MERCEDES WEBB-PULLMAN : Seeking the Real Fidel
poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:040
#10 La Sia
#11 Playa Giron in the Bay of Pigs
#12 Missiles in Crisis
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 #10 La Sia
They predate the Revolution in Cuba, lurking in murky depths around Havana, support Machado to overthrow Batista I know because a Cuban-born Communist KGB double agent already operating within the CIA now works for the Revolution as well. Sometimes I know which of my men have been turned during the construction of socialism when we have plenty of nothing and nothing in plenty, except spies. In the fourteen years between Dominica and the Bay of Pigs we all grow up. My little boy has a beard! La Sia - the CIA know me from my first Bolshevik bookshop expeditions, my law at university days, through Bogota to the Bay of Pigs and Kennedy's assassination to Che's death, and all the deaths 'til now. Keeping tabs. They work hot and hard in Miami, support the counter-revolutionaries but we have soldiers they trained, and of course Moscow. La Sia tries to assassinate me six hundred times in 43 years, still counting. They are clueless. When I try to tip them off about Che in the Congo, thinking they can take care of my Argentine problem, they miss all their cues. We all infiltrate each other, CIA, KGB and the Cuban counter-revolutionaries; we play each other like cards. Nixon takes over the CIA, they blow up my munitions but still leak me information when it suits. When news stops flowing I know invasion is imminent. We fight it off. Then Khrushchev plays Kennedy for the missiles, with the whole world at stake, and wins. We're a nuclear power very briefly, a pawn in a bigger game. Washington knows I know what I know; we're all back to business as usual. Blackmail I prefer to call it expediency. We use two main stories Kennedy and drugs. We alternate their use. And they'll never get old.

poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:040

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

poetry repairs your heart
even as it splits it open.
VIRGINIA WOOLF
The Art of Reading



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#11 Playa Giron in the Bay of Pigs
I tell Celia I feel in my bones they are coming but she can't feel it, she thinks I'm crazy. Maybe the Yanqui imperialists think we're the same as Mexico, Haiti, Panama, or any of the other places they've invaded already. They forget I'm an expert at ambush. I identify the most likely disembarkation points but we're not really ready when they show up. America launches a bombing raid on three centres. Next day as I head a memorial service for the dead, their ships appear on the horizon. Campaneros cheer as my enraged voice raises the revolutionary spirit and claims the Revolution for socialism, for a perfect society, ready to die for an idea, for our flag. They hand a plank up to me on the truck back on it FIDEL written in blood by a dying artilleryman dipping his finger into his own wounds. His writing makes me realize I am my country's blood, something god-like, really. My planes win the battlefield for me. The speed of their attack leaves the Rio Escondido, full of aviation fuel, exploding like an atom bomb, the Houston on fire, full of soldiers and munitions, sinking. Within four hours of the disembarkment manoeuvres, the invaders are stripped of their ability to continue their attack; without supplies or reinforcements, stranded on Playa Giron. I bank on Kennedy not ordering another air strike. I think I know he won't but if he does he'll wipe Cuba out. I hope he's too worried about Khrushchev coming to our aid. I turn the situation on its head, turn a classic siege situation where Cuba is surrounded by its enemy into the most humiliating defeat in American history until, that is, their retreat from Vietnam.

poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:040

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#12 Missiles in Crisis
Kennedy backs down over the invasion Khrushchev pursues his advantage, uses me as a weapon. I am never offered any choice no matter what anyone says. He imposes his will and 42 nuclear warheads on me, to deter American threats. Sixty thousand Russian soldiers arrive in Cuba covertly, hidden in merchant marine ships, along with their mid-range ground-to-air missiles, to form our defensive system, before the offensive system, the big intercontinental ballistic missiles, arrives. We assemble the Ilyushin bombers they give us. Nine Cubans only know where the nuclear weapons are deployed, but everyone understands tacitly what etcetera etcetera means, and they applaud. Dead silence from America all of a sudden they have spotted the missiles from their spy planes. We watch as Guantanamo Base is reinforced, and families and civilians evacuated. Tension shrieks. Revolutionary Armed Forces go to Position One from Combat Alert to Combat Alarm no time to consider unleashing Armageddon on the world. I listen to Kennedy's speech. It's true we're at war with America. We ready for their attack. I send the best of our youth to a fallout shelter hidden in the hills, just in case we need to start again. Four warships with missiles filling their holds shadowed by a sub approach the American Navy blockade a day's journey away. I see a missile only one, opaque green with no markings. Named Tanya, she's for New York the Russians boast. Their anti-aircraft fire downs a U-2, the dead pilot a war casualty. The face-off is over. Secretly Washington and Moscow arrange their peace agreement. The Soviet ships stop in mid Atlantic and turn back. Russia is playing me for a patsy. It's all Khrushchev, his brilliant political calculations his manipulations, his Realpolitik that first threatens the world, then saves it. All I get is State Security Department One, though it's enough to fuck up CIA operations in Cuba for the next fifty years.


poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:040

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of the soul - Plato

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-- Oxford English Dictionary



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#10 La Sia
#11 Playa Giron in the Bay of Pigs
#12 Missiles in Crisis

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