The Vendor of Sayil.
There are days when Palescon is imbued with its own numinous misty
antediluvian aura which at dawn
could not have looked less desolate. I've learned
that these putrid ditches should never be taken straight, despite your
thirst and lust to reach that rumored
rivulet below the entrance to Sayil. The sun
here takes dead aim at your eyes and the sensitive juncture above the
eyebrows to inflict dizziness, migraine, nausea. The lone
Indian who runs the one concession sets Cokes and aqua minerale
in a bucket filled with melted ice until they reach a temperature
"just below freezing, so you must sip slowly or you will..."--
and he mimics the march of the "tour bus tourists"
Before and After they tromped through the mangled pass, that the
persistent stalks, mingled with weeds, conquered.
Our guardian gestures for me to rest on a crate in shadow
inside the red shell where he stocks "one of everything under the
sun." He stacked Cokes from the ground up to form a pyramid
before they branched out on the single plywood boardwalk
infested with termites and dust, gravel, and notions. The mineral water
remains in cartons where the truck driver dumped
them off in his handcart. Each six-pack still wrapped in plastic,
like a boxful of grenades at ground level beside the front door. The
more I want to find out the more my heart
encourages: silence, silence, silence--and it is right.
Shed the signs of hurry and listen: visions and vertigo often do not
pass with the other symptoms brought on by heatstroke, and how "the
ones who glued to guidebooks do not respect ..."
this least attended to of known ruins in Yucatan.
I return to upright position turn 360[degrees] and note how the stoic
succulents know to waste nothing on the parched earth
and wonder why the cracked, ungainly rocks and boulders
have come to rest at a distance in the distance while the view extends
to the low mountain range I mistook for the horizon.
Yet with every blink the landscape shifts focus, revealing
barns, corrals, horses nuzzling burlap sacks, farmers kneeling,
armadillos crawling like armored tanks out of arroyos,
prairie dogs emerging from holes and I wish I could say the sky filled
with birds as colorful as the macaws in Palescon, but in an infernal
furnace like this the pale sky unleashes only birds of prey that hover,
undeterred, like fathers who, night after night, open the refrigerator,
stare, and hope magical thinking will fill the emptiness and so stare
again, as if cultivating illusion. How he can repeat the same negative
operation and never get the hint--continues to
Now the sole vendor of Sayil picks up where he left off-or had he been
talking all that time?--"do not respect ..." as he points
to the noon sun which has reached an angle where if we didn't
hide inside whatever shadow zone we can find has the power to fry our
brains and burn our eyes out--of our heads!
Even post mortem the visitors who've disappeared still talk
of dehydration and that all they have to do is drink more water. Whose
idea was it to make this our weekend jaunt over a day
when instead the waterfalls could be pounding the heat and strain
out of our backs
while we swim in the amazingly uncorrupted rivers? Who but the
anthropologists, who asked only to observe?
They didn't have to be directed--they could bring their actual
to the nameless peripheral roles they ended up playing, now and
then, wandering in and out of Tohoscope's generously horizontal
And where are the actors, the crew, the extras?
I could venture in only far enough not to miss Sayil's always-ready
phallus. And I'm afraid to wonder if the others know to return
before the dangers in the noon hour bring them too