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July 22, 2011 / johnoliversimon

Caninante 14 ¿Adónde?

CAMINANTE 14

The door to the underworld at Toniná

*

¿ADÓNDE?

*

The mountain has a magnet in her belly.
The earth monster has a ball too heavy to throw.
At dusk, everyone is going somewhere,
on bicycles along the trail, on foot, on horseback.
We don’t know where they’re going, but they do.
They’re flying head downward into Xibalbá
to throw themselves into the graves of the angelitos.
Their innocence will nourish the double standard of the corn.

Toniná, Chiapas
10/23-23/1995

Comentario: the gentle grassy slopes of Toniná remind me of the East Bay hills, but there are stone steps rising out of the meadows, and walls inset with intricate stone mosaic farther up the hillside, where we climb through labyrinths of narrow stairs and dark rooms. On another terrace the Earth Monster squats in her archway hatching a perfect sphere between her legs, a basketball of granite, traded all the way from Guayabo in Costa Rica. From the highest tower, with no time to lose, I descend with Paolito on my shoulders so the others will follow.

Overview: The blowout happened 5 km short of Oxchuc, on our way back from the Mayan ruins of Toniná. Paulo Rico Avendaño would be a full-grown young man by now; I tenderly took him hostage on the summit of the pyramid  in ortder to initiate his parents’ prudent hour of return. When we got back to the car, his mother’s girlfriend made a face at me about my over-precise sense of time. “John, ¡eres tan inglés!” We finally got going but it was already falling dark when the tire went out as the Bug was laboring up the bloodthirsty mountain road, and we coasted down to Oxchuc on the rim, your servitor driving. Luckily for us, the vulcanizador was evangelista and therefore, apparently, the only adult male in town who wasn’t roaring drunk.

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