puritans by the southern mountains

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

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

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

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
straight of our necks we

had clear eyes

and the mountains were red, deep red, so red that the sunlight
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)