Friday, March 9, 2012

under a cuban sky

and standing on the free soil of the pearl of the antilles—i can wish for it, wish for the impossible, wish for the possible—that's a better attitude—there's always that. no one can stop me.

instead i'm here, on a ship, atop a lounge chair, dressed in a t-shirt and striped pajama bottoms, cruising past the tropic of cancer—the cays and isles of the sabana-camaguey archipelago to the west—through the great bahama bank at a steady 19 knots, staring at the ghostly form of her cool, pine-covered slopes, slopes partially cloaked in gray clouds—the trinidad peaks, the sierra del escambray, the sierra maestra—moving, shifting in the distance—what is land? what is sky? what is hidden?—getting closer, 14 nautical miles to starboard, cuba the unattainable.

elusive freedom. a ten years' war, an 1898 war, regime after regime, with wars and rumors of war blocking her, blocking us, and always the fight to ensure her citizens would have civil and political freedom, the fight to guarantee that, at the very least, her sons and daughters living away from her shores could visit and send money home. always the fight to lift the barrier—push it away once and for all—which shrouds the pearl from our view.

to hear her music—the latin american son cubano of spanish guitar and african rhythms, and the derivatives, salsa, rumba, cha-cha-cha; the mambo "conversation with the gods", songs in kikongo brought to cuba by central african slaves—in the place where it originated. into cuba. a wish. will it happen in our lifetime?

i tried to bring you the buena vista social club's mandinga but it's not working and i can't delete it. sometimes i hate computers.


Jayne said...

Ah, Buena Vista--I can hear them anyway! We have a restaurant in Providence (a couple) called Cuban Revolution. We can go there and eat Ropa Vieja and Picadillo, and listen to excellent latin music. And dream.

"what is land? what is sky? what is hidden?" Yes! That's the bluest blue I've seen in a long while. The cruise looks like it was devine. :)

alexandra said...

This looks lovely!