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Every Day Acts of Peace

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Cuba 1987: Begin Another Round of New Beginnings

The ocean waits for me each day,
born to that spot before me,
a fluid statue 
upholding the knowledge 
that I will come.

I am here 
to cast shadow castles 
in the sand, 
build dreams at my feet.

I sit at the end of the street 
where the road ends abruptly, 
falling its paved loose 
chunks of asphalt 
into the tides. 

Ocean mixes with sand, trash 
and international tourists 
tanning on the beach -
there is stillness here 
on the half broken stairs 
to somewhere.

My back is up against 
the torn rusted barb wire fence,
which supports me just enough, 
so I can dangle my feet 
dangerously 
over the precipice 
of the suddenly terminated road,
which from my current vantage point, 
leads to nowhere.

I am doing nothing in particular, 
except humming and overheating,
simply turning the weeks, 
and the world’s events 
over in my mind -
I wait for the sun to set, 
to end the day, 
in this part of the world ...
then two sisters appear 
beside and above me.

The youngest at twelve, 
stands shyly on the road, 
at the top of the stairs -
her hand on the railing 
ready to brace, 
in case 
she suddenly falls 
from innocence.

The elder, fifteen, 
little by little 
ventures down the staircase,
onto the sand, 
into my line of vision, 
where I am 
kicking up my heels.

At first I thought 
the sisters were from Mexico, 
part of the socialist tourism fraction 
which arrive smuggling 
their army of smells
from Canada, Russia, Mexico, France and Spain. 

Descending daily 
into this body of heat 
the planes disembark 
their foreign cargo
of international ambassadors 
who reflect the rising tide 
of socialist market economies.

I study the sister girls, 
they possess 
relaxed natural beauty 
and an unspoiled intelligence.
The girls laugh and point
to their origins, 
only a few yards from here, 
near, 
very local.

The sister’s steps 
forward to befriend me 
are cautious, 
typical in Cuba, 
yet something 
novel within them 
shines through - 
connecting us 
to each other, 
as we move the dance 
into deeper communication.

I am fascinated, 
not so much 
by the form 
the girls’ identity 
starts to take,
but by how 
their awkward 
freedom of movement 
plays out 
into a display ...
of child-like 
wonder and amusement, 
an exhibition 
that charms 
any and all 
fears away.

Their childlike innocence is magnetic 
amidst the pull of Havana’s sophistication.

The eldest, bored by stillness, 
wanders about the sand 
investigating everything underfoot -
as if she has never seen a beach before, 
even though the ocean is her doorstep.

We talk about the politics of fish bones
and the society of life in the ocean.

The sun crowns 
the girl’s long dark hair 
with a glow of wonder, 
adding a communal sparkle 
to their homemade,
handmade, seashell jewelry -
their all, and everything, 
highlights the knowing 
shining from within them 
outward
through their eyes, 
the windows of their Soul, 
their life force is vibrant, 
clearly present.

They giggle 
as I describe the ocean 
and sand elsewhere 
in Canada, Mexico, Florida.

Girlishly they cling around my neck, 
all coral pink smiles, 
ruffled fringed skirts 
and fingers 
entangling my hair ...
I become shy 
at their unrestrained affection, 
and look down 
at the purple seaweed 
woven between their toes and mine,
creating a cultural tapestry of togetherness, 
framed healthy, 
peacefully cherubic.

I overcome my shyness
and open my heart further 
to receive their loving kindness -
as their love penetrates deeper 
I see more clearly, 
I see 
that their faces possess 
an emotional spirit of comfort, 
a sweet smell of consistency
enveloped 
by the pleasure 
of childhood 
vulnerability ...
these forces of their true nature 
sculpt an uncommon awareness, 
a self-determined self-sufficiency 
heroic in it's inquisitiveness.

Through the freedom these girls grant themselves,
I am born again 
by their natural invigorating 
qualities of curiosity -
I am enthused 
and inspired
to my core
to again begin 
yet another round 
of new beginnings.


~~ Other People's Fingerprints ~~
 In 1963 Carilda Oliver Labra wrote;
“Please, don’t point your weapons at the sky:
the sparrows are terrorized,
and it’s springtime, it’s raining, the meadows are ruminating.
Please, you’ll melt the moon, the only night light of the poor.
It’s not that I’m afraid, or a coward. I’d do everything for my homeland;
but don’t argue so much over your nuclear missiles,
because something horrible is happening and I haven’t had time enough to love.”