One of my first impressions from the change of “president” was the vanishing of the vendors – and their products – from around my house. Eggs, clothespins, brushes, mugs, cheese and yogurt all disappeared in this crazy war against the black market with which Raul Castro began his mandate.
Since then, buying something as simple as an egg has become agony, from mile-long lines to bringing them from some remote place in the city. The hawkers fled from my window and I resigned myself to doing without them.
Today at nine in the morning I thought I was dreaming, a woman’s voice was shouting, “Eggs! Eggs!”
I opened my eyes and realized that the sound was not coming from my subconscious. My reality reassembled itself as people once again take on the risk of selling things. I jumped up, shouting,
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.