Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Havana hurricane journal pages

Havana hurricane journal pages

yo soñe la Habana
con una nueva cara
toda pintadita
como una novia
saliendo con su primer pretendiente
radiante con una esperanza
de gran amor

I dreamed Havana
with a new face
all made up
like a sweetheart
going out on her first date
radiant with hope
for a grand love

Sunday 7 September

All last night and all day today the television continues to broadcast all the civil defense plans to save lives first and then secure material holdings such as foodstuffs, hospitals, homes, schools, workplaces etc. There will be no work or school until the danger is passed.

Hurricane Ike is threatening to hit Guantanamo first and then it looks as though it will sweep across the entire island until it crosses us and goes back out into the gulf or heads towards the Atlantic. It's predicted to hit areas than no hurricanes have ever touched on the island and places that haven't seen a hurricane since long before the triumph of the Revolution in 1959, and unfortunately it will most probably hit places like Pinar del Rio and La Isla de la Juventud that were just devastated only 8 or so days ago. Places like Granma, Holguin, and Las Tunas that are not used to these threats are fastening down their cities and getting ready for what will be unleashed.

Everyone here is battening down the hatches too, we brought in the stove from the outside kitchen and put it into the tiny indoor kitchen. We bought some food, we were low since we haven't been here for two months, and other provisions like candles and have filled up lots of plastic bottles with fresh drinking water. People all over the neighborhood are cutting down branches, nailing and tying down anything that could fly into windows or doors or cause major damage. People are putting X's of tape over their windows, buying candles, food and preparing for the worst. People seem very calm but definitely determined to not be caught off guard. The neighborhood CDR (Committee in Defense of the Revolution) has organized who will stay inside and guard the grammar school on the corner and workers of the different markets in the area have secured their work places.

I thought Angel was going to bring the dogs inside but he says they have their secure area in the outdoor kitchen. My god daughter who is here from California, and who's never been in a hurricane says that when she gets back home she is going to tell her spoiled dog Pepsi, the next time he does something naughty like pee in the house, that he should be glad he wasn't born in Cuba where dogs don't even get to come in during a natural disaster! To which I thought yes, here most people do not have the luxury to treat their dogs like people and at the same time I feel worried for Johnny and Casey our dachshund and stafford but I am sure if the storm gets too bad Angel will let them inside...

I want Gavilan to get here safely he is supposed to arrive tomorrow and the way things are looking he will be stuck in Mexico, and who knows for how long. He is coming with Charley so they can keep each other company until this storm blows over.

8 September

Getting ready for the passing of Hurricane Ike. It's passed Guantanamo, Santiago, Holguin, Las Tunas, Granma, Camnaguey and it's headed towards Sancti Espiritu, and Santa Clara before heading here...

According to the news bulletins it should be hitting Havana anytime in the early eveing. Gavilan's plane takes off from SFO tonight and he's scheduled to arrive in the p.m. tomorrow but that looks impossible now, I just hope that the damage here is mild compared to other places so that he will not get stuck for too many days in Mexico. I just want him to call so that he can call mom and let her know we are okay here...

We are in official hurricane alert - the highest. I already mentioned the things we did to get prepared... the winds and water have already begun. Next the electricity will go and hopefully the gas won't be shut off but we brought in the small propane tank and have a hose to hook the stove up to it-just in case. I'm going to make tea even though it is hotter than heck in here.

My nerves are jangly.

9 September

consuming darkness
pierced by howling..winds blind birds
lashing night with rain

fierce machete winds
lashing dark green the drenched streets
deep quiet howling

modern noises cut
void of electricity
buzzing bees broken


All night the wind whipped the dark green canopy of trees on streets drowned by the hurricane droning past with its blades of sharpened wind. Sleep was illusive and fear gripped me deep in my guts low enough to seem non-existent, but there all the same, like when one has to be up early so as not to miss an important event or a flight, there is anxiety while at the same time one has to act against the preoccupation or the fear of that thing happening that is undesirable. I slept but it was not a worthy sleep.

The windows seemed they would rattle out of their frames and the streets filled with murky waters coming in ropes, too fast to be drunk by the street's drainage system.

I am worried about my son.

Iyawo Ibis called this a.m., the phone is still working, we talked to Orbelito for about 20 minutes which is incredible for a child that is not even three years old yet and he got very angry when his grandmother tried to take the phone from him. He was talking about a crocodile, Nemo, spaghetti, batman etc. He is talking like crazy and even says, "oye" and "coño", words he hears from the adults no doubt. When he said "oye!" to me I said, "Love, my name is madrina, not "oye". So then he said "madrina" and kept jabbering away, very everyday in the middle of this disaster. They still have electricity over in their neighborhood and Ibis gave us more details on the sad news about Celia and Abel Hart Santa Maria's fatal car accident on Sunday night. What a terrible tragedy and loss two young people with a lot to offer this country. How strange - I was supposed to finish a translation of one of her articles that Walter gave me before I left Mexico, now it will have to wait until this is over and I can get to a working computer.

Ibis also tells us that Ike is going to pass Pinar Del Rio at around 11 a.m. so the heaviest rains and winds should hit us then...

Hawk was to have arrived today, I just hope he calls.

Angel has made some coffee, I can smell it brewing in there, I should get out of this bed. I was listening to an audio book, "Killing Che" and it makes me hate the cia - even more than I already did - if that is possible...
10 September

Wet, windy, still no electricity. Talked to Walter about the death of Celia Hart and her brother it happened on Sunday night. A State funeral was held in their honor on Monday, so sad. Walter says to go over to JR to work if I want. I still have Celia's article to finish. Apparently Arlene performed the official eulogy since she studied with both of them. Both Celia and Abel leave children. I remember when I was little I always thought that mothers couldn't die when their children were young, of course at the time I didn't know that my own grandmother died when dad was only 5 and her other three children were 10, 8 and 7! Death is inevitable but its affects ripple out hard and long in some cases.

Doesn't look like they will open the airport today.

bright clothes on wash ropes
strung from battered balconies

hoping for no rain

troubled waters churn

agitated sky kicking

up a new windstorm

new rains drown the crops

weakened by the savage winds

that thin  the peoples  hope

reportando de la isla de las posibilidades

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