Published on Academy of American Poets (

Untitled (Havana, 2000)

after Tania Bruguera

Queers—confirmed or suspected—were one of several groups of ‘social
deviants’ imprisoned and sentenced to labor following the Cuban Revolution.
The Cuban government has since taken responsibility, and today, trans
healthcare is provided to Cubans for free.

power falls twice: you’re either rain
or a worm reacting to it


to whom or what do you choose
to bow?


may cuba live
island her own, free from us
of a, por siempre


gusanería: worms piling
in the absence of light


you’ve entered now
your feet crunch mashed bagasse

the cool air whiffs molasses wafts 
can you feel the humans here

each distinct from their rulers?
no one name names the unnamed


hands behind your head
you have the silence to remain right

you have the silence to remain
right there, between tooth & gum


to whom do you bow
against your will?


look: looped video in darkened cove
all you see is leader smiling

leader in profile leader hugging
& kissing the masses

he bares his furry chest
sans bulletproof vest

young fidel? you would
& so would we—

what about young w. bush
or younger or older obama

& there’s that one stalin shot!
we see time after time

how politekind thirsts for stained
palms on our star-struck thighs


once you walk away
what becomes of those who cannot?


gusanería: light’s absence
piling the worms


a man who thinks himself rain
would claim any old flood was just


Copyright © 2021 by Kyle Carrero Lopez. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 16, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“I wrote ‘Untitled (Havana, 2000)’ during and about my time as a performer in Tania Bruguera’s 2018 exhibition of the same name at The Museum of Modern Art. What do you do if, in contrast to mythmaking, a leader has victimized people who weren't only 'the bad guys?' What politician hasn't harmed innocent people? Can movements thrive absent the glorification of figureheads? Coming from a family whose history differs from more typical known narratives of Cuba-U.S. immigration, I became interested in how the word ‘gusano’ has framed the Cuban-American story and sought to explore its application.”
Kyle Carrero Lopez


Kyle Carrero Lopez

Kyle Carrero Lopez is the author of MUSCLE MEMORY, winner of the 2020 [PANK] Books Contest.

Date Published: 2021-08-16

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