The Buena Vista Social
Smiling, seraphic Havana seniors still
musicians, are next to play Carnegie Hall.
Monuments to music that impresarios bill
for, ecstatically, standing room wall to wall.
Compay Segundo, lead guitar, ninety-two,
"seductive flowers, women love romance,
I never forget what one night can do...
soft lights, sweet music, and tangos to dance."
Eliades Ochoa Bustamente, campesino
guitar, their youngest a mere fifty-four,
from the red light district's casino,
he played for money tossed on the floor.
Found shining shoes in Havana, the man
with the golden voice, "Like finding Nat
Cole in the streets," Ibrahim Ferrer can
bolero or purr blues with the coolest cat.
Popular in the forties, Reuben Gonzales, not
dead as thought, arthritic hands ten years
away from a keyboard, in the moment as hot
as ever, sounds soaring, sad eyes shining tears.
Homera Portugando, walking her Havana street,
is like Ella doing Harlem, known to everyone.
They greet her, sing with her, the dancing feet,
her throaty songs, in love with love at sixty one.
Seven seniors of The Buena Vista Social Club
took Carnegie Hall by storm, disarming sound,
style and ambiance, part sophisticated Latin pub,
part magic music scene on hallowed ground.
In the city, children staring at tourist sights,
on stage, their transformation electrifies;
ancients from Cuba, to wild applause three nights,
supernatural music making stars we immortalize.