Ay Ay Ayeres

Digging around in the photo files that I transferred from my old computer to my Google drive, I discovered this golden oldie composed of my words and Clare’s images. What a revelation: I had completely forgotten that this group of work existed. I’ll dig them out ne by one and post them from time to time. Ayer is the Spanish for yesterday, hier in French. The title “Ay! Ay! Ayeres!” with its multiple plays All our yesterdays and its reference to the old song “Ay, ay, ay, canta no llores” draws together a series of memories, some in the past and some in the future. ‘How can we have a memory in the future?’ you ask. By recognizing a present moment, or one that lies just ahead in a future that ill become soon enough a present, as one that has already occurred in the past, thus confirming the circularity of our lives and the idea that all time is time present, one of T. S. Eliot’s recurring themes.

Ocho Venado: Eight Deer is a central figure (war leader) in the Zouche-Nuttal, a pre-Columbian Mixtec Codex. He is the war leader in the Conquests recorded in the codex (circa 1050-1100).
Quesadillas: Oaxacan tortillas filled with cheese and flores de Calabaza, gourd flowers.
Reyes Magos: the three wise men or kings who visited the Christ Child on January 6, the traditional Spanish Christmas.
Murcielago: the bat and a symbol of death in Oaxacan mythology.
Nueve Viento: Nine Wind descends from heaven to separate the sky from earth and its waters. Nine Wind at Tule meeting with Cortes is mythical not historical, though the meeting of Cortes with the Mixtec chiefs (caciques) did happen.
Apoala: The Mixtec nation was born form a cave (sometimes a tree) in Apoala, Oaxaca.
Spinning the wheels in the snow: a reference to Jean Chretien and one of his famous images.

The piece is written in a surrealist style that mixes historical fact with creative writing. The distant past is recalled (1050-1100), then the middle past (1525-1530), and finally the present appears. This mixing of time and place (Mexico and Canada) is also related to the surrealist movement. Surrealism creates a dream world in which images float and change shape within a time-space conundrum where dream is more real than reality and creates its own new meanings that are individual to each reader.

Any comments on this rediscovered piece will be warmly welcomed.

Columbus Interviewed by Bosch


Christopher Columbus
Interviewed by Hieronymus Bosch
on His Return from the New World

“Winged creatures came with the dark,
their human faces cast in the features
of people I knew and loved.
Subtly transformed, they seemed reborn.

Their leathery wings
creaked like horse harness
and the “Splat!” of their excrement
was a slow drum beaten to a gibberish
march of dream after dream.

What could they portend?
My sister, nose stretched to beak;
my brother, lost at sea,
his eye teeth now enlarged
to a vampire’s fangs.

Each nightmare drew something
dark from my past, dressed it in fiendish garb,
and flew it with a guide-line:
a kite’s umbilical cord attached to the shadows
shifting above my bed.”

Christopher Columbus

IMG_0141 2.jpg

Christopher Columbus

leaves foot prints,
wake to his imagined ships,
dark, in the snow,
the unusual snow,
the snow they haven’t seen
in Granada city centre
for forty years.

It settles on roofs,
forms dark ridges
where the sun catches it
and turns it into
wet, dripping snow.

The Alhambra:
a wonderland of stiff,
white starched buildings,
stands out against
the mountain’s mass.

We click our cameras
and say “Just like home!”

We don’t realize
we’re repeating history
for it snowed then,
as it snows now
and Columbus
walked these streets
like any Canadian tourist,

short of breath,
short of cash,
the seams of his boots
letting in the cold,
wet snow,
you know how it is
on Yonge Street,
Main Street,
any street,
any town
in Canada.

And then the miracle:
he’s walking away,
leaving it all behind,
when the messenger
catches up to him and says:

“The war’s over:
there’s money now.
She says ‘Go for it!’
The ships you want,
the dream, the world,
they’re all yours now.”

Christopher Columbus
fell on his back,
flapped his arms,
and created winged shapes:

white-sailed ships
sailing in the snow.