Konch Magazine - Going Galapagos by A. Robert Lee

Going Galápagos

i
Three
Quito
sea-lions
stretched
like
Ecuadorean 
pashas 
along
the
dockside bench.

Equator 
gate-keepers
of
Pacific 
ease
and 
loll
whiskered
docents
of
fin, beak, claw and shell
carapace and wing
sea and island
Beagle and Acushnet
sight and word 
and
all of them
yawning.

Quito
 via
 runway Guayaquil

 Quito
 of
 La Plaza Grande
 La Catedral
 El Mercado de Otavalo

 Quito
 of
 Hidalgo Gothic
 be-hatted mestizaje
 a hundred shoeshine boys

 Quito
 of
 thin oxygen
 and
 Andean volcano hills

 Quito
 of
 Earth’s closeness
 to the sun

 Quito
 of
 street pobreza
 and
 JW Marriott Five-Star Hotel
 Avenida Orellana y Avenida Amazonas 

ii 
Quito to La Mitad del Mundo   
 actually
 250 meters
 off centre
 Pyramid
 of
 latitude and longitude

GPS-confirmed Museo Inti-Nan 
 actually
 the centre
 of
 earth’s
 curvature
 earth’s
 hemispheres
 earth’s
 lobes

 

iii
Thank you 
Incas
everywhere

Thank you
Ecuador’s 
mestizos
criollos
quechuas
Chirrera, Jama Coaque, Tolita, Machalilla, Valdivia

Thank you 
Lago Titicaca 
Manco Capac
Machu Picchu
memory quipus

Merci
Charles Marie de Condamine
 rubber, quinine, metrics, circumference

Gracias
 Juan Montalvo’s Las Cantilinarias
 poetry, lyric, language

 Gracias
 Jorge Icaza Coronel’s Huasipungo  
 novel, history, memory 

  iii 
  Quito zodiac
   to cruise ship
   isle for isle
   turtle-journey
   to
   Las Galápagos
   Islas de Colón
   Archipiélago de Colón
   Islas de las Galápagos

   vertical arrow diving frigates
   at home blue-footed boobies
   herons on one foot watching
   huge gulping pelicans 
   swallow tailed gulls on sentinel duty
   Darwin’s finches 
   (one upon my shoe)  
   neck coupled albatrosses
   un-flighted cormorants among the crabs 
   sedate breaststroke lagoon turtles 
   night time spectral prowler sharks 
   rock-hopping diver penguins
   clambering, clod
   heroic monument tortoises
   iguanas land and marine
   in their thermometer bodies
   of mottle-leather skin
   and
   un-dinner table sneezing salt
   
   and amid these origins of species,
   across ranger white-marked trails
   across silver forests
   across black roped lava
   across 500-species of shrub and plant
   across volcano pools  
   ascend
   rock formations
   serrated cliff-faces
   weather and wind chiselled ledges
   whorls, folds, wrinkles
   high cathedral vaults of Nature 
   playfields of pottered cinder
   stilled spurts of fire-stream
   messaged pebble, boulder, stone
   live thesaurus petrification

   vocabularies of Spain fade – 
   San Cristóbal, Santa Cruz, Baltran, Isabela
   and other Encantadas

   vocabularies of England fade –
   buccaneer Ambrose Cowley
   Darwin Research Station  
   Lonesome George   
  
   vocabularies of Melville and Vonnegut fade
    page and paragraph

   vocabularies of cruise and tour fade
   guide and guidebook
      
   is not this, first, finally, un-faded
   earth’s evolutionary design
   earth’s sea-risen island 
   epic
   of
   magma, basalt, crust, littoral?

   is not this, first, finally, un-faded
   earth’s delivery room?