Friday, March 7, 2014

Alfred Arteaga, Cantos 3-4

Tercero. El viaje

El viaje

White, from white Mictlan, south,
to Xopan, to Tenochtitlan,
"Nosotros descendimos hasta
el río impasible, nosotros de piel
roja, buscando la señal: una isla
en las montañas, en las nubes
claras de águilas, la serpiente
despenñada, el nopal antípoda.
A una isla mixtitlan, a la isla mixtitlan,
dimos el nombre
Isla Xochitepec."
From Aztlán, the word made motion,
tentli, yollotl, yolotia,
to eagle, to snake, to cactus,
each black.
Old man, conquistador,
Bavieca, Tizón and Colada,
father of Coyote, Chamizo,
Sambaigo and Combujo,
father of Lobo, of Barquino,
of Mulato, father of Mestizo.
"From Europe's cold black waters
to Tepeyac, Flower of the Mountain,
where sad children shall kneel
before us. In the name of Our Lady
of the Thorns, we shall baptize a
Juan-Diego Oxomoco, a Marina Nightear,
baptize a María Castellano Cortés,
a Rodrigo Río-Bravo."
And west, dark
women and pearls. "Esplandián!
Plus Ultra, Esplandián!"
Old words made blood,
old words made
Many mothers, a father who
loosed dogs one sad night,
feathers from the quetzal, a
bird who now coos in Spanish.
From the high plateau, from a
gulf town, across desert to one
river, half water, half metal. A
mesh of steel and spray, only
threaded by the mad. Railroads
to the madness, highways to the
cities of the mad, and a boat.
"J'ai rêvé le fleuve m'a laissé
descendre où je voulais." In
my dream, a woman approaches
the fence, she offers mezcal,
there is something
dead in the liquid, we
drink from the common bottle,
our skins are the same
color, in the darkness
agave and mesquite
seem one.
Lone star, bear flag,
Sea to shining ore.
To San Antonio, Santa Fe,
Monterey. To Tijuana or Juarez
Saturday night, border
Chapultepec: young girls
descend, unfurl to drunken
gringos, las heroicas, "Viva
el pinche dólar." Chapultepec,
grasshopper hill: a park
devoted to the pleasure of
marines, devoted to
grasshoppers. Three brown
girls of age stroll by, their color
Long live the land
of plenty.
"If I could fly from this
island of clouds, from this
green island of clouds, from
this green island of orange
men lions, not follow
for long months, like cattle or
breaking sea on reef.
All exiles are kings' sons, after all.
Sad Tara. Leaden sea. Bright heavens."
To Canada, America, Churubusco,
Chapultepec. Flight of John Riley.
Harp of Erin, a Shamrock, a green field.
Was it Col. Bennet Riley or was
it Capt. O'Shay? 16 hanged at
San Angel, April 9, 1847. 4 hanged
at Mixcoac, April 10. 30 hanged
at Chapultepec, grasshopper hill,
where the children heroes took
flight, April 13. The rest: 50 lashes,
an iron collar with 3 prongs, 6
inches, 8 pounds each; a head shaving;
a D branded on the cheek.
From green Tara island to
green Tenochtitlan island,
from Erin to Aztlán,
I remember,
Primero, el poder y la palabra. Napole6n
o el poder del pasado, Juárez o
el poder de la raza. Entre las
dos orillas del poder, un puente:
Carlota, que convierte
la historia de ambos poderes
en teatro. Habla la Hapsburg,
"J'aurais voulu montrer aux
enfants ces dorades, ces serpents
emplumés, cette pyramide. Les
mexicains ont bercé mes détrades,
et d'ineffables ventes m'ont ailée
par instants. Ce pays sauvage,
ce bateau perdu."

* * *

Quarto. Xronotop Xicano

Xronotop Xicano

Aguila negra, rojo chante.
Tinta y pluma.
Textos vivos,
written people: the vato
with la vida loca on his neck,
the vata with p.v., the ganga with
tears, the shining cross. Varrio
walls: codices; storefront
placazos: varrio names,
desafios, people names.
Written cars, names etched
in glass, "Land of a Thousand
Dances." Placas
and love etched in schools.
Faces of Indians branded
by Spaniards.
Faces of Irishmen branded
by Americans.
Gachupín: he who kicks
with the boot.
Yankee: new man, of the
new world, Yancuic.
Xicano: cantador, namer.