Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Donald Wellman, "Hands"

When he reached out to receive me, I recognized 

his hands as mine. Short fingers and square palms.

I had seen similar hands in a photo of a mestiza mother by Tina Modotti.

The woman cradled her brown skinned child’s bottom,

chunky quadrilaterals

as if elements

of a Mayan glyph.

Oblong breasts pillowed his face.

I’ve slept on the lawn at Tulum

and heard the drone of Ah Muzen Cab.

Fermented honey inspired the poets of Heorot

and the poets of the Talamanca and Penobscot.

In a crevice within a garden wall

in Liberia, Melipone costarricense produce

treasured miel de jicote.

Beekeeper gods sing to a honey pot, h
eld like a bass drum, Mol Ko Chi’.

Of bearded jaguars, it is said, many ancestors display

a pencil thin mustache. Of native American square hands, she wrote

in her ethnography of California Mission Indians:

bad Indians who beat their children,

tender Indians who cried from fear,

seeking a source in caves and mountain tops.

They fled to survive, as I have, inwardly, across the river bottom.

A cloud, melanin pigmentation on the retina is also common.

(written in response to Bad Indians by Deborah A. Miranda, Heyday, 2013)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Lynette Roberts, "Xaquixaguana"

In the lake of pools
Where icebergs stand firm on the ground,
And refrain to move for beauty of their image,
Five Temples lie wounded on their sides
Each plundered and more progressive than the last.
I speak of the one with the grey-crusted sleepers
Sitting in the splint-blue cave.
Especially he, of the up-side-down burial
With arrows set like buhls in the rib of the wreck:
Who was this white man of Peru?
And what flat burial did he deserve
To stir their sandstone agave? To face emerald sky
And snarling rocks where the sun's tied up:
Lying stiff among gold filaments and animate clay
Snouting Azrael forms and intricate beads:
Those Huacas spread and exposed under cacti waterbeds
Green as tunas, weathered with poisoned alizarin darts
Who was this man who stole their store of gold?
Who found down here down Pilcomayo way,
Near lion grass and glass birds sailing the lake,
Who was he, that lies buried at the Haravec's feet
Aggrieved by this ice and basaltic sheet?