Saturday, November 01, 2003


Raven has returned,
reluctantly, to his digs
in the grey city.
His image is on the door,
but no birds come calling—just

a tiny kitten,
crying in the dark hallway.
Raven is having
nothing of paternity—
adoptive or otherwise.

He is poised to pack
his bags, figuratively,
for Venezuela,
and preens in the mirror to
put his best feathers forward.

Soaring once again
over the Andes, he will
touch down in the dream
of Bolivar, turn loose his
raucus laugh in Caracas.

Guayaquil, Ecuador

Wednesday, October 29, 2003


Raven is flying
tired—and without instruments—
through dense mountain fog.
He can barely see his beak
in front of him, but he hunts

for more volcanoes,
needing to see in their mouths
his own reflection.
Black is the color of all
energies combined, he says.

With his wings drooping,
he makes a shaky landing
in snow at the rim
of a crater, peers inside,
and sees absolutely nothing.

Guaranda, Ecuador

Tuesday, October 28, 2003


Raven is slicing
the water with his wings while
it falls from the cliff,
and keeps falling, forever.
His is this precious instant

repeating itself
in a prism of silver
threads stitching the stones
to the trees to the morning.
His dance becomes the roaring

drop as he dives, beak forward
into the black pool
of volcanic reflection,
erupts in cosmic laughter.

Ba?os de Agua Santa,

Monday, October 27, 2003


Raven and I have had a few run-ins with Nescafe instant coffee the past few days. The Bird is adamant: he’s not having any of that.

“This is a coffee-producing country, for Pete’s sake—and they are guzzling this garbage!”

Rave, of course you’re right. The infamous Pete notwithstanding, the Third World folks will never be free until they stop selling their products for peanuts and buying them back again—manufactured, pulverized, petrified and chemically treated—for big bucks. In the meantime, let’s make do with a couple of teabags—barnsweepings from another part of the Third World, undoubtedly.

Raven dunks a bag in his cup and lets it dribble from his beak as he mutters a few well-chosen Third World obscenities which cast a lot of doubt on his mother.

Rave, didn’t your mother ever tell you not to swear with a teabag in your beak?

He leaves the bag in the cup.

“Let’s change the subject. I noticed in yesterday’s LA JORNADA that Durito (note: Durito is a beetle who accompanies the EZLN leader in his meanderings and musings—in short, his muse) ended up with more than half of Subcomandante Marcos’ speech.”

What are you saying, guy? You want to make a speech? You think you’re not getting your fair share of the blogs?

“A speech? Hmmm, I’ll have to think about that. You think Durito took a class in speeches or something?”

I’m not sure they have those classes in the mountains of southeastern Mexico. Anyway, you have as much—if not more—autonomy than Durito.

“Autonomy is not freedom, baby. Remember when ex-president Zedillo sent the federal cops in to break heads in the “Autonomous National University” in Mexico City?

He was still president then—don’t mislead our faithful five readers. But I get your drift. Like the autonomous nervous system isn’t free of the body—it just allows knees to jerk.

“Weak analogy, given that I don’t have knees.”

Raven dumps a bunch of aji (chile sauce, in Ecuadorese) on his scrambled eggs.

Go easy with that stuff. What did Durito have to say in his speech?

“A lot of stuff about anti-globalization. He compared the globe of the earth to a ‘globo’ (balloon), and he labels as ‘tienderos’ (store clerks) people at the head of puppet governments of countries that have given up their sovereignty to the globalizers—multinational companies and imperialist regimes like the U.S.”

Like that gringo in Bolivia, I guess?

“He made no specific mentions. But he says that it doesn’t matter that they have no idea how to govern—just that they know how to watch the “tienda” (store) and render clear accounts to the owner—Big Money.”

Durito is pretty sharp, Rave. Almost as sharp as you?

“And equally as modest. His final point was that therefore in the globalization of power the world no longer is round, like an inflated bladder, but it bursts—and in its place there’s a big store. And those stores, as everybody knows, are square—not round. And that’s how, he says, globalization functions—or as if we were to call it ‘bladderization’.”

Bladderization? I take it all back, guy. You wouldn’t come up with a goofy term like that! Or would you?

Raven lets loose with one of his ear-splitting cackles.

“Why not? If Bush can block the congressional investigation into 9/11—which he and his henchmen engineered—why couldn’t I popularize as asshole term like that?”

Asshole? No, Rave—the bladder is for doing Number 1, not Number 2.

“With folks like the Bush Gang bladderizing the world barrio—folks who in terms of normal activities cannot find their butts with both hands—Numbers 1 and 2 are the same.”

He might have a point, that Birdbrain.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Raven under the Volcano

Raven rose early;
like smoke from the volcanoes.
He was fluttering
his inky wings all morning,
landing with a coat of ash

on his feathers, and
a tender smile on his beak;
his eyes are glassy
and green from his dive bombing
cows in their grassy pastures.

On his way to bathe
in the waterfall, he shakes
his feathers free of
ash, set for his next attempt
to wash himself white again.

Above him, laughing,
Tungurahua spews his
black birds every
few minutes. He knows Raven’s
doomed to be black forever.

BaƱos de Agua Santa, Ecuador
October 26, 2003