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Thursday, 2 June 2011

Zone 2


Hundimiento por socavación del agua en la Zona 2 de la Ciudad de Guatemala: photo by Paulo Raquec, 30 May 2010 (Government of Guatemala)

And before hell mouth

the gate swung on its hinges,

heard in the dream

by chance a name,

a riddle of the past

states that

an intruder in a strange house

is discovered; falling plaster

reveals the place

missing object from the


a strange house in

an electrical storm

vanishes and the site becomes

a wound, a terrible
.dream driving, nearer home than

a spooky

a strange experience among a people weirdly

the secret of the delusion
......obtained in
..psychic shock.
a dream, or an unusual experience

Ceramic representation of Mictlantecuhtli, Aztec god of the dead and king of Mictlan (Chicunauhmictlan), lowest and northernmost section of the underworld, recovered during excavation of the House of Eagles in the Templo Mayor, now on display at the museum of the Templo Mayor, Mexico City: photo by Thelmadatter, 23 March 2008

Statue of Mictlantecuhtli, Aztec god of the dead, museum of the Templo Mayor, Mexico City: photo by Jamie Dwyer, 19 August 2008

Hundimiento por socavación del agua en la Zona 2 de la Ciudad de Guatemala: photo by Paulo Raquec, 30 May 2010 (Government of Guatemala)




hell mouth
heard in the dream

by chance a name. . . .


grey whiteness of clouds above shadowed
plane of ridge, quail calling Chi-ca-go
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

over graphite on wove paper,
in lower left letters

going and coming, going and
coming back, “it was”

waves breaking across mouth of channel,
clouds on horizon to the left of point

Barry Taylor said...

Tom - Can you give any context for the first and final images? Having read your poem I know what the hole is in the senses that matter, but the literal-minded me is fretting. Times like this I know I'm not a poet - no negative capability, damn it.

Thanks, Barry

TC said...


The short answer is: bad drains, heavy weather, and... the bottom of a city drops out.

After torrential rains from Tropical Storm Agatha, the gaping hole pictured here -- a hundred feet deep, 66 feet wide -- opened in the earth beneath Guatemala City, swallowing a three story building and a house.

A chasm of comparable dimensions opened up not far from the same site three years earlier, again after heavy rains.

These are regarded as spectacular examples of a phenomenon called "piping pseudokarst", brought about by the collapse of large cavities that have developed in the weak, crumbly Quaternary volcanic deposits that underlie the city.

Although weak and crumbly, these volcanic deposits have enough cohesion to allow them to stand in vertical faces and develop large subterranean voids within them.

A process called "soil piping" creates large underground voids as water from leaking water mains flows through these volcanic deposits and initially washes fine volcanic materials out of them, then progressively erodes and removes coarser materials.

Eventually, these underground voids became very large, their roofs collapse and the result is very large holes.

TC said...

Of course, and not at all surprisingly, there were other views of the causality involved here, and questions raised as to whether such events might not indeed be the devil's work.

Anonymous said...

a strange experience among a people weirdly

I had at least three or four of those yesterday.

I knew nothing about piping pseudokarsts until this, although I once witnessed the aftermath of a (much smaller) sinkhole opening up in a former boss's backyard during an evening business reception and seeing a colleague briefly disappear. It was awful. But I must say that the Great Blue Sinkhole in Belize is remarkably beautiful.

The juxtaposition of a Mephistophelean Al Gore (we'll leave Tipper out of this) and the devil article you posted is also pretty weird.



And what in the world did they 'do' about it -- fill it? site of the new Guatemala City dump? put up cyclone fence it ("Cuidado!")? And I wonder, Curtis, whatever happened to your colleague who briefly disappeared?


light coming into sky above still black
ridge, planet next to black pine branch
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

not only passing of present
to past, that be said

still more than, then those,
blue coat with silver

grey rain cloud against green of ridge,
wingspan of pelican flapping toward it