Dogs on the Roof

Dmitri Prieto

When I go down the street and look up, what I see are dogs…

…dogs barking at me.

I’m an ordinary Cuban. I live in Santa Cruz del Norte. It used to be part of Havana Province, but now I’m a Mayabecoño, as Mayabeque is the name of the new province that they created for us “from above.”

Like I said, I’m an ordinary Cuban. I don’t ride around on horseback like Don Quijote, and Sancho doesn’t ride with me.

But dogs bark at me. It’s not the case of “they bark because we ride.” I walk. I’m not a journeying chevalier.

They at bark from above. In Santa Cruz people let their dogs out on the roofs of their houses.

The dog barks. They warn the family if there’s anything suspect.

Or they simply bark because they feel like it.

They bark from above.

I say “dog,” but it can be a male or a female. “Dogs are man’s best friends” – women’s too.

Or, “Dogs are women’s and men’s best friends,” – putting women first (though this could be suspected as being either disguised patriarchy or chivalry).

I’m not a journeying chevalier. But the dogs bark, though I don’t ride on horseback. They even bark when I go out with my girlfriend. They bark from above.

(“Dmitri has a girlfriend!” some readers of Havana Times will say – “We didn’t know that!”)

What do they care, I say, when the dogs bark?

The dogs bark from above.

Up to now I haven’t seen any of them jump on anybody, leaping from the roof to the sidewalk.  If I’d have seen that, I’d be afraid of those dogs barking from above. But I never have.

So, the saying can be fully applied: the dog that barks doesn’t bite.

They say that they’re afraid of heights.

The heights that separate up from down.

Dogs only go up, they don’t come down. To make a dog come down off the roof would require force.

Perhaps a cat would jump.

Cats are anarchist: they move in all directions.

And they don’t bark.

Dimitri Prieto-Samsonov

Dmitri Prieto-Samsonov: I define myself as being either Cuban-Russian or Russian-Cuban, indiscriminately. I was born in Moscow in 1972 of a Russian mother and a Cuban father. I lived in the USSR until I was 13, although I was already familiar with Cuba-- where we would take our vacation almost every year. I currently live on the fifth floor of an apartment building in Santa Cruz del Norte, near the sea. I’ve studied biochemistry and law in Havana and anthropology in London. I’ve written about molecular biology, philosophy and anarchism, although I enjoy reading more than writing. I am currently teaching in the Agrarian University of Havana. I believe in God and in the possibility of a free society. Together with other people, that’s what we’re into: breaking down walls and routines.

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