The Xibalba Arcane, texte original



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Jack Hirschman, The Xibalba Arcane (excerpts)



The worm reaches the surface of these days,

takes one look and dives back down.


A skeletal arm with lesions holding out a hand

rattling with bones from the head of three Starburst


If only we could, the way they did, become

small  and crawl into our own blowguns.


Suppose it’s true that the ball game has been

going on since hips and buts and shoulders


As a way to give blood to nourish the earth,-

Tun and katun signs, the ball and bats,


And Bats too and Jaguar, Scorpions, Razors

Hurricanes lava and Obsidiane Hailstones.


When the heart is torn out of its cage, Death

takes out its teeth and clacks them.

More about the author 

That’s also what I like about an arm lopped off

finding my shoulder-socket when I wake up


Or going around headless only to have it thrown

back onto my neck to the cheers of the crowd ;



Or seeing me flung, a dead dog, down a canyon

and feeling the lick of its tongue


like an agave leaf on my cheek in the bed,

and its fangish yawn and mongrel mouth-chasm


ribbed like the body of the worm inside a bottle of

 mezcal which swalows me down to Xibalba






The name of the cities, all of them: Money.
Already are. So it doesn't matter Jack
Morris goes from Minnesota to Toronto,
even though he just pitched the most
classic game in modern history for Minnesota.
There is no Minnesota or Toronto.
He's gone from Money to Money.
And it doesn't matter Jack's my name
and Morris the name of my grandfather,
and I came from New York City
in San Francisco.
or I live in San Francisco
There is no New York City
or San Francisco. They’re the same as
Minnesota or Toronto. They’re Money.
Jack Morris has gone from money to money
Even across the border.
That's the new world order,
whose fleece is widespread snow,
whose Death has a wild hunger for poor marrowbones
whose guzzle is hemo.
The razorkeen cold
knifes the rags we're wearing to ribbons.
The way we've lugged those sacks over our shoulders.
Still do. Who are like thousands upon thousands
of ants who've discovered corn-kernel crumbles
in hydrocarbons after centuries
of bugsquashed buried life.
The wasps are heaped at the rancid puddles.
The madness of the decade is tied to the tree.
The spots are removed from the jaguar, which
appears more dirty without them.
He was flat-out down in front of the Hungry 1, bleeding
(or was it the Bleeding 1, hungry),
bartender-bounced, and the chicklette in fishnet was
looking upstreet for a cop.
Be a good passerby, be a swab
of cotton, take him round the corner to the toilet
of The Saloon where he can clean off the blood.
He's got one buck and B of A black plastic,
can wobble upstreet to a versateller
to get him back to money. After many years
knowing a great deal and believing in nothing,
he has become a bottle of vodka in a velvet
coffin in a case carried by his own ghost
lying next to the detachable parts of a chalked
blue-tipped cuestick.
The glyphs, the glyphs, I see their secret now!
The corpuscles of the invisible skin on the bones
of the skeletons of the centuries.
O what a dance, what a dream, what a spin, turning
within turnings, what a revolution!
A meadow can be on a palm,
I've actually risen to the height of your sorrow
and begun my life in words.
That is a great happiness.
I can sit still, they'll say I am moving everywhere.
I can be so rapid, birds will disbelieve, I'll not
allow a blink to split a second,
that's how serene I am now.
Because the grains of me remember where I belong.
Where I was dreamed before I was written.
Where I was burned, cremated, and where my _xcriban_
killed himself with an obsidian knife
in despair of the holocaust of the codices.
O I could tell a star a thing or two about time,
I could. How we mined it and ate and slept
and fucked with it everywhere, so that
space itself _was_ it, yes, a chunk in our backpack,
a bite of the sun in our bag.
If it were only this night,
if it were simply this food,
if it were merely this breath
















Meanwhile, the walk that is, that always begins at sunset :

she’s a skeleton all gussied up in flesh and blood,

satin on over, the leather lips of her

tall black boots,

a kinkajou (look up !),

She’s contemplating her skeleton, trying to

Get out, to split, to exit it ; meanwhile,

She goes night-writing through the streets of the Loin,

Her name’s Happy Cahn, she’s a sucking snake

who can draw men to herself with her breath ;

She sings :

What are black seeds

On a white soil ?






  Jack Hirschman, The Xibalba Arcane, Azul Editions, 1994


© Jack Hirschman, tous droits réservés.



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