Xunantunich, by pd lyons – from Myths of Multiplicity


In 1990 I was lucky enough to travel to Belize. For half the trip we were doing a horse trekking in the highlands. We stayed at a former orange plantation – i remember most vividly the  of free flying parrots. They were elegant airborne acrobats so unlike those domesticated souls back in the states. We wold ride through the jungle for hours sometimes lunching by water falls, or swimming into limestone caves. we each were issued a machete to lop off the foliage as we rode. It was deemed poor etiquette to not do your fair share of keeping the trails clear. occasionally we’d pass trees of ripe citrus – reach up from horse back and pick one. Our guide had worked with Harrison Ford on a film based in Belize. He told us he really liked Harrison and became friendly with him. So much so that Harrison promised to take him back to America where he could work for him. But this never happened and now he didn’t like Mr. Harrison Ford too much no more.

Xunantunich is a Mayan  site. It had been excavated years ago, a pyramid complex. The steps of which were terrifyingly steep and slippery with wet limestone. All to quickly we would be done with our days of 4-6 hour rides and return to Belize City our only solace being to go on and spend a week on Ambergris Caye discovering the sea.

DSC_8253

Xunantunich

The silent policeman
Lay himself down
Across the great western highway
Tired from watching everyone
He wants a return to dreaming
A return to those days of the high bush
Those days of the interior.

Swimming into limestone caves
Box of toucan matches
Lighted lantern
Floats on a little block of wood
While on a smoke of kerosene
Coming back to him now, the words of his fathers:
“So now you know. Everything is alive.”

The silent policeman
Lay himself down
Across the great western highway
Tired of growing heavy with the world
He wants a way
To avoid
End of Paradise Hotels
ESSO drums
Coca-Cola CESSNAS
To return
To those days of the interior.

Behind his eyes bare foot women light the lamps
Honey shadows seep up into a palm thatch
While owls make questions of constellations
And rolling in from across the valley
A hush answers “From the pale eye of the hunter
A single tear drop fell arching over an unseen face
It touched Earth and disappeared.”

Ring tail ghosts come by
Soft grey kisses through white jungle nets of night
Beyond an ancient plaza
Immersed in some whisper of wings
Jealous eyes of jaguar
Two great gold pearls on the edge of rain.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

DSC_8247http://www.metbelize.com/lodging.html

(unfortunately I did not get custody of the photos so none from Belize)

2015 NOTE – in setting up this blog post i search for some info re Xunantunich and found this piece of info kind of interesting, keep in mind i wrote the piece on my flight home in 1990 –  from Wikipedia listing –

Xunantunich’s name means “Stone Woman” in the Maya language (Mopan and Yucatec combination name), and, like many names given to Maya archaeological sites, is a modern name; the ancient name is currently unknown. The “Stone Woman” refers to the ghost of a woman claimed by several people to inhabit the site, beginning in 1892. She is dressed completely in white, and has fire-red glowing eyes. She generally appears in front of “El Castillo”, ascends the stone stairs, and disappears into a stone wall.[citation needed]

Xunantunich – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xunantunich
LyonsCover01fin)

myths of multiplicity by pd lyons 2014 runner up erbacce poetry prize

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