Scratching their poems on styrofoam cups,
The orange jumpsuits pass them along,
Under the scorched-out Cuban sun, through bars,
Telling themselves—and reminding the world—
They are men, and this Inquisition
Also must pass, this auto da fe,
Flushed down history’s manhole,
Must bring shame in the Later Years
When men and women re-tell the past—
La Conquista, the Crusades, the Slaughter
Of the Innocents—all the lost causes...
There, in the cups, drops of Christ’s blood
Appear out of nowhere, mingle with the tears
Of God, of Mohammed—of shepherd boys
Tending their flocks, dreaming under white-hot stars.
What distant fires illuminate their lives
On what worlds reaching beyond this hothouse?
Here is grief and love and hatred mixed
In bitter cups, to be drunk at once,
Tossing the head back carelessly; here is
The taste of this world—what we have become.
Does it go down easy, cause revulsion,
Trip-wire the memory? Does anything
Ever come to anything more than a dream
Of home, struggle, certainties of Truth,
A mother’s, father’s, lover’s, friend’s or child’s embrace?
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(First posted at Global Research, 2007)