Sunday, September 10, 2006

Cayo Coco (for the challenge)

When the cancer gnaws at his bones
like a crazed wolf
and the angry moon scorches his eyes
he dreams himself back in Caye Coco again.
His homeland.
That golden wing dangling
from Cuba's broken spine.
He finds god in the Cien fuegos,
the warring kosumi, the gray hazed
tobacco-like clouds, the bonito.
He finds god
in the trampled ground
and the crumbling haciendos.
Mortimer and Seymour, his childhood friends
lash him to the populus tremula,
arrived full bloom through the mists
of time with him,
its leaves quivering with excitement
over being the first Cuban cross.
His penance.
His gateway through hell.
His reason for coming.
Lepista Nuda, zylaria hypoxylon,
he screams in his sleep.
Odd words zing back and forth
in this time travel progression
through spirit.

His fat caretaker,
tummy crammed with tamale and black beans,
lumbers to his bed to poke him.
Crazy old coot, she mutters.
Doesn't notice the blood on his palms,
his feet, can't see the halo
or the Cuban birds who have followed
to guide him away from the wolves
and the moon and this soiled cot,
guarded by a woman who only
cares what her next meal will be.

She settles back in her chair,
snores her own way to the groovy El Carlos Restaurant.
el restaurante de lo mejor en Miami, she sighs.
Drool runs onto her heaving bosom.
A breeze from the cot ruffles her hair.


Lyle Daggett said...

Great poem, Pris. I love the layer and layer of images building on one another, and the really amazing range of language (populus tremula, Lepista Nuda, zylaria hypoylon, etc.).

The close-up grittiness really brings me into what's happening in the poem.

Lyle Daggett said...

After my comment about the range of the language, as I was looking through more of the recent poems here, it dawned on me that each of the specific phrases I mentioned are from the word list for Didi's most recent poem challenge -- nevertheless I really like how you've fit the vocabulary into your poem, it has a very organic feel to me, as though the poem came out fully formed.

Pris said...

Thanks, Lyle
I don't do a challenge if it doesn't fit into something that works for me in my own head, so double thanks for confirming that it worked for you, too.