Sunday, March 10, 2013

In The Birthplace Of The Gods

I climbed the Pyramid of the Sun
Barefoot that day
Like thousands had done
Thousands of years before.
Each step as high
As my knees.
The effort taught me
How very difficult it is
To touch the sky.

I carried my pinche sandals
In one hand
And a sketchbook
In the other.
A Danish couple marveled
At my fortitude
And took pictures of
My bare feet.

I was wandering alone
Drawing my young way
Through Mexico
Trying to distill
An entire culture to lines
on paper.

That day I’d ridden
A deluxe coach
From La Ciudad
To Teotihuacan --
Until then just
An exotic confluence
Of consonants and vowels.

Atop the Pyramid
Of the Feathered Serpent God
I sat in the blazing sun
Neverminding the dust
Of ages that coated
My feet
And began drawing
Whose lionesque head
Twined from the stone below.

Twenty feet away rose
The voice of a clay flute.
He played.
I drew.
The bustle of tourists
Fell away
And for untold time
We were alone

In perfect communion
my sketch finished
As his song ended.

His English
Met my Spanish
I learned that his great grandfather
Had been an Aztec priest
Who spilled blood
On those same stones
A living gift to the gods.
The musician
Had no blood to give
But wrote instead
A song of honor and respect.

I, who have found
no god to worship
Had been witness
To the last breath
Of a hundred hundred years
Of prayer.

We smiled and nodded.
The table of the pyramid
With the endless chattering
of gawkers in bright shirts.
Their mindless noise
drove away the gods
Only loosely tethered
by our witness.

I turn, sometimes
To the pages I drew.
Mediocre sketches
That still bring to mind
The day I felt
the feathery touch
Of grace.

(Written in response to a prompt in the Poets of G+ community.)


  1. So beautiful. I can feel the dust on my feet.

  2. I love a poem that tells a story and provides me with a free trip. Like you, I'd be barefoot and happy to climb, happy to sit, happy to record, happy to connect with another.