Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Feeding The Plumed Serpent

Teotihuacan-Entierro de la pirámide de la Serpiente Emplumada

Feeding The Plumed Serpent

The day after our wedding with the moon
in the piercing sun of a blood drinking god
we rode back through dust on the rocking bus
shy dark children patting, taking my yellow hair
for lizard feathers. They turned off Madonna and
you sang their songs. They laughed your laugh
each one the child we'd never have.  
We went back to the slum hotel and locked the door
while the drunks hurricaned up and down the halls;
we the same up and down the walls, the stairs, the
fretted sheets, up one belly and down the other

till we were drunk as they could never be
and saw the things no seer ever could say.

When your body moved on mine in neon glare
it was the black shadow and white light
of that pyramid of skulls and jaguar’s caves
where amaranthine sacrifice filled
death’s new toybox, blood for lubricant
easing the clockwork bones,
throats craned toward the copper knife, 
your dark eyes swimming with night
carving into timeblurred petroglyphs  
my life upon their lids, feathered cries
vapor murmured out in velvet visions,

spinning down down
into the solstice of light and dark.

In the cold morning we drank atole hot and sweet
with all the vanilla thickness of my flesh
against your whipcord bones a steam
rising remembered in each sip.
Your thin musician’s hands held the cup
in mimic of the circling of my breasts
stroked to purrs and sweat on the hard bed.
Oh, having me for breakfast was
the richest meal you ever bought
and paid for with
each drop of the god’s owned blood

until time came
to put the toys away.

View from Pyramide de la luna

January 2012

Note: This is a carnal companion piece to a much older poem of mine,
At Teotihuacan, posted here

Posted for   OpenLinkNight   at dVerse Poets Pub

Teotihuacan Feathered Serpent (Jami Dwyer)
Feathered serpent head at Teotihuacan via wikipedia

Atole is a thick drink made with milk and masa, flavored with sugar, vanilla or chocolate,cinnamon or other spices, usually served hot. 
 The Plumed, or Feathered Serpent is Quetzalcoatl, a deity whose first worship is seen at Teotihuacan, pictured above, in the first century BC or first century AD, later spreading across Mesoamerica. He is variously, a harvest god of fertility, a creation god, god of books and inventor of the calender, a wind god associated with the planet Venus, and the god of the Aztec priesthood who brought visions to shamans. There is archaeological evidence of human sacrifice at the Pyramid of the Moon and elsewhere at Teotihuacan as the top picture shows, but it should be noted that Mesoamerican culture believed the universe was sustained by a great ongoing sacrifice and that the highest form of repayment to the gods was human life.

Header Image: Detail of one of the burials found in the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent in Teotihuacan,dated around 200 AD. by ~s shepherd (schizoform) on flick'r  via wikimedia commons  Footer Image: View along the Avenue of the Dead to the Pyramid of the Sun, taken from the Pyramid of the Moon,by Jackhynes via wikimedia commons (yes those tiny ant-like shapes are people--the pyramids  are huge, but set in such a vast open area it's hard to tell the scale.)


  1. This is terrific. It makes me wonder whether you really are a witch (in the best sense of the word!) Magic-weaver. So many great lines--holding the cup in the mimicking of holding breast one of my favorites--drunks hurricaning in the halls, and inside against the walls--the atole. The end, of course, is chilling. I liked the companion piece as well, though it was more cerebral, and so, harder to take in after the vividness of this.

    (Agh. Now in quandary about OLN! You've put the bar so high! Not implying there's competition--don't mean that--only that one hates to even show up in the same linkfest! This was just wonderful.)

  2. This is an awesome piece .... I feel I type that every single week for someone's poem on OLN, but Lord ... this is vivid. I love it!

  3. Oh, that is IT. Give me that bar. *holds out hand with a mama-isn't-fooling-this-time frown* I have TOLD you and TOLD you to stop raising it. But do you listen? Now go and get the BIG ladder. Right now, Missy! Then we're going to go throw that bar into the ocean. If we can, um, find one in Oklahoma...

    There are so many lines and phrases i adore in this one. The sequence with the yellow hair is inspired, it makes the entire thing immediately both visual and tactile, not to mention brightly real. "The child we'll never have" says much, but in an indirect way, open to interpretation.

    The drunks who "hurricaned" up the halls is just singular. Really, what a perfect and unlikely word choice. But it is the stanza following the couplet that made me have to tie my dropped jaw Jacob Marley style. it is exceptional from beginning to end, with the toybox being the standout. What a jarring, incongruous, inspired image. I think it simply HAD to be reprised at the end, as it was.

    "Vanilla thickness", "whipcord bones" and the whole sensual passage about the cup are all some of the reasons why you are being sent to your room to think about what you've done. If I find you sneaking that bar into the house one more time...

  4. You're still hitting us with the creepy imagery right to the last line.

  5. Music of the spears, indeedy, and an incantation that you reached into the forbidden drawer to potion, all of the carnal images to bleed the devil incarnate back to full boil ... "Hallowed" and "harrowed" are rough bedmates, and this eye-of-Aztec-lizard, razor-tongue-of-jewelled-skull-mace is a dizzy ladder down into the pit of remembrance. I know you don't ink your pen lightly with erotic incarnadines, and this offering of the old sacrifice to memory's darker gods results in a sexual supper that somehow manages to feed the deity while eating the ghoul,. Brave work, and bravo. - Brendan

    1. Thanks, B. Nothing like a sacrifice in the altar braziers to keep out the cold...I really did think 'the past would last me/but the darkness got that too...' Still, the feathered serpent keeps shakin his tail feather.

  6. she is def a magic weaver if in nothing else than her words....breakfast sounds nice you know...smiles. the child we could never have stung a bit...that third stanza is full on imagery and energy...the blood lubed...ack...smiles...lovely hedge...

  7. Damn, damn, damn. Now, I have to do more burning of hair and writing materials . . .

  8. carnal, yeah... edges, sharp, smooth, intimate...raw and refined all at once. WOW!

  9. dang! think i need to get some fresh air and digest the verse, sunk deep into my flesh...great imagery hedge...burning hot and great story telling

  10. Dark, deep, and a delicious all the way through!

  11. Shame there comes a time to put the toys away, but in the meantime magic is born and grows to a climax only YOU know how...
    Amazing beautiful- hedge
    A Honeymoon to be kept in the archives of the history of poetry.

  12. Swings for the fences...and its outta here.

    That's just magnificent on every level.

  13. I love love love when a poet makes a word bend and carry more than it usually can hold: your "hurricaned" and "murmured" for example. And "stroked to purrs and sweat" is delicious. Thank you.

  14. Wow--well shut my mouth! Fabulous


  15. Excellent, mood-intensive and poetry-wild (one of the highest altered states for one - myself, at least - to achieve).

  16. Ahhh succulent is a way to describe this words used as paints on a canvas I thoroughly enjoyed :)

  17. Excellent - loved the wildness of the ride

  18. Awesome of love the pics too, just helps further picture the moment, nice!

  19. Great write. Sacrificed on the altar of love, but written much better.

  20. Every one is mentioning their favorite line. I have to say you knew where to put it.....at the end until time came to put the toys away. Bravo MY name is William. Snot recommended me. This is way too much fun.

  21. Wonderful entwining of the myth with your emotional and sexual life. Worthy of Lawrence! The way you tell the story had me twining myself for a taste. I really enjoyd the details of the everyday life which in its telling makes it so much more meaningful especially against the backdrop of those blood drinking gods!

  22. Whipcord bones and time coming to put the toys away (love the sudden eruption of the mundane into all that blood-soaked language) - lots of jewels to take away from this one.

  23. This is such an incredible poem. There are many wonderful lines and the vivid images you paint are amazing!

  24. umm, WOW, just wow...so much to like, so many lines. At first glance I had that 'oh, thats really long' feeling, then I was done and starting over with no time having past. Very good, thank you.

  25. I just love that having you for breakfast line...but then, I would.

  26. I've said it before - a poem is an extended metaphor... and what an extended metaphor you've found for this piece! Good work!

  27. Myth and sex...Whoa! What a treat for the poet to write...for the reader to read...that's some breakfast! Love it!

  28. such a vivid poem throughout, I loved reading this! Nice post

  29. One dizzy ride here, Hedge...you never go for the cheap...this is so culturally and psychologically RICH.

    I come out gasping...amazed at the breath of your imagination.

    Beautiful and enduring write.

    Lady Nyo

  30. Poised incandescence? Strong poetry.. very much enjoyed.

  31. I liked the verse and the description that you have given. It goes well with the words... but then you ended it up by saying that Mesoamerican's thought of highest sacrifice was of human life... well we do sacrifice our life in living all the time...


    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya
    At twitter @VerseEveryDay

  32. You record such a strange and powerful world here--especially the one in the hotel room, conflating sex and sacrifice, death...this is reflected too (at least for me) in the "spinning down down
    into the solstice of light and dark." Very nice figure there...a hinge to the writing that brings us down rather than peaking...Great contrast in tone in the last part as everything unwinds...Excellent and intelligent.

  33. Oh, wow, wow...I'm breathless reading this! So hot!! Phew...as usual, a wonderful write & a joy to read.. :)

  34. hipster sacrifice and curdled lust... now we've got my current state categorised.... lol

    dark, dangerous and brooding or foreboding...
    enough about me....

    seriously enjoyed this Morrisonesqe ride...

    meet you at the back of the blue bus hedge...

    we're gonna get wasted and chat about Paris :)

    1. It's fun being mad, bad and dangerous to know, I always say.

  35. Hedge, awesome job weaving Aztec belief into your poetry, really love that a lot. The piece itself moved almost magically as they eyes went line by line. Great job. Thanks

  36. i am a big fan of this piece. it was especially smooth for the first half. by then, you had me and i was enjoying it. and i thought the seamlessness of it ended where his madness began. so it made sense and worked effectively. you make three blood references and respectfully, i think it would be stronger with only two. i think blood is such a powerful image it weakens with repetition. i'd keep the bookends. that's just me. i really like the piece.

    lastly, good for you for going dark today. the old boys haven't figured out how to make money off the internet and so they are grabbing for good old fashioned control of it. i am coming to regret i didn't go dark today, but i'm thankful you and others have.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion,Ed--I agree about blood being strong--I've actually removed two other instances of it before publishing this--but the places I kept it are important, beginning middle and end figures--also, all three tie the living to the dead, the past to the present through sacrifice, and are working parts of the metaphor--if I think of a better word choice for the middle, I'll use it, but 'life for lubricant' is the only one that comes close and it just doesn't seem to fit the rest as well. Glad to have your input, though. Thanks for reading.

  37. Wow my tango seems tame in comparison and I was reaching to a steamy end myself. I, like Shay, am always blasted to the outer universe by your unique image/word choices - so seemingly perfect, so rare or unique. The entire piece turning like the weather and the passions of the night. I not only could "see" it, but "feel" it as well. Mighty verse, my dear.

  38. wow, the force of imagery that weaves between light & dark is incredible... so many striking lines & details that go on & stay with the reader... amazing write

  39. THIS is the magic of the day ... the best poem I've read lately. You hit me hard with this one.

    These are some of my favorites:

    "shy dark children patting, taking my yellow hair
    for lizard feathers"

    "the drunks hurricaned up and down the halls;
    we the same up and down the walls"

    "and saw the things no seer ever could say"

    "black shadow and white light
    of that pyramid of skulls and jaguar’s caves"

    "clockwork bones"

    "stroked to purrs and sweat"


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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