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mercredi 2 juillet 2014


It was a balmy evening in La Habana, Cuba. As usual people were milling about, this being a Friday, more than ever. I was slowly walking along La Rampa, away from Yara theatre towards a neo-Mexican restaurant recommended to me. When I got there it turned out to be very popular and there were many people waiting in line.
I carried on walking down the street and before long came across the Barber Poet of La Habana.

 There is a famous photograph by American photographer Walker Evans of a barbershop in La Habana in 1933. Fascinated by that photograph, I never fail to stop by barbershops in countries that I visit, and this barbershop was no exception. But the Barber turned out to be exceptional!
Do you mind if I take a photo of you with your client? I asked
Not at all, chirped in the Barber, and in the typical Cuban fashion, neither did the client.

Then he added here is a pair of scissors, why don't you join us in the picture. We got someone to take a picture the three of us.
With an elegant move of his hands, he presented me with his card. I love writing poetry, he said, most of which I dedicate to my wife, whom I adore. He had a large portrait of a plump lady on the sill in front of the large mirror that reflected him and his clients. And of course, I adore our national hero, Jose Marti. Permit me to recite the poem I have written in honour of our illustrious hero, and began reciting a poem, with scissors in hand, while the client looked on with amusement, patiently. A small crowd had gathered, mainly young revellers, waiting to get into a Pizzeria near by and all of us enjoyed this Barber Poet of La Habana.
Miguel Barnet once called me the Last Romantic, he continued. 
Miguel Barnet is a leading intellectual of Cuba, historian and ethnologist and director of the museum of Fernando Ortiz; I had met him on several occasions
Coming back to more mundane things, I made an appointment to have a haircut by the Last Romantic Barber poet of La Habana, Cuba, just a few blocks away from where I stay.
See you soon, Companero!
Yet another famous photo by Walker Evans. I think Fernando Ortiz called it or compared this to  Los Negros Curros?