Tuesday, May 4, 2010

an emigration poem


Our hummingbirds have returned
to the bright leaves of Quetzaltenango
and whisper direful tales
of a dread shape in El Norte.

Other nervous gods
pace in the temple mist,
keeping watch over maidens cooling
calloused feet in the jungle brook.

Jaguar speaks at night
in low tones that drift
through pink adobe walls
and stir our dreaming hearts:

“Arm yourselves with love for all beings,
even for the furious ants
that stream amid the rubber trees.
Arm yourselves with love,
even for that thing with hard eyes
shambling up yonder in El Norte.

Awake with innocence;
awake into frog-song;
awake with no ambivalence.

Light the cooking fire
and pack a few belongings.
El Norte is waiting
for you, my little jaguars.

Remember as you travel
into dark imprecations:

the spirit of the Jaguar
will soften those hard eyes;

the justice of the Jaguar
will melt its bloody coin;

the anarchy of the Jaguar
will intoxicate its masses.

Remember my words
and trust they will flow,
wet with magic,
into the arms and legs
of some righteous gringos.

Trust they will fall
and wash away the border,
like those spells of old priests
brought rain and new worlds.

Only for a brittle day
shall that thing in El Norte
suck out the wits of gringos.

His catastrophe is coming. That thing with hard eyes
shall be undone by compassion. My great purse
of bones I shall rend and spill out its power
of mushrooms and weeping ghosts.

Only Jaguar Law
shall not be broken,
my rule of awful celebration.

Only Jaguar Law
is as strong as obsidian
and will not shatter
in the jaws of hatred.

And my Dance of Life will amaze those hard eyes.

And my Chaos of Life will confuse the hard eyes
of that thing standing now in El Norte.”

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