The days pass and everything will return to how it was. Yoani is still on crutches and Orlando refuses to see a doctor, yet the streets are again looking like the streets of my city. The Havana of secret fears, the poor whom nobody wants to see, repressing and corrupting police, feline Security, people without Faith, decadent art.
Once again, the minutes of freedom are counted in the hour and a half showing of Chaplin during the Polish cinema series. My friend comes to me again to ask for the updated version of Voces Cubanas. People talk about the economic situation and they argue, with a sidelong glance, about the failed policy of the government.
I take the bus and see the children of the Interior Ministry, I don’t think they’re even 18 yet, with the same apathetic faces as everyone else. I can’t help wondering to what extent they share the irrationality of the parents. I smile every time the protagonists of small scale social indiscipline (on the P4 bus we are the majority by far), give the driver our fares rather than throwing the money in the farebox, a slap in the face to all those televisions commercials that say we don’t have to give the poor driver anything: Everything is for Papa State, Lord Absolute.
I sit back again and look at the people around me. Tired and sweaty returning to their homes, some boys in front of me explain how to connect computers to the web, I remember it in case I need it some day: divide the cable, then join the first one with the sixth and the second with the fourth. I imagine them saving some citizens from undocumented kidnappers who say they are the supreme power. Something tells me that not too much is lacking for us to get to this point, where citizen solidarity will flourish on this little island.
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.