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Roberto Polidori, The death of a house (2008)

Roberto Polidori, The death of a house (2008)

?what I am relating is not a story,
But an unsullied history – my history.
I have lived an honorable life,
In a style that the world is losing.

Home, I am home.
More than stone and railing,
More than shade and ground,
More than roof and wall.
I’m all of these. I have a soul.

I feel as if I’m a sick house,
A leper?s house.

Someone needs to come
And shut the window
Of the dining room, that has been left open — The bats came in last night?
Someone needs to come and tidy up and shout. Everything.

I don’t know why there has been
This strange silence for so many days:
A silence without contours, without an edge,
That soaks through me like dull water.

Nobody can say
That I’ve been a silent house;
On the contrary, on many, many occasions
I’ve torn the pale silk of dreams — A nocturnal enveloping cocoon — With my piano resounding in the dead of night?

And people, without knowing it
Are as attached to their houses
As a mollusk to its shell.
And this attachment cannot be broken without
Something dying in the house or the person?

Or in both.
No, I won’t collapse. I’m strong.
Hurricanes have attacked me in vain,
Time has gnawed at my flesh and bone,
And the humidity has opened green ulcers.
With a little whitewash I’ll be on the mend:
With a little whitewash and tenderness.

The home of Alberto de Armas that appears in these photos taken by Robert Polidori, is known by Havana residents as “The Green Tiled House” due to the unusual color of it’s picturesque roof. Located at Calle 2, #318, in Miramar as you come out of the tunnel from the Malec?n sea front drive, the house was built in 1926 according to a design by Cuban engineer and architect Jorge Luis Echarte Mazorra. Following the death of its last owner who never wanted to leave it, the house is now being restored by the Havana Historian’s Office.
January 2010

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