A Phantasmagoria Of Mexico’s Ghosts, Myths, And Brutal Landscapes

André Naffis-Sahely at Poetry Magazine:

The edge of the Chihuahuan Desert in northern Mexico is a part of the world in which nothing is what it seems. The Mapimí Silent Zone, a region often known simply as La Zona del Silencio, or the Zone of Silence, is 30 miles of barren brown plains. It’s a wasteland strewn with cosmic debris; compasses go haywire, and cell phones and radios jam. In many ways, this forsaken stretch is Durango’s answer to Area 51 in Nevada or State Route 375, the so-called Extraterrestrial Highway that cuts through miles of empty terrain and is haunted by strange legends. The Zone’s desolation is compounded by Durango’s notorious history of drug trafficking and banditry. In his new collection, Self-Portrait in the Zone of Silence (New Directions Press, 2023), the Mexican poet Homero Aridjis describes the area as a “sea of solar silences” marked by “stellar forgettings,” “celestial vessels,” and “irresistible forces” where “only you, creature of the moment, are immune / to those magnetic whirls and disappearances.”

more here.