MERCEDES WEBB-PULLMAN : Seeking the Real Fidel
poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:038
#4 The First One is the Hardest
#5 The Cuban Revolution Begins in Bogota
#6 Women Have Been Good to Me
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#4 The First One is the Hardest
Inferior, illegitimate, mother a servant in my father's legal wife's home. My heart burns for my family, snubbed and humiliated, second class citizens. Suddenly I learn about class. Refused entry to clubs where men of power gather, an outsider, my only weapons my mind and the American Army issue Colt 45 revolver my father gives me; city life, university in Havana. I read and learn, study law, realize there are revolutionaries all over the city how do I get noticed as a player? I shoot someone in the belly. Seventeen. The first one is the hardest I think. The victim's gang threatens retribution. I confront my executioners unarmed. They admire my balls. Still it takes years of hanging around on the outside ready to do anything for the cause; I'm living on a sand bar eaten by mosquitoes, huddled before a bonfire each night for two months, training to be ready before I realize I already am the Revolution.

poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:038

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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#5 The Cuban Revolution Begins in Bogota
Afterwards, at night, I remember how brains can fly, and coagulate on clothes, and how surprisingly far they can spatter. Some nights I don't kill Gaitan, I just happen to be part of a Cuban student delegation in Bogota caught up in the horror of Bogotazo. I don't shoot the priests in the bell tower, I don't wander through the carnage, armed with a Mauser. These are the sounds of a revolution – gunfire and screams, sirens and breaking glass. Shells. The smell – fire; the world burning as it breaks apart. Trapped clouds glow red from the flames. They need a leader I think. They need a reason. They need to be controlled. That night rain falls cold on the city and on rebels crouched like beggars on the Monserrat mountainside. I talk it over with Alfredo on the flight home, sitting as far from the shit as we can. Out-of-control crowds are a revolution's worst enemy. What else did you learn Fidel? Use the army. I remember always that feeling, euphoric, totally alive, blood pumping strong and sure energized like never before not even with a woman.

poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:038

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#6 Women Have Been Good to Me
My mother stops checking my pinga when pubic hair sprouts, though she asks about my balls once; whether Batista's men castrate me when they capture me after Moncado Barracks, to turn me into what they claim I am– a eunuch. Always this focus on my masculinity. Are you circumcised? they ask Is that why they called you Jew? My first act of sex is with my country. She sticks her tongue into my mouth, then sucks my parts into hers. I rub against her for years before my milk comes, find the pulse of her vulva, insert my fingers into every cranny and crevice without shame though I know it for a dirty game. Sex and illegality. I steal from my brother, for brothels, aged eleven. There are many women. My children have many mothers. I remember where I first read Lenin but I forget a lot of the women – not Maria, who had my first son, not Mirta, never Mirta the one I fall in love with, our American honeymoon, my second son. Mirta –the orange scent of your hair, your sweet orchid skin still wakes me in the night, then the leaden emptiness when you're not there in my arms head under my chin, against my chest. I left you for the Revolution. Not Naty, who has my daughter, who after my release from the Isle of Pines two years abstinent by choice, submitted perfectly passively to me, in that apartment near El Vedado where the afternoon sun and the smell of our sex drugged us both into oblivion, and I woke each time rampant. I am the leader, I leap from the trenches first. I am the Revolution, bursting forth in my attack on the heavens.

poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:038

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


#4 The First One is the Hardest
#5 The Cuban Revolution Begins in Bogota
#6 Women Have Been Good to Me

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