Habana Cuba, April 2013

Friday, 26 April 2013



A man, bare chested, sits in a doorway
watching some trash being
lightly sautéed
in stagnant street-water
It's 11am, and three young men
argue about the outcome
of a dominoes game

They look out from the shade
of a crumbling colonial town house
as our bus splashes to a halt
and even more people board
and the bus driver calls
'Dale! Vamos! Dale!'
and there's an elbow in my back
and a foot where my foot
used to be
Like malangas con mojo
people stew in their own juices
Hands slip and slide on
overhead bars
someone opens a window
and the bus fills with the fumes
of antique cars

La Revolucion Continua!
read the signs on the wall
but the Cubans don't seem to
notice any more
the teenagers on the bus
talk wide-eyed about
Rooney, Ronaldo and Messi
over their cellphone reggaetón
and a man takes courage from a carton of rum
to ask a blonde woman
where you are from?”

This socialist paradise
where tourists pay a premium
to drive around in 'fantasy' cars
gleefully honking their horns
and to stay in luxury hotels
with hot running water
and eat in air-conditioned restaurants
where the dress code is a strict
'sunburnt with sandals'
and where the face of the venerated Saint
is now used to sell shirts and berets
and taxi drivers, like mosquitos
chase white skin through the streets with
an outstretched hand
insistent that their supply
must meet your demand
so they can take home in a day
what a doctor takes in a week
and fill their wife's shelves
with ornamental things
and wear shiny belts
with imperialist flags
and in the end it didn't take
an exploding cigar
the revolution is slumped in the door
like the man with no shirt
who has a free education
but no lust for work

La Revolucion Continua!
read the signs on the wall
but the Cubans don't seem to
care any more
The dictator, once glorious,
has abandoned his state
and the capitalist vultures
circle the gates.


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