I wrote these on the plane to Quito, but I hadn’t had a chance to type it up until today:
And now a journey to Quito begins:
the plane is moving and the runway’s near’
but news is full of economic sins,
and all Dad’s health complaints fill me with fear.
He looks FINE, of course, else we wouldn’t go;
but my stomach is all tied up in knots,
for even if he’s sick, I might not know.
He might choose silence while his body rots
from the inside-out. Yet we will do fine:
There will be good food and conversation,
and remembrances of the past over wine,
an aging banker’s prognostication
on misplaced investments and lucky breaks,
Ponzi governments and arthritis aches.
Dad, of course, IS fine. He’s in great health, and this was just my way of getting through some of the panic that always accompanies my anxieties at the start of a trip. Why it should be that I get all worked up about these things, I don’t know. But the first part of the poem is all about the panics at the start of the trip, and the resulting de-stressifying as we got underway.
The second one is titled Cuba
Looking downward, through two layers of cloud,
I have a view which angels might proclaim
(were they known for being boastful or loud)
of an island, long of infamous name,
Cuba — ill-ruled by the faithless Fidel,
“Communist tyrant reviled by all”.
Yet teenage fury in my chest I quell,
and a Cold War invective I forestall.
With angel eyes, I look on fields and farms,
red dirt roads, brown swamps, and lonely beaches.
It’s hard not to dream of its bygone charms,
or walking those contrabanded reaches.
As ocean reappears beneath the plane,
I laugh: no Mordor have I seen.