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Sunday, 5 August 2012

Susan Kay Anderson: El Dorado, Man of Gold


.

La cacica de Guatavita. Leyenda Muisca o Chibcha, Colombia: photo by Pilar Cerisola, 6 June 2009


One.


He jumped into the icy lake. Pine pitch
glittering with gold dust
stuck to his body. It kept him warm.
After he jumped out of the water
the gold sank to the bottom of the lake.
The subjects on the shore clapped wildly.
He must have looked like a golden human fish.




File:Muisca raft Legend of El Dorado Offerings of gold.jpg

Muisca raft, representation of the initiation of the new Zipa in the lake of Guatavita
. The Zipa covered his body in gold dust and, from his raft, offered treasures to the Guatavita goddess in the middle of the sacred lake. The cacique in the center is surrounded by attendants and oarsmen. This ancient Muisca tradition became the origin of El Dorado legend. The model raft, 19.5 cm long, 10.1 cm wide and 10.2 cm high, made by a lost wax method using an alloy of gold (80%), silver and copper, and dated between 1200 and 1500 BC, was found together with many other gold objects in a cave in Pasca, Colombia in 1856: photo by Andrew Bertram, 19 January 2006 (Museo del Oro, Bogotá)


Two.


We watched once at Lake Tahoe while
a man scuba dived in the clear cold water.
We sat on the piney beach with my mom
in the golden sand. My mom was topless.
We were so embarrassed. Please
put on your top, we said. That man will see.
She lifted her arms above her head and stretched.
European style, she said.
It took about a minute to get too cold
jumping in and out of the water, ignoring her.
Our fingers were so blue the sun did not warm them.




Figura votiva Oro. 600 d.C. - 1600 d.C. 8,4 x 2,5 cm

Figura votiva, Oro: 600 d.C. - 1600 d.C. 8.4 x 2.5 cm (Museo del Oro, Bogotá)


Three.


On the beach near Nome we took Kathleen Kennedy
and her friend Sophie for a picnic the second day
they stayed with us. My dad smoked a cigarette
then another, watching the topless teenagers
jumping in and out of the waves. Their breasts
larger than the hands that held them. My dad’s
cigarette stub glowing dangerously close to his fingers.
Kathleen trying to pop corn after the salmon roast,
using only salt, no oil, her method. The popcorn
burning black as the abandoned starts of driftwood.




Figura votiva Tumbaga. 600 d.C. - 1600 d.C. Belén de Chinauta, Fusagasugá Cundinamarca 9,1 x 5,7 x 6,4 cm

Figura votiva Tumbaga: 600 d.C. - 1600 d.C. Belén de Chinauta, Fusagasugá Cundinamarca 9.1 x 5.7 x 6.4 cm (Museo del Oro, Bogotá)


Four.


Mayor Bill Stirling and Katherine Thalberg look so much alike.
Like brother and sister. Katherine has gold chains against
her collarbones. Her bookstore comes alive when Bill
walks in to give her a rose. This is Aspen, where the winters
are often frozen. The rich fly in and out of the icy valley.
The poor live in teepees if they’re lucky. Katherine and Bill
stay warm long after their smiles flash golden.




Ofrendatario donde se halló la Balsa Muisca. 600 d.C. - 1600 d.C. Pasca, Cundinamarca.

Ofrendatario donde se halló la Balsa Muisca
: 600 d.C. - 1600 d.C. Pasca, Cundinamarca (Museo del Oro, Bogotá)


Five.


He would jump into the icy lake. Pine pitch on his body.
He glittered with gold dust. Underneath the water he opened
his eyes and the coldness and flashing of the water made him
want to linger as long as possible.





Figura votiva Tumbaga. 600 d.C. – 1600 d.C. Guatavita, Cundinamarca 8 x 4,20 cm

Figura votiva Tumbaga: 600 d.C. – 1600 d.C. Guatavita, Cundinamarca 8 x 4.20 cm (Museo del Oro, Bogotá)


Six.


Out in back right next to the hot tub my sister’s in-laws from Romania
wanted their picture taken with my Dad’s golden pistol he always keeps
in his closet within easy reach of his bed where he dreams.




Pectoral. 1080 d.C. Varela, Chiquinquirá, Boyacá 15 x 14,5 cm

Pectoral
: 1080 d.C. Varela, Chiquinquirá, Boyacá 15 x 14.5 cm (Museo del Oro, Bogotá)

Nariguera Oro 600 d.C. - 1600 d.C. 14,6 x 18,9 cm
 

Nariguera, Oro: 600 d.C. - 1600 d.C.14.6 x 18.9 cm (Museo del Oro, Bogotá)

Figura votiva Oro. 600 d.C. - 1600 d.C. Pasca, Cundinamarca 8,3 x 22,6 cm

Figura votiva, Oro: 600 d.C. - 1600 d.C. Pasca, Cundinamarca 8.3 x 22.6 cm (Museo del Oro, Bogotá)

Balsa muisca (figura de ofrenda) Oro. 600 d.C. - 1600 d.C. Pasca, Cundinamarca 10,2 x 19,5 x 10,1 cm   

Balsa muisca (figura de ofrenda), Oro: 600 d.C. - 1600 d.C. Pasca, Cundinamarca 10.2 x 1.,5 x 10.1 cm (Museo del Oro, Bogotá)
 

photo

Laguna de Guatavita (Lake of the Golden Boat), Colombia: photo by efer.ves.cing ele.pha.nt, 10 November 2008


 
Muisca raft (the Golden Boat): photo by SAM601601 (Museo del Oro, Bogotá)

9 comments:

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom and Susan,

"the coldness and flashing of the water made him
want to linger as long as possible."

8.5

light coming into fog against invisible
ridge, blackness of black pine branches
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

temporality itself as past-
in-present, the other

otherwise, is also personal,
an image on a surface

white circle of sun in fog above ridge,
shadowed green pine on tip of sandspit

Jonathan Chant said...

Six great stanzas. Nice selection of pictures. A good way to spend a Sunday evening, thank you both.

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

Another stunning collaboration.

Wooden Boy said...

Bodies covered in gold dust waiting to be washed away, golden smiles showing up at the moment of exchange, all the way through to that golden pistol, shining with a novelty violence.

What a thing gold is.

TC said...

Very impressive the way this work weaves the personal, the cultural, the historical, the mythic into the inextricable knot of the poetic.

In his great book about the meaning of money, Frozen Desire, John Buchan reflects upon the arrival in the Americas of Europeans in quest of gold. For the peoples of the Americas, gold had not previously been money. "What happens when a great civilisation that uses money meets one that does not?" asks Buchan. "They smash each other to smithereens."

Cortés spoke to the Mexican ambassadors at Vera Cruz in 1519 of of the "disease of the heart, that infirmity, that we have, my companions and I, and that we cure with gold."

"... marooned... in a continent without money, [the Spanish] could not imagine how they could conduct their business without violence. The force of the smash derives from the polarities of ornament and money. In Peru, the Spaniards compelled Atahualpa to fill a room with two million pesos of gold and then garrotted him. The Indians retaliated with their own sense of what gold was:

"'The Indians having gotten him in their power, melted Two Pound of Gold and one of them pouring it down his throat, said, Old Baldivia, thou hast a great and greedy Desire after Gold, we have us'd all possible means to satisfie thee, but could not; now by good hap we have thought upon a Way. Here is gold, drink thy thy Fill; for here's enough to content even the most Covetous.'"

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Coca-cola. Pepsico.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Seeing it all spelled out here.
Just because I say the kingdom
is mine
does not mean
it is
until
it solidifies
soft metal
down my throat
and into
my home
forever

Susan Kay Anderson said...

The raft is not a raft.
It will sink if used.
It is for looking at
in the dark cave
the dark water
where the moon
is enough
the spark
just the best
beside the fire
the torch
the little lamp

phaneronoemikon said...

sexy and vexy
vis a viva
avid diva
and divan
navid \\ promise
good nous
sound ogling
d'or
the rods and sonic
cones

synoc
cynic

kinesthesia
or Zeno's wort