Poem: For Fidel | Poetry | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

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Poem: For Fidel

Who died November 25m 2016 at the age of 90


"What kind of name is Lev?"
Inquired the large Tennessee
State Police officer through
The window of my 1950 Chevrolet
Stopped along U.S. Route 11
Upon which I had been heading out
To California by way of New Orleans.

It was 1958. One of those "on the road" things.
I dropped out of school, saved up my tips
From making hamburgers at White Tower,
And I was off. So I tried to guess which answer
To the cop's question would have the least
Negatives for him, and answered,
"It's sort of Russian."

He stared at my license and stared at me,
Then says, "You ain't Cuban, are you?"
I assured him I was not and he told me
They were on the lookout for people
Running guns to New Orleans for shipment
To Fidel Castro in Oriente Province, Cuba.
He checked my trunk and let me go.

He did follow me awhile. But soon
I was free of Tennessee and embarked
Upon adventures not germane to this poem.
And when, like Odysseus,
I returned home,
I got to read Kerouac's On the Road,
And raised a Cuba Libre for Fidel.

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