By Gary Corseri

Scratching their poems on styrofoam cups,

The orange jumpsuits pass them along,

Under the scorched-out Cuban sun, through bars,

Telling themselves—and reminding the world—

They are men, and this Inquisition

Also must pass, this auto da fe,

Flushed down history’s manhole,

Must bring shame in the Later Years

When men and women re-tell the past—

La Conquista, the Crusades, the Slaughter

Of the Innocents—all the lost causes.

There in the cups, drops of Christ’s blood

Appear out of nowhere, mingle with the tears

Of God, of Mohammed—the shepherd boys

Tending their flocks, dreaming under white-hot stars.

What distant fires illuminate their lives

On what worlds reaching beyond this hothouse?

Here is grief and love and hatred mixed

In bitter cups to be drunk at once

Tossing the head back carelessly; here is

The taste of this world—what we have become.

Does it go down easy, cause revulsion,

Trip-wire the memory?  Does anything

Ever come to anything more than a dream

Of home, struggle, certainties of Truth,

A mother’s, father’s, lover’s, friend’s or child’s embrace?

-Gary Corseri has posted/published his work at PalestineChronicle, Cyrano’sJournalOnline, ThomasPaine’sCorner, DissidentVoice, CounterPunch, CommonDreams, The New York Times, Village Voice, The Digest and over 200 other venues worldwide.  He can be reached at

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