Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Mad Coffee Lady of Huancayo (11-poems) by D.L. Siluk

The Mad Coffee Lady
(Of Huancayo, Peru; and other Poems & Writings)

Poems extracted from the forth coming book 3-2008 “Early Horizon”

Legends, Heroes, Culture, and the Splendor of the Mantaro Valley of Peru

El Poeta - Escritor Del Año 2006 (Del Valle Del Mantaro, Perú)

By Dennis L. Siluk

Awarded the National Prize of Peru, "Antena Regional": The best of 2006 for promoting culture (with his poetry)

[Translated from English to Spanish by: Rosa Peñaloza de Siluk

Poeta Laureado de la Ciudad de San Jerónimo de Tunán, Perú 2005

Copyright©2007, Dennis L. Siluk
The Mad Coffee Lady
(Of Huancayo, Peru; and other Poems & Writings)

First Edition, First Printing

Front Photograph, Revamped—restructured
(and darkened; water spots taken off for clarity; photo of Victoria the Mad.
Original picture in the archives of Huancayo, Peru. 1960s -´70s)


1—The Mad Coffee Lady (Of Huancayo, Peru)
2—Mama Teofila (of Huancayo, Peru)
3—Rib Roast in El Tambo (Huancayo, Peru)
4—The Legend of Laguna De Ñahuinpuquio
5—The Legend of: El Amaru and Huaytapallana
6—The Cliffs to Torre Torre (Huancayo´s Envy)) Peru))
7—The Little Olive Amuc’s (of the Andes)
8—El Tambo Spiders (A Huancayo, Peru Poem)
9—Vietnam: Like Ants in the Rain (a War Poem)
10—Fiesta Dancing in Cajas (Part I of II)
11—Dark Eyes Dancing (Part II of II)

“Florencia”, a 7th Century, Love-Tragedy Epic
From the Mantaro Valley

Historical Meeting with Dr. Maria Rotworowski
(A dialogue between Poet and Historian)

Agony in the Valley
(a Report)
The Effects of Alcoholism on the Individual and Peruvian Society as a whole; and how to deal with it in Junin, and the Mantaro Valley of Peru (May, 2007)

About the Author and his Books


The Mad Coffee Lady
(Of Huancayo, Peru)

But you ¨My Mad Coffee Lady had God’s Pity
Ah yes, you passed once our way
(Some said, must have said ¨They are all one
These vagabonds, ¨ a pest! This was their song.

Her feet bare, frosted, benumbed
Chilled veins, like chains of iron
Hacked heart—yet she weathered the winters
With the night, ice cold waves of air—
“Victoria the Mad,” of Huancayo: homeless.

Yes, yes! Slight were her arms,
Yet they held a tin can for coffee, sweet beans,
Or fifty-cents, a beggars cry—,
(also held out for water and mud))
Her hair was caked with such)): yes, yes!
Soft as spring winds, she loved her coffee,
This Mad Lady from Huancayo…!

No man could paint such a picture
No man could paint such things, who did not know,
And now she’s gone, who was her Cyprian—
(for we were her audience);
Her photograph left me cloaked, wrapped in gauze.

“Go from me,” I said to the picture
But I still held the mutter, its tang…
The figure of this dead lady spoke to me, said:

“See they return, one, and by one,
Now only half-awakened, they come
Now dead, they accept me, a timorous
Wrench of a woman, they called me,
In the cold light, in the darkness

“Come; let me pity those who are
Better off than I was, come, my friends,
And remember, fate enters with little feet
Than this hour of cold poise, breaks the knees
To the heels—it did me…!”
No: 1842, May 23, 2007 (Legends made in Huancayo)

Note: She was known as Victoria, and walked the streets of Huancayo, Peru, homeless, in the 1960s into the ´70s. She was called “Victoria the Mad” I call her the “The Mad Coffee Lady,” I suppose the reason way, is because she loved coffee like me. We had this in common. Looking at her picture, at an exposition in Huancayo, 5-23-2007, I could not help but write a poem of her, for her, for you, for me. A man stood by my wife, and she asked him if she knew the lady, and he said he did, added “She suffered so much, the government should have had a way for her to end her life.” I went to ask another question, but he quickly left, I suppose memories were hard on him. I asked my sister—in-law, Mini, about her, and she said, “She would take food and ice-cream from the children and run away with it.” Then as time went on, she was used as a pun, “If you kids do not behave and eat your food, we’ll get Crazy Victoria….” And that would normally scare the kids into behaving.

She washed her hair in mud, took dirty water in her can, and poured it over her head and if children tried to get close to her, she’d toss the tin can of water at them. She wondered aimlessly in sections of Huancayo. Edwardo Mayta, a resident of Huancayo, was just a young lad back then, and remembered her quite well. It was by a creek, where she would plaster her face with mud from it, as if it was a cream, and she’d stutter he said (Perhaps over excited, or a past trauma, or perhaps at a point of stress).

In addition to her peculiar behavior, she painted her self with cosmetics at times, extravagantly, highlighting her lips, so an old friend of mine, taxi driver in Huancayo told me, Alfonzo.

Thus, looking at this behavior it would seem to me she was a lost soul in a city unable to help her (or unwilling, I must not past judgment, for I do not know), or perhaps she didn’t want help, I don’t know, so I mustn’t point fingers. But her behavior indicates to me a woman of a certain beauty (which Edwardo has indicated), whose mind went haywire in her teens, and thereafter, got worse, as often time’s schizophrenia seems to foster and develop inside the minds of such persons with the above behaviors. Furthermore, her manners would fit the disorders of her being bipolar (or manic with depression).

Paola, whom I met at a frame shop in Huancayo (5-25-2007), remembered Victoria quite well, said in so many words: her can was also used for empting out holes filled with water in the road, slowly but surely. She hung about in and near the Plaza de Arms, General Muñiz Paola one day asked where Victoria was, and she was told “She died…,” thus, as she had lived, inconspicuously. Her home was wherever she found herself wanting to rest.


From Victoria’s picture, she looked to me to be a long leaning black corn stock of a woman, narrow, regularly browbeaten. Perhaps at one time she was well made, but in the picture I have of her (which shows a tinge of her shoulder bones and muscles, to be somewhat youthful), she was not weighty at all, perhaps brutal looking if she would have produced her face in the photograph—brutal I mean, because of her demise, yet beyond her ragged cloths, and knotted hair (all soaked in mud) somehow I can see her wondering eyes, connected to her cynical posture, and mud-like end, perhaps peeping at everyone quietly.
I suppose all one could do back in those days was helplessly stare at her, whisperingly, watching her unhurried manners as she walked the streets throughout the city.
If in, the entire world, nothing whatever save the taste of coffee existed, she was happy for that little perk.
In Short, perhaps I have drawn an unsatisfactory description of Victoria, yet it is derived from the picture I have of her, and the folks that have shared with me their experience in seeing her, talking and witnessing her. Plus, there is no other description of her, in all my searches. In addition, my hungry mind of course plays a part in all this, sadly, in grating, but down-to-earth creating an intonation to Victoria’s existence.


Mama Teofila

Let us not forget
The grace and good—
Mama Teofila did
To the little dirty faces
Of Huancayo
When she lived:
Giving Ham sandwiches
And Chicha…!

No: 1843 5-23-2007 (Legends made in Huancayo)
Dedicated to Cesar Segura


Rib Roast in El Tambo

Robes of yellow margaritas—
Gorgeous green grass,
A rib roast…cooking
(while dogs continue barking off
the roof top)) a book in my hands)).
Papa Augusto sleeping in a plastic chair
Under the beautiful winter sun;
Eight of us waiting in the backyard
Waiting for the ribs to fall
(like raindrops off a roof, into our mouths).

Dedicated to Ximena (My Godchild)
No: 1840 5-20-2007


The Legends of Laguna De Ñahuinpuquio
[For a Lost City in Peru] Part I

And let her Golden Bell ring, at midnight, nightly
The lost city by Chupaca now sunk with her soul,
To her grave in La Laguna de Ñahuinpuquio…

Write this, above her dead and withered bones:
“No more she lives to give us comfort for worship,
Who asked for only bread, amongst her stones?”

#1408 8/3/2006 There were two cities near Huancayo, that sunk deep into its lakes, long before my time, and legends say, the one that was near Chupaea, now resides in the lake of Ñahuinpuquio. The other one, I already wrote about before, known as Laguna de Paca, which also has its legends.

The Wanka culture [Huanca culture] lived in this area, an old culture perhaps dating back to near the time of Christ. And now I shall introduce you to the second part of the new Legend that blends into Laguna De Ñahuinpuquio:


The Legend of: El Amaru and Huaytapallana
[For the New Love] Part II

El Amaru of the Mantaro Valley plateaus, surrounded by the Andes, in Peru, perhaps of the Wanka race or culture, during his youth found he could shape-change, and thus, became a huge snake, and ate everything eatable in the valley—fell in love with a young maiden that lived on the edge of the Laguna de Ñahuinpuquio, they had a daughter named Pucuhs Uclo, she loved the area, and drank from the lake its pure waters; her Grandfather took a liking to her and gave her all the animals of the valley she desired to play with, it would seem they were a very happy family indeed, and for a long spell.
Everyone in the valley loved her very much. But her father was not happy, and shape-changed again, into an eagle, and left home (for he became restless); and he soared above the Andes, looking here and there, but not knowing what for, just looking. Whereupon, he found a beautify young girl near the city that now is called Huancayo, she was up in the mountains that surrounded the valley (where I have been), this girl was washing her hair in the little lake, more like a pond. The girl was called Huaytapallana [or White Mountain]; and he turned back into his natural form, a man of now middle age, and married this young girl and had five children. As a result, this mountain now is called: Huaytapallana (or White Mountain) and is most breathless when looking upon her from any hillside that parallels her elbows. There are three lakes in this area and a small lodge near the hillside I just mentioned.


The Cliffs to Torre Torre
(Huancayo´s Envy))Peru))

Prehistoric Geological Monument near Huancayo

Tall up by the cliffs, in the township of Huancayo, stands
A cluster of piercing stone like pillars, lightening rods
From the Ancient-gods, with thousands of years being:
weather worn and torn and blistered;
These pillars of stone, reach— heavenward.

Around this cluster, an engulfing, natural enclosure
Like an old cemetery protected with erect towers and tombs;
Brownish rocks, baked by the sun, washed by the rains
from the heavens:

It is called ‘Torre Torre’ and rests below the cliffs of Huancayo,

It is the envy of the Valley, where both warrior and poet
have traveled.

#1788 4/13/2007

Note: The poem, ‘…Torre Torre’, is not referring to the island called ‘Bora Bora’ in the South Pacific, it is a geological wonder in and around Huancayo, Peru, beyond the Andes, in the Valley of Mantaro. How it got its name, I don’t know, but I’ve been to the site a number of times, and it is always fascinating to see the course the wind, and weather have taken on this geological wonder, how they worked to mold such things as these stone towers; primeval geological erosion. Fascinating I say, for surely they’ve been here longer than the city of Huancayo, habitants by some 325,000-citizens; an old Wanka culture once roamed this area, perhaps dating back to 1000 BC. The stone pillars are more tucked away in what I’d call a gorge. One can go down to see it, and actually walk through it, or one can go onto the cliffs above it, and look down over it, and if more adventurous, climb down into it, or like me, just observe it from a close distance, both ways.

For folks who wish to visit the site: Torre Torre is a geological formation of enormous towers of clayey soil, molded by the winds and rain, located very near to Cerrito de la Libertad.


The Little Olive Amuc’s

Ah, little olive fellows from the Andes
Or some internal caves therein:
From Ticlio, or Bone City (La Oroya),
An underworld civilization!

According to the very best of legends—
From the Wanka to the Inca times—
They live in the crust of the earth
And in the hard cold mineral mines!

They followed the miner’s footsteps
From barbarity nights to dawn
A dwindling civilization
With cities of gold and bronze!

By them are the treasures well-known;
Hidden in underground temples;
From Machu Picchu to the Mantaro Valley
To the Ancient Nazca Lines!

With all of this ponderous mystery
It’s distressing these earthly Amuc
Revealing signs of their whereabouts
That provokes our most curious thoughts.

Such mystery among humans and pixie’s,
The problems of peace a pauper,
Relations between goodwill for both,
Or misdeed and rebuke therefore!

So when we look for treasures dim,
And find problems of where and when,
Simple find an Olive Amuc and pray,
He will be your very best Friend!

#1795 4-18-2007

Note: Legend has it these Amuc of the Andes, are perhaps a foot to 18-inches tall; some with blond and other with dark hair. It has been said they have iron wings, and live in the mines of the Peruvian Andes. Many older folks who have been in the mines, worked them, have claim they have seen them; or folks that have known folks that have. Myself, I have never seen them, and I’ve been in the Andes, but I’m looking forward to it. And when I do, I of course will let you know. The Wanka to the Inca times, infer, between AD 700 to 1600 (and from the present times: the time of the Miners).


El Tambo Spiders

When it’s cold in El Tombo
The spiders know
They crawl on the walls,
And along my window sills;

Along the seams of my rooms
Under my bed,
Making cobwebs…!
Some even swing on hinges
From my ceiling
(Especially on rainy nights)…

When I’m asleep: on my brow
They seem to fall and somehow bite!

You’d be surprised how much
They to know—
A bout my apartment, and its rooms:

Looking and dancing about
As if they owned the house—:
Bodies of brown, black and gray…!

(Wish they’d leave me alone, at least
On holidays!)

Note: No: 1845 5-26-2007 (Written at my home in El Tambo, Huancayo, Peru.)


(Vietnam: a war poem))1971))
Vietnam: Like Ants in the Rain

Confused, whirled in a tangle:
Into a land full of voices—
True men of war I met,
Here we had nothing but thoughts
Memories in common—at best;
And we all spoke out our hearts
And minds—
And without regret we did our best
In the sands of Vietnam.

And we all drank from month on month,
Forgetting, or trying to—the finery of home:
And before the end of the day
We scattered like ants in the rain—
Confused, whirled in a tangle.

Note: Every so often I like writing a poem about my times in Vietnam (during the war years, 1971). Being in the Mantaro Valley of Peru, the land of the Great Wanka Warrior must bring it out of me: I’m sure they would understand my reasoning.

No: 1848 5-26-2007


Fiesta Dancing in Cajas
(Part I of II)

Blue, blue is the sky above Cajas
And the bands have over filled the plaza.
Puno dancers and Huancayo Chonguihada´s:
Men and women in midmost of their youth
With Decorative masks and painted faces:
Slender, she puts forth her hand, and
She and I dance a drama, from the old
Days; I now go tiredly out and leave
The dancers (from the circle) to their own.

Note: Today was a warm sunny winter day in Cajas, a little village (or town-let) somewhere around seven or eight thousand folks. Here I danced, laughed, ate lamb and a great portion of picarones. (No: 1846))5-26-2007))


Dark Eyes Dancing
(Part II of II)

Dark eyed,
Chonguihada´s (of Cajas);
Ivory teeth dancers from Puno!
All dancing with high heeled sandals:
There is none like thee
(Among the world)
None, with such swift feet.

In the broken sunshine
Among the women selling:
Beer, cokes, lamb and picarones—
—thine feet are as young sprouts
On top of the earth—dancing about,
And thy face a joyful light…!

1847 5-26-2007


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