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The Barnard-Boecker Centre Foundation

Chiapas

No Tenemos Que Pedir
Permiso Para Ser Libres*

*We Do Not Have To Ask Permission In Order To Be Free
(Zapatista slogan on grandstand in front of cathedral, San Cristobal de las Casas)

Well fed tourists, hungry for exotica
gawk at the sunlit facade
an old Spanish cathedral
in older Mesozoic mountains
where
doves moan on precarious precipices
on angels
freshly painted mustard amarillo.

Brown shadows scuttle on
sharp edges of history
under walls of mayan, maximillian and moors
symbols of power long gone
Christ still bleeds
on the cross
inside these walls
well impregnated
with male urine.

Centuries pass
they come and come
conquistadores all
white and strong
blind
in armour of self-belief
construct of global power.

His thick slugs of arms
swoop
upon a scrap of humanity
filthy in a black skirt
the rest mud coloured
her legs
frail twigs of earth.

Her terror ignored
he laughs guffaws of glee
My God!
he laughs?
where is glee in this girl child?
maybe five years old
who falls in rigid fear
from his fleshy noose
and vanishes from
the worn pavement
into cracks of lost time
to die within a year.

T.W.

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