Manifest Destiny (Infinite Loop)

~ erasure poem based on The First Voyage Round the World
Antonio Pigafetta, 1874

7. 

In the island                   are mines of gold, which they
find in pieces as big as a walnut or an egg



               he had a cross

                          he showed them       the
sign of the emperor his lord and master



         we saw many houses         built on trees

                                                if he
wished for peace he would have peace            if he wished for war he would have war

Manifest Destiny (Infinite Loop)

 
~ erasure poem based on The First Voyage Round the World
Antonio Pigafetta, 1874

6. 

                           The captain
                                      
                                              showed

them all his goods                                      and
                      also had some shots fired with his artillery           they were

afraid that they wished to jump                  into the sea


       
                      we saw came two long boats, which they call
Ballanghai

               the king ordered to be brought a dish of pig's flesh and
wine                                they first raise their hands to heaven



I ate flesh on Good Friday

Manifest Destiny (Infinite Loop)

~ erasure poem based on The First Voyage Round the World
Antonio Pigafetta, 1874

5. 

                          sweet oranges, a vessel of palm
wine,

bracelets and rings of gold on their arms


            holes in their ears so large           they can pass their arms through
them





there are birds, figs a palm long, sweet canes,        flying fish


       These people
poor, but ingenious, and great thieves


                               they
           thought                             there were

no other men in the world besides them

Fire Mummies

~ Kabayan, Benguet

We hold on as long as we can
    until the mountain trail swims 
         like a river of mist before our eyes, 
              and we know it's time.

Before we close our eyes and leave
    the village forever, the shaman brings a drink  
         in a shell dipper to seal and drain   
               the body from inside. 

Nothing of beeswax or honey must touch
    our skin, but salt and stringent herb--- 
         We want to be as parchment that light 
               can read through and through, high 

among limestone rocks. When the last  
    breath exhales, we step outside and watch them   
         seat our corpses at our homestead's threshold, 
             over a low smoldering fire.

A gong's bronze notes weave
    a month-long tent as slowly,
         we dry and lengthen, limbs folded
             and tucked in. Suspended 

like this between sky and earth, we sit 
    like sculptures nested in sweet 
         pine boxes, waiting for the flower 
             that blooms only one night a year.  



 

Museums of contemporary suffering

 

On one side, the endless travails
                                                       of telenovela or pale, wispy-haired 
K-drama characters. On the other,
                                                      saints and their ladders,
lanced breasts and
                                                      severed heads. The anguish
of families separated
                                                      at a border; documentation
of the number of times migrant
                                                      girls bled or did not bleed
each month. Cells echoing
                                                      with the distinct sound
made by children crying.
                                                      Shoes and pink
plastic toothbrushes scattered through
                                                      the desert. Far away,
marble balconies where
                                                      little gods fuck
each other and eat expensive sushi
                                                      after closing
some new deal in China.
                                                      Warning: don’t watch
the video of the most recent mass
                                                      shooting; but if you did,
here is what to do about it.

 

In response to Via Negativa: Contemplative.

 


	

Manifest Destiny (Infinite Loop)

~ erasure poem based on The First Voyage Round the World
Antonio Pigafetta, 1874

4. 

                                                on the 
day of the Eleven Thousand Virgins         we found



                     the peaceful sea          surrounded by
mountains covered with snow


                                                   within the Bay
where in the night we had a great storm

                                 went further on and found a bay

                                                         Amongst
us we thought                          we saw       two ships under
all sail, with ensigns spread                    Afterwards

              inside this strait we found       two mouths



                                          one of the two
        whom we had taken              died

                     the captain-general sent   the ship named     Victory   
                                    the people  
                                 were to place an ensign on the summit
with a letter inside a pot

        : and he caused a cross to be set upon a small island


                                in it we found
a good port                good waters, wood all of cedar,      fish 

                            there is not in the world a more beautiful country


           when we wounded          this          people
        immediately afterwards they died


                women      cried out and tore their hair
for the love of those           we had killed

These people 

                   adore nothing, and 

                                    go naked

Manifest Destiny (Infinite Loop)

~ erasure poem based on The First Voyage Round the World
Antonio Pigafetta, 1874

3.


                   arose this custom in this place of eating
the enemies of each other

                                 ; they eat him bi by bit,
                       they cut him up into pieces,

                                                          and eat it
              in memory of their enemies.


           These kind of people                                  are not
very black, but rather brown



      and there are           an infinite number of parrots

                                         . There are also           pigs
which have their navel on the back



                                          but their
wives they would not give up for anything in the world.






It is to be known                         it had not rained for two months
before we came           , and the day            we arrived it began to rain, on
which account the people                    said                  we came from
heaven

Manifest Destiny (Infinite Loop)

~ erasure poem based on The First Voyage Round the World
Antonio Pigafetta, 1874

2. 

                 he who            kept         first watch, on the
following day



                       the end of a river

                                          many little villages
from which to enter                              a port

                        Near     the cape

days                           where we sojourned  

                           once a day at the hour of
midday, there descends a cloud 

a great abundance of water distils
  
                     the animals, both domestic and wild,


drink of it

    Nevertheless




	

Manifest Destiny (Infinite Loop)

~ erasure poem based on The First Voyage Round the World; 
Antonio Pigafetta, 1874

1.


                       (         illustrious and     very
reverend      ) 
                      permit         me to see
and suffer 
                             but also      desire



                              By which

voyage
I wished to go; 

                    therefore          by night
               a torch          of burning wood

                                                 a
thick cord of reeds
                well soaked in         water

                                   two lights

                     the studding sail


                an answering signal 


Enrique remembers Melaka before disappearing from known history

Primus circumdediste me” 
~ motto on Juan Sebastián Elcano's coat of arms; 1522

Windless, we languish for days 
in the straits. Magallanes is gone:

dead at the hands of warriors
in Mactan. His resting place, 

the watery deep; or the Datu's yard,
where doubtless he served as trophy

until they gave what was left of him
to the wild boars, to ants. 

                                      Melaka, 
you are so close by! Your shadow or shape 

almost carries in the humid air. Perhaps 
I only imagine so. When going down the hold,

your mingled aromatics enfold my face: buah
pala, buah pelaga from Ambon and Ternate. 

Bunga lawang, its small, hard, fragrant 
stars; bunga cengkih, the dry nailheads 

we crushed with our teeth to sweeten 
our breath, coming before the sultan.   

And I was curious about how the smooth
pod case bore mark after mark, how I 

could  trace with my fingernail 
the lines that spread 

                            in circles outward.  
Melaka, my mouth remembers the veins

of kaffir lime leaves, the nostalgia of duan 
pandan. I have learned to say these names in other 

tongues; or at least bring the mouth as close 
as possible, before the words vanish the way a small 

craft can plummet over an edge. In the silence,
we hear only water's pure, untranslatable voice.