Tell me, how far are we really from Havana?
I hate poisoning, but I always forget. When you invited me thinking we ought to drink to my obliging cross, I looked through the window. The damp birds looked brighter along Malecon. You said, forget, simply forget, and the far off tomorrows seemed suddenly washed away. The books that lied open on the table were turning into a tender smoke that one can see across the frenzy flesh of all those cats sitting on the extreme edge of the cornice believing in sweet lethargy of gravity. The guava juice came in an oval jar as if bringing my death of my own accord, and I asked again, tell me, are we really a long way from Havana, forgetting I hate poisoning. You had to sigh over the bay of juice and whisper, forget, forget the hollow, and the scarlet kiss kept beating across the spiderweb of CIA.
I opened the vault and glanced back at the prerevolutionary maps of this island gleaming ninety miles away from the Americana. In each alley, the everlasting dome of taciturn biographies was muttering bloody Providence or maybe Hosannah, Hosannah. I peered helplessly into a dark cavern where the lonely crabs were crawling along the bare elbows of Che in search of a lyre. And like a criminal, I was there drawn to a miniscule Castro caught in a fishing net gloriously discarded by all lesson books studied in Jose Marti primary schools. I tried to gaze with the help of a sunburnt lantern flaring more and more bright only to discover the amputated hands of Che amassing folk songs for tourist ladies like you, Senorita. Don’t just reiterate Hasta la victoria siempre, siempre. Tell me, why are you so quiet to your bird of prey?
The blue ham of the bocadito resembled the motionless thick smiles you granted me on my birthdays. Forgive me, I said out of trepidation, I don’t want to go home, my fluffy verse can still linger, and just forget, darling, there is no such window through which you can hear the Malecon, just try to look at the bottom where I have kept the oblivion still rosy. I told you what could be also your own words. I hate poisoning, sorry, I am so insolent, what can I do? I followed the path of dragonflies, lifelessly or just bitterly, if you like. And you said with your moist lips, forget, forget dreaming, see, your shoes are chirping away. And I howled, hail thee, Cinderella, I swear I remember for the hundredth time I was limping alone up the calle Muralla to the Plaza Vieja where the guns were leveled at my head. Behind the wall of cries of hate of the spectators, you can still hear me now knocking, La Habana, La Habana.
Debasis Mukhopadhyay lives & writes in Montreal. Recent poems have appeared in The Curly Mind, Yellow Chair Review, Thirteen Myna Birds, Of/With, I am not a silent poet, The New Verse News, With Painted Words, Silver Birch Press, Foliate Oak, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Snapping Twig, Scarlet Review, Eunoia Review, Revolution John, Down in the Dirt, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere.
Follow him at https://debasismukhopadhyay.wordpress.com/ or @dbasis_m on Twitter.