methodsofwaking

Month: June, 2014

23 junio

i should mention before you begin, i played this song over and over when writing this blog&poem. you may want to listen as you read.

———-

before leaving for Puebla, i would constantly look up pictures of the area: the nature, the buildings, the people, the cities around it. one image i continued to connect to was that of El Popo, the volcano one can see from the city. being a Minnesotan, i have never been so close to a volcano. its beauty and consciousness made me want to climb right up it and look inside. its constant sputters were like whispers, asking for open ears and eyes to hear its story. i knew that when i arrived in Puebla i would feel an even greater desire to get close to El Popo. my connection to the Puebla volcanoes seems to be creeping around in my dreams, both asleep and awake.

El Popo is never alone. next to him lies Izta, not as tall, not as alive, she is the other half of the legend of the two. i haven’t been told their story by a Mexican, and i do not want to dampen the potency that is “The Smoking Mountain” and “The White Woman.” it can be read (in the online version, at least), here. of course it’s a love story. surprise surprise.

after days of decompression, i finally felt ready to write this poem. this important dream. this endless connection to the guardians of Puebla.

———-

over the terrace walls, in the shadows
lies El Popo. sputtering murmurs of what’s been lost and
found

i stood at the window, rain glossing and dripping over the pane.
the clouds bound the sky,
[as they have in my waking hours.
disguising the city’s guardians for privacy’s sake.]
wiser people stood around the room. no foot tapping,
no restless fantasies – simply trusting what they knew was there.
even the companions i traveled to this spot with
played games in the grass outside.
there was no flood with them.
the sky punished my impatience with steady rain.

the longer i wait, my awe sinks back
into my gut. on the edge of caving in.

and then – the state of the sky shifted.
clouds untied themselves from left and right,
divided, unfastened from the bottom up –
into sight: Izta. perfect shape of a woman,
too far to see if her breathing moved mountains, stunningly still
where she has lain since the Pleistocene.

of course  i wanted more. never satisfied with only
one half of a pair.
the clouds agreed.
they parted much quicker then,
as if my fantasies pushed them apart.
there emerged Popocatépetl. a pillar from his mouth,
tall as the empyrean, indigenous gods and animals visible on his face.
smoke puffing all around him
the strength of his expression demanded my gaze.
this is when:
breath trapped itself in my throat,
placed my hands on the rainy glass,
and wept for the sight i’d craved for months.
without leaving my post, i tried to gather my cohort.
they filtered into the room, glanced out the window,
and left, as i wept, and silently pleaded for them to understand.
some things cannot be taught.
must be seen in dreams, in your own dreams
without coaxing or convincing.
must be demanded by your own gods.

the next morning –
as we drove north toward his hazy domain,
he did emerge. over a hill and there was the Smoking Man,
barely snowcapped, looking us right in the face.
again i gasped. waking life, the skyward pillar flashed in my memories,
i told my tale of El Popo and Ixta
watched him sputter and spit.
watched him remember to awaken
[for the city]
for my conscience to stay afloat, be reminded
even Existence is surmountable
and thus far
your awe
is what carries.
your awe
is what takes you over mountain ranges.
and your awe, volatility and all
is what survives.

“Climb me.” he says.

He sputters –
“Climb me.”

———-

 

View of El Popo from the 3rd floor studio

View of El Popo from the 3rd floor studio

Taken from the top of the Great Pyramid of Cholula, Tlachihualtepetl. You can see that El Popo and Ixta really do love hiding behind the clouds and haze.

Taken from the top of the Great Pyramid of Cholula, Tlachihualtepetl. You can see that El Popo and Ixta really do love hiding behind the clouds and haze. Popo on the left, Ixta on the right.

This is the photo I took on our way to school, the morning after my dream.

This is the photo I took on our way to school, the morning after my dream. The best view of El Popo I’ve had, yet.

 

a few days after this dream, El Popo had a sizeable eruption. premonition dreams!

check it: VIDEO: Así fue la explosión del volcán Popocatépetl

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Friday the 13th

In the Templo Conventual de Santo Domingo de Guzmán

 

I’m sitting here with
my catholic ghosts
the ones who stood at the
arch
look of irritation and
guard all at once
the ones who filled the cup
behind closed doors
dark in prayer.

They are with me now, but
enclosed behind gold
murmurings of the father in the gated next enclave over.
Axe murdering saw
going in and out.

I cannot hear your prayers –
Poblanos in the next pew
and if I could hear,
I could not understand
why the barefooted 5 year old must
stand atop her brothers shoulders
while they both juggle and swerve
through the cars.
“Street performers.”
Crosses the street better than me.

I do not feel a part of
anything in this
tall empty golden
Here
are fathers stacked to the ceiling
halos hovering above each one’s head.
Here
are gold plated everythings
all down to lionbabies
and soon my glazed over eyes
will also be gold.
Here
a man tells of the church
the golden chapel
Mary behind glass
her dress fanned farther than
her wingspan.

 

Stacked to the ceiling.

Stacked to the ceiling.

Mary (?) behind glass.

Mary (?) behind glass.

The ceiling in the Capilla del Rosario.

The ceiling in the Capilla del Rosario.

Gated Jesus.

Gated Jesus.

In the Capilla del Rosario. "Ave Maria," always makes me think of Betta.

In the Capilla del Rosario. “Ave Maria,” always makes me think of Betta.

11-12 junio

just taught our first class. phenomenal students (remind me of those at LEAP), driven, excited, hardworking. it’s crazy to think that we only have 10 more workshops with them. we will need to be very strategic about planning, working, reflecting.

the space is lovely. a very modern building, as the school is very new, maybe a few years old. it’s a public school, but it’s international baccalaureate. Paco told Lora that the students need to apply to get in, and their acceptance is based on grades. the students don’t appear to come from poor families, though it’s very difficult to tell what their socioeconomic status is. we are in a computer lab. we probably won’t use the computers much, but in the back of the room there are two large tables pushed together which we sit around in a circle.

after front  loading some background and purpose of mandalas to the students, we asked them to define and explore the idea of “wholeness” or “completeness.” why do people try to be whole? how do they do it? here are some of the ideas they came up with (recorded by Lora on the board):

wholeness

this was a very abstract concept, and the students came up with incredible responses.  i came into the workshop thinking our students would be (maximum) level 2 english learners. level 2 is an emerging level of learning, where the students cannot fully articulate their ideas and are not yet ready to explore and play with the language. i was so wrong. these are level 4 students, higher than i worked with at LEAP. they are able to articulate their thoughts (with some searching for language at times). this makes it easier to take them to the depth we want – abstract discussions about art, personal reflections, and poetic expression.

sidenote: we ended our session with a circle share, a rose and a thorn. the first student who shared said “my rose is … your haircut. it’s just … so cool! like, it’s just the coolest!” this was adorable and hilarious. almost all women here have long hair, of course. hahaha!

our days have been filled with so much beauty: buildings, humans, Spanish language, home cooked and street foods, loco busses. we are so lucky to be able to work with Arquetopia, also. this foundation is incredible in the resources and support they provide for artists and educators. we have already had many conversations with one another, the depth of which has churned my artista soul and kindled my fire for creation and art community.

(click on the pictures to make them bigger/better quality!!!)

This bridge (which once had a river flowing beneath it) once separated the city in two. On one side, poor (likely, indigenous) people; on the other, affluent people of colonial heritage. The bridge was open during the day for the domestic workers to cross over for work, but would close at night, so as to keep each population separate. If you did not pass the bridge in time at the end of the night, well, you were trapped.

This bridge (which once had a river flowing beneath it) once separated the city in two. On one side, poor (likely, indigenous) people; on the other, affluent people of colonial heritage. The bridge was open during the day for the domestic workers to cross over for work, but would close at night, so as to keep each population separate. If you did not pass the bridge in time at the end of the night, well, you were trapped.

Every colonial city has a "zócalo," basically a town square. All kinds of people gather here. You can seen young lovers, families, protests and demonstrations, or sit at a cafe and drink coffee. Here are Lora and I at the fountain.

Every colonial city has a “zócalo,” basically a town square. All kinds of people gather here. You can seen young lovers, families, protests and demonstrations, or sit at a cafe and drink coffee. Here are Lora and I at the fountain.

The cathedral in the zócalo was constructed beginning in 1575 (consecrated in 1649). It has a lot of baroque influences, and is the second largest cathedral in Mexico.

The cathedral in the zócalo was constructed beginning in 1575 (consecrated in 1649). It has a lot of baroque influences, and is the second largest cathedral in Mexico.

In the cathedral.

In the cathedral.

limosna

In the cathedral.

The main alter in the cathedral.

The main alter in the cathedral.

Typical street downtown.

Typical street downtown.

mariposa

Una mariposa – taking a bath in a puddle in the zócalo

There was a demonstration (protest?) happening in the zócalo when we were passing through. We couldn't tell what it was about exactly, but it had to do with police brutality and misappropriation of government funds. There was a string of signs hung between two lampposts, and this one in particular caught our eyes.

There was a demonstration (protest?) happening in the zócalo when we were passing through. We couldn’t tell what it was about exactly, but it had to do with police brutality and misappropriation of government funds. There was a string of signs hung between two lampposts, and this one in particular caught our eyes.

Taqueria taqueria!

Taqueria taqueria!

Lora lookin' all cute when we were in the cafe writing and talking.

Lora lookin’ all cute when we were in the cafe writing and talking.

Sitting in the cafe, writing, drawing patterns, drinking espresso.

Sitting in the cafe, writing, drawing patterns, drinking espresso.

mean face

Wrestlers at Lucho Libre, the Mexican wrestling event in Puebla. It happens every Monday, and we went on our first night at Arquetopia. HILARIOUS

yellow wrestler

A wrestler.

Sand installation (in progress) at the Museo Amparo.

Sand installation (in progress) at the Museo Amparo.

Michelada. Lime juice, Mexican beer, and a salted rim. YUMMM

Michelada. Lime juice, Mexican beer, and a salted rim. YUMMM

Our first try of mole poblano. Mole is originally from Mexico!

Our first try of mole poblano. Mole is originally from Mexico!

The terrace just outside our third floor studio space. This is the same building we live in.

The terrace just outside our third floor studio space. This is the same building we live in.

Another shot of the terrace.

Another shot of the terrace.

as I write now, on the third floor of the house, the studio space, I hear dogs barking (far and near), a woman with the megaphone selling empanadas (perhaps on a bicycle), and Jocelyn, another artist, taptaptapping powders of sorts as she works on her project. the sun is shyly obscured beyond some low clouds, and my belly is full of the traditional foods our housekeeper Maria makes us for dinner each day around 3pm. it’s only been since Sunday, and i want to stay forever. so many things to come!

haven’t written a poem yet. keep ya posted.