Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Dedicated to Warriors and Saints ~ Maferefun Orunmila on his Day October 4















Los Otros


four Cuban medicine men
in a '57 Chevy
smoking up Calle 23
dressed crisp and
spotless in their whites
from Kangol caps to leather shoes



they are knights shining through the
centuries like the Templars or Masons
men with their society intact
secrets sharp as their blue steel edged knives
used in killing to perfection for the sake of mankind
those winged and the four legged creatures
who give their lives so that we might live

in a city teeming with ghosts
host to all sorts of unknowing
folks who come for the rum without the coke, rumba and
places they believe are filled with only the finest tobacco
smoke but are actually haunted rooms where the living and dead coexist
sometimes tryst on the same plane especially before a rainstorm
when Oya's horse's tail whips up the wind and

corpse dust comes flying freely out the gates of Colon cemetery
through Havana streets covering heads of the unsuspecting
with a possible unwanted phantom for company then believe they got
sick from the ice cubes in some club since they wouldn't even think
to drink the water

Baba lou aye had worn torn legs like C's dad
thick tree branches gnarled and scarred
not by disease but by bullets and shrapnel
marks of countless battles fought and won
laughing in deaths' face since before
he could rightly be called a man and
I couldn't keep my eyes off them
as he laid there struggling for one more
of life's breaths
so he could smoke his last one in bed
at the Oakland Veteran's hospital
those last days were the worst
before his warrior-self finally lost
that last offensive
being something beyond his control


©Odilia Galván Rodríguez, Migratory Birds: New and Noted Poems, 2002


photo from http://yoruba.at/deutsch/attribute.htm

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