Exceptions always. Not only fear, but need. They get around
by car, Manuela’s. Her son and/or two daughters go along
if there’s room. The girls’ father is on the roof, in the writing
quarters. If he were not here now, Bobby would not know
there will be no way to take back your house if it’s occupied
by the private militia of Gustavo Diaz-Ordaz. But give time
room: does life get better, then worse? what freedom’s sold?
the unlimited power to exploit and kill for profit, the North
sending its imprimatur south, Kissinger’s zeros looming ahead,
Allende’s death, Jara’s dismemberment, Neruda’s broken heart,
Parra’s silence after all that had happened to his sister Violeta.
And the thousands, literally, whose names were little known
then and completely missing from the Book of Chile now,
all slain, disappeared. But all that’s for the future. After
this year, the next two, then seven years. Now her generosity,
her deep chuckle, her twinkling eyes, the flood of her words . . .
You want a gig in Mexico City, ask here . . . go there . . .
One day Tim Reynolds is in her house. Bobby’s seen his name,
his book Ryoanji. Isabel Fraire is living with him in the Londres.
She’s compared here to Emily Dickinson. Her estranged husband
has custody of her sons. Some poets sacrifice everything for love.
That too lies further down the line. Tim is here for the summer,
learning espanol talking to barkeeps, cab drivers, prostitutes.
He learned Russian in the army; why not Spanish being here?
Like French when he was there? After the Greek and Latin
he learned in school. He’s translating Aristophanes’ Peace
in the closet of a room he shares with Isabel, a bed to love in . . .
Come next year, the Cuban embassy on Calle Hamburgo,
then the massacre in Tlatelolco the third year and the last:
Reynolds arrested, tossed in a cell, tortured in Lecumberi.
You can go half your life and suddenly time seems endless.
They deport him to Austin, Isabel goes with him to London.
Manuela and the father of her daughters are invited to Cuba.
The cultural attache asks Bobby the second summer, When
are you coming to Cuba? I can do nothing you need done.
You can write, can’t you? By then Bobby’s married to Rebecca,
who lies next to him in the Ibero and asks if he’s going wrong.
Why go to Cuba, Bobby? What do you know about Cuba?
(22 April, 1 May 2012)
copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander