Since the beginning of the year the same conversation as emerged at different times and among dissimilar people: What does the fututo [conch] say about us? The question seems unanswerable, but in less than a week those who sneer at my misgivings have delivered into my hands some phrases copied from the unofficial Letter of the Year (this is going to get VERY UGLY, even though it seems that the horizon of horrendous has not been reached), from the astrological chart of Fidel Castro (it appears that this could be the year), the astrological chart of Raúl Castro (it appears he won’t survive his brother), the astrological chart of Hugo Chávez (it appears he won’t make it past December), and the astrological chart of Cuba (apparently with pathetic karma).
I try to put aside this obsessive scrutiny in the morning, and concentrate on the readers rather than the readings. I wonder why everyone—from different cultures, different beliefs and different sources of divination—is enthralled with the analysis of CHANGE NOW. Why these “times of instability” are interpreted as “disobedience in the earth” or “falling to pieces in the heavens”? Why is it that Saturn moving easily and without difficulty through the middle heavens can’t be anything but “the journey of no return”?
I have heard the same idiocy repeated by the most neophyte, the most atheistic, the most skeptical and even by the most Marxist. I can’t deny that trying to understand the stars sharpens my neurons and that to read what the voices from the other side say gives me the creeps. However, what makes me smile—and brings back my quiet rationality—is that so many visions about the same reality also express the desire, the faith, the hope in another Cuba not so far away, not so hard, not so sad.
Note: If any reader has the complete unofficial “Letter of the Year”, please send it to me at my email address. I have talked so much about it that I’m dying to read the whole thing.
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.