Here are three poems I wrote as a result of a trip I took to Mexico in 1972 with my parents and younger brothers, plus an old boyfriend who was a good friend of my Mother’s. We went there to scope out a building site for a school that my parents helped raise the next summer in a small village outside of the city of San Luis Potosi.
San Luis Potosi in July
red clay plaza flooded into mud
we walk eating soft fruit
after the cathedral we eat
among the vines
the path orange red mud
wading the flood we eat fruit
silent but for
juice from soft flesh
and dripping vine
faldas splashed bright
on bases of statues
women eat and talk
children play in water
and we walk silent
and the muffled release of
red clay mud.
Of Reading Pearl Buck
San Juan Teotihuacan
Today is large headaches
and dreaming of the Son of Heaven
a Dragon Throne residing somewhere beyond
unresolved skies so gray and helpless
and on the throne no emperor
but five clay cats from Jalisco
oh we get hopelessly mixed here
among the cultures
I scaled the pyramid last week and sat
an Aztec against the sky
that sky so unresolved and gray
it is the rainy season.
A Present to Steve
For Christmas and My Birthday ’72
This small statue
for it darkens
under palm moisture)
is a relic of expedition,
a climb on those steep vertigo steps
to the top of the sun’s pyramid,
where the Mexican vendors
spread their wares on strips of felt
after they had run
like spirits in diagonal ascent,
in flying braids, shawls, and Levi’s.
Passing us turistas
they flung themselves up in laughter
while I rested yet again
too intent on my vertical path
laboring toward another’s heaven.
At the top I found stone gods
and intiial disgust at their
cruel blood insinuations;
so I held my varicolored money
and scanned the distance
for a sight of
the too-distant sea.
But I did barter for this small god of lust,
this virile figure dressed in a leer,
and although I had planned to give it to another:
and although I had climbed to it with yet another:
at this moment,
this moment in our colder culture,
this moment in kaleidoscope space,
I give it to you.
Copyright 1972, 2017 Timi Townsend. All rights reserved.