You Must Leave Your Beard Behind -for Fidel Castro

You Must Leave Your Beard Behind

– For Fidel Castro

Many find their fun at the fount of blood,

like Herod’s messengers

returning with venom-coated evidence

of their own efficiencies

But the winds find theirs as they kiss the cedars

that bear your epitaphs, in bold

your epitaphs, set to salsa

Many Herods sought you, Fidel

but like wanton kids, all they got

was the tail of the wall gecko

as the creature bailed out

to return to his trade of fortune telling…

…that bulwarks, cast in concrete

held back raging seas

but failed to hinder the hands that turned the guillotine

robbing graveyards of their proverbial silence:

as griefs writ in wreaths

of Marxism-leninism memorabilia

mingle with cry of crushed grass

..the turf of elephant fights…

when one ism bids to outdo the other.

But you, wild cat of the caribbes

you touted no isms,

you merely washed your people’s feet

feet, where once were stumps

A thousand breastplates torment their wearers

a billion bulletproofs

encase their victims

but they are lighter than a sketch of scarecrows

before the winds of fate

But you, captain of the caribbes

all you wore was

a parchment

of your people’s love

cast around you

like a spell, and

fending off the furious fusillades

of your foes, as their arrows

ricocheted off the dome of their doomsday predictions

long before Moncada Garrison

long after Sierra Maestra

Ill-winds may rock the boats of history, but

they still berth in benevolent shores

the same armada that rubbled cast iron barricades

could do so scant against

paean-spinning peasants

filling the atmosphere like anti-missile shields,

folks feigning madness and swearing:

  • Give us Fidel or give us death!

King of the Caribbes,

your knighthood is inviolate,

Not six-a-penny bought:

you earned your epaulet

With scars that courage wrought

But all journeys must end, alas

the straws that fuel the feet of the snail-hunter at night

must one day run out of own fuel,

the proverb-minter

himself a proverb in another’s tongue

Now you must journey to the city

where revolution is anathema

where dachas diminishing, and castles a-plenty

where crowns outnumber bags of legends

on the chequered tracks of tortoises

Carriage horse of the Caribbes

you may hear orgies of elegies

from the same tongues that toggled your denunciation songs:

when they rend the sky with their twenty one gun salutes

plug your ears to cannons

Some will exhume ancestral bones

turning the trumpets for the Internationale

to pseudo-prophets for their tribal agenda

when they rend the sky with their twenty one gun salutes

plug your ears to their cannons

They may entomb you in mausoleums grander

than the taj mahal

Let them deck you in kente

and serenade you in a soirée of sonatas

When they rend the sky with their twenty one gun salutes

Plug your ears to their cannons

And you must leave your beard behind

This is no journey with jungle boots

No rucksacks, no fatigue

Walk straight,

Walk nimble

Merge into your hallowed place

in the pantheon.


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