When you are immersed in the voice of Celia Cruz, when you listen to the texture in her voice, her sound-her timbre- you are listening to the movement of Cuban landscapes. How the people align, dance, live, love, and explore these salacious auras of Cuban waters. How this nation is its own particular painting in the realm of Earth’s shaping. The perfumes arise and we find ourselves smelling the colors of Cuba. Once they are tasted, captured, and collected, they can never leave our memory’s psyche. Even if one has left, even if one must leave, they can never be forgotten. It never escapes you, even when migrating to other lands. There is no separation because the nation of your passport changes.
What does it mean to leave a poetic love letter to an Earthly spacing, whose soiling runs in your very veins? How would that letter sound? What would be its overall sensory and allure? And, if that person was standing on a rock or hard area, floating away, while reading this poem to their cultural soiling, how would one envision this tale? The waters steadily carrying them from that one point of the Earth, where their childhood lays. Dancing them away to the very beat of that poetry and music, which rooted them in particular lands. Reading this love letter and saying it as it may/may not be the last time that one sees this land again. Conveying every word, truth, and elegance, and proclaiming it in such a way that the land engages in subtle vibrations of delight. You speak this letter as intently as ever, gracing it repetitiously until you are satisfied, and know, this particular soiling of your cultural and familial lineage, never forgets your name! Never forgets your presence!
There is one lyrical love letter which personifies this very painting. That letter is none other than the song, Por si acaso no regreso, by the Queen Of Salsa, Celia Cruz! Like the waters surrounding Cuban landscapes, the rhythms of this song sculpts Cuban lands, enduringly. Coating lyrical honey into the mental psyche of listeners. Making sure they are fully immersed in the designs of Cuban patterns. Knowing that Celia, and those like her-those who have migrated-have laid their words in Cuba’s womb.
Por si acaso no regreso Yo me llevo tu bandera Lamentando que mis ojos Liberada no te vieran
Porque tuve que marcharme Todos pueden comprender Yo pense que en cualquer momento A tu suelo iba a volver
In case I don’t return I take your flag regretting that my eyes do not see you free because I had to leave everyone can understand I thought that in no time I would return to your land
There is a holistic wellness occurring when one is honest about the sensory of migration. The sorrows of leaving; desires of return. When people speak on this narrative, it is often in the form of economic and political turmoil. Yet, rarely do people examine the spiritual essence of having to leave. The brokenness in knowing that one has to venture elsewhere to find foundation in cultural identity. Spacing that cannot truly replicate the original beat of one’s birth soiling. Its that experiencing of spiritual removal, that can make the migration experience all that more agonizing.
When Celia Cruz conveys of that “regretting that my eyes do not see you free,” there is a removal in the tranquility of vision. Going back to that moment of being swayed away from the water’s of cultural beat, one’s eyes become even more awakened and widened when leaving. Expansions of sight takes place, in order to ensure the mind is able to capture the colors, styles, patterns, and full tapestry of the vegetation that birthed us. Not simply a space, where we were born on with no connection of having one’s culture toiled in the soiling, but that land, that area, which birthed our aesthetics, existence, and lineage.
Timing clearly plays a role in this particular versing. Time is moving, and with time, we are always looking for hope. In fact, we suspect that hope and time are synonymous. However, they do not always fruition into that desired reality, at a particular timing. And yet, by some miracle, hope stays alive. Even when timing, states that hope is a lie, it never dies. A miracle! I guess we can say that one of the tricks of hope is that it manifest itself during the, right time. The wise clearly have this figured out! That a miracle may not happen in their time. However, it must happen. It is meant to happen. And so, the song continues. It continues to be sung. There is an allure in making sure that it does because that is how hope continues to live on. Celia Cruz greatly conveys it within the context, within the very sculpting of this song. This is foretold in later parts of the song.
Pero el tiempo va pasando Y tu sol sigue llorando Las cadenas siguen atando Pero yo sigo esperando y al cielo rezando Y siempre me senti dichosa De haber nacido entre tus brazos y anunque Ya no este de mi corazon te dejo un pedazo Por si acaso , por si acaso no regreso
But time is passing by and your sun continues to cry the chains continue to bind but I continue waiting and praying to the sky and I always felt fortunate to have been born within your arms and although I’m not there anymore I leave you with a piece of my heart just in case just in case I don’t return
There is longing. There is a sensory where the singer, and others like her, are feeling the landscapes of Cuba’s paradise. The vegetation that they made sure their eyes laid to capture. Stuffing the memory with visual nourishment, and the euphoria of a mental return-even when a physical one is distant, or may never happen. The sun’s kisses are radiant. They are abundant and can still be felt from afar. This is the timing of the mind. It moves in circular patterns, and with one stroke of the sun’s rays, the departed ones can feel traces of Cuba’s sun.
As we examine the current times, the nation of Cuba has taken another center on the world stage. Its contribution to healthcare, and its ability to assists in the healing of nations. Combating the COVID-19 devastation, of what was done in Italy. For Cuba to be seen as healer is a miraculous wonder! Its illumination is painting brighter, within these given times. It is coming to be part of that arena of re-birth. A reminder to her children, who carry her genetic soiling-never birthed from her presence-that she is always there for their return. Even if it is simply to taste her for a limited time, before having to depart from her again. She is standing there, surrounded by the waters, and their ongoing fruition, for her delight.
Por si acaso no regreso remains an iconic love letter of the reigning Queen of Salsa-Celia Cruz! That letter remains as relevant as it does today. In the year of her transition, it sang out even more. As the waters continue to preserve and nourish this island, there is a euphoria for Cuba’s current name. The voice of Celia rings out evermore, and Cuban spacing is laid out in its own quilting of healing. Re-affirming to the world, that it is a garden, which specializes in the artistry of healing. Continuing to build upon that reputation in these current times. Dancing the rewards in even the most difficult of circumstances. Painting the Cuban sun with brighter coloring. Making sure that it is glowing to distant lands. A vigilant sign for the departed, that a jubilant return is still possible! It always was! You just had to keep dancing hope into current, and present, songs.