12 August · Loss Poem

Among the ruins of Palenque
a pocket
notebook disappeared
lost in masonry cracks, vanished in jungle
All the Mexican addresses
assiduously gather'd went with it
Other things gone–
    phone numbers from Mexico City
Spanish words I tried memorizing
    notes on Mexica ruins
What about poem written in La Parilla restaurant San Cristóbal
    while Ambar read Jaime Sabines
    & translated his early verse
    about lovers
Gone the breast-like flowers
gone dark narrow thighs
gone the table behind her full of
    drunk Coletos
    who hollered at us on the road

Gone the bibliographic notations
Gone conversation with Elsa full of her sweet low tones
Gone Los Amorosos
    copied by hand
    nearly weeping at a Spanish I hardly decode
These things gone at East Court Palace
Temple of Inscriptions
    gone on the staircase to Pacal's tomb
gone near Temple of the Foliated Cross

    Temple of the Sun disappeared
Jaguar Temple Poem vanished
Gone my account
of the lords of Xibalba
    the Maya underworld simply dissolved–
vanished or never existed–
Gone notes on cigar smoking shaman
monkeys high in the jungle
immense boatlike leaves below a crumbling tower
    still covered with rainforest growth
lianas & bromiads gone
words written to my dear friend vanished

Dangerous orange petals nullified
whining insects departed
and what of the
diaper uselessly tossed against metal memorial cross
    where a swimmer'd gone down
at Agua Azul
What of such things

The furtively jotted notes on Mexican army,
    tanks under camouflage
    machine guns & sandbags
Gone the notes on Ocosingo atrocities
Maya glyphs copied with care
    from Thompson's compendium
    in Na-Bolom
The tree stone
grove of crosses leaning every which way
    high on that dark hill

Gone the colorful shawls
Gone the girls of Zinacantán
Gone the pink masculine tunics
Tracings of fabric in dark wooden rooms
a few vaqueros milling about
    under cloud evergreen scrub
Names of the
children's dolls gone
    tiny wood guns
    gone from Chamula
Gone in the ruins
gone on the stairs
    gone in a place called Palenque
"Palisade" in old
    Spanish due to its walls

Deep in the jungle a little
breast pocket notebook–
    gone on the road to Xibalba

Andrew Schelling | 13 August
Contents | Mudlark No. 9