I heard this song for the first time at a party. It would seem there’s no room for this kind of sadness between the rum and the bad dancing, but yes, when we hear, ”Don’t say anything,” we obey immediately: maybe it’s the custom, maybe not.
So they told me in elementary school when I didn’t want to go to the Museum of the Revolution, so they told me in junior high when they took away my right to continue my art studies, in high school when I couldn't adapt and ran screaming through the halls, in technical school when they marked me down for poor political participation… so they tell me at the university when I take tests in history and philosophy.
So my family said when I didn’t understand why they had to be on guard, why they had to belong to the CDR, as did my friend who was with me when we got arrested for taking the night ride, my mother when I didn’t want to sign that the socialist character of the Revolution was immortal (or something like that) in 2003, my boss when I explained I wasn’t going to go on the march, the union when I refused to pay, my cousin at the time of the Gorki thing, my best friend when she found out I had a blog: Don’t say anything, Claudia.
This is an excerpt to a version of the song, Epitaph for Vladimir Visotski by Karsmarski Jacek (Polish dissident songwriter), which includes Ciro Diaz in his latest album, The Blue Slug, that I listened to compulsively for at least two months, especially on the street with my mp3 inherited from a friend who now has an I-pod. (Download the lyrics here) (Download the recording and album cover here) The song (in summary, which runs about ten minutes) is about a desperate artist going through the circles of hell in search of an answer or death, and at the end of his journey there is only loneliness and the weight of the supreme power above himself. So I found myself at times catching the bus across Havana at 12 noon in August under the perennial sunshine and with the distressing feeling of not going anywhere, or arriving too late, or going for pleasure ... I feel that I have already arrived at the eighth enclosure (this is the finale of the song) where there is nothing, and I feel useless and empty, and I look at people without faith who walk along the street and who have so much fear that they no longer know they're afraid, and who have seen so many Roundtables and so many news broadcasts that they no longer know what belongs to reality or just to the TV screen. They cannot discern that they no longer believe, but cannot disbelieve either, and just move along past me not going anywhere.