Friday, August 12, 2011

Yoyontzin

Nezahualcoyotl is a rare pre-Columbian American Indian* poet who is remembered by name. What caught my attention in the small print where editor William Brandon includes biographical material was the second of the two “popular names” by which Nezahualcoyotl was known. One of the names “was Acolmixtli (‘Lion Arm’), another was Yoyontzin (‘Beautiful Fucker’).”

Considering the variety of connotations “fucker” has acquired, from worst insult to admiring praise, and the fact that “fuck” doesn’t always (or even usually) mean the act of sexual intercourse, I find myself blinking at the moniker. Beautiful Fucker. A legendary name!

*Nezahualcoyotl was an Aztec king

source: The Magic World: American Indian Songs and Poems edited by William Brandon

9 comments:

David Lee Ingersoll said...

Did the context of Fucker get explained? It seems like such a European word that I wonder about the translation.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

One may wonder about "lion", too, since the lion we immediately picture with the mane and all was unknown in MesoAmerica (jaguar, yes, mountain lion/puma/panther, probably) ...

I quoted the entire context. And did no other research.

Art Durkee said...

I've owned the Brandon collection for many years, and read it more than once. In the other Mayan references I've read over the years, references to the king's penis are considered complimentary, both in terms of sheer beauty, and in terms of prowess. The king, after all, is the relative of the gods, and the necessary maker of the land's fertility. So I suspect it has something to do with that, specifically, the beautiful king's beautiful phallus.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

"Man with the Golden Gun"?

madisonspanish said...

That seems like an interesting interpretation. I read an explanation that Yoyontzin was related to the Yoyotli, which means daffodil. Nezahualcoyotl loved flowers, flowers were a central theme in Aztec poetry, and in flower apparently also means art and poetry in the native language. So it would make sense that one of Nezahualcoyotl's nicknames be a variation on a flower name. (Source: http://es.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071209100600AAfy916)

Then again, if Yoyontzin is in fact a variation of the word Yoyotli, does Yoyotli really mean daffodil? Some sources say yes. Other sources say Yoyotli means rattlesnake and is also a type of tree whose seeds were used by Aztecs for medicinal purposes. As such, Yoyotli is also apparently the name of the herbal drug made from the tree of the same name. Yoyotli can also be used as a women's name, which is cited in different places as meaning "women's medicine" or "tree rattlesnake." Is there a even such a thing as a rattlesnake that lives in trees?

In any case, my little search didn't uncover anything related to Beautiful Fucker. However, I do think that Nezahualcoyotl does not get enough recognition for being a brilliant rapper, and considering his talent for dropping lics, partying & living it up with his homies, the constant threats upon his life, and of course his inspired philosophical rhymes... Well I think Beautiful Fucker is an appropriate nickname for him, and may capture the actual sentiment behind Yoyontzin, whether or not there is any solid evidence for that translation.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

Fun with research!

Thanks for offering some snakes and flowers, mad.

Anonymous said...

Yoyontzin is another way of sayin artisan. Acomixtli means arm of puma. Nezahualcoyotl was not a king or an Aztec.

Anonymous said...

Yoyonzin also losely means person who uses the yoyotli. Sorta like calling someone a pothead.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

Thanks for the comment, Anon. "Puma" makes more sense than "lion."

I created the post around William Brandon's audacious translation, but I haven't done any further research. I'm sure readers of this post would appreciate directions to reliable sources to back up your translations, Anon. Biographical info on Nezahualcoyotl that you recommend?