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The Four Faced Wind

Poetry by Valeria Castellanos

The End of March – 2015

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The End of March

Holi is over.
I have let my hair,
Go loose, like a goose, in the wind.
Now, it is a tangled mess,
And, a good expression of myself,
With no idea of where it wants to go.

Is the world not yet tired of being cold?
Everyone reluctant, going nowhere.
Everything static, black and white.

The azaleas are wilted and withered away.

Bewildered by my individuality.
Incomprehensible.
Moving in a dozen different directions,
I am unable to escape my own flaws.
Ageing.
Trapped in entropy.
Approaching absolute zero.
And, I think I have run out of coffee again.

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Antigua, British West Indies

 

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Antigua

It was long before dawn when we reached the narrow road,
And, hand and hand we together went, over the prickled hills.
Hand and hand we together went, over the dusty dunes.

Down to where the white sand swirled,
And, the jagged, coral rocks pretended,
They were velvet smooth.

The green waves rang against the cove.
They called us to them with flowers of foam.
With songs of salt,
With voices, pink and gray,
Of half uncovered rocks.
Time was still and drifted,
Not yet formed, along the silent edge of tide pools,
Hid beneath the broken seed pods,
And, inside wind swept petals.

The dawn came suddenly, out of the ocean,
Gray oysters clouds grew,
Out of the promontory,
Above a clear, polished mirror of abalone yellow.
Settling, pearl and opalescent,
Over the pale horizon.

The magical stars drifted away,
And, between the stranded seashells,
Scattered by seaweed fingers,
The butterflies with rusty wings, awoke,

Then there was nothing else to do,
But, look into one another’s eyes,
And, laugh at the cactus,
And, the prickly pears,
Casting transparent shadows,
Onto the sand beside our toes.

We could have easily just held hands,
And, walked back then with wet hair flying,
And, feet bare through the shining, shifting surf,
Leaving only our footprints under the waves.

We could have clambered back across the cliff,
Where the coolness of the shadows,
Would have hidden us,
In the same silk green the spiders seek,
When brilliant lizards start to hunt.

Our footsteps could have traced the way,
To old, forlorn, forgotten sugar mills,
Where seagulls scream and stone walls stare,
All empty eyed, at non-existent winds.

We could have gone into the painted town,
To drink hot coffee or to breakfast with hibiscus and hummingbirds.
We could have gone to visit the long, green shadowed harbor,
Where the silent, sailing ships rest from the arduous seas.

But, these were not the ways we went.
Instead, we stayed with the enchantment.
Stayed inside of our dream,
Beside the transparent shadows.
On the pink and gray, bubbling shore.

We wrapped ourselves in one another,
And, fell asleep by the sea.

 

V. Castellanos – 1962

The End of February – 2015

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The End of February

 

The afternoon is cold, and the moon is on the rise,
As transparent as my fingers and as empty as my eyes.
I am so far away the wind can no longer hear my words,
My breath is barely separate from the shadows of the birds.

I am self-contained.
I am inside of myself,
Inside of my shell,
Inside of this gloom in this room.

It is Tuesday afternoon,
And, I am pretty sure I will be alright,
If I can just hang on,
Until the dogwood starts to bloom.

Oh, but what if she does not bloom?
What if she decides to be like other dogs,
To bark instead of blossom?
What if she becomes a snake?
A grasshopper?
A possum?
What if she decides to never-more,
Be host to the beautiful, four heart flowers?
Then, never, would ever, this room contain another bloom,
And, my shell would lose all of its protective powers.

I am a creature, tied to the future.
I survive by looking ahead.
Tomorrow is always yet to come,
And, yesterday is long-gone, dead.
Sometimes hope is around the corner,
Somewhere up the staircase,
Somewhere under the bed,
Somewhere over my head.
But, sometimes the dogwood lets it go,
And, it falls to the ground instead.

Dust – A Love Poem for my Valentine

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Dust

 

I fall in love with you
I fall in line with you
I dance in my romance
With you
And, miracles ensue
We resonate together
We become a laser
Focused into a single beam
Living our lives in a single dream
We become a poem
We become as royalty
We are a totality
You are my reality

I dance in a world made manifest
Through the medium of light
You are my guide and my vision
Your music is my sight
Your perfume and your hands
Conjoined
Illuminate and illustrate
My night

Your love enthralls
Encompasses
Enshrouds me
Floods my work
And, fills my world
Like sweet perfume
It fills my room
Covers my being
Covers my seeing
You are contained
In every speck of dust
That enters my illumination
Between now and my death
You are in every breath
I breathe or touch

My love for you is deeper than my dreams
It is older than my heart, it seems
Older than the unfurled world
Older than the dust

You complete me with your aroma
Your atoms enhance my soul
Your particles entrance me
Your aura makes me whole
I gather the dust you give to me
You complete me with your smile

I caress your skin
And, mark it with kisses
I gather you into
The corners of my being
Your heart completes my seeing
Your breath is my sail
And, I inhale

Your intentions are my guidelines
They clear the pathway
For my footfalls
To the dust of your radiant force field
I submit, I yield
And, I am healed

You are selecting
Collecting
The storms and stories and glories
And, molecules of metal and emotion
That generate my light
You are the sun ripened dust of my day
And, the star dust of my night

Love
Like the ubiquitous dust
In the air
Even when you are not there
My love for you is everywhere

And, all the dust of the world
That has ever been given to me
I give to you
Until it is reclaimed

Without you I am splintered
Scattered
Shattered
Fragmented
I am, myself, nothing but dust
Thus, I must
Rush
To find you
To cover you
With my love
Older than the galaxy’s dust
Older than the earth
To remind you of your worth
And, our expectations of rebirth
And, to keep you from falling
Into lies
Or
Into someone else’s eyes

V. Castellanos – April 29, 2015

The Gray Bird on the Beach

 

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The Gray Bird on the Beach

Walking alone along the road,
I thought of poetry and of my dreams.
The dust I stirred created dragons,
Swarming in the shimmering heat.

The dust, descending, turned to sand,
And, out of my footsteps, flowers sprang,
Fringed with jagged, cutting leaves,
And, clothed with seeds that stung my feet.

The beach was bare, without a stone.
And, I went walking, all alone.
Out to the beach, alone, again.
The liquid sun struck my ring, like rain.

“Where are you going?” I called to the gray bird,
Standing, on a sandy hillock, looking out to sea.
With one foot tucked up underneath him,
So very proud he seemed to be.
And, though I saw him very clear,
To him, it seemed I was not here.
He seemed intent on another world,
Unseen, except by those with second sight.

Tall he stood, ignoring me,
Intent on what I could not see.
Stiff and silent, standing there,
He seemed to stare,
At things that seemed to me, just air.
Oh, in his heart he seemed to see,
The very spirit of the sea,
The soul of cataclysmic foam,
The arms of sky that he called home,
And, the land of clouds he loved to roam.

He heard the words the siren sings,
And, winds extolling tide pool kings,
He never saw my sun struck ring,
Nor the waves of my pretended wing.
And, never, though I went quite near,
Did the gray bird ever seem to hear,
My wild, determined, loud hellos.

V. Castellanos – 1962

Winter Stars in Florida, the Land of Flowers

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Scorpio – The Land of Flowers

I am bound to the tides and the call of the seas,
And, the thunderous, silver branches of the heavy banyan trees,
To the rolling, turquoise waves and their malachite swirls,
To kingdoms carved from coral rocks and castles made of pearls.

I am bound to water hyacinth, amethyst and joyful jade,
And, to the great, blue heron who is hunting in the shade,
Beside the shallow waters where the deep, blue mangroves wade.

I am bound to centers of rippled-river, moire whorls,
And, the star-white constellations, of the spider-lilly’s curls,
To delicate palm fringes, fibrous, overlapping, green,
To coiled up rainbow colored snakes, in strangler figs, unseen,
To the ivory-sweet and filigreed, blossoms of the palm,
Aged by rains of springtime and storms of salt sea’s balm,
To shining spiders, golden-orbed, with webs of wobbly, summer dew,
To the ancient, autumn scorpions, of angry, bitter hue,
Who wait behind the lichen’s lacey, white, etched scars,
And, know the tricks of turning, into winter’s wondrous stars.

V. Castellanos – 1998

The End of January – 2015

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The End of January

 

Let me have my illusions.
I don’t have anything else.
I am a romantic,
And, that’s all that I would be.

I am dressed up like a candy apple,
Like a bubble wizard,
Like a gazelle,
With a cute, pink smile,
And, everybody says they love me.

I am dressed up like a mermaid.
Not a Coney Island, Mermaid-Parade mermaid,
A real mermaid,
Cold blooded, with green scales on my eyelids,
With seaweed under my fingernails,
With flashing starfish in my hair,
Webbed fingers,
Grinding teeth,
A stabbing trident in my hand.
I know the mysteries of the deep,
I know who eats who,
But, I am also the masked, Venetian Carnival Queen,
Who keeps her mouth closed with a index finger,
And, mimics “Shush.”
I won’t tell a soul.
You just wait and see.
All the mysteries of the dark and the deep,
Are safe and silent inside of me.
No one else wants to know anyway.

I am dressed up like a Goat-Fish,
Like Capricorn and Aquarius,
But, without the Fertility of Rain.
I am bleeding out of the winter sky,
Before the world is ready.
No one can see who I really am.
My seeds have been planted everywhere,
But, none of them are growing.

All that matters now,
Is what has already been set in motion.
Nothing new under the sun.
You know, if you start a vibration,
You have to pay attention because,
You might set off some butterfly,
In Hong Kong.

And, nobody knows what will set off a wandlung,
That incomprehensible event which changes everything,
Ushers in an ice age, ends the reign of the dinosaurs,
Starts the human brain.
Ends the race.
I wouldn’t want to set off something like that.
I am just living my life,
Trying to avoid the waves of advancing history,
Which are crashing into society.
The costumes are not helping.

Dream of the Serpent

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Dream of the Serpent

The impossibility of resurrection has my ego instead seeking the echoes of cut glass mirrors and memories of the tingling reflections of my life. I find drifting clouds and fog falling like autumn leaves and abandoned kisses into ancient flower beds, the neon orange sky as bright as the eye of a serpent.

Serpents, they say, are already on their way to becoming angels, working for the gods, doing what no one else will, containing the cosmic lines of flowing rivers and the supernatural force of scales which have refused to turn into feathers, wings which refuse to sprout, muscles which refuse to turn into dragons and fly.

Remember, everything is here to eat everything else. Remember, everything is watching, watching, always watching. Me and you and the snake. I mention the snake only because of the magnitude of my dreams and the nervous system of the planet, the distance of the zodiac, the intentions of flowers which produce no fruits. I am also in tune with the electric impulses of the earth and the moisture of the mud.

Seeking the temperature of survival and the strength of constriction, I cannot say what the serpent was thinking, for even in dreams the reptilian mind exists, unlike my mind, unlike your mind, unlike the mind of birds, completely below the concept of words. No language to intercept and interpret emotions, only the expression of rattles and hisses, slithers between the grasses, petrified breath, geometric patterns, a forked tongue tasting the colors of the air, listening only to himself, belly against the ground, so close there is no space for a shadow, marks in the dust. Patience. Self-sufficient, with no interest in others, in right or wrong, in the complications of truth and falsehood, in understanding, in satisfaction, in the predictions of falling stars and comets, without obedience, without submission, without the benefits of love, just survival, sustenance and the ability to do what needs to be done. The reptilian eye, orange as the sky, staring right at you, is revealing nothing. Taking nothing. Giving nothing. Judging nothing. Going to the same place I am going.

Straight as an arrow, limber as a serpent, I am trapped inside of myself. No way to escape, to shed my skin, to break out of my limitations and constrictions, only to whisper warnings to myself to avoid the songs of sirens and to ignore the invitations of the Bolon Tiku, not to wrap myself in a soft, green, silk cocoon and sleep while the world crumbles and falls apart or begins anew. Carnival is as close as the Day of the Dead. The solstice is as far off as the equinox. This is today. It is all we have.

January 14, 2017

Vacation Day

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Vacation Day
Here I am, once again,

Standing the watch alone.

Today it seems the world is so old,
It is no longer able to age,
And, even when my eyes are closed,
I can no longer bear to see shadows.

… Sometimes it is so easy to go,
Away from the marketplace,
Away from the mob,
To close all the doors,
And, to just live inside my mind.
Then, reality is anything I choose.
Time, which was probably,
The starting point for everything,
Time, which is not a river,
Which is not an arrow,
Not even a circle,
Is at my bidding, then.

As long as I am alone,
I can be anywhere, everywhere, nowhere.
I can be myself,
With neither delay nor permanence,
And, the only things I have to watch out for,
Are my own thoughts and my nightmares.

When I am all alone,
I ask the clouds to talk to me.
Sometimes they have nothing to say.

Do you not love me enough to speak?
Nor even enough to laugh with me,
When I laugh?
To smile with me when I am smiling?

There isn’t much of a lock on this door,
And, I suppose soon I’ll be going out again.
Perhaps I’ll go back to the Everglades.
There I can be alone and still be in the middle of everything.
There I can hang around with the goblins,
Who drink from the fountain of youth,
And, laugh at gravity.

I find it very easy,
To get used to walking about like an animal.
But, still, I am doing my best,
To keep the fire from burning out,
Because I know there are salamanders,
Who grow into magicians when it is dark.
And, I am still trying to learn to write in blood,

So my words will be remembered by the heart.
December 31, 1998

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