’t know if Donoso lived his homosexuality in a ‘painful silence’ or if it was just closet comfort” .
I remember that I asked him to recreate for me how he would tell Mistral and Donoso that they had given him that award: “I am not going to fictionalize encounters,” he answered emphatically, “Donoso was a gentleman float of the bourgeoisie who did not have much in common with my things. He never gave much opinion about homosexuality and he did not speak out during the dictatorship either, he was quite shy and careful. Gabriela went away to live her lesbianism, she was also a foreigner in the cathedral of the Chilean lyrical prostate. This country was unfair to her. ” . When Lemebel was asked if he read Sepúlveda or Bolaño, he used to answer that literature was a company dominated by men’s writings and that he preferred to read writers like Diamela Eltit.
Pedro always defended the communist cause, but not that of macho Marxists who rejected him, those bullfighters who fear the bull. How do we build a new left that includes us as La Loca from the front wanted? And he: “Fighting, creating power to copulate …?” And what do you think of Marxist men? “Too simple, the crazy proletarians are more sophisticated in our misery. We create paper worlds and fantasies out of litmus threads.” The crazy woman in front is the crazy proletarian who sings boleros between tear gas canisters, like that of Sarita Montiel, to save her life.
I also wanted to know what had been the worst of all those years of repression and violence of the dictatorship that brilliantly tells I’m scared bullfighter and what the best of the years after NO. Pedro, who did not get to see the great social outbreak, told me: “The worst thing was the lack of truth and justice in the systematic violation of human rights by the State, although the politicians of the business right justify everything with the boom economically, the best thing without a doubt is to be able to breathe a little freedom in this neoliberal democracy despite the constitutional ties left by the tyrant. ” And the Chilean people are today at the end of killing Pinochet by killing his constitution. I wish I could have seen it.
Pedro put his body like few others and assumed with dignity to be an island: nobody wrote like him, nobody lived like him. When the authoritarian temptation returns, when machismo, racism and homophobia squeeze even in the supposed liberation movements, we must return to Lemebel and the last thing he said to me: “Pinochet was a plague of cruelty and horror, but not he was alone, part of civil society accompanied him. With wounded memory, it is difficult to dream a country again, “he declared,” but one dreams. ” I’m scared bullfighter speaks of that wound and that dream of a world that includes us all.