Gran Frijolada

-- for Idelfonso Ramos on the anniversary of his death

Here we are
My brother

It’s time it’s that time again
For the gran frijolada
The yearly mess of beans
I cook up Cuban-style
In your honor

The beans are soaking
My secret ingredient is ready

Here we are

You are on the other side
Getting done whatever it is
That gets done
On the lush island that is death
On the isle of memory and grateful forgetting

Always 90 miles
Always an inch away

There you are
Still making the documentary of your life

And me
The gringo whose life you saved
With a couch and an abrazo

I’ve still got one foot
Planted and dancing in the dirt of time

The other
Where else?
In my mouth
That won’t stop singing

Here we are

A celebration that must always be improvised  
Motivito to welcome some minute arrived from afar
From thin air you pull
An armful of icy beers
Like rabbits from a magician’s hat

Son de la Loma
Blasting from the cassette player
Heard all down the street
The neighbors dancing too

Heard by lovers
As far off
As the malecón

I can hear it again now
Trio Matamoros

Who wouldn’t dance in your presence?

Your shadow dancing
With a permanent
Smile and hard-on

Stars and cancer everywhere

Here we are

Here we are
Dumbstruck and far flung
Shipwrecked and rescued

Sheer luck everywhere
Full of beans and magic

                        -- New York, 31 December 2013

Paul Celan quote

In his Bremen Prize speech, Paul Celan said of language after Auschwitz that:
“Only one thing remained reachable, close and secure amid all losses: language. Yes, language. In spite of everything, it remained secure against loss. But it had to go through its own lack of answers, through terrifying silence, through the thousand darknesses of murderous speech. It went through. It gave me no words for what was happening, but went through it. Went through and could resurface, 'enriched' by it all."

For Ezra

Visiting you in the foreign country of the just-born
Country of my blood citizenship
I speak to you in the language of touch
The language of breath
Practice of rocking

You smell like hot milk
The moment around you is curved
You are heavy with light

I love above all your fontanel and its pulse
Below all I love the purpose of you
Wise gazer
Your long fingers looking for a piano  

You, Ezzie, are still all of us
You are the sweet Mama and Dada of your making

I surf the waves of your particles
Entangled across 3 thousand miles

                -- Vancouver-New York, February/March 2013

Still waiting

Sixty years later 
Still waiting 
For Marianne O'Connor's
Second kiss

                   -- Vancouver, January 27, 2013

Woke up from a dream wanting

Woke up from a dream wanting
To say goodbye to words
Wanting to see them float away
Bobbing on dark waves
Like candles in paper boats
On Lake Patzcuaro
On the Day of the Dead

                           -- New York, January 15, 2013