puritans by the southern mountains

I the jack-yankee
standing dumbly, admit the new
mountains,
we; far from the ostentatious spaniards
they

swam down the indian rivers
and climbed towards the pastel
clouded peaks-

and the chalky paintings
of the writhing men, distorted among
a quetzal-collared god, wreathed by
the adorned
mercantilism
gold-

the puritan black drapings,
the limber eyes-
my hair tied to the restive tightness;
to the nape of my neck,

a hot dry wind
blew the husks of
dusty nuance, the colors
they had used to paint the mountain-sides.

a long time we had of it,
against that new
wind;

the river had a strange name
and oft-quoted, our versified
brimstone eyes,
the browned people below the valley
saw our black

and laughed.

we were to the missionaries strange-
our hair bound in queues and buns to
the
straight of our necks we

had clear eyes

and the mountains were red, deep red, so red that the sunlight
smacked-
and hurt between our nervous foreheads and towards night,
the wind echoed down thru
the empty river,
blew off a hat-

a strand of my hair.

it flapped against my pale face,
where the sun had been so predestined against

never glaring. or seeing.


(October 18th, 2002)