MERCEDES WEBB-PULLMAN I Am the Real Fidel, in 14 sectionss
poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:046

La Sia
Bay of Pigs
Missiles in Crisis
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La Sia
Before the Revolution in Cuba they lurk in murky depths around Havana, support Machado over Batista I know because a Cuban-born Communist KGB double agent already operating in the CIA now works for the Revolution as well. Often I know which of my men have been turned; 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. The CIA track me from my first Bolshevik bookshop days at university 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 hard in Miami support the counter-revolutionaries but we have men 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 tip them off to Che in the Congo, thinking they can take care of my Argentine problem they ignore all their cues. We all infiltrate each other, CIA, KGB and the Cuban counter-revolutionaries; we play each other like cards. When Nixon takes over the CIA he blows up my munitions but still leaks me information if it suits. When news stops flowing I know something is imminent. We fight off the invasion. Then Khrushchev plays Kennedy for the world with the missiles as stake, and wins. Cuba is a nuclear power very briefly, pawn in a bigger game. Washington knows I know what I know; we're all back to business. Blackmail I call it expediency. We have two stories Kennedy and drugs. We alternate them. They'll never get old.

poetryrepairs #199 v14.04:046

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The Art of Reading



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Bay of Pigs
I tell Celia my bones say they are coming but she can't feel it, thinks I'm crazy. Maybe the Yanqui imperialists think we're the same as Mexico, Haiti, Panama, any of the places they've invaded already. We're really not ready when they do show up. America launches bombing raids. Next day as I head a memorial service their ships appear on the horizon. Campaneros cheer as I raise their revolutionary spirit and claim the Revolution for socialism, for a perfect society, ready to die for an idea, for a flag. They hand me a plank - on it FIDEL written in blood by a dying artilleryman dipping his finger into his own wounds. He makes me realize I am my country's blood something god-like, really. My planes win the battlefield. The speed of their attack leaves Rio Escondido, full of aviation fuel, exploding like an atom bomb, Houston on fire, sinking, full of soldiers and munitions. Within four hours the invaders can't continue their attack stranded without supplies or reinforcements 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 v14.04:046

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Missiles in Crisis
Kennedy backs down over the invasion Khrushchev pushes his advantage. I am never offered any choice. He imposes his will and 42 nuclear warheads on me, to deter American threats. Sixty thousand Russian soldiers arrive hidden in merchant marine ships along with their mid-range ground-to-air missiles, to build a defensive system before their intercontinental ballistic missiles arrive. We assemble our new Ilyushin bombers. Few Cubans know where nuclear weapons are deployed, but everyone understands what etcetera means and they applaud. Dead silence from America when they spot the missiles from their spy planes. We watch as they reinforce Guantanamo Base, evacuate families and civilians. Tension shrieks. Revolutionary Armed Forces Position One from Combat Alert to Combat Alarm no time to consider Armageddon. I listen to Kennedy's speech. It's true we're at war with America. We ready for attack. I send the best youths to a fallout shelter in case we need to start again. Four warships with missiles filling their holds approach the American Navy blockade. I see only one missile, opaque green with no markings. Named Tanya, 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 v14.04:046

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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La Sia
Bay of Pigs
Missiles in Crisis

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MERCEDES WEBB-PULLMAN I Am the Real Fidel, in 14 sectionss
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