Business as usual

(from Crocodile Sugar)

On my return I was unwilling to speak
about my intimate affair with Cuba
distinct from tourism I felt
defensive of the Revolution
despite the Havana shop windows
like retro 50s art installations
at first glance you’d think them a joke
sparse display cases no multiples
each object drably unique

I renewed my car insurance
got a cordless phone
a new CD player
power surge protection
my fit of consumerism
a surprise after six weeks’
relief from advertising
(Cuban billboards encourage political
awareness not shopping would it be different
if Fidel were a woman?) perhaps it was
an affirmation of choice jump
before you’re pushed into a new world
of material multiplicity designed to disorient

Future Shop induced a fit of nostalgia
for aging Russian mannequins in Simplicity
patterned dresses their chipped plaster
arms filled with memories of street music
glistening skin clad in bright colours
voluptuous flesh bursting from tight
pants and exhausted brassieres my mother
standing at her ironing board legs apart
like a patient cow swaying back and forth

I saw her as the pimply boy swiped my card
men and their bloody politics she said
referring of course to my fascist father
who ruined her life during WW2.
I remember the aftermath rationing
food love material goods
the drab displays
“business as usual”