PAPAGENA PRESS

NOTES on INCANTATIONS


These poems come from a beautiful book by the same name written, produced, and manufactured
by contemporary Mayan women in Mexico, under the direction of Ambar Past.


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I Am a Woman

Loxa Jimenes Lopes
I am a woman, my woman
I am a girl, my girl.

I am woman, the woman,
I am girl, the girl.

I know how lo work.
My feet work.
My hands know.

You made me woman.
You gave me woman.

Woman of Flowers.
Mother of the Sky.

Woman of Roses,
Girl of Roses.

I am girl my girl.
I am woman my woman.

You gave me my spirit.
You gave me my Death.
You put my soul inside.

Woman of the Bromelia Flower.
Woman of the Kilon Flower.

The Moon is full.
The woman in bloom.

My girl, my girl,
my woman, my woman.

Put into my head,
give me in my heart,
your three needles,
your three looms.

Your gourds,
The tips of your spindles.

I am a girl, my girl,
I am a woman, my woman.

×

Witchcraft for Attracting a Man

Xpetra Ernandes
I want him to come with flowers in his heart.
With all his heart,

I want him to talk to my body.
I want his blood to ache for me
when he sees me on the way to the market.

I want his mother to come to my house to ask for me
with her head bowed down
and a jug of booze for my dad.

l want him to come on a new road
so his white clothes won't get dirty.

I don't want him to fall in the mud.
Don't let a bad snake bite him.

Look into his eyes, Kajval.
I'm telling you this to your nose, to your ears:
His name is Xtumin.

I've spoken to your head.
I've spoken to your bones.
l called you with my mouth.

I want to join myself to him.
I want this man to be my other half.

×

To Keep the soldiers Away

Xunka' Utz'utz Ni'
Listen, Sacred Thunderbolt:
Listen, Sacred Hill:
Listen, Sacred Lightning:
Listen, Sacred Cave:
We have come to wake up your conscience.
We have come to awaken your heart
so you’ll fire your rifle,
so you’ll sound your cannon.
To block the road of the men
who come in the night,
who come at dawn with their
weapons.
Don't let them beat us up.
Don't let them torture us.
Don't let them rape us in our houses, in our homes.

Great Flowery San Juan:
Lord of the Earth, Guardian of the
Sky:
Holy Father White Cave, Holy Mother White, Cave:
Holy Father San Cristobal, Holy
Mother San Cristobal:
Don't let them come into thee lands.
Make their rifles freeze up, let their
pistols go cold.
Kajval, take this bouquet of flowers.
Accept this offering of leaves,
The smoke from my incense.
Sacred Father Chaklajun, Sacred
Mother Chaklajun.

×

Planting a Tree - Xzpetra Ernandes

Xpetra Ernandes
Sacred Tree,
Holy Pine:

I am going to plant you
in the Sacred Earth.

Take, my gift:
these three grains of corn
that I'll bury at your foot,
beneath your branches

to pay you back.
for your help.

I’ll tie my loom to you.
I'll weave in your shade.

My chickens will roost in your
branches.
Birds will sleep in your crown.

Climb up, grow tall,
Sacred tree, Holy Pine.

×

So the Baby Will Learn to Speak

Antonia Moshan Culej
Here's your little tortilla
With three holes in it

So you will learn to speak,
So your mouth will be opened,

So you will talk
And laugh.

Come here, child,
Take your tortilla.

Peer through
The crack in the door.

See the face in it?
This hole is its mouth.
Sec the eyes?
Take it with your lips.

Eat your birdfeed.
You’ll chatter like a parrot.