After several desperate days in the island-sauna, today the sky turned black, flashes of lightening lit up the darkest areas of the city, and, finally, the droplets of this much-delayed rain that we have been waiting for since May, fell.
Even when I was a child I liked very much to “see rain.” My mother told me that every drop, as it fell to the ground, was like a ballerina doing pirouettes. Perhaps it was that metaphor that made rain something almost mystical for me: it washed me, gave me peace, made me think of those things that an ordinary day under the sun doesn’t let me feel.
When July arrives it is so hot that my brain “fries” as if it were a computer hard drive; the power goes out, whether by a sadistic act or terrible chance the “Guiteras” thermoelectric plant, like every summer, has just begun a maintenance phase, adding to the blackouts; the fans stop; and just the smell that announces a downpour is capable of bringing me peace.
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.