When talking about his birth, Arturo Lucía liked to recall the story of Catalina de Erauso, the lieutenant nun, a girl born in Spain in the XVIIth century. She chose the convent instead of marrying, and escaped later the convent imprisonment dressed as a male soldier. She embarked to the Americas and became a conquistador and a thief, and was only unmasked when she was sentenced to death. At that point she had already killed several men, including her brother, and in spite of her crimes, her life was pardoned when she admitted she was a transvestite.
Caught in a network of contradictions between emancipation and alienation, the lieutenant nun character stands in the frontiers or the cracks of ethics. Fiction is a privileged space to get close to the hidden aspects of human behaviour, to approach, to carnivalize politics and moral. As a counterexample, Arturo Lucía is an exploration about liberty, an anti-hero, a criminal. As a fiction character, Arturo Lucía is a space of expansion, a way of abandoning one identity assigned from birth, an alter ego, a transvestite writer — a woman in disguise. A space to speculate about and around violence, giving away a moral position, in an attempt to re-draw or displace the lines of social behaviour and representation.
THE HOUSE OF PAINTINGS
We are now in the house of paintings.
The echoes of macaws singing resound in the lodges.
Flowers lose their leaves and the songs suffice.
The song meanders like a stream of water in the sand.
Within the flowers - the macaw sings - the lovely macaw with a red plumage.
Hanging in the walls paintings red and green spawn a limitless landscape.
I wake up from a long dream, coming out from the water´s womb.
The house of paintings gathers every soul
on their returning from the terrene derive.
We are in the house of paintings.
And now - in this house - in the sky´s womb,
I join my mistress - in a terrestrial coil
A weaver, and her fabric threads form an infi nite loom
She points the figures in the canvas, the weaving paintings
jewels weaved on the piece - celestial sparkles weaved of a piece
And her finger wanders beneath the loom strings
cords cross-weaved - treasures growing up from a twist
The assembled gowns softly fall upon the skins
fruitful jewels embrace our limbs
and the gorgeous galaxies designed to last
are the healing fabrics weaved by hand.
And now a story I would like to tell
a story weaved in the cluster of the skies
imbricated convolutions in the paintings in the stars
a young woman drawn upon the skin of the atmosphere
a young woman liberated from the story through the years.
When she was four her parents lock her in a convent.
Her body fl ourishes although she is enclosed.
At fifteen, as a healthy young lady, she stands in the convent yard.
A rebel - fighting all the time.
An old squat nun beats her till unconsciousness,
thus our young lady friend plots in secret her escape.
She decides to steal some fabrics - blue and green
and one spring night, as she steals the main key,
she opens the huge convent door to never come back.
She wonders in the dark, for hours, in hunger,
to land in the woods, a forest of pitch pines and hickories.
There she cuts her long hair and throws it into a river
She buries her dress near a tree and sews a new costume
She puts a pant on and a shirt, and calls herself Arturo.
A woman in disguise, an man dug up.
And later we are over the water.
A caravel is drifting in the sea. The horizon looks bright on the New World coasts.
Arturo is in the ship, embodying a military persona.
As every thief of Spain, she has embarked to the new lands to build a new life.
The sound of bells indicate the arrival - a new beginning - a new chance -
Soon replaced by the swords clinking
And the blood flowing like water.
Arturo´s dagger kills without judgement
she´s known across the continent as a he,
an expert in the art of duels.
In the darkness of a night, she finds herself in front of her own brother.
Before his last breath, in the obsidian black light under no moonlight,
she recognises his voice and realises what she has done.
Arturo Lucía es su nombre.
Sentenced to death she delivers her last confession
To the priest dressed in a black gown she says : I am a woman.
Freed from the hindrances of her life
Spinning the tissues of the three Moirai
Dimness of the dreams, the shadows in the icons
The mirage sources where you presently are
Spaces of the spectres and the diffuse forms
Leading back to the house of the stars
Where the songs and the ritual drums resound
Surrounded by flowers - oblations - and wide open doors
The perfumes of the jasmines and salvias caress us
In this house of flowers with one thousand threads
The echoes of voices sing and confess :
Nous sommes des femmes en hommes travesti
Nous sommes des hommes en femmes costumées
Nous sommes un costume, un homme, une femme
Nous sommes une femme un homme un être
Nous sommes un homme une femme à naître
Je suis une femme je suis un homme je suis à naître.
In that extend Arturo Lucía was not exactly what you would call a man; (s)he was not a woman either; Arturo was a time traveller - (s)he never revealed where (s)he was born or where (s)he was from. Rumours say (s)he disappeared in an airplane crash.
Arturo might not be precisely a human - (s)he was perhaps more of a ghost. Uncanny you might think, and it was indeed; what also marked me about her-him was a surprising aptitude for camouflage. When landing in a new country, even if looking like an alien arriving from mars, for some reason, (s)he was invisible. Not the kind of person to be robbed in a popular mall. Did (s)he have the power of becoming transparent? Arturo was an in-between character who seemed everywhere both familiar and eerie, even if in Western countries people would often comment his "delightful amber-tone skin".
Vampires can only travel by carrying on soil from the Transylvania castle, packed in wood squares, like maternal coffins. Arturo Lucía had rituals that nobody else ever witnessed, alone with her-his native country soil boxes. Arturo carefully opened them to revisit the past, the present and the future. One thing Arturo did regularly was paying attention to the songs of the birds, and looking closely to the phases of the moon. Those climatic influences were so strong, that Arturo Lucía would talk with a different pace, eat a different diet and love a different person - and sometimes enter phases of introverted exile where nobody could really tell in which part of the world he´d appear. And this process was even unknown to her-him, Arturo was a walking amnesia.
In different times of Arturo´s life, money and goods were present or not. People say Arturo Lucía earned money by very personal and perhaps wicked means, and there were times when everything was lost and (s)he could barely eat. Without family, without roots, a wandering spectre, hungry for desire, adventure and bliss.