Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cuba


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I remember a day during what is now known as "the Cuban Missile Crisis" when my father came home from work, mentioned something about the crisis, and had a very unusual, ashen look on his face. The look told me what I "needed" to know--at age 8 (roughly): this was serious stuff. Leap forward these many years later, and this morning's newspaper (wow, a newspaper that still exists) reports on two longtime Cuban spies being arrested. Well, fair enough; if someone spies for another nation, he or she must be ready to be arrested. But I do wonder what "intelligence" they gathered that is or was dangerous. I don't mean to excuse espionage, but sometimes I wonder if it wouldn't be easier to turn over almost as much information as a country like Cuba wanted. What, exactly, is such a country going to do with it? Doubtlessly, I'm naive, but I figure Cuba already knows where our military installations are (one is next door) and who its "enemies" are in Florida and elsewhere. To me, Cuba seems chiefly to be a small, impoverished island nation.
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Cuba

I've never been to Cuba, but I know several who
have. As a lad, I thought I'd be incinerated with
everyone because Kruschev and Kennedy almost got
us killed over nothing. Fidel's so tired, he's
traded in fatigues for peejays. The sun's rays
radiate Caribbean rocks. Let the last Cold-War
ice-cube melt. Pronounce the word as Coo-buh,
play some gin rummy while sipping rummed cola
in a folding chair. Let history's belly hang
out over tops of proletarian bluejeans and
garish tourist-shorts. Close Guantanamo, twice.
Focus on poverty and hurricanes in both
nations. That is to say, prioritize.
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Copyright 2009 Hans Ostrom
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