Poem For Roberto Vargas And The Nicaragua Freedom Fighters

by Al Winans

This poem is for you Roberto

And for Ed “Foots” Lipman too

This poem is for every poet

Who ever paced the cellblocks

Of San Quentin, Folsom, Attica, and Neil Island

Or fought the people’s struggle in Chile

Cuba or Nicaragua

This poem is for those who walk

The dream of freedom with guerilla visions

In their hearts and eyes

This poem is for those who gave their lifeblood

To wash the streets free of oppression

For those who rest in heroic and not so heroic graves

In the struggle for human dignity

I sit here in my seventy-fifth year

Thinking of young boys who have fought the real war

Of grieving mothers and widows

Thinking of young girls with color-book eyes

Young women in black suspender belts

And knee high leather boots

With revolutionary roots

Thinking of how the words come too late

And never say enough

Knowing that in the Buddha Temple of life

All things must die

Knowing there is no survival

No tarot cards horoscopes or incantations

To bring back the dead

I walk the midnight supermarket of death

Thinking of Lorca and that long dirt road

Thinking of the execution wall

The hangman’s noose

Ethnic cleansing ovens and genocide

Hearing the gypsy ballad that sings to the heavens

Knowing there is a strange code to this language

We are addicted too

As Gene Fowler pointed out to me

Evil spelled backwards is live

Being made into a State automated robot is evil

But dying is not evil

For it is in its whole the disintegration

The Bacterial feeding which in turn is a live process

And so the fight goes on and must go on

Until every street has been cleared of assassins

Until every newborn is encircled in a poem

The spirit lives on in those passed the baton

The vision can’t be killed

Even as we retreat into the depths of our being

Listening to the blood beat solid against

The walls of the heart

A heart bent but not broken

Knowing there are secrets in the bones

That cannot be denied or sold out

To the whims of others

Sleep well my departed comrades

Only the flesh is gone

Your strength lives on in those who dare

To reach out and kiss the sun