Reina Luisa Tamayo and her daughter. Photo by: Claudio Fuentes Madan
There are things I've thrown in the trunk of the "incomprehensible." I would say I won, they defeated me, I couldn’t bear it, they beat me. I refuse to exhaust my brain one more instant in trying to find some logic, some, even minimal, sense. In the package – I confess that there are several, too many – is the return of Fidel Castro, the “measures” of Raul Castro, the signers of the open letters from UNEAC – the Cuban Artists and Writers Union – the special session of the National Assembly, the gossip with Elian Gonzalez, the mind of Randy Alonso, the dead of Mazorra, the permission to leave or travel permit, the ideological “utility” of the Roundtable, the ethics of Orlando Zapata Tamayo’s doctor, the shame of those who today wear the olive-green uniform, or the morality of the Party militants. The list, I swear to you, could become extremely long.
There are, however, other kinds of rebel events that also fall into the sack, that I can’t understand either – including some I understand even less – but I can’t stop coming back to them over and over, analyzing them, dismembering them. They haunt me, they rob me of my sleep. I feel that they shouldn’t exist, or more to the point, that they CAN’T exist. My rationality tells me that they are impossible, my brain screams at me with desperation that people who are paid to beat a mother, to prevent her from visiting her son’s grave at the cemetery, or putting flowers on it to pay tribute to her dead son, these people can’t exist.
I fall back on science, I want to analyze it like a reality show: I want to know what each one of the repressors (actors and directors) of Reina Luisa Tamayo do when they get home. Put a pot of beans on the stove? Open the windows as night falls? Hug and kiss their children before bedtime? Sleep the sleep of the innocent or do nightmares haunt their dawns? Laugh out loud? Look in the mirror and see… what? Enjoy the rain? Chat with their neighbors? I can’t help it, my mind makes its calculations and finds them to be unreasonable: At best, they don’t breath oxygen, or perhaps they are not mammals, it declares. Then I protest: NO! I already told you, they are human, human like everyone else! But the other me, impartial, is unmoved: They must be another species, they must be another species.
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.