Poetry out of the present, week 4


I haven't skipped all the previous missed weeks. I've decided that if I like a poem enough, I'll keep tweaking it post-rejection and try to place it elsewhere.

This particular poem I didn't get started on until less than two hours till doomsday. I didn't successfully juggle all the conceits I threw in the air. There's something here, but it's not here yet.


Holy Week, 4 –1

We share a national past-time–La Pelota–and later today our players will compete on the same Havana field that Jackie Robinson played on before he made his Major League debut.
Barack Obama
March 22, 2016
Havana, Cuba

Forty-one days ago, ancient cubano cars felt at peace
as their masters arrived with foreheads marked in holy ash.
We are aging and smoking and we are together,
the cars said to each other. We are Cuba!

Four days yet to la crucifixión de Jesús
and the Americans have arrived to take the field,
black paint under their eyes. Leading off: Varona,
native son, outfielder, defected, yet returned intact.

Before Movimiento cast casino-happy Americans
from the garden, gods like Home Run Johnson and
Cool Papa Bell wintered on these islands, picking up scratch
and setting records unrecorded. Jackie Robinson was here.

And once long ago, mis hijos, he took his lead from third,
believing somehow the tomb would open
and he could buy the same Ford Pilot
we are so anxious to shed.

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