Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 16
Spring 2017

They Are Looking for Che Guevara

by Steve Kowit

The lecturer writes the phrase free enterprise on the board in green chalk.
Above it white pustular fissures appear, which is the strangler
fig taking root in that part of the map devoted to Indonesia.
The metallic pit of the fruit grown from the miracle seed of the Green Revolution
	begins ticking.
The peasants dig in. The secret bombing begins.
The porpoise & bison & whooping crane lie down on top of the lecturer’s desk 
	& begin disappearing.
Meanwhile the Huns push on to the Yalu River
searching for Che Guevara.
The CIA is hunting for him in the Bolivian Andes.
Ferdinand Marcos & 6,000 Green Berets are hunting for him in the Philippines.
Ian Smith is hunting him down in Zimbabwe.
A small flame appears in the map of Asia;
it is that part they have burnt down searching for Che Guevara, queen-bee
	of the revolution.
They are hunting for him in Angola, Korea, Guatemala, the Congo, Brazil, Iran,
	Greece, Lebanon, Chile.
9,000 Ozymandian paratroops drop over Santo Domingo with searchlights searching
	for him.
He is not there. He is gone. He is hiding among the Seminoles.
He throws the knife into the treaty with Osceola.
He conspires with Denmark Vesey.
In Port-au-Prince he is with Toussaint.
He reappears later at Harper’s Ferry.
He is in Nicaragua, in Cuba where they have embargoed the rain.
The CIA has traced him to Berkeley, but he is in Algeria too
& Uruguay, Spain, Portugal, Guam, Puerto Rico.
Not all the ears of the dead of Asia will lead them to him.
He goes home, embraces his wife, embraces Hildita, embraces the children
	of Buenos Aires,
gives his compadre Fidel an abrazo, lights his pipe,
pours a cup of maté, takes a pill for his asthma,
cleans his rifle, reloads it, writes the First Declaration of Havana.
Torpedoes of Intergalactic Capital, Inc. blow up the screaming hair of the global
B52s drone overhead. It is dawn. They are checking every frontier. They are looking
	for Che Guevara.


—Reprinted with kind permission from Mary Kowit, from Steve Kowit’s collection of poems, Lurid Confessions (Serving House Books edition, 2010; first and second editions originally published by Carpenter Press in 1983)

See also Paul Fericano’s tribute to Steve Kowit, [In Every Word].

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury