MERCEDES WEBB-PULLMAN : I Am the Real Fidel
poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:043

For me all nights are stormy
Love, then loss
Slowly I learn about war
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For me all nights are stormy
My father the Angel never acknowledges me as his son; I take my servant mother's name illegitimate shame. When she dreams 13, knows I am Aggayu's son Santeria priests shave her head sacrifice sheep two cocks a tortoise for Chango and initiate me still in her womb. Between two hurricanes while gales and floods rip up the orange groves and turn the sky red; with all the windows of the house on stilts middle of a cane field rattling on August 13 1926 at 2 am I am born. At dawn around the tamarind tree spanning our flooded yard near Biran flattened sugar cane, sheep and cows, even dead people float. The new bastard thrives.

poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:043

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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Love, then loss
Once out of the iron crib prison Look after your brother I take care of Raul in the barn between house stilts if it rains, or in the infinite monochrome acres of sugar cane under sun. Home is syrupy plantains fried with bacon, the smell of good cigars, the sound of footsteps pounding like hearts on the wooden floors barefoot servants singing Mexican folk songs as they work. My mother, house servant for my father's wife has servants of her own. Nine years old I'm still not baptized; the Church won't take me. I'm top of the village school at home I learn body language from my mother's maid her lips, her tongue, her hands the sweet and salt. I understand my father has her too; there can't be secrets in a house of echoes. Soon the girl vanishes. I look for her in every brothel for the rest of my life.

poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:043

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Slowly I learn about war
Ignorant land owners act superior to me, a bastard. I can't take communion because I'm not baptized. My classmates call me Jew. I'm always fighting get expelled first year of high school at Our Lady of Dolores the year my father divorces his first wife but doesn't marry my mother. I learn never fight to lose and don't let them up when they're beaten. The Brothers move me on when I almost scalp a classmate. They send me to Havana, Belen School, still instructed by Spanish Jesuit priests. I swim, play ball shoot hoops, win a special sports medal, I'm a polished and inveterate liar. I save a teacher from drowning. I break my nose riding a bicycle downhill into a wall. The second world war happens somewhere else.


poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:043

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



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For me all nights are stormy
Love, then loss
Slowly I learn about war

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MERCEDES WEBB-PULLMAN : I Am the Real Fidel
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