Insula Cuba in the Reign of Caesar Fidelis Castrus

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The capitalist hordes have overrun Mozambique,
destroying our glorious Guevara and Lenin Legions.
The campaign to liberate Africa has failed.
Generals order decimation, and every tenth
olive-green legionnaire gets stoned to death in the Forum
of Coconut Palms while praetors play dominoes,
drink cuba libres to the sound of guarachas
sung to Das Kapital. Down the Boulevard
of Sugar Cane, right across from the Pantheon
of Papayas, Patricians of the Order of the Ripest Guava
scourge anyone who sings the Guantanamera
without shouting Ave Fidelis, Ave Caesar Fidelis.

Disguised as a blind lottery seller,
a sagging mastiff named Che by his side,
Horace is caught on Plantain Hill distributing dactyls
of counterrevolution. A mob of maenads
pummels him with cane cudgels to the beat
of tumbadoras played by the Sybils of Varadero.

As rumors of civil war circulate in the Forum,
a phalanx of pregnant women (and their skinny donkeys)
ransacks an imperial warehouse with ten thousand
amphorae of white rice, black beans, brown sugar.
Riots erupt nightly in the coconut-cobbled streets.
The vestal rumberas burn their red maracas.
Soothsayers blow conch shells as they cast kola nuts
and cowries that predict the death of socialism.

At the Capitoleum, Our Maximum Leader,
Caesar Fidelis Castrus, declares augury a crime
against the Socialist State. A thousand cohorts
of the Hammer and Sickle raid all tenements
for palmists, oracles, geomancers, turtle’s-gut readers.

And poor Tiresias, toothless, gourd-breasted,
his bald head wigged with corn husks, the draggiest
drag queen of conga-line sybils in the Caribbean
(just released from a labor camp for the state crime
of fellatio on a priest sworn to communist chastity),
gets picked up in a brothel of bovines and is put against
the Wall of Weepers, the praetorians aiming their AK-47’s,
and just as soon as Caesar in his imperial guayabera
of gold turns down his fat thumb, the multitude shouts,
Paredón, paredón, let’s drink the biggest bowls of ron.