They came ashore on the scythe of Cuba
On the small headed side of that island,
The rattled, saber-shaped isle of Batista,
To launch their new Marxist revolution
But got ambushed by Batista’s trigger men
Who then retired to the decadent capital.
Che Guevara, slightly wounded, still
Managed to lead a rag-tag of the rebels
Away from the debacle into the heights.
For 9 days they lived on grass or raw corn,
Then macheted their destined way higher
Into the jungled Sierra Maestra mountains.
From those wild sides, these red rebels
Launched sniping skirmishes inland,
Down the coast, and toward rich Havana.
In one savage raid beneath a bony tree,
Che, the doctor, shot a short, swarthy Cuban,
(And later calmly noted in his journal
How his steel bullet had entered left
Of the man’s brown eye), but quickly
Che, the victor, reached down to pull off
The dying soldier’s glistening watch.
But the timepiece caught on the man’s wrist bone,
And frowning, Che tugged forcefully on it.
“Yank, it off, boy,” whispered the Cuban
As he grimaced in excruciating pain
And bled deep into the earth’s blackness.
But ticking to the final judgment,
The revolting, revolving black hands
Of that coveted watch ‘wouldn’t’ let go.
First pub. in Lucid Rhythms,
and Dead Snakes,
and the poetry book, Dark Energy