22 May, 2014

From the Daybook: Waiting for Gonzalo Guerrero




Waiting for Gonzalo Guerrero*

There is crystallized dirt as far as the eye can see.
Age old trees groan in the throes
of the mathematical expansion of ice.

Only the bluebirds are out this morning,
stripping the last few berries off the holly branches.
Already, the mind carries these bones into the future:

long hours of sleep haunted by dreams of an unknowable Spring.

This moment fades like December Solstice light
and we play the someday game
after the manner of our venerable forebearers.

This moment flashes and the image
is a poor representation.
Each trip to the grocery store,

we behave like Times Square tourists
who need pictures as proof
because no one trusts a memory.

Memory is a starving dog
covered in crystallized dirt
huddling outside the back door.

Sentimental as we are, we like the dog
until it chews the old man’s chair and is banished outside
left to wait for that unknowable spring

that might as easily bring bounty or conquistadors from the subterranean depths.


-- 4 Jan 2014, Louisville KY





Mural of Guerrero by Fernando Castro Pacheco (1918-2013)
 


















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*Gonzalo Guerrero was a Spanish mariner from Palos who was shipwrecked on the Yucatan Peninsula. He was captured by, and later won his freedom from, the Mayans. He eventually married a Mayan woman, raised three children, and fought with the Mayans against the early conquistadors. Although no written record of him exists, his children were supposedly the first children of mixed descent in the New World.
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