that christian magic


our benefactor

The Incas observed Spaniards reading from books and thought the skill
to be an aspect of the supernatural. Who were these gods, that could read
from white cloth?

the page is failing, it is a failing age.
our benefactor came again today,
he’d said his hair was turning grey.
i have nothing to say about our benefactor.

nor do i speak for the dying,
for the coliseum, the roads that lead nowhere now,
but into jungle.

except to say, where there are monuments,
you’ll find the children of slaves.

it is a confession,
the old faucet in the kitchen,
all night:
“i did it, i did it, i did…”

the page has failed, the margins burst.
note the drowned women and children;
New Orleans: again, again.

Atahuallpa, prisoner of the Spanish,
had his guard write the royal name upon his thumb.
And when receiving visitors he held the name
to be read aloud. “Atahuallpa, Inca Ruler.”
It amazed him, this magic.

When Pizarro came at last,
now made Governor of Peru,
the thumb presented
but no sense was made of it:

Pizarro, conqueror of the Inca,
was illiterate.

you are not here so i’ll tell it:
the yellow press on every corner
— hatchets, razors.

at night i hear them singing
their weird, violet songs:
“i did it! i did it! did it all!”

the words, now, gestures of the past.

– Clay McCann

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