Bio: Colette Inez
Colette Inez has authored ten poetry collections, more recently Spinoza Doesn't Come Here Anymore from Melville House Books. She is widely anthologized and received fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, twice from the NEA, and won two Pushcart prizes. Formerly a visiting professor at Cornell, Ohio, Bucknell and Colgate Universities, she has long taught at Columbia University and appeared on public radio and TV. The University of Wisconsin Press published her memoir The Secret of M. Dulong in 2005. Her latest poetry collection Horseplay from Word Press was released in 2011.
(Photo by Saul Stadtmauer)
CANTATAS FOR ORIGINS
In the early time, earth sat on the back of a turtle
that carried four angels. Words arrived.
One wrote with brush and ink: where is my author?
Chac, the Maya god of rain, answered with thunder,
Ix Chel, guardian of the moon, wove light on the sea.
My god gave me a desktop, name and documents attached.
I press search looking for the man whose face matches
mine in the curl of his lips, resolute chin.
I check lost cities south of Honduras,
their gods of saint days and sombreros, of divinatory almanacs.
I seek out one who kneeled to reports of the miraculous.
Carbon copies quivered when he plunked down keys
to codify the mss. of Aristotle's works.
Aristotle in the New World cities.
Jesuit conversion of the Nahuas, builders of temples.
Born where tribes feasted in the name of their conquerors' gods,
he returned to his America and to theirs:
Chilula, Cocopah, Shoshone.
His Olympia, as artifact resides in archival dust.
An Olympian spirit slow to call my name, this man took small steps
toward the hereafter like a turtle heavy with angels.
(©Colette Inez 2012)