Skip to content
January 22, 2011 / johnoliversimon

Caminante 7: Los Amorosos

Vida nocturna de San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, meca de los viajeros.

CAMINANTE, thus Gary Snyder: “This is a major poem, gritty and elegant, hard-earned, oriented by stars and late night conversations on then long road. John O., like an old-time Chinese poet, weaves through history, politucs, poverty, geography, poetry, spirit, friendship, love, learning, style and deep mind, while travelling a continent, Terse drifting lyric poems of eight lines each, and each one in a compelling contra dance wuth its own ‘comentario.’ The commentaries are also poems of sly lyric turns—the realism of magic— the illusions of informnation. I was held almost breathless by this sequence from start to end. “Playing ball in the underworld, circling the fire according to the rhythms of the stars.”









Clay angels, each one with the face of a woman.
Cheeks belled with the effort of individuality.
Eyes wicked with a great light. The cafe air
gravid with smoke. I swim from constellation
to constellation. I can’t remember being a fish
out of water. The blood’s as deep as a river
of people coming from everywhere, chanting slogans,
filling the plaza with rhyme in an ancient language.

San Cristóbal de Las Casas,


Comentario 2002: Los Amorosos is a cultural café frequented by local artists and solidarity workers. The Native folks, 15,000 strong, are in town for Día de la Raza, many in traditional dress, pink hooded pullovers of Zinacantán or black wool of Chamula, but more with work shirts and worn cowboy hats, or baseball caps stamped with logos of Dodgers or Bulls. They chant Zapata vive, vive, la lucha sigue, sigue, and ¡Un Pueblo! ¡unido! ¡jamás será vencido! and there are ¡vivas! for Marcos and for the EZLN. Gimme an E, gimme a Z.

Overview 2011: Reading in Spanish while watching pretty women, gringas and mexicanas, algunas jipis, internacionalistas, activistas and college girls, smoke cigarettes, at a popular cafe on the plaza in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, on a day of Indian unity when the Tzotsil and Tzerltal majorities descend from the forest into the colonial and neo-netro-colonial city, bellowing slogans of revolution we all agree with in principle. The poem descends from the pregnant belly and reascends out of the ocean, shouting.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: