In Havana – For J. Elizabeth Coppola 1961-2000

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April 17, 2017 by The Citron Review

by Bruce Isaacson


It happened twenty years ago and
it happened last night—it happened
outside time. Eli. Came to me
in a dream, with her soft sweet cheeks,
her gentle wolf eyes, thin frame in
leather coat, she came, filling the air
of patchouli, rawhide, and rain.
We were on our way to Havana,
we were pushing at the door, the ten-ton
door of possibility, the one Miss Emily
pushed open just a smudge. Light shone
thru the crack in the door and Eli
was entranced, craned her lovely
neck to see, she was staring and
smiling, and the light cascade
off her, like poems, like all the
sweethearts of Havana, hopeful,
bare-shouldered, brave, like Eli
facing down desire & affliction, like
Eli talking back at the divine, all that
fierce affection spilling over, on her
friends, on lost loves, on her poems, even
on her dog. Maybe she was gifted, naturally
delivered to some fire of genius, of heart,
or maybe her Mom & Dad taught her to
love life so’s to make the gods jealous,
who knows, not I, I made books for her
poorly, sent her roses, again poorly, even
now I’m so grateful to have had her
but I never had her at all. Maybe except
somewhere in Havana, in a dream, in some
mythical city of the dominion of the
kingdom of Poesy, where warriors of
feeling are fed, where we can change
our own hearts to the wiser, where we
make the world better, where love
is never lost, where I loved her, last night,
twenty years ago, in a place outside
time, where the music play in our
blood, in this mythical Havana,
where Eli lives today
in a dream.


Bruce Isaacson is the first Poet Laureate of Clark County, Nevada. He is the publisher of Zeitgeist Press, with over 100 books to date, and has lived in Michoacan, Mexico, New York City, Los Angeles, Berkeley-San Francisco, and Leningrad, Russia.


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