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Monday, November 13, 2017


by Judith Terzi

The Trump administration announced tight new restrictions Wednesday on American travel and trade with Cuba, implementing policy changes President Trump announced five months ago to reverse Obama administration normalization with the communist-ruled island. Under the new rules, most individual visits to Cuba will no longer be allowed, and U.S. citizens will again have to travel as part of groups licensed by the Treasury Department for specific purposes, accompanied by a group representative. Americans also will be barred from staying at a long list of hotels and from patronizing restaurants, stores and other enterprises that the State Department has determined are owned by or benefit members of the Cuban government, specifically its security services. —The Washington Post, November 8, 2017. Havana photo by Judith Terzi.

To Barack Obama

Like the Roman deity Janus, you looked
to the past & the future. Janus––god of time.
God of gates & passages. God of trade.

Yes, trade. Shadowy jumble of words &
punishment emerges today from the WH.
No golf resorts, no ties, no towers, no art

of the deal. The future is opaque, grieves
the loss of your imagination, your
luminosity, your esperanza. No sunrise

today over restoration in Old Havana,
over skyscrapers along Avenida de los
Presidentes, over Hemingway's weary

Corona, over John Lennon's statue in
Lennon Park. No sunset watch from Fort
Morro, from Lucky Luciano's sunlit rooms

at the Hotel Nacional where John Kerry's
photo hangs over a bar, where Nat King Cole
hangs out in bronze, & a sculpture

of Isadora Duncan surprises in the lobby
of this hotel now blacklisted for Americans.
Can we still use their bathrooms? Can we

still drink their mojitos, smoke Cohibas
on the terrace after La Parisienne show?
Can we still speak to the two Parisian

couples fêting their marriages, or tourists
from Jamaica, Shanghai, Czech Republic,
Germany, Barcelona, Chile, & México?

These travelers on their own, alone. Can we
still walk through the bunker, stark reminder
of the verge of war––the Missile Crisis. Can

we still climb to the top of this blacklisted
hotel & view our Embassy & the cruise
ships beyond & wish you were here?

EDITOR’S NOTE: TRAVEL TO CUBA WITH THE AUTHORS GUILD FOUNDATION: "New Cuba Trip Added by Popular Demand February 10-17, 2018 (December and November trips are SOLD OUT) Please note that recent sanctions on travel to Cuba prohibit individual travel; however, it is legal to visit Cuba with a group led by a licensed educational organization. The Authors Guild Foundation trip qualifies under the new restrictions."

Judith Terzi's poems appear or are forthcoming in journals and anthologies including Caesura, Columbia Journal, Good Works Review (FutureCycle Press), Myrrh, Mothwing, Smoke: Erotic Poems (Tupelo), Raintown Review, Unsplendid, and Wide Awake: The Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond. Her poetry has been nominated for Best of the Web and Net and included in Keynotes, a study guide for the artist-in-residence program for State Theater New Jersey. Casbah and If You Spot Your Brother Floating By are recent chapbooks from Kattywompus Press.