Cómo que mire : AzTexts from the Codex M


A poet of rhetoric and ethnography, Steven Alvarez brings an “outsider” linguistic perspective into his writing, which speaks to the contemporary “post”-Chicano experience. The son of Mexican immigrants, Alvarez grew up in southern Arizona, and his aesthetic reflects the ever-increasing hyphenated American identity. His manuscript _The Codex Mojaodicus_ was recently awarded the 2016 Fence Modern Poets Prize and inspired the list below. Interweaving images from his travels in Mexico and across the United States, Alvarez draws from historical modes of storytelling and mythology to recast the cultural experience as legend.

From the Codex M (89847634.78) table of figures for study of misc. Mexical portraits of Quetzalcoatl versus Arizona. Photopoet’s gaze upward, backward, and narrative. Several images destroyed in Morenci, Arizona flood of 1984 and the subsequent fires and “forty-years pestilence” of Safford, Arizona until its sinkhole disappearance in 2024. The Mexican artifacts migrated across the US-Mexico border some sixteen times over the last century, but eventually collated into codex format for epic novels of folly and cool heists. This digital scroll heretofore archives, filters, selectively samples, and interprets Codex M visuals. Courtesy of the Pancho Chastitellez estate.

  1. stylized ritual killings

  1. tira de la perignación

[no image]

  1. new fire ceremony

  1. Mesheeka feathered headdress & fathers

  1. eagleman flies upward

  1. warrior costumes and jewelry

  1. page from book of races

  1. faces of battle

  1. bountiful bountiful milktree

[no image]

  1. “squash squash squash”

  1. rattlesnake: coiled

[no image]

  1. Coatlicue’s naked snake skirt & beef ribs

  1. relief: Coxolyanqui

  1. Quetzalcoatl & Tezcatlipocho

  1. figure: Quetzalcoatl as statue

  1. Quetzacoatl as conqueror

  1. festival of Ochpanizdi

  1. deerskin screenfold

[no image]

  1. Tlazolteotl giving birth

[no image]

  1. seated Xipi Toltec

  1. red Xipi Toltec

[no image]

  1. pyramid temple

  1. Yoropeons penetrate temple / make their own temple

  1. there thou livest / thou rejoicest among thy . . . true acquaintances / there thou selecteth / takest possession of / thou inspirest the weeper / the sorrower / the sigher . . . & there thou placest upon them / glorifiest them w/ the peaked hat / the turquoise diadem / & earplug / lipplug / headband / calfband / necklace / ocelot feather

  1. obsidianknifewater / sacred fluid in which obsidian knives of sacrifice were washed drunk by those sacrificed making them careless of their fates there
  1. [no image]
  1. poetry to make something happen

  1. clay turtleshell drum & several stone turtles & nopal paddles

  1. parrot & goose bones

[no image]

  1. western region of death

  1. sawfish snout / maguey thorns / four cakes of copal / flintknives / two stone frogs painted blue / death offering



Can We Say Hong Kong?

I am asking you, prompting you—forcing you even—to pause and reflect on something that we take for granted—namely, saying “Hong Kong” with such certainty and confidence