It’s worth it to exercise, not smoke, not drink, not worry too much about the things of life and not obsess about tomorrow. Although I don’t comply with any of these premises, I have a recipe – not all that healthy for the body but extremely so for the head – which has saved me time and again: I will not be brainwashed, I prefer to yearn for the truth, rather than to live sleeping with the lie.
Memory is treacherous and I can’t remember the exact moment when, probably in front of the television, I said, “These gentleman, it’s a fact, they’re lying to me.” On the other hand, and completely against my will, I have stuck in my mind like hieroglyphics the numerous communications I read when I was an exemplary pioneer, the posters I pasted, “I did vote for ALL,” even the tears I cried for that stranger Che assassinated – according to my elementary school studies – so I could be happy.
After these strange evocations about myself – another unknown me and luckily quite small – I have a black hole the size of the universe and my next scene is quite antagonistic with respect to the previous chapter, a perfect example of the mishmash of images of a traumatic memory:
I am in the hallway at the technical school where I studied, talking to a group of professors and there is the president of FEEM, the Federation of Secondary School Students. The conversation is tense, but the character is affable, she says to me:
“I think things can improve, in meetings I say what I think, I try to do what I can.”
“You will be like that, but it seems to me that to be in the Youth is, for the most part, pure opportunism.”
I would like to know what happened exactly, in the middle. What I read, what I lived, what I saw? I try and try but I can’t remember. Maybe I will never manage to see anything, but I learned something: we are what we think, we cannot allow ourselves the luxury of forgetting.
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.