Varadero

The morning rises with a tide in flood,
a swelling warmth of swallowed salt
that lifts my body off its feet
then muscles up and through the chest
as it overpowers a racing mind with calm –
or the tastes of sweetened rum and the delights

of islands that once dreamt a feathered man,
imagined in the humid light, a force of colour
radiant in palm-carved air, hanging….
but vibrant with a pregnant pungent life
which if inhaled infects the heart and fills me
with uneasy sweeping dreamy peace.  Peace

that may forget the old molasses and mosquitoes
of a Caribbean twice a sentence, twice a grave:
a candied killer and attractor, destroyer of the men
who made sugar for the craving and reward
that brought wealth beyond their avarice for the few
and a fevered anguished aguey death for many;

islands liberated but still branded by the stain of slavery,
when one was damned and ten, a hundred men were owned
to make an ancient sin industrial:  the power
and the desire to erase those people’s names
and chain their children to that rotten block –
the foundation stone of empires, the anchor of our trade.

Just my imagination

“But it was just my imagination, once again,
Running away with me”

cast into the dreamweb,
launching my imagination,
as if I hadn’t lost you
and we had worked out well;

welling from beneath:
deep dark arterial blood
bubbling through the gaps
from reality to dream;

dream happy for a time, intense
and perfect, vulnerable only
to its own demented logic,
fluid interface and tension;

– fatigue drags around the edges,
slows escape and hinders
breath control, but doesn’t break
the spell, the construct –

tension that strips bare,
wound tightly, gripped at heart,
afraid something will happen,
nameless, wrong, if I lose control;

controlled always by fear and
panic that rises, only rises,
– if it falls, never subsides –
conditioned still to know;

and knowing, being aware
of smoke trails that stain the sky,
so beautiful from afar,
and deadly when inhaled.