11 August

Small church at the downhill & east end of the square, tucked almost insignificant–back among other blank white buildings. Billboard up above extolls benefits of breastfeeding in colors of the Mexican flag. We enter through arched undecorated wooden doors with black rivets–inside tiled checkerboard floor–& bare smokecolor'd wooden pews, nobody in them. Several Indian women squat in the nave, little children scampering through pine needles that cover the floor in blue-green tufts. Sackloads of pine needles lie among the pews, whorled and heaped up in corners uneven.

Quick little bow
    to black virgin
deep in her recess
    the right hand wall–
who is she
lunar robe cobalt
    & silver

Madre, Madre

toss a nod across to chocolate color'd
padre with tight-curled hair
    who is he
beatific nook
    other side of the church
a few chipped spots on his
    plaster face

18 months ago gunships raked roof & walls of the church. Ocosingo took the worst of the January fighting. Patients yanked from hospital beds & shot in the halls. A local story. Today no discernible damage to ceiling or floors. The children toss pine needles. Like elsewhere in town fresh paint tells the story–Father Trejo's church–

               Pincha Cura–!
–General David Rivera as he called in the HUEYS–
"Fucking Priest! He's got nine rebels hiding in there!"

Back outside to bright sun, and stand blinking over the morning market–"dark narrow warren of booths"–a few stalls just raising their awnings. Mostly plastic toys, a few clay pots–and candied pastries heap'd up, colors more bright than the toys. Stacks of marine blue cakes catch my eye. Coming & going among the stalls energetic bees–
      which bringeth to mind the "flower world"
Aztec poems of antiquity–

I count out a few coins, the 1000 old-peso is heavy bronze–fits the hand nicely. Poet Sor Juana looks mildly down on the heads side, maybe ruminating a poem. Her baroque philosophic ballad "First Dream" in my thoughts I go over and purchase two Zapatista bandanas from thickset lady chattering Tzeltal to her neighbor. Burnt orange paisely kerchiefs flutter outside her stall like EZLN banners–
    six pesos each.

Andrew Schelling | 11 August
Contents | Mudlark No. 9