The Real Revolution Is Love,
I argue with Roberto on the slick-tiled patio
where houseplants as big as elms sway in a samba
breeze at four or five in the Managua morning
after too many Yerbabuenas and as many shots of
golden rum. And watch Pedro follow Diane up
her brown arm, over the shoulder of her cool dress,
the valleys of her neck to the place inside her
ear where he isn’t speaking revolution. And Alonzo
tosses in the rhetoric made of too much rum and
the burden of being an American in a country
he no longer belongs to.
What we are dealing with here are ideological
differences, political power, he says to
impress a woman who is gorgeously intelligent
and who reminds me of the soft talc desert
of my lover’s cheek. She doesn’t believe
anything but the language of damp earth
beneath a banana tree at noon, and will soon
disappear in the screen of rum, with a man
who keeps his political secrets to himself
in favor of love.
I argue with Roberto, and laugh across the
continent to Diane, who is on the other side
of the flat, round table whose surface ships
would fall off if they sailed to the other
side. We are Anishabe and Creek. We have wars
of our own. Knowing this we laugh and laugh,
until she disappears into the poinsettia forest
with Pedro, who is still arriving from Puerto Rico.
Palm trees flutter in smoldering tongues.
I can look through the houses, the wind, and hear
Jennifer’s quick laughter become a train
that has no name. Columbus doesn’t leave the
bow of the slippery ship, and Allen is standing at the rim
of Momotombo, looking into the blue, sad rain
of a boy’s eyes. They will come back tomorrow.
This is the land of revolution. You can do anything
you want, Roberto tries to persuade me. I fight my way
through the cloud of rum and laughter, through the lines
of Spanish and spirits of the recently dead whose elbows
rustle the palm leaves. It is almost dawn and we are still
a long way from morning, but never far enough
to get away.
I do what I want, and I take my revolution to bed with
me, alone. And awake in a story told by my ancestors
when they spoke a version of the very beginning,
of how so long ago we climbed the backbone of these
tortuous Americas. I listen to the splash of the Atlantic
and Pacific and see Columbus land once more,
over and over again.
This is not a foreign country, but the land of our dreams.
I listen to the gunfire we cannot hear, and begin
this journey with the light of knowing
the root of my own furious love.