Cuban Coffee Confessions

Once a month he’s up on the stage, poetry, where under the guise of the art he uncovers his crimes. In the dark of the cafe the crowd listens to the man on the spot, as shedding light on his kills he recounts:

She cried.”

Spoken softly, the package safely back at home, the Saturday prior spent wrapping the parts, so that this Sunday he might go: “She cried, and so best winter, and rain, or at least a chill wind, the dark and deserted the friend to the hunt.

Then into the ribs, rusting, of skyward-built sepulcher; I tell you right now in this room, that the poured concrete is now piling over, and by morning the dust will rise; while for now when this tale is all over, look elsewhere than low for the tomb.”

Silence and the still and expectant gazes, upturned, from the rows of the seats unfolding.

He goes:

Still she cried as I left what’s left of her inside the rising giant’s ribs, where by day there is heard the clatter of machinery and the shouting of men in the works; but at night, when they slumber, and the Moon peeks through the gaps, and the spines of new floors prickle in shadow, I sequester until demolition the parts I’ve pieced out, each sealed on its own in some plastic.”

And again, so as at last to rid his mind of her crying, he breathes into the mic, and with an eye to muting for the time being at least the calling of the dark, he rasps as though choking out the words: “I put the pieces in plastic while standing in my underwear, the black with the elastic waist, and I wrapped it with tape while the music played, the tiles ever cold for my feet.”

In his mind the music of that evening is still playing, the open laptop still glows.

See him; see this man for yourself, his deed newly done. Picture this man with neither furniture nor friends, nor threadbare decoration save for shades over the windows, secondhand; not a picture in a frame nor a poster on the wall but only a candle on the tank-lid of the toilet. A pistol up on a shelf. And the light in the neighbor’s driveway, presently awakened, while inside, the fridge humming keeps body-parts chilled.

He recounts at last his chat with the neighbor, when, coming out of his house to relish the job well done—the humid night so like the heat being leeched from the pieces inside— the light in her driveway did show in its own spotlight a smoker behind a glowing tip.

Standing together under her clouds, quickly dissipated, with helpless heart she speaks. She tells him about her country, and the conflict there that since the fall of the government has taken hold of people and land alike.

He says into the mic, now savoring the words, the darkness once quenched now thirsting: “I tried with my mind’s eye to picture that great surging of violence, as though in concert with the swell of the tide, slamming against the wall at the sea—You great and roiling cloud, now ascend over this island and blot out all our stars.

I saw how with thunder and fire they did herald their reign, the deities of this pantheon, demanding of those down below blood; and how nightly these new-blooded savages did offer in their deference the hearts and heads of their victims, their altars makeshift and of stone, of cinder-block, of corrugated roofs and bicycle frames, of drift wood, of palm leaves, of the iconic bodywork of the ’57 Chevrolet.”

He folds the paper and places it back in his pocket before adjusting the cuffs of his sleeves.

And taking leave of my neighbor I lay naked in bed while outside it began to thunder; and with lightning’s residue in glass and trace blood in the sink, I wished that I, too could be there.”

Finished with his piece, amidst clapping he leaves.

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