Saturday, November 15, 2003


Raven discovers
that the fort he visited,
El Zamuro, means
vulture; here they are very
prominent in the landscape.

He is invading
their territory: winging
over waterfalls,
swooping down on the thatch-roofed
villages; he is whooping,

shrieking his song
in honor of the tepuis—
table mountains
spread with their feast of secrets
served up by hermetic clouds.

Predator he is:
despite noble intentions
of myth and spirit,
he’s ever on the lookout
for victims of his capers.

Buzzing the capped heads
of waders in the river,
Raven is martial
as the red jasper under
their feet; dodging the arrows

the indigenous
artisans fire at him to
demonstrate their wares,
what, after all, does he care?
He is in his element:

The gold uncontrolled
water crashing on the slabs
imitates his laugh,
the mountains his wingspread
and the grasslands his feathers

ruffling in the breeze.
His beady eyes, diamonds
shining in water,
are carbonized creation
dreaming of becoming stars.

Santa Elena de Uairen

Thursday, November 13, 2003


Perched on the little
fort's roof, Raven listens to
a guide recounting
stories of the place to a
gaggle of high school students.

Raven has flown here
from the river to hear what
goes on when humans
think they have a bird's eye view,
but he hears nothing startling.

He takes for granted
his privileged position,
and wouldn't trade it
for a rung higher up on
the food chain. He knows the trade

offs well enough to
feel satisfied with his lot
of mobility.
The relativity of
historical consciousness

doesn't bother him:
his is a spirit moving
back and forth in time;
banking his wings cloudward,
or diving down hard for his prey.

He changes his mind
at the drop of a feather;
this is the secret
of Raven: he spins the world
on his axis of caprice.

Ciudad Bolivar

Monday, November 10, 2003


Raven is circling
the chandeliers, searching in
their crystals for his
eyes, the shadows of his wings
dancing like black diamonds.

Above the hammock
swaying its pendulum of
Orinoco dreams,
Raven imitates a flute
piping in counterpoint to

the cathedral bells
groaning the hour: five o'clock
in the afternoon,
time to light the chandeliers,
not for nothing called spiders

in Spanish, holding
in their interstices the
webs of fugitive,
but very real spiders
spinning in Raven's dark light.

Raven's is manic
light, creation reflected
over and over
in peeling mirrors whose scales
silver off and disappear

as the light withdraws
into his vital organs.
He is Minotaur
crouching in his labyrinth,
Theseus tracking himself

down, Ariadne's
string dribbling from his own beak.
And still he is lost,
unable to break out of
the egg of unconsciousness,

spread his wings and speak
in rational language.
The bells shout again,
marking another hour in
Raven's crystal conundrum.

Ciudad Bolivar