Wednesday, December 11, 2013

King of Serpents



I am the scorned native son:
my manhood lies crushed
beneath your heel.
His pallor fades
before my goldenness.

You have transformed me
into the king of serpents:
with one glance I shatter stones
that once beheld the Medusa.
They return to their human state.

Oh poor painted bride of nothingness
in the blanched shadow
of his ashen visage
how could you move
to his stilted rhythm
as his wooden cadences
assault your ears?

Ah! Treacherous daughter of Oaxaca!
Withered sallow lily
I would deliver you
to your captors.

Disgraceful descendant
of our Mixtec kin
my beard has grown long
like the reign of Lord Eight Deer
whose jaguar claw united
Tilantongo and Tututepec.
And still you would desert me
for your puppet king of lies!

Ah! Venom and fire
I spread with my gaze
for you have spurned
the creator-serpent.
May the waters of Puerto Escondido
swallow you whole.
At the sight of your reflection
may you die of fright.


— Dionisio Clemente de los Ríos


A rootless wanderer like his namesake, Dionisio de los Ríos rarely talks about his homeland nor fields any questions when asked. Because of his wild appearance (long hair and full beard), no one would guess that he speaks French as well as English and his native Spanish. A lover of music, Dionisio appreciates Beethoven and Saint-Saens.


Photo montage: Teresa Puente, photo; Mark Butkus, photo and; Alfonso "Piloto" Nieves Ruiz, sculpture, Tonantzin.