While my Inanna poems are protests of injustice, directed to a goddess of justice and civilization, “The Generation of Tezcatlipoca” is more an expression of defeat and acceptance, directed to the Aztec god of uncertainty and governance. The generation in question is intended to be understood at the Millenials, though it may apply even more strongly to Generation Z.
I have complicated feelings about my decision to use Tezcatlipoca in this way: in general, I try to avoid characterizing the Aztec gods as “evil” or inherently destructive. However, I don’t think this poem treats Tezcatlipoca in such a way: I’m hoping that I have accurately conveyed his role as a god of the inevitable and necessary, both good and bad, and a representative of humanity’s powerlessness against fate.
“The Generation of Tezcatlipoca”
23 September 2019, in Catonsville, MD
Our parents fattened on their parents’ victories
And taught us that the gods were kind and loved us well:
They falsely promised us a flowery life of ease
And called us feckless when they did not bring it forth.
But we know better, thou whose slaves we are:
We know you have returned, to rule again,
And that the future is not promised us,
But only glimpsed through dark and smokey glass.
And yet we do not cry for abstract justice, Lord:
We are a people straining to survive your storms,
We shed our blood and fight to live another day
And offer up our hearts in this the near and nigh.