Four Poems


by Donald Wellman




Dioses de Oaxaca



Stars in the rug represent the churches of Oaxaca

Why do I lie to myself?

Bluestones wet with rain


embedded in the floor of the Abbaye de Lessay,

She agreed.

Xonaxi, Cosana

The rain, black spores.

Green stone arches and cupolas of blue and white squares

I will not publish this without your permission.

Violence, an aspect of love

Four points define

the corners of the universe.

Pije-tao, overlord of the 13 dieties

Strong-legged female statuettes

from San José Mogote





San Agustín



From her garden

Jacarandas and calla lilies, azucena

I look down into the terraces of  Monte Albán



Burning dollop of sun

On this hillside

was a shirt factory, a clinic for the workers

An artisanal highschool.

The visibility of power,

stemming from blood lore,



sixty six

Mixtec, Zapotec

New studios make

acid-free paper for kites and books

Régimen: usos y costumbres

A contract determines

the tariff structure

that propels

taxies from Etla

into the Oaxaca. Travel permitted.

Llévame, llévame, carry me, carry me away

The carousel has broken down

Three little girls have no where to go

Barricades and conflagrations

A shot rips a shoulder.

The conflict hurts to the very bone

How govern


each vote






White Room


I contemplate this generous space among arcades

Ceiling bowed by the light

As if paper

Weddings here and wedding banquets

have been held

The way out

is a passage through

similar rooms


For the father killed as he worked


to disentangle a landmine

from a vine

They carried him across the river in the bottom of the boat,

in his shroud

Mourners under an umbrella.


Maroon roses







Different sopranos for different Christs

Shifts in rhythm instead of harmony

mark transitions.  Dance replaces arias.

Calatrava’s webs carry people through

tents with profiles that sweep across the sky.

Dana Schutz’s palette of magazine colors

Multicolored mourners surround a broken corpse

theater of dismemberment and irony

Flatness, carnival, and mockery

Chorales with percussion from multiple sources

Cada persona tiene su mundo

She explained to her friend

Invented allegories of deep suffering

Muxima, site of pilgrimage,

choruses from multiple nations

La pasión según San Marco

Seeing double philosophical trees

Bound torso, folded drapery

Coils merge Bernini with cartoons

Mother nurses infants sprung from trees

Betrayed in the jungles of Bolivia

Fragments of his dismembered corpse

Circulated among the people

Genocide, slavery, environmental degradation

produced by conquistadors

Sacred sap of invented trees,

milky rubber stuff

Seeking a modern function

Each has her own world she said

examining the skin for imperfections




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