Blockade runners and After reading

Protesting the blockade against Cuba, Université de Montréal metro station, Feb. 17, 2023 - photo taken by an unidentified student
Protesting the blockade against Cuba, Université de Montréal metro station, Feb. 17, 2023 – photo taken by an unidentified student

Blockade runners

These our/are times
tectonic plates of
political personal collide
mount each other fuse
an inseparable meld.

This blockade she feels in her bones
walking home in Holguin
she feels in her bones
this blockade

in hard cement 
under her feet 
standing for 40 minutes
waiting to buy something 
that might not 
even be in the store 
when she gets there;

sun burning her eyes 
because she can only avoid so long
its course across the sky 
while standing here 
on block hard cement, 
waiting to buy something 
there might not 
even be 
in the store;

politics, working our way through 
daily life, guided 
as Che said a revolutionary is,   
by a great feeling of love,
standing here 
feet smarting from hard cement
eyes stinging from burning sun
running this blockade 
felt in our bones.

Blockade wounds
pirates attacking the island
it wounds
this paradise 
inside scarcity. 
Blockade runners
family abroad
yearning for home
sending home,
or rawest tourist 
gnaw away
bore little holes of justice
trickle necessities 
through the dike.

Tubes of toothpaste
rolls of toilet paper
or an ambulance and antibiotics
worm and winkle, weaken 
until crash!
the widening web of will
bears down blockade.
Manuel with Alice – Courtesy of

After reading

El Che, mi hermano / Che, my brother by Juan Martín Guevara and Armelle Vincent, and Taking the arrow out of the heart / Sacarse la flecha del corazón by Alice Walker, trans. Manuel García Verdecia
There was a time when subversive works were censured in Argentina. This is no longer the case. Today’s method is to try to prevent us reading, pushing us to watch tv, surf the web. That’s why I’m so against these means of communication. I dislike their immediacy. Now, everything has to be instant, when we should be stopping to think, to reflect. Juan Martín Guevara, trans. Katharine Beeman

The trouble with books

In the 21st century
the trouble with books, 
is their cost
and their weight,
whereas I would buy them
sow them like seeds,
blow them dandelion-like 
from one end
of Our America
to the other.

Montréal poet Katharine Beeman is a translator, editor and active member of the Canada Cuba Literary Alliance/Alianza literaria Canadá Cuba. She has published several books and each year participates in international poetry festivals such as Palabra en el mundo, festival internacional de poesía en todas partes and El festival internacional Patria Grande Latinoamérica y el Caribe.