La cacica de Guatavita. Leyenda Muisca o Chibcha, Colombia: photo by Pilar Cerisola, 6 June 2009
- 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.
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)
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 (Museo del Oro, Bogotá)
- 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.
- 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 (Museo del Oro, Bogotá)
- 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.
- 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.
Muisca raft (the Golden Boat): photo by SAM601601 (Museo del Oro, Bogotá)