Tuesday, July 2, 2013

La Habana, en versos libres: I. Dias Uno

Sharing gum on the plane,
preparing for sweetness,
drinking Fanta in the sky.

Applause erupts
as the wheels touch down;
“Thank-you for flying Sky King”,
Welcome to Habana.

The Chinese made tram,
carrying us from tarmac to terminal,
is new and smooth,
the Aeropuerto Nacional
is old and worn.

One guard only
scans the luggage
and shrink-wrapped goods,
but two guards
mind the spaniels on duty;
maybe petting is not allowed,
although they seem friendly.

At the Hotel Plaza,
mojitos await at the counter,
but the rooms are not ready
until after four o’clock.

A walking tour ensues
over La Habana vieja,
footsteps treading over footsteps
in this place bursting with sound
and with color
in the fluid heat.

Opulence interrupted,
this city has been alive;
though the faces and facades are worn,
vital blood and sugar still flow,
likewise the rum,
sold through open window shops.

The staccato of the tongues
and car horns
is like the beat of ageless drums;
this old town is kept new
by the child
beating on the drum
for our pleasure,
corazón of our corazón.

Lunch at Hotel Inglettera
incurs petty robbery loss,
while the salsa plays
and the Buccanero flows;
opportunities overflow
even in the most crowded room.

Transports from other ages
race all over town;
the racket and the fumes,
with the heat and humidity,
they roll over one,
as they settle on each edifice
and make their mark.

More to see,
more to do,
more to say,
but first to sing,
in this place
of unending song.

© 2013 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen

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