A Coconut Story: In Memory of Poet-Journalist-Revolutionary Alex Martin Remollino


A bunch of coconuts crashes
To the earth below
With each deft tug
Of a picker’s arm
On his bamboo pole.
A shout away,
A cart of coconuts
Tumble out,
Without disturbing the
Focused gaze
Of a brown-skinned farmer
Clutching a nut
Over a blade
Glistening in the shade,
Its white meat
Falling like clock-work
From the husk.
In the oil mill,
Beads of sweat
Grace a worker’s head,
His hands warming
A machine’s lever
With a steady grip,
Each breath taking in
The sweet scent
Of crude coco oil,
The fruit of successive toil,
Mind and muscle,
Creating its rich value,
Measured in the
Precious, customary
Hours and days,
Of labor, from seed to oil.
From a distant harbor,
A ship steals away
Its familiar cargo of crude coco oil,
Destined for giant ports
On the other side of the globe,
The rich side,
Rotterdam, sometimes, New York,
And after, factories of soap,
Glycerin, bullets and bombs,
Fashioned from coco oil,
Paid for by letters of credit
Bought at mere fortieth of value
From this archipelago
Of golden nuts
And brown hands
Exploited into poverty,
Fried by its own oil,
Charred into feudal darkness.

Share This Post