by próspero saíz
it is night
the hour of our love
the bed of dead leaves
where i alone embrace you
your shame like mine is not a fiction
it is a womb full of white pus and maggots
and the sublime inquisitors must eat it all
for your unfolding shame and purity
i too will eat my portion now again
as the brown thighs spread the pages of the night
here sever my left thigh from my body
and beat the brains out of the poets
as the white thick pus flows to the sea
and the maggots sprout yellow wings and fly
bury the brains of the poets deep in your purple anus
i will sing the hot jaguars
twisting and clawing at our heat
weave the tall grasses devoured by the hungry yellow moon
it is night
the hour of our love
the bed of dead leaves crumbles
MALINCHE your absence is hot
as i salute my death
to Acachinanco i go prisoner
unafraid every lonely night
every lonely morning the sun shines never in celebration
i watch them
take me there covering their noses with rags
stepping over fly scorched decaying indian corpses
aya a terrible buzzing invades the head
MALINCHE your absence is cold
i mutilated remain a memory
a living memory
for they have cut off my head and baptized me
they have nailed my head to a cottonwood tree
they have cut out my tongue and feed it to vultures
to shame me they mangle my testicles
scrape off my skin
gouge out my eyes
tear out my nails
burn my hair and
ground up my penis
MALINCHE you are the witness
i remain mutilated i remain and sing
as birds peck at my eyes dreaming in the grass
why are you afraid
is the form of my mutilation not perfected
the form is blank and bespeaks itself
it rattles dread in silence
aya dread and fear aya fear and dread aya
i know why others fear me
aya my apache head too fierce
singing the absent chant
aya my navajo hands too beautiful
skilling silver birds
aya my mexican arms too hard
writing the broken stone
my chicano legs and feet too slender
and swift mapping mountain and river
all the backs will not bend
all the desert bones have been stripped
broken pottery scattered on mesquite mounds
my golden basket once soothed them together
but the heart is unwoven today
it is gone
aya my aztec belly taut as drumskin cannot be opened
the hand the knife entered through the chest
my heart has been ripped out by the roots
and thrown out to the fierce northern wind
aya my heart my apache head my navajo hands
my chicano legs and feet my tired back my aztec torso
aya all my parts go in search of you
they ask each passing shadow where you are
they ask each tree lake and mountain and desert too
they ask the unborn child deep away looking to aztlan
there standing still the land of white sands
aya my heart
we search both night and day for you
where are your remains
corazon solo solo solo
heart alone alone alone
i sit lonely as a black gallows tree
awaiting the feather kiss of the fragile bird of song
nest in me oh quivering feather
nest in me bird of blue
nest for the blinking of an eye
bring me a twig of green
just for a moment nest
oh magic feather and i wont echo my sad refrain
solo solo solo corazon
where oh where are you my glorious bird of blue
your soft feathers molted on the thorns of the winter
but your proud mother of pearl beak flies
oh beautiful bird of blue
fly malinche fly
but remember the heart remember the northern horizon
and remember the southern sea they seem two blue waves
merging in the one distant blueness
aya they are not one blue
not the blue of blue aya
do not confuse them in your glorious flight
the sky is always sky the sea is always sea
rise rise rise
renew your proud plumage
high over the black gallows tree
quick quick quick
quick malinche go
they cannot defile you now
fly fly fly
blue into blue
spread your fragile wings and rise
rise into the light of my night
and as your shining beak plucks the shooting star
open your brown eyes to the frost of mother moon
and remember my light remember our night
and remember how we used to sing
night i rest
moon shines into
lips put in place
trees and flowers
she plucks the shadows of the flowers eats their bloom
i see her veiled by the light
the beautiful grief of the moon is my beam of silence
the splendor of the moon dies
my lips open to a gentle breeze
she rides a silken yellow scarf into the vanishing clouds
i am still here.
miguel hernandez. . . . poeta del corazon
i love your heart
you had a bigger heart than any man, miguel,
and it beat calmly, without mourning, tolling
slowly the omens of a pain still coming to be born
i have long been looking for your heart, miguel,
i found it this morning but i found more,
your heart lies crushed beneath a black boot
and a bayonet of hunger has nailed the body
of your 8-month old son and the hands of your wife
to a dying olive tree beneath the hot sky of Spain
i wanted to greet you this morning, miguel,
but now i cannot and i wanted to ask,
do the hard goats still graze in Alicante. . .
miguel, i wanted to offer you a breakfast of love
and have you wash it down with the milk of the she-goat
see the hard skinny goats move through Orihuela
oh, miguel, where is the loving herder
he is not there but look his silent lips
march in long uneven columns over the hot hills
even as the bell of the goat tolls in the distance
buenos dias, próspero, I cannot eat my belly's filled with jail
please feed the milk gently to my 8-month old son
and clean the black frosty onion from his five tiny teeth
see the hard skinny goats move through Orihuela
where is the
he is not there but look his exhausted lungs stand trial
even as the slowly ringing bell tolls the dying of the day
did not you hear me right my poet your son is gone
the cradle is empty and the bull is again down in the hot afternoon
he wants to rise up but his proud back throbs with tuberculosis
and the heart has gone out of the picadores who must yet look on
even as soft thin songs move in shadow through the jails
where is the loving herder, miguel
where is the song going
he is no longer here but look his sad searching eyes
march in long uneven colums across the hot hills
and the song knells the beating of a sole white sheet in the wind
even as coffins on wheels clatter at five in the hot afternoon
hermano, amigo, i love your heart
you have a better heart than any man, miguel,
and i have found it today in the winter
i want to take it in my hands without shame
i want to kiss it on the mouth with love
i want to lick out the disease with my tongue
and blow away the hard red dust that clogs the eyes
so you can tell us once again of the horror
so you can tell us once again of the beauty
of your life and days to the tolling of the bell
even as the rest of us sing in chorus
the black boot circles the world over and over again
it does not lift from the heart struggling to beat
again and again it kicks the voice from the throat
and the heart finally ceases and goes to burial
a terrible pain is still coming to be born, miguel
where are the other voices,
The River Speaks El Indio Calavera
Río GrandeCuando el río suena. . . when the river roars, it bears water. The indian skull floats south to north, north to south. Speaks in the eddies. Banks: the silent lips of el indio. When the river is silent, a hushed head is caught in the nets of absence. In the north the river is south; in the south, the river is north. Easterly flow meeting the sun. Lips tremble.
GuatamalaMany years before you. I nearly died there: Río de la Pasión. A diminutive brown Indian woman cared. Humble paradise, the quiet waters of the Lago de Izabel. To the mountains this time. Close to Méjico. Close to the Pacific Ocean (uncanny name for those waters). Guatamala healed me once and sent me north to you.
MéjicoI sit in Matamoros. It is hot. It is humid. The gulf is vast: it touches the blue sky, a thousand miles away?
I sit frozen, brown. I contemplate the journey. It is infinite. It will be hard. I will become hard, again. I think of your softness; but the gulf is vast... and the long river has no water for my skull.
I must move soon. Down to Uxmal. I shall weep at the ruins. I shall dream of human sacrifice in the dark wells. I will dream of your colors. Flowers always follow sacrifice. But the dream must end.
A warrior must never look back. Back. There is always someone there. Far back. In the north. Fall is coming brilliantly. And soon winter ice and snow. Your strong softness blends so well into that winterscape. . .
At Río Lagarto--I shall begin to forget the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico and shall wipe away all of my memories on the trip to Ciudad Chetumal. Is that possible? I hope I have the strength to forget and to breathe in new air.
I wave goodbye to the north and to the Yucatan (the yuccas remind me of you, panicles of shadow-blossoms floating in blue- green waters: eerie serene faces of the one innocent face, at peace).
The river runs fast into the mouths of lovers.
No turning back now: only victory or death. I shudder at the sound Belize.
LaredoConcatenation. Violence. A hard dry chain. I was tied to previous birth, previous death. They all exceeded mine (especially that of a long-limbed brown war woman).
The desert once again, and you in the watery north, so soft, so moist, haunted by desire, sustained by wishes. Anguished. Waiting.
The news came back, a minor event: a cold knife flashed, blood flowed, an unknown traitor fell. He was buried (cold is the grave for us all). And the wounded animal hid in the desert that night, cold, moonless, wanting to cry, but would not even whimper.
The sun came out. As always. The desert keeps its secrets well. Winds and sands. Kind to the spirit. Would he look back to love? When hands of skull are buried, the desert wind intones: requies... But who or what shall rest? Time will not tell.
The night and the distant lights of Nuevo Laredo remained.
AlbuquerqueThis was my past (time has no image). Sandia Mountain. The brown high desert of my very brownness. The weight of night lifted away by a tawny cord (lost to sight). Her tugs are violent. Fate at my side fishing for something, smiling, and irresistible.
Your eyes, scars weeping for life--begging to be born-- inside of you. Gratuitous violence, life, come into the world again and again. Blood in veins, bones swaddled in flesh.
El indio del norte. Death skulls for hands. Give conjugal caress to the dusty one. Your miracle of blood is not as quick. You too would cast a spell. Mine long since cast. Dead men chanting in the dust-rays of the setting sun. A blast shattered the dark aquarium. Strange bulging eyes of fishes, final witnesses. She disappeared again. Something heard. The dust settling. A voice in flamenco rhythms: "you must love your fate, my beloved!"
Winslow, ArizonaA small brown boy. The butte, far and near. No time no space. Alone. The desert calls, brown, dry. Artificial flowers gathering summer dust in a cemetery. The butte is only warmed by the sun. It does not burn. Dead, alive, the wind will not say.
an indian is a lonely thing
The tall Navajo does not moan, does not beg for mercy. Struck in the face Will a Navajo blanket be his shroud? Drunk or proud (does it matter to the six grey veined fists?). Gun butts beat head and hands: fingers burst open, blue and purple life painted on white glistening bone.
the painted desert lives inside of us too
The tall Navajo will not let go of the telephone pole on first street. A cop stops, looks at the freight train and waves to the engineer. The Navajo's eyes are swollen. They will not close. His lips are bruised. They will not open. Mouth and eyes are dry somehow, peaceful in the copper face of pain
the history of a race
What does he know, kissing that pole of death? The boy dreams of a pinto pony with sharp hooves: they will race the desert wind to the top of the dark butte. Hair and mane will flow smoothly--to be braided by the rising horizon. The jackrabbits will dig and dig and dig in the cemetery.
moist scent of flowers
a sound in the air
in the wilderness
what is heard
an old dead mesquite tree
the dream in the night
the brown girl alone
eyes closed chanting
to the soothing rhythm
of bright red rivulets
running down her thighs
touching the earth--there
turning to flowers
boughs born in the night
caressed by the dry wind
the flower-covered fawn
sparsely flowered antlers
sleepy eyes dreaming the flower
strange blue hummingbird
unseen wings vibrating rapidly
in the light blue wilderness
seeking the flower's nectar
blades of grass and leaves
the red sun a growing flower
a flower-covered blue fly
crawling on the fawn's antlers
black clouds piling up
the blue mountain is lost
copper and black rolled flower
caressing hard black hooves
ah the flower covered grove
where the antlers touch
the old dead mesquite tree
the fawn dangles hanging
tail twitching on the white branch
where the rivulets are stopping
a soft sobbing is heard
eyes wide open and misty
a fawn's head bleeds
Song To Chineca
Tonight I want to declare myself for you
the river of blood, a sea of roan blood: this kiss shivered upon your lips.
Your breasts are really too round to resume a story in. Enchant me. Tell
me the tale of that lunar beauty spot without countryside.
Chineca we kiss each other on our names.
Your company is a spelling book; I shall finish myself without hearing you.
The white clouds don't come out of your head (there are fishes which do not
breathe). Your hair doesn't cry because I gather it in, stroking your
neck. You quiver as joy goes on mounted wings. A figure astride my bent
arms secretly covers wanting, in cavalcade--young angel of death, love.
On your waist there is nothing but my quiet.... Your heart shall escape
through your lipping mouth while wanting turns mourning purple.
This countryside hearabouts is dead.
A rolling stone says nudeness is in the process of be-coming. Recline,
clandestine. On your forehead are drawings of my burning eyes. The
bracelets of gold wrap round water and your arms are clean, amazingly
clean of reference (don't wrap round my neck arms for I'll believe that it
will nighten dark). The thunder claps beneath the earth.
No: caution can't be fully seen; an asphyxia out of the mouth. Your teeth
white are in the center of the earth. Yellow birds spin borders round your eyelashes.
But what to do?
Yes if I touch you here, your breast isn't sweet basil: but that red flower,
hot. I suffocate. The world is hurling itself down, headlong down up around steep climb.
The Magnolias shall grow. Woman you armpits are cold in the distance. The
roses shall be so coldly big that they'll drown out all eternal noises. Under
the arms feel the rhythm of the world heart made of chamois. Chineca. What
a kiss! Upon your back, a waterfall of clean water: tells me of your destiny.
I wait--the voice nearly lately mute or not too suave. Alone the rough voiced
cough shall spit out those obscure flowers. the lights shall kneel to earth,
taking root at mid day. Earth and fire is your name; your lips taste of...
far away. A shower of petals crushes my spinal column (but I can bear the burden
can't I): Or shall I drag myself like a serpent to you tonight?
A hole of dried tongue neatly fitted with discretion into vacuuuuum raises its
fury and gallops across my forehead. Buried. I open my eyes to moist heaven.
You're not there. Here where I sit the world is showered with hollow ferns,
empty phalloi. I, you, where.
cut me off in sections of perfection and let my equal parts drag themselves
across the piebald earth to.... Buried. I sweat at bone and skin under the working
burden and my words limp as a spavined horse. We kiss each other on our
The void lacks mist!
The wet carp dancing in your hands
slips between the darkness of your legs
(and the poem rants at the quiet reeds).
Swift silver salmon,
Leaper of moons,
Keep to the salt seas,
What good are rapids?
The sea knows no limits, The poem, alas, is of fresh water,
And scales the rapids but once. . .
The holy tortoise shell long since departed. Small bejeweled turtle shells line the window sills. The stupor of the light shines in. The poem awaits, oh holy shell, the elegy of darkness.
The poem sleeps beside you. You want to make love to its dream. But you cannot open the legs of its more primitive language. You are free to try, again and again (it will not resist). Your only possibility: awaken. Lying beside you, the cry of the poem gives you your silence. Desire!
The poem--a ghostly place that is not yours. It has no need of trees or earth or clouds, luxuriant landscapes; it has no need of homes or beds or any shelter. It has no need of language or of words. It has no need of life. It has no use for you or for itself. It is, the poet is not!
Go, small poem,
Quit man's destitute abode,
Time gives still.
The poet cannot conform to the world, but is made to do so anyway. The poem, therefore, always abandons him. When the poem abandons him the poet convinces himself that the poem is unfinished. Worse still, he believes that he can finish it! This compounds his conformity.
The poet has nothing of importance to say to man. Why? Because for the poet man does not yet exist.
The poet desires the freedom (the power) to be a true dissident. But the poem has no space for moral values: it is wholly without power. Alas, there is no thought free enough to say what this means.
The tip of the poet's tongue is cold with desire. The poem's passion is hot in his mouth. It steals a few words.
The poet solidly inhabits the earth. The poem floats in endless space. Earth: Heaven: Never-ending Polemos.
The poet's lips would hold the fiery flower's blossom. The poet's tongue would wet the flower's organ: there the ovary, there the stigma, there the style! A holy rhythm would shake the anther! He would woo all night, stamen within petals, and would inhale forever the flower's perfume. The poet's mouth would faithfully take vows. But the poem's speech is not for procreation. It will never marry anyone.
Return to Light and Dust Poets.
Published in The Bird of Nothing & Other Poems by Ghost Pony Press. Copyright © 1993 by Ghost Pony Press.
Light and Dust Mobile Anthology of Poetry.