Monday, November 11, 2013

Glyphic For Sale in Paperback

Thank you for visiting the Glyphic Home Page. Clearly, you are a fan of Ralph-Michael Chiaia's writing and would like to have your own copy of the novella in verse. Please visit the Glyphic page at Amazon for buying options. It is currently available in paperback form and will be available in eBook form in some time. 

If the above links don't work please copy and paste this into your browser:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Welcome to Glyphic (by Ralph-Michael Chiaia)

What is this blog?

I was asked to do something like a Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities in which I write in installments. I had always been toying with this novella-in-verse which over the years I've called by many different names: I am another yourself, Zeitgeber and the Maya, a Mayan Lullaby, and Glyphic. It only made sense to go back and dig out this relic and re-work it into installments to be published once a week. This will be the final edit and then I will publish it.
It is all finished now and to see it in order (the blog leaves it in reverse order) use the title page above or on the right sidebar to navigate each chapter. This book is actually 10 seperate poems made like textiles on the same loom that when tightened form one article of clothing. Enjoy! I hope you will

Monday, May 9, 2011

Emails exchanged before leaving

Date: 3 March 1999 08:57:11 (EST)
From: “Mark the Mayan Maniac” <>
subject: whassup bro’
To: “GABRIEL” <>

In response to your question, the ancient Maya (called Classic Maya) wrote on fan-like books called codices where any page could be made to go beside any page. Hey, Liz wanted to know if you could recommend a place for her to work out there in NYC. Pull some strings, you know.

Date: 4 March 1999 11:51:41 (EST)
From: “GABRIEL” <>
subject: Re: whassup bro’
To: “Mark the Mayan Maniac” <>

Hey Mark,

That reminds me of Ella Fitzgerald’s "Cotton Tail." You ever hear that shit, bro? The scat vocals are fucking gorgeous and abstract—an extrapolation of Benny Weber’s sax, then after she’s just about finished, using all jiberish syllables, all sound-bytes, no actual words, she says crystal-clearly, “and that’s Cotton Tail,” like that somehow means something. The abstract ends up being clearer than the concrete. As far as Liz I can make a few phone calls. Say hi. Are you two still fighting about where to live?


Date: 7 March 1999 01:51:59 (EST)
From: “Mark the Mayan Maniac” <>
subject: Hey, man.
To: “GABRIEL” <>

I think I’ve never heard that song. By the way, it’s spelled gibberish, retard. Look up MesoAmerica—that’s what the ancient Mayan region is called today. It’s what’s now Mexico (the south anyway), Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. You know, the place where all the Reagan wars were. Are you traveling alone? Be careful. Travel light. You don’t want some fucker in the jungle coming out and stealing your things. You know you’re going to miss our wedding. Hey, Liz has a phone interview from that ad firm you called. Thanks. She says to send you a hug. 

Date: 17 March 1999 12:47:00 (EST)
From: “GABRIEL” <>
subject: Re: Hey, man
To: “Mark the Mayan Maniac” <>

What were the codices written with? Download cotton tail from the Internet. Life isn’t complete without it. I am real busy these days but have been thinking about you and Liz. How did her interview go?

Date: 27 March 1999 12:47:00 (EST)
From: “GABRIEL” <>
subject: Not alone, with a pad!!!
To: “Mark the Mayan Maniac” <>

I’ll travel with a pad, not alone. Why were there those Reagan wars. How come I haven’t learned any of this shit in school, dude? By the way, you still didn’t answer my question. What were the codices written with?

Date: 2 April 1999 03:32:37 (EST)
From: “Mark the Mayan Maniac” <>
subject: Re: Not alone, with a pad!!!
To: “GABRIEL” <>

The Mayan were called guerilla soldiers at one point although they’re the most docile people I’ve met in the world. If my colleagues and I do our jobs, you will learn some of this in school soon. They painted all over them (their pyramids too) in bright fire red and sea blue.

There were a lot of kidnappings at some point. Oh and, a busload of American’s got jacked and all the girls were raped and ALL OF THEM were shot execution style. I think they were exchange students from the University of Maryland or Delaware, I forget.

Date: 18 April1999 02:43:33 (EST)
From: “GABRIEL” <>
subject: Whassup?
To: “Mark the Mayan Maniac” <>

I almost have all my things packed and my ticket is for tomorrow. Hey what’s that about revolutionaries raping some girls. Should I be careful? I’m starting to worry.

Date: 2 April 1999 03:32:37 (EST)
From: “Mark the Mayan Maniac” <>
subject: No more dangerous than our city, dude
To: “GABRIEL” <>

Not revolutionaries, dude. They were the official soldiers probably. The Maya would never rape anybody. You’ll see.

Here’s some history for you. In the 50s, Guatemala installed the first democracy in Latin America. When they did this the president nationalized the fruit business. They were prospering on exporting their fruit, mostly bananas, around the world. There was a big US company in there, United Fruit Company. Some bigwigs and pundits in Washington weren’t so happy about the democrazy. It was too much for the United Fruit Company. Instability in the region let them dominate and profit more than a flourishing democracy with a gentle, non-materialistic Indian mentality. So Washington supported and sponsored a coup. They got the president out of the capital, no joke, using radios with the sound of an air strike. This worked. Then they placed a fascist regime in power. The fruit company thrived on the support and the elite class fought for 50 years to keep the regime’s status quo although the Indians fought back. All of this went on under the radar. In the news was the Korean war, then JFK’s assassination and Vietnam, and Communism, and the arms race. Most people still have no idea, although Bill Clinton recently issued a formal apology. The government was able to call all opponents Commies in those days and exterminate. If you want to read some really interesting things about this read How Holocausts Happen by Douglas V. Porpora or Bitter Fruit by by Stephen E. Schlesinger and Stephen Kinzer, and I sent you Forest of Kings by Linda Schele, David Freidel and Joy Parker. This book is a must while your travel.

But, well, to answer your question actually, yes. There is some danger. In some places, they don’t like Americans (and you can’t blame them). Anyway, you have a good head on your shoulders and you’re a straight shooter so people will like you. Don’t worry. I know you and trust you.

Have a safe trip! Don’t drink the water and be careful of the chicas. Be more careful of them than any guerrilla.

Write me when you arrive, bro’.



Ps: they painted with deerskin brushes.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Glossary of Foreign words from the Text

ADO —bus station name in Mexico

Aj Q’ij ¾ daykeeper (K’iche’).

Aj Tz’ib ¾  a writer

Ajmaq ¾ vulture (K’iche’).

Almuerzo ¾ lunch

Amante ¾ a lover.

Anafre ¾ where charcoal is put in old-fashioned cooking. Often used under a comal

Anas Platyrhnchos L. – Mallard duck (Latin).

Andale ¾ An informal yes.

Así es ¾ it’s like that (Spanish).

Baktun ¾ a cycle of 144,000 days or 394 solar years. Thirteen Baktuns equals one great cycle of 5125 years.

Bien Chula ¾ very pretty (Spanish).

Bienvenidos ¾ welcome (Spanish).

A Ceiba tree
Buey ¾ Derogatory word often used among friends. Literally a kind of little animal.

Cabron – this can mean bastard, cuckold, and intelligent person depending where you are in Latin America. In Mexico, it is almost always bastard or motherfucker. In Guatemala, its meanings can change.

Calendar Round ¾ approximately 52 solar years long. This cycle is feared and revered by the ancient Mayab.

Camioneta ¾  taxi service in a medium sized van

Casera ¾ Homemade/mistress (Spanish).

Ceiba -  the World Tree. [photo included]

Cerveza ¾ beer (Spanish).

Chispeando ¾ drizzling.

Codex – pl. codices -  fan-like books, often made of deer skin, that the Mayab wrote their glyphs on. Some very famous ones have been saved and can be seen.

Colectivo ¾ a livery service where customers share a van to the same or different locations.

Comal ¾ a round pan-like grill heated by charcoal underneath which is kept in un anafre. (Spanish).
A ceiba tree, revered by the Mayab

Coyote — An illegal service running people across the US-Mexican border.

Daykeeper ¾ person who dedicates him- or her-self to the calendar.

Dengue Fever - This infectious disease is manifested by a sudden onset of fever, with severe headache, muscle and joint pains—severe pain gives it the name break-bone fever or bonecrusher disease—and rashes.

Empanada ¾ a rolled tortilla filled with different fillings and cooked on a comal (Spanish).

Epazote ¾ An herb used to calm the stomach

Great Cycle ¾ one complete revolution around the Mayab Calendar, which consists of 5125 years. This current cycle will end in December 2012.

Grecas ¾ Geometrical patterns seen in traditional weaving or ancient stonework and/or pictograms.

Gucumatz —The K’iche’ name for Quetzalcoatl, the principle god of the Mayab pantheon; similar to the Greek God Apollo, he is the god of music, flowers, and poetry. He is also referred to as the god of the sun Haab ¾ the 360-day calendar.

Huajuapan de León ¾ a small city in the region of Oaxaca called La Mixteca.

Huipil – the traditional blouse of the  Mayab woman. It’s part of the traditional traje or whole suit. Each village has its own traje that is distinctive in shape, design, style, and color.
In kin ch’ob’anik le achi ¾ I think too much (K’iche’).

In kin tz’ib’anik ¾ I am a writer (K’iche’).

In lak’ech ¾ I am another yourself (K’iche’).

Itzamna – one of the creator deities. He is possible god D on the Dresden codex.

Iximulew ¾ ancient name of Guatemala (K’iche’).

Iq’ ¾ wind (K’iche’).

Ja’e ¾ your welcome (K’iche’).

Je’ K’ula ¾ it’s like that (K’iche’).

Juchitan ¾ A town in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Junajpu ¾  The principle god of the K’iche’ pantheon. His name translates as Ancestor One.

Kamik – deep (k’iche’).

K’iche’ – language. Descendant of Proto-Maya

Lacandon – a name of a jungle in Mexico and also used to describe the peoples of that area. 

Le In In Lak’ech – I am another yourself (Maya).

Licuado ¾  milkshake/smoothie (Spanish).

Los innocentes ¾  the name given to the people murdered during the civil war in Guatemala and the massacres in Mexico. 

Mal agua ¾ contaminated water (Spanish).

Maltyox ¾ thank you (K’iche’).

Marea ¾ undertow (Spanish).

Mayab ¾ plural of Maya. The people inhabiting what was called MesoAmerica. The race of people.

Mézala ¾ rock it (Spanish)  .

Mezcal ¾ (Spanish from Nahuatl: Mexcalli) an alcoholic drink made from the Maguey plant. Also the name of the small spineless cactus with rounded stems whose button like tops (mescal buttons) are chewed for hallucinogenic effects.

Mestizo ¾ Mixed Spanish and Indian blood.

Milpa ¾ traditional Mayab garden of squash, beans, corn, rice, and other vegetables.

Miscelenea —a store selling various goods

Mixtec ¾ a pre-Hispanic tribe.

Mota ¾ marijuana (Spanish).

Muchacha ¾ maid.

Mundo Maya ¾ Mayab World (Spanish).

Nagua —your animal sign, totem. It represents personality and character.

NAFTA ¾  North American Free Trade Agreement

Pakal ¾ famous boy ruler of Palenque.

Palenque ¾ one of the most important ceremonial centers of the ancient Mayab in what is now Chiapas, Mexico.

Palapa ¾  a roof made of dried palms woven together (Spanish from K’iche’).

Paracaídas ¾ Parachutes (Spanish).

Peyotl - Peyote

Pictogram ¾ Mayan writing system of using pictures to represent sounds.

Pop ¾ woven (K’iche’).

Pues ¾ a vocal pause like “umn” in English.

Puta ¾ slut (Spanish).

Q’ij ¾ day (K’iche’).

Quetzalcoatl ¾ the plumed serpent, chief god of the Mayab (and later the Aztecs). He goes by many names including Itzamná, Junajpu, Hunab Ku, Kukulcán, One reed, and One Corn.

Quetzales ¾ currency of Guatemala.

Rebozos ¾ a traditional shawl worn by women.

Sacred Calender – The Mayan sacred calendar consists of twenty days which each have a personality and characteristic. There are many variations of the Mayan calendar today. In order to correctly decipher it one should be a Mayan shaman or daykeeper.

Sana Sana Colita de Rana —a little rhyme used to make children feel better when they hurt themselves.

Syan Caan – the sky-earth; where the sky and earth meet; a place that is not the mixture of two things, but one thing in itself, similar to the Mayan concept of the mother-father or the color green-blue. It is a sacred concept.

Su Nueva Muchacha – A new maid/girl around the house. “When Mexico grabs enormous wealth through oil, the difference between the US and Mexico will be that Mexicans will have muchachas.” Anonymous Mexican Economist

Ta'ak —friend of Waxatl; a Jaguar Warrior.

Tamalito ¾ a thin, oval, tortilla.

Tapachula — a town in Chiapas, Mexico.

Taquitos ¾ tightly rolled, deep-fried corn tortillas stuffed with meat, vegetable, and/or cheese and fried.

Tehuantepec - An isthmus in Mexico. 

Torta - The word 'torta' means different things in different countries and even different regions within those countries. For example, 'torta' as a sandwich is understood throughout Mexico, yet in Mexico City torta can also refer to a small fried mixture of scrambled eggs, sauce and beef, mashed potato or broccoli. In most South American countries, 'torta' means a sweet cake, such as a wedding or birthday cake. In the Philippines, 'torta' refers to a kind of omelets made with eggs, ground meat and sometimes minced onion and potato.

Trajes ¾ Name for the indigenous Mayab full suit, including a huipil. The Nebaj woman's costume is one of the most striking in Guatemala, and has won top awards in international pageants of traditional costume. A red corte or skirt, with yellow stripes, is held up by a woven faja (belt or sash). The huipil (traditional square-cut blouse) is heavily decorated with embroidered designs, and worn with an all-purpose shawl draped over one shoulder or used to sling a baby. The ensemble is topped with an elaborate headdress skillfully wrapped into the hair. (source:

Triqui ¾ an indigenous community in Oaxaca that is in the middle of a civil war.

¿Tu crees? ¾ do you believe it?

Tz’ikin ¾ Eagle (K’iche’), or any small bird.

Tzolkin ¾ the 260-day calendar (Maya).

Waxatl —called "Waxi" for short is a character in the author's head. Another himself.

Wayeb ¾ the five-day period at the end of the Haab year (K’iche’). This was used to account for the ¼ day extra. With the Gregorian Calendar we use a leap year. The Mayab used the Wayeb. It was a time of darkness and danger.

Wuj ¾ book (K’iche’).

Xela ¾ unofficial name of Quetzaltenango, a nickname taken from the ancient name, Xelaju Noj.

Xelai —love interest of Waxatl

Xelaju Noj ¾ ancient name of Quetzaltenango (K’iche’).

Xib’alb’a ¾ the Mayan underworld inhabited by the nine lords of death. In the Pop Wuj, the Hero Twins must battle these lords. They win and give hope to the human race (K’iche’).

Zapotec ¾ a tribe located in Oaxaca from around  400 BC to 1521 AD. Many Mayanists claim that it was the Zapotecs, not the Mayab, who invented the sacred calendar.

Zicatela ¾ a beach on the coast of Oaxaca (Zapotecan).

Zócalo — Colonial style town plaza, often with a church and outdoor cafes.

Zunil ¾ small town outside Quetzaltenango.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Glyphic (aka I am another yourself) | Title Page

I am Another Yourself
a novella-in-verse

Ralph-Michael Chiaia
USA: 201-204-0971
South Korea: 010-9108-8403
or come see me at RAndy's Bar

Copyright © 2011 Ralph-Michael Chiaia (Ra Gabriel)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Glyphic (aka I am another yourself)

My book, Glyphic, will be revealed in installments here. Check back on January 31st for the first installment. One will be released at the end of every month.