I wrote the following poem before the events recounted below had occurred.
Last Christmas my mother gave me a book: River of Darkness by Buddy Levy (available at Amazon.com ha ha ha) which I ignored for about 4 months. I almost sold it, but filial guilt constrained me. Then, God be praised, I discovered Juaneco y su combo on YouTube and promptly became addicted to Amazonian Cumbia music. I got the book off my shelf and read it in about 3 days, learning about the Ecuadorian, Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon as well as her headwaters both mythical and actual.
But it gets weirder: I went to ‘Peru Culture Night’ at my local fine arts museum where they were showing a movie (Perro Hortelano) about the Peruvian Amazon. The film started late, I decided I did not want to stay. As I was leaving the event, I noticed a giveaway drawing being offered near the door. I entered the raffle (something I rarely do – and I have never won anything significant in my life). The prize was 4 days in the Amazon jungle. I scribbled my email and name on the ticket and threw it in. My last thought was: “if I were to win this it would prove that God knows all about my obsessions and also has a sense of humor.” I paid it no further mind.
The next day I was told I had won 4 days at Tahuayo Lodge in Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo conservation area near Iquitos.
I have a year to decide when to go. So you see, she fell right into my undeserving arms… great is the Lord of the Jungle.
Your beaded snakeskin loincloth
strung beneath humid palms
cool rippling breeze that calms
our hammock hung under thatch
what a catch . . .
your Amazons running into my Congo
lost track of my bongo
back about one mile
from the sources of the Nile:
your jungle smile…
restoring all celestial things
deep within your tropical clearings . . .
flowing slowly, going loco
at the mythic mouth of the Orinico . . .
shake your nut-brown biospheres
and banish all my worldly fears.
Dusk is nearing—clearing the hill
insects trilling a sinuous thrill;
the yuca half-mashed in the clay pot
the witch doctor hungover in his hut
while our little fire smolders
near the mountains of the moon
—or are they only boulders?
Jesus, Lord of the Jungle . . .