Friday, April 8, 2011

319. In the Mountains, the Various Acts of Faith

Born of the sea but I am

Of the mountains I live

Under the sky

Close enough to taste blue.

It was a long time ago I lived
in the Andes, within a vision
of Mount Chacaltaya, always
snow, giant dry eucalyptus
always around me, the grave
loneliness of brown mountains.

Even living on a mountain
I lived at the foot of another,
first on the thirteenth street
arriving at night, under
houselight, five siblings,
my parents, arriving by
bus, having walked from
Peru across a bridge to
Bolivia, and I was the first.

At that height above my
birthplace by the sea, air
was thin, lungs grew to
hold all of it in, I became
of the mountains, weeks
on the sides of them, to the
tops, and burrowing into
caves, even without light
because light can’t help
me feel my way through.

I was young, just come from
multitudinous bands of blue
of the Caribbean laying itself
out from Barbados, world of
endless summer, moved onto
a mountain and a bigger
sky than an ocean can allow
to contest its dominion, sky
wide enough to always hold
a condor within it, circling
and so huge it was still a
dot kilometers away and
always silent, distant, no
part of that world ever
close to me, save for the
mountain itself, and air.

Life moves always from places
to others, so we drove up to
the wide dark flat barren
altiplano, down into the moist
hot Yungas, more tropical than
the Caribbean, and hunting ducks
in flat water near the sky,
where a young boy confirmed,
Sí, hay elefantes, pero son muy
pequeños, out to Oruro for the
carnival, and a few kilometers
north to La Paz itself (nuestra
señora) for Alasitas. My Ekkeko
lives in a window of my house
surrounded by his tiny bounty,
sacks of quinoa and flour, toys,
money, a miniature house the
shape of the one I would live in.

Traveled out to Tiahuanaco,
gathering tiny bits of pottery and
searching for seeds of lapis lazuli,
to Lake Titicaca, and an island
for the moon, another for the sun,
and I couldn’t tell the difference,
found trilobites everywhere, had
to collect each one, visited the
pockmarked face of the earthly
moon, surrounded by llamas.

Camped out in the mountains
blanketed each night by stars
and cold, waking one morning
by a small cold stream, dead
fire beside my tent, no trees to
be seen, to a man playing a siku
along ridge, one llama walking
with him, no-one else awake.

Close enough to taste each note

Under the only sky

I became of the mountains

Born eventually of the sea.

No comments:

Post a Comment