Fallen Gods in Peru

They see a god’s face in the mountain
and build stone structures to guide the mountain waters,
to measure the shine from the winter’s solstice, June 21st
How he shines — our godly sun
How she’ll shine tonight — our goddess moon
above the downward flow, the descendant waters

Sometimes their hearts beat the same
They revel in their sensuousness
their tenderness, their fury, their grasp
Their bodies how they clasp and play—
their hands, their rhythms,
their lusty sexual sting and dance

They lived with nature, not against her
Didn’t build their houses too near to the rivers
They knew the anxious rivers could erupt again
and the muds could explode in cruel death
Height didn’t lead to a fall for them
Height is their vision, revelatory and precious

In the fifteenth century only royalty
passed through this gate
Now we all can go
because we are all kings (isn’t that so?)
You carry your country’s fantasies
in your heart, in your personal river’s flow

Those ignorant people—
The sun is no god
It’s just a ball of roiled gas
The moon is no goddess
It’s just a piece of grey rock
Why build your houses so heavy, so high?

Why make everything out of solid rock
like some immense Lego toy?
Stone within stone
moored by its weight alone,
built upon green mountain steps, greyish rock
houses that last 400 years and still we count

We don’t know why this odd planet
dots the universe, is a point in the multi-verse
is a quirk of here
These lives of ours like gestures of nature
wondrously random
No wonder we can barely stand it

The god that displaces the sun
is depicted in this fresco as dying or dead
with blood on his limbs and abdomen
and bitter thorns on his head
The goddess that displaces the moon
is his placid, merciful mother— a virgin

But in the corner of the fresco
is hidden the lively smiling sun god
and his consort, the moon goddess
Now, we peel away
these odd layers of damage because, after all,
the heart wants what it wants



-December 20, 2013-