Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Recuerdos de Oaxaca

Painting by Mitzi Linn.....Oaxaca II: 2004

        Recuerdos de Oaxaca
The mescal I am drinking evokes Oaxaca. 
Memories, sound collages, smells/ 
textures create images in my psyche.
      Warm days and nights,
my friends, folk musicians, jazz musicians,
singing and playing in the palm tree patio of
the original El Sol y La Luna Restuarant.

I listen to familiar songs.  Grupo Quetzalcoatl, and then
Lila Downs’ distinct strong voice rising above a pueblo band.
“Pinotepa”, “La Sandunga”  
“La Cancion Mixteca”, which, written by
a homesick Mixtec migrant worker in the US,
plaintively calls up “ tierra del sol.....
I am dying to see you.....................”

Mexico’s myriad of technicolor impressions!
Friends’ faces, native traje, the Zocalo, long bus rides, churches,
Colorful houses and mountain market towns crowd my mind.
conversations in Spanish and English, Zapotec,Mixtec--
this overflow of images, weave together
inner and outer realities.

Nostalgia,  like Moctezuma’s revenge,
strikes suddenly, renders me incoherent.
Whatever I have to say is lost 
or inexpressible.

               Here in el norte
Electric lights struggle against the gray Oregon day.
No light here ever shines bright enough to touch
the light in the valley between
the Sierra Madre and the Sierra Juarez.

I decorate this living room to
resemble a folkart store in Oaxaca.
I put bright colored weavings and warm rugs
around myself, light candles and
sing along with Lila.  

Carved painted animals,
Sun and Moon masks, rattles for Mayan ceremonies,
Tibetan tangkas and Huichol yarn paintings
Create my familiar altar
    in this sacred space.

Tasting a little mescal,
calls up Cocijo, the Zapotec god of
thunder, rain, lightning,
I offer it to the Virgins on the Altar,
    Guadelupe and Juquila,
and to benefit all beings.

The tiniest wiff of that dark smoky drink is
enough to awaken the living
the dead, and those somewhere
in between.

Offered copal  smokes the room.
I sit in front of this newly made altar
I begin to send out blessings
to all who come to mind.
Their names become a chant......
The chant entrances me.

Mitzi Linn 1997



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