Tag Archives: constellations

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.

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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.

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

As If The Rain by pd lyons from The Women Retrospect


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As If The Rain

Emily Dickinson used to sneak out.

Sometimes in day light, mostly at night.

Tip toeing carefully down the back stairs

Even though nobody else was there.

Always a hat a shawl or a veil

To keep the neighbours off her trail.

Walking along the streets of the town

Glimpses her reflection among dry goods and gowns

And in the shop she has been seeking makes her purchase from a little man who has always honoured their agreement

And never Miss Emily’s secrets revealed.

Bag of tobacco, skins and matches snapped up in her bag.

While wrapped in brown paper knotted with string – a bottle of port

tucks under her wing.

Emily Dickinson used to sneak out.

Later that night she did it again.

Carefully tip toeing down the back stair

Even though nobody else was there.

Making her way out to the train station,

Counting the stars as she sat on the bench,

Named new constellations while she was waiting.

A shudder of sighs defined by an overcoat of stains

he sits down beside her.

Rodent hands desperate in deep dead end pockets

Until, rusty knife retrieved by one opened by the other

String and paper, slit and peeled

Turbulent mouth not spilling a drop.

Until eased back against the slats.

Things he knows he tells her ~

Crossing the country by freight. Tin can meals around a fire.

Men who only knew for certain that they’d not meet again.

Bones broken by horses. Bayonets emerging from a fog.

What it’s like on the other side of the ocean.

Names of young girls, young men.

Who might be living? Who might be dead?

And sometimes, only warm smoke shapes between them linger

As if the rain would never come again on a Tuesday night in Amherst…

 

Wrote this in the late nineties.  Sent it off with a few others to a small Irish poetry magazine called Brobdingnagian Press (if i remember correctly) the pun was that each issue was one sheet of broad sheet paper with small poems printed all over it. Any way this was much too long for it although the editor was kind enough to accept one or two of the shorts. The embarrassing part was that while he appreciated the Amherst poem, being an aficionado of Emily, he did suggest that i might want to spell her last name correctly when sending to other editors.

anyway we had a bit of a laugh over that, Em and I and then went down to the waterfront. it was autumn and a storm was heading in….

a version of this poem appeared in The Yes Factory first issue 2012  https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B58yt4q1_WOpenRMa3RCczVqMlE/edit?pli=1

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