POETRY  by Eric Walter



Delirium on Nohoch Mul

from Bee Gods and Mad Kings:
Poems from the Yucatan
, page 10
ISBN 1-931002-56-8
Petaluma, 2006
$10 6 Manik 10 Yaxkin

Atop the great pyramid Nohoch Mul
in the ruined city of Cobá
a lone black iguana stands guard
on a tilting limestone pillar,
stolid keeper of this high temple
once home to bee gods and
their priests and mad kings

Far below, the sea of jungle yawns
into vast Yucatán distances
seared by the tropical mid-summer sun
as passing cumuli steal only briefly
the picturesque derangement of
this stultifying heat

Sweat pours from my reddened skin
onto the altar once washed in blood,
and in my ears
above the clatter of manic birds
a clear and insistent buzzing

The deity carved in the temple niche
begins to move in mutating rhythm
diving through waves of boiling air
in winged dances of ecstasy
in stinging convulsions of torture
in trances of unalloyed communion
with stone and flesh and flowing nectar
with the ancestral cosmic essence

Orchids explode into bloom in midair and
marry with vagrant clouds as
the merciless sun stalks ever higher
conceding no end to its tyranny

The birds and victims are silent now
there is no drum
but the thin pulse of my own living blood
the distant dying thunder
a memory of the sea

I know without looking
the iguana is still at the gate

© 2006, Eric Walter


Bee Gods and Mad Kings cover


Cover offset printed on 80-pound Evergreen Birch; text paper on opaque white. To see an enlargement of the cover, click on image above.

40 pages


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