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#2113 - Thursday, April 15, 2005 - Editor: Jerry Katz


 

 

Gabriel Rosenstock writes:

In 1992 the poet F. X. Alarcón gave me an Aztec name, Xolotl and this is the title of one of the visionary poems in the collection...

 

Reprinted from...

 

 

Rogha Dánta

                                       Selected Poems

                       

                                    Gabriel Rosenstock

            Translated from the Irish by Paddy Bushe

 

Xolotl

 

I was born

once again

last night.

 

This time

in the shape of

Xolotl –

twin brother

of the Morning Star.

 

The other died

a sudden death

neither peaceful

nor unpeaceful

as an ending.

 

It was sudden

without sorrow

or pain

sadness

or separation.

 

In the blink of an eye

we can

change:

in truth

there is no way

but this

to our salvation.

 

 

Xolotl

who loves the deer

the eagle

            the snake

is as one

with their pain

their triumph

            their fate.

 

A new name

or duty

another

perspective.

 

a task …

to be seen

in hiding.

 

I will slip away from you

snakesilently

if you cannot see that.

 

An eye

hanging

over one cheek.

 

            There is

            companionship

            under stones

in the desert

the best of company

without envy

copulating

endlessly

without lust

without desire.

 

That lizard

blinked

an eye towards me

incredible

the energy generated

and consumed

in the wild

each millisecond.

 

I am Xolotl

voice of the desert

forged

of the silver of Venus

in verdant Ireland

I am a cloud

over Fódla

the evening star

that wakens Banba.

 

Who now

has been loved by me

or who has been wronged?

Come

to the ceremony

and to the sacrament

of reparation.

 

Love

is rooted in me

like a cactus

now

my blood

is tequila.

 

In this year

of  Our Lord 1992

I dedicate

myself

to the shade of Columbus.

 

Come and

drink of me

and this

time

go

astray

let the caravels

all go astray

let them plough

the Milky Way

let Venus be circumnavigated

let the sails be filled

with cosmic

winds

 

weep then

sailors

in the doldrums

and may every

last tear fall

over all

the deserts

of the Americas

in a downpour

of forgiveness.

 

I am Xolotl

I demand

this pilgrimage

for this universe

world

without end.

 

In the Aztec calendar

see

how we

approach

the year

two thousand

and eleven

the proclamation

of the age of justice.

 

Rejoice!

the heart

that was greedy

a cuckoo

let it rise

as an eagle

strong

majestic

watching

ceaselessly

without sleep

because now is the time

of watchfulness

the time

for mothering

we must nurture

the world

the calf

suckling

its mother

do our lips

lie on one another

so that we can

suckle

no longer?

 

Pray then

for tenderness

and for tenderness

lay your finger

on your lips.

 

                        How liquid

                        the world is

                        at its centre

                        like

                        tequila

                        that keeps it

                        eternally

                        intoxicated

                        in its orbit

                        in its ancient dance.

 

I am Xolotl

to my extremities

I learned

to dance

to walk

on the ground

as the deer

treads

with reverence.

 

There is sanctuary

everywhere

and every part of us

is sanctuary.

 

Who would raise

a hedge

or who

would destroy it?

 

Love

the smooth

stone

the pebble

the monolith.

 

Cherish

rocks

pyramids

bell towers

 

The stone

in the fruit

the acorn’s kernel

 

water –

streams

a waterfall

a lake

great rivers

the ocean

 

cherish

them

with tears

of joy

renew

them.

 

Cherish

the

four corners.

 

Cherish

the north

frost bound

the south

where the sun

kisses

the stones.

 

Cherish

the rising

cherish the setting

sun.

 

I am Xolotl

the evening star

I see

all

of these

clear as the dew.

 

Let us stretch

on

dewy

ground.

 

Prostrate

let us taste

with our tongues

that nectar

that will revive

the ancient

tongues.

 

Words, also,

are stones

to be cherished

stones

are words.

 

The more complex

the grammar

the richer

the truer

the more layered

the utterance.

 

Let

language

come forth

from caves

from souterrains

from temples

from churches

from mosques

from synagogues

from ruins

come forth

from graves

let all tongues

come

down

            up

east

            west

north

            south.

 

Let us proclaim

the congress

of all language

            the lore

of birds

            the poetry

of the people

            the songs

of turtles

            the slithery

stories

of eels.

 

I am Xolotl

at the beginning of our journey.

 

All the native women –

raped by the hombres dios

m’uilleagán dubh ó –

of the

Nahua

            Huastec

Olmec

Totonac

Mixtec

Zapatec

            Otomi

Huichol

            Cora

Zacatacan

            Tarascan

I convey them as a line of petals

to the sweat-house – the temazcall.

 

And I will lie

in the ashes

through the winter

I will eat vermin.

 

I give you

burial instructions:

bury your dead

as embryos

in the womb

as a token

that here is no end

but the regeneration of the eternal

the head

towards the southwest

for we will never

be separated

from the clay

that mothered us.

 

 

 

 

{An interlude in which Quetzalcoatl speaks through me}

 

‘I have come

Over powerful

Waves

Through the mist

Of the magicians

As bird

As water-snake

From that island

Of woods

            Of grass

Of shellfish

            Of salmon

Of horses

Of wolves

Of wild boar

            Of heroes

Of epic poems

            Of mountains

Of lakes

            Of rivers

Of hills

            Of valleys

Of chariots

            Island of heather

Island of furze

            Island of wise men

Island of gods

            Island of bards

Banba

Fódla

Éire.

 

I was

Led

Astray –

Me, Quetzalcoatl –

And I drank the wine five times

I drank the wine

Laced with the poison of toadstools

I called

On my own

Sister

And she drank, too, five times

And I lay with her –

Lay with my own sister

Whose thighs were stars

Whose breasts

Were moons

Shining

Through rain clouds

And I had to

For that heinous act

Throw myself

On a sacrificial fire

And my heart

Was consumed

So that I burn

Constantly

For all of you

As the Morning Star … ’

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey, traveller,

listen:

            Ahuicpa tic huica –

that which

you carry you do not

carry at all:

your heart!

it does not shine

through

your features

it is only

            yollotl –

a muscle

that throbbing thing

in your breast

that’s all …

nurture

it

to be

a blossoming heart –

            yoltéotl!

 

Let your heart

beat

like the womb

of the ocean

at its deepest

the brightest foam

on its skin

like the shimmer

of stars

that will light

the long nights

of the traveller:

            ixtli in yollotl –

every face a heart

and every heart a face!

delicate as a flower

durable as jade.

 

The flight of a butterfly

on a summer day

is music for strings.

 

let this concerto

that nobody hears

but Quetzalcoatl

be offered

to Him

to the Feathered Snake.

 

The snail

moves

very slowly

up

to the top

of the temple

to view

for itself

the surrounding plain.

 

Its slimy trail

is a prayer

heard

by no living being

but Quetzalcoatl.

 

Let Him

be offered

the congregation of snails.

 

Quetzalcoatl understands

the singing

of birds

morning

and evening

and understands it is for Himself.

 

Let Him

be offered

the congregation

of birds.

 

I am Xolotl

whooping towards the dawn

            joyful

and parched

            sated

and thirsty.

 

O golden sun

who nurtures corn

who is my nurture

my brother!

Creator

of rain

and drought

within me!

 

I am Xolotl

swelling towards you

in your setting.

 

I search for

and illuminate

hearts

for You

so that

they may sense

their own

illuminative madness

in You

on that marvellous day

You recreate time.

 

Did I not share

the sacrifice

with you

did I not wound

my ears

and did I not sprinkle

drops of blood

on the rekindled

fire?

 

I am Xolotl

who bestows once again

ceremony.

 

And at the end

of the twelve years

did I not

excite the children

at midnight did I not

box their ears

for fear

they might

fall asleep

and turn

into mice

gnawing away

here and there

in eternal darkness

for fear

men

and women

would turn

into wild beasts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

II

 

Ometecuhtli holds the seed …

 

the seers say

that the Lord Divine –

Ometecuhtli –

lives in lofty isolation.

 

In his hands there is a drop of water

and in that tiny drop

there is a single green seed

and that is the world for you

the wide earthly world

placed in an ocean …

 

Let no temple

be built to Ometecuhtli

I tell you

but let him glow

in every hearth

let him stir

in every penis

in every womb

until death

when flesh

will be skinned

from bone

when the winds

will be knives

what a scintillating jig

each skeleton will dance then

with the Lord of Death

Mictlantecuhtli

and his eternal lover

Mictlantecihuatl.

 

Do not mourn the children

who died before their time

for they will suckle

the Heavenly Tree of Milk

before their return

to the world …

 

Neither mourn those who drowned

and who repose now

like butterflies

in Tlalocan

constantly

giving praise to the gods

in that soft rain

that begets rainbows

at the earth’s four corners.

 

Praise without end to Tlaloc

and to his bed-companion

Chalchihuitlicue

pure and green and noble.

 

Neither mourn those

whose whole life

was sacrifice

for their people

for they will shine

brighter than silver mist

over a lake

the multicoloured plumage of birds

their headdress

messengers

between the sun

and the world –

eagles their escorts.

 

Keep flowers

in your houses

and take joy

in their perfume –

but keep your nostrils

away from their tips

for that privilege

is not for you

but for the butterflies

who are our guests from afar.

 

Happy the one

on whom Venus shines

in the morning.

 

Let him not delay

but let him prick his ears

with a cactus spike.

Let him place two drops of blood

on two fingers

as an offering to the stars.

 

Here is the proper way

to treat

the sick:

            set the patient before you

            a statue of Quetzalcoatl

            behind you.

 

Listen to the symptoms

of the sickness.

 

Lay a bedspread

between you and the patient.

 

            Place a handful of corn grain

in a shell

mixing the dark

with the light.

 

Then throw them

on the bedspread.

 

If one grain

lands on another –

an immediate recovery.

 

If they fall

an even distance

from one another –

a slow convalescence.

           

            If, however, they fall

            in separate groupings

            the patient will depart

            this life …

 

And let marigolds

be seen at All Souls

to honour

the keeper of relics

Xochiquetzal.

 

 

 

 

Xolotl

(Syójó)

 

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