Jazz Club Tirade
Or the Death of Political Fire
In the unkempt court yard of a jazz club,
Hidden in reefer’s rank gossamer haze,
Enthroned on hard plastic chairs,
Surrounded by empty bottles of cheap red wine,
They sat in somber conference.
The warm ashes from their joint,
Passed like a harsh burning communion,
Fell on the plastic gingham covering
Of their press-wood table, carelessly covered
With cracker crumbs and bits of hard cheese.
Every Friday for four years they met here,
Bemoaning the bourgeois mawkishness
Of their parents’ mundane existence,
The tyranny and greed of the system,
Renewing their call for revolution.
But they were slowly changed by
The soft comfort of college courses,
Hard fought for corporate internships,
And sudden glimpses of glittering futures,
As willing cogs in that same loathsome system,
Sipping their wine from paper cups
They remembered how they,
Like sugar fueled children on Christmas day
Landed in Cuba and dashed out into her streets
Reveling in the smell of old Soviet Promises
They ran between the stalls of the dusty streets
Of Old Havana’s Plaza de Armas.
Snatching copies of “History Will Absolve Me”,
From vendors unaffected by their enthusiasum.
And returning home went around campus
Like they were Gideons, or Witnesses
To the Jehovah of Castro, of Che,
The martyrdom of País, of Martí,
Passing them out to bewildered classmates.
But today, the gospel according to Marx and Engels
Would lose four evangelist, buried under
A new life of capitalist obligations.
But tonight they gathered to dream of a dawn,
When another group, braver than they,
Would create that long longed for revolution.
Marcus then stood and raised his cup and said,
“Let us rise and give a toast to that soul,
The one who will come and lead where we failed
And let us commit ourselves now that if
Such a brave person should one day appear,
We shall follow them into a new day.
For that is the person I shall follow.
If some naked, howling madman, lips burnt,
Black like coal from the heat of a crack pipe,
Should arise from the great Jacobin Club,
Of Shirley Street junkies and in blood stained,
Defiant fists take up the dailies and,
Set them ablaze and like Robespierre, lead us
Into a reign of terror, I shall follow.
But let them be a shining messiah
To the impotent masses who like fiends
Choke down the mellowing opium smoke
Of the political promises of
The nouveau riche who strangle our people
With silk scarves of partisan party lies,
Glutting them like pigs with the stagnant swill
From the bottomless troughs of their half-baked
Infantile ideas and false solutions.
Let him be a messiah to the children
Of whores who huddled in the sweltering,
Soiled corners of T 1-11 shacks,
Are soothed to sleep by the swaying rhythm
Of their mother’s hips as she slowly tips through
The crowded casinos, the swollen bars,
Air-conditioned rooms of Paradise Island,
Of Cable Beach, or as she takes the last lonely ,
Along salty Long Wharf at 2 am.
Let him be a messiah to the boys,
Whose father’s absence set them on the streets,
At night as easy prey to predators
Who from their cars bate hooks with greasy notes
And the stinking decay of flash fired conch
Tempting bellies pressed against young spines,
Leaving behind transparent paper bags,
And the soulless young husks of brown bodies.
Let him be a messiah to the souls
Of the coke fueled grandchildren of White Knights,
Huddled under the rum soaked pool tables
Of Bay Street bars, feet away from piss plastered
Floors of restrooms, or cloistered in the hot
Ceaseless prattaling of the alcoholic
Vapid uselessness of their first world fears.
Let them be a messiah to the throng
Of insecure white men, who would protect
The storied virtue of white womanhood,
Behind the gilded gates of the west from
The concupiscent savages from in town,
As they rot out their wombs with diseases
Of their unreformed infidelity,
Reconstructing their beloved wives faces
With the hasty bear backhand of their love,
Brow beating them with the obligations,
Of the dull façade of their social class.
Let them be a messiah to us all,
To everyone on this island hell-scape.
Let them be the one to tell poor Nassau
To take its woeful false morality,
Its veneer of respectability,
Its tedious shameless self-righteousness,
Its misogynistic, homophobic,
Race baiting, stifling mediocrity,
The stale breath of pontificating thieves,
To take all of it, and go fuck itself,
In the ass of its hypocrisy.
And may we all go before them setting
The guillotine, so that they may swiftly,
decapitate our well-fed sacred cows
And humbly butcher them in Rawson Square,
And like the priest of old wrap their thighbones
In fat and burn them in glad offering
Before watchful Milo and Victoria,
Before the throng off the cruise ships.
Let them go and usher in a new day,
A new bright age of true enlightenment,
Brought to us by the light of raging flames,
Burning the roof of every church of every faith
On every dark corner on this island,
So that that if the Santa Maria should
Arrive once again with billowing sails,
Carrying Spaniards seeking a new world,
It would look on them as if a forest
Of splendid Poincianas were in bloom.”