MERCEDES WEBB-PULLMAN : Seeking the Real Fidel
poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:037

#1 For Me All Nights are Stormy
#2 First Love, First Loss
#3 Slowly I Learn about War
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#1 For Me All Nights are Stormy
I will never be acknowledged by the Angel who is my father; I take my servant mother's name and the shame of illegitimacy. While I still swim inside her my mother knows 13, she knows I am the son of Aggayu so Santeria priests shave her head in April sacrifice sheep, two cocks a tortoise for Chango and initiate me still in her womb. Between two hurricanes turning nearby while gales and floods tear up the orange groves and turn the sky red; with all the windows of the house on stilts in the middle of cane fields rattling on August 13 1926 at 2 am I am born. At dawn around the tamarind tree spanning the farmyard near Biran flattened sugar cane, sheep and cows, even people float, no longer alive but the new bastard thrives.

poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:037

All the fine arts are species of poetry--Samuel Taylor Coleridge

poetry repairs your heart
even as it splits it open.
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#2 First Love, First Loss
Spoiled child, once out of the iron crib prison 'Watch your brother' I start taking care of Raul in the barn between house stilts if it rains, or the infinite monochrome green acres of sugar cane, between summer gales and mudslides, under sun. Home is syrupy plantains frying with bacon, holy cards and the smell of good cigars over all the pine walls, footsteps beating like hearts on pine floors barefoot servants singing Mexican folk songs as they work. My mother, a servant, has servants. At nine years old the little bastard can't be baptized the Church won't take me without a god father. I'm already top of the village school and learning sweet body language from my mother's maid, commanded by her lips, her tongue, her hands they feel so much better than my own hands and I taste the sweet and salt of a woman's body I understand later that my father has her too and my mother finds out; there can't be secrets in a house of echoes. Soon she vanishes like cane into the mills mechanically, and though I look for her in every brothel I visit for the rest of my life, I never see her again.

poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:037

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#3  Slowly I Learn about War
Poor little bastard, permanently shut out of my father's world of bourgeoisie; ignorant land owners superior to me in every way because my parents aren't married, not allowed to take communion because I haven't been baptised. My classmates call me Jew. I'm always fighting now, rebellious and arrogant,. I fight my way to expulsion first year of high school at Our Lady of Dolores in Santiago the year my father divorces his first wife but doesn't marry my mother; I still can't be received into the church. At school I learn conviction and character never fight to lose and don't let them up when they're beaten but the Brothers move me on when I almost scalp a classmate and send me to Havana, Belen School, still instructed by Jesuits, all Spanish priests. I swim, play ball, shoot hoops, win a special sports medal, become a polished and inveterate liar but I do save a teacher from drowning. I break my nose when I ride a bicycle downhill at a wall for a dare and wear a bandage for weeks. It never heals properly. The second world war happening somewhere else is good for me, in Cuba, growing safely on the outskirts of the world.

poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:037

Poetry endangers the established order
of the soul - Plato

REPAIR: resort, frequent or habitual going; concourse or confluence of people at or in a place; making one's way; to go, betake oneself, to arrive; return to a place; to dwell; to recover, heal, or cure; to renew; to fix to original condition.
-- Oxford English Dictionary


Seeking the Real Fidel : #1 For Me All Nights are Stormy
by : #2 First Love, First Loss
MERCEDES WEBB-PULLMAN : #3 Slowly I Learn about War

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