Por Que Tampa?

My son left home,
gone far away.
I ask him – why Tampa,
even if it is the cigar
manufacturing capital
of the world
and the new home
of the dancers?
Papa, it’s a warm
and humid climate
much like Cuba herself,
he says, & of course
still close to Cuba,
our home always, Papa,
the source still of much
of the industry’s tobacco.
Land is everywhere
for development.
The label “U.S. Made’
precludes import taxes,
and Papa, there’s still
transportation –
ports and even rail. He sighs,
impatient with an old man
and his ignorance.
And I have to ask again.
I must remember
to know what
to tell his mama –
My son (who left home
          and never listens to me),
por que Tampa?

Good Morning

We have died so often
it no longer
feels like dying.
It feels only like falling
and getting up.
This morning, I had
wanted to do nothing,
but something,
like a good wife,
had other plans for me.
A hubbub of air
with a crescendo
of salt and sea
for my attention.
Upon waking fully,
I could not forget
how to make
the simplest motion.
For one more day,
my ears perked
and my arms paddled
into the deep waves.

London Advertises for Immigrants

Ministers are considering launching a negative advertising campaign in Bulgaria and Romania to persuade potential immigrants to stay away from the UK.
–The Guardian, 1/27/13

“London is a must city to visit at least once in your life. During your entire stay in London, nothing will ever allow you to forget the ancient history and drama of this Shakespearean city from the showers in your bloody, historic flat, to the stunningly Medieval flow of hot and running water, to the aura of ghosts of winches being beaten in the shadows of the streets, or to the Renaissance engineered roads and byways. You will at every turn on the street meet characters as gloriously life-size and opinionated as any you could find in Dickens. The government is absolutely a study in boorish complexity and dry humor. You will spend whole evenings entertained while waiting for a simple hogey at the nearby pub with your mates, deciphering the ways and the absolutely awe-striking speeches in the House of Commons. Everywhere you go is totally anachronistic and scornful of anything that smacks of the suspiciously modern. The taxi drivers will remind you of Falstaff, although without Shakespeare’s clever lines. The traffic will remind you of nothing less than the international spirit of The Games of 2012 and the opening ceremony which can never be forgotten. It will be like being there every day. And just as heaven’s rain itself glorified the Queen’s birthday, you can always expect the same regardless what a peasant you are. When you must go home as you all must, you may wonder why you never wish to return.”


He had been a nice kid,
a genius perhaps,
so surely by the time
we will get to him
with our own guns,
he will be trying
to stuff bullets
back into magazines,
scoop blood off the floor
to fill back up the young chests.
He will be screaming
that something horrible
years ago didn’t happen.
He’ll be reciting a story
from his childhood
we had read to him.
He’ll be cuddling a toy
we had given him.
He’ll be trying to wash
the stains off the walls
before we ever see them,
fill the holes with putty
so we’ll take him
to Dairy Queen
to paint his life
a glossy white again.
That is what we must
have thought. But of course,
when he saw us coming
he dove head first
into our own deaths.