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Poem: "En Boca del Mentiroso" - The Wordsmith's Forge — LiveJournal
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "En Boca del Mentiroso"

This poem came out of the April 2, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a comment from kelkyag after reading the prompter copy of "Todo lo que Brilla." It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.  This poem belongs to the series Los Conquistados.

En Boca del Mentiroso

Quetzalcoatl put on
the flayed skin of Hernán Cortés
and became a man once more.

He drank down the language like wine,
the tangy red-and-gold vowels
and consonants like soft-furred sediment.

He rolled the conquistador's lies
between his lips like fruit seeds
and then spit them back into enemy faces.

He told the Spanish emissaries that
the jungle was full of gold, the land ripe for civilization,
if only they would send more ships, more men.

Hernán Cortés was draped
in the feathers of a bird,
the scales of a serpent.

His tongue was as forked as ever,
but he could no longer speak,
for Quetzalcoatl had swallowed his words.

Now the liar's mouth
was empty of all but spit
and he had no way to warn his people.

The Spanish emissaries shied from the monster
that hissed and whined at the end of its chain,
and did not recognize the conquistador within.

Quetzalcoatl smiled with his new white teeth,
clapped the foreigners on the back with his fine brown hand,
and contemplated the feast to come.

* * *


The series title Los Conquistados means The Conquered.

The poem's title, "En Boca del Mentiroso," comes from this saying:
En boca del mentiroso, lo cierto se hace dudoso.
"In the mouth of a liar, what is certain becomes doubtful."
Once someone has been caught lying, it is hard to believe anything else that person says.

Read about Hernán Cortés and Quetzalcoatl.

Conquistador means "conqueror," and is the term typically used for Spaniards who set out to take over the New World.

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8 comments or Leave a comment
thnidu From: thnidu Date: April 6th, 2013 10:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Eerie! Had it only happened justly...

vamanos → vámonos (in both of these posts)

emmissaries → emissaries ('those who are sent out': think of "emit") (2x)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 7th, 2013 01:55 am (UTC) (Link)


>>Eerie! Had it only happened justly...<<

Yea, verily. But at least I can beat people up in effigy. Though I've picked on Spaniards a bunch of times, I should probably do something Spain-positive soonish because I do like that culture.

>>vamanos → vámonos (in both of these posts)

emmissaries → emissaries ('those who are sent out': think of "emit") (2x)<<

All taken care of. Yay for Dr. Whom!
thnidu From: thnidu Date: April 7th, 2013 04:19 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Fixed!

(The Doctor bows.) My pleasure, milady.
kengr From: kengr Date: June 2nd, 2017 01:44 am (UTC) (Link)

Another take on things

Have you ever read Randall Garret's "Despoilers of the Golden Empire"?


ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 2nd, 2017 02:36 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Another take on things

It doesn't sound familiar, but I've read some other stuff about the Spanish invasion. Teachers got pissed about me calling it that, but well, that's the term for going to someone else's home and murdering them because you want their stuff.
kengr From: kengr Date: June 2nd, 2017 03:47 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Another take on things

Well, it reads like a golden age SF story about taking over another planet. Until the end. The best part is that at no point did he lie about *anything*.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 25th, 2018 12:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

RE: Fixed!

Beautiful and eerie.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 25th, 2018 07:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Fixed!

Yay! I'm glad you enjoyed this.
8 comments or Leave a comment