The Four Faced Wind

Poetry by Valeria Castellanos


The touchstone has been mislaid.
Can’t tell if I’m real or not.
It is time to look at my blood.
It is time to re-play my dreams.
I have heard
That the promised word,
No longer says what it means.

To spores of rocks and marble eggs,
How does my birth compare?
Nature, it seems, is changing her ways.
Let the bearded, old men beware.

Why do you watch me so carefully?
What do you want to take?
Best we keep our eyes
On tomorrow’s prize,
And, beware for the children’s sake.

The touchstone has been mislaid.
Can’t tell if you’re fake or real.
Best be awake,
So much is at stake,
And, so fast goes the spinning wheel.

Fake or mistake, there is danger,
Gravel and marl in the veins.
Cold in the eye and, marble sky,
Granite roses and glacial rains.

Igneous ocean, rock bound maze.
Take careful watch of uncertain days.
Nature, it seems, is changing,
Her time worn, age old ways.

Limestone shadows, time lines fade,
Dawn’s undone and land re-made,
Nothing is certain,
The touchstone is gone,
And, the truth has been mislaid.

I am Going to Go to the Sea

I am going to go to the sea

Black clouds race with the morning,
Dawn’s silver is covered with cloth of gold.
Tassels and shadows of velvet coming,
To cover the village with mold,
Cover the village with mildew,
Cover the village with dust.
Cover the village with chill and with damp,
Cover the village with rust.

And, now, the village is silent.
Soon the shadows of flowers will burst
Wine of the phoenix,
And, pomegranates, red,
Are coming to quench my thirst.

Shadows are coming to cover the rainbows.
Go ahead, do your worst

The clouds which cover the village,
Are the clouds which cover me.
I am going to leave the village behind.
I want to go down to sea.

I wanted to be the song of a bird.
I wanted to be a soft night.
I wanted to be a huge, golden fire,
And, fill up the world with light.
I wanted to be a silver fish,
To be an evergreen tree.
I wanted your eyes to give me a kiss.
Now, I want to go down to the sea.

And, what are you going to do with your life?
Are you going to walk with the grass?
Are you going to talk with the rain in the clouds,
Under a sky of glass?
If you are, then follow me down this trail,
Curving about like a shell.
Follow the spirals of whelks and of conchs,
Down to the ocean’s swell.

With wide wings of salt,
There the water-witch dwells,
With her old siren charms,
And, her young mermaid spells.
We will kiss there and dance,
And, the sea-winds will sing.
Then the sky will cease darkening,

So, I do not care,
What the village folks say.
I am going to leave,
At the break of the day.
Leave the mold and the rust,
Leave the mildew and dust.

I am going to go,
For I know that I must.

Take my hand.
Come with me.
It’s where I need to be.
I am going to go to the sea.

V. Castellanos 2003

Dragon King

Dragon King

I am tired of looking at myself,
In the polished, onyx mirrors,
The Phoenix holds for me.
I am tired of looking for beauty.
What I need to find is love.

I am going to put on a collar of scales,
And, go up, into the clouds.
I am going to dance with my Dragon King,
And, twine his songs in my hair.
If I’m naked or dressed in a gown of stars,
My Dragon King does not care.

I will dance when the Dragon King dances,
I will sing when the Dragon King sings.
Dragon flowers will grow on my forehead,
And, I will sprout dragon wings.

Tonight I will breathe the Dragon’s fire.
We will swim to the heart of the sky.
For I think I’m in love with the Dragon King,
And, I won’t even tell you why.

I Do Not Trust

4-16 14.50.43-picsay
I Do Not Trust – Digital Photo Art by V.Castellanos

To send my love I do not trust 
The eyes of golden butterflies 
Nor do I trust the silver glow 
Of stardust’s silent flow 

I do not trust 
The poems lines 
Not games of words 
Nor tricks of rhymes 

I put no faith in velvet petals
Nor in the shine of burnished metals
I do not trust the night or day
The forest’s plumage, bright and gay
Not the sunbeams nor the endless sky 
The wind’s wild song nor his soulful sigh
I do not trust the glyphs, the dunes
The rivers laugh, the songbirds tunes
The thinness of the pale new moon

I only trust he will hear the croon 
Of the howling, magic, midnight loon

The Queen of Bees

The Queen of Bees – ink on paper by V. Castellanos

When I awoke this morning
I found I was a fragile flower
Perched on a sunbeam’s edge

I am inviting you to treat me, today
As a special jewel
A crystal with a thousand facets and inflections
A rainbowed dew drop with uncountable reflections
A holographic fragment containing the entire universe
A flowered, honey bee with sides and angles
You have never contemplated before

If you take up my invitation
I will treat you, in the morning, as an angel
In the afternoon, I will treat you like a king
And, when the fire burns bright tonight
And, you become a dragon
I will treat you as a god

I will be vibrant and perfumed
Enticing, with my eyes, your fires
My seething heart will breathe
Will heave
Igniting your desires

Buddha, secure in his detachment
May disapprove of my excesses
My caresses
My emotion
My devotion
But, I still, will
Bring to you
The pungent nectar
Of ten thousand flowers
Which burst
To quench your thirst

I will dance for you and sing
Give to you, my fluttering wing
Here, beside the blue bell’s ring
I will meet, your sweet demands
I will give to you my sweet hands
I will give to you my sweet dreams
I will give you all my rainbowed facets
And, my sweet sunbeams

If you search my quiet shadows
And, the darkness of my eyes
If you brush away my showers
And, the hush of my disguise
I will invade you
And, persuade you
To believe in myths of old
To believe in warriors bold
To believe my body’s gold
And, that I am
The Queen of Bees
I’m sweet as swamp fed, dogwood trees
Sweet, white clover, honey breeze
Swinging on my high trapeze
Through skies of amber, buzzing, please

My body’s brushed
With pollen’s dust
And, I am here to interweave
I am here to intertwine
I am here to wind
About you
Like a lavish, jasmine vine

I will feed you with ambrosias
Of the sweetest, wild perfume
Distilled from whisps of distant clouds
Which decorate the afternoon
And, the wishes of sweet flowers
Who have kissed the fragrant moon

If you wish me
If you kiss me
If you come and take my hand
You will see me
(You can’t be me
But, I know
You’ll understand)
I am just a fleeting notion
Yet, I am a potent potion
Like the sighs that fill the ocean
With restless waves and breathless motion

When you meet me
You complete me
You mistreat me
You defeat me
Yet, you are my revelation
You are my extreme elation
You compel my transformation

For you, I’ll be my most sensational
In your arms I am insatiable
And, still, I am a fragile flower
Perched on the edge of a sunbeam’s bower
My rainbowed, dew drop wings are sunny
If you kiss me, I’ll turn into honey

Desert Madness

Desert Madness

The desert eats up everything
including shadows and rainbows
eats the bones
the thoughts
the dreams
eats desires and memories
eats everything
except intensity
this it increases
with the heated passion
of the hysterical laughter
of sun strokes

Dried flowers, dried flesh
dried blood in the sand
dust in the shriveled sky
cactus mummy
corpse of thorns
longing, stiffness
isolation, struggle
crouching, close to the ground
searching for a crevice
a crooked rock
an intangible shadow
Perhaps the earth will
swallow them up
save them
from the rapacious mandibles
of an insane sun

It sometimes comes into my mind
that the desert is not a place at all
the hand print of a demon
a nightmare’s emotion withering clouds
light slashed against a parched canvas
ground glass bowing under a cutting wind
an abandoned delirium growing inside itself
inside of myself
with no regard for anything else
spilling over with its devouring appetite
following me everywhere
carrying everything into it
like a helter-skelter dust devil
a meteoric sand storm
a mirage
spun out of nothing
in my mind

The desert is something to struggle against
composed of extremes
crackling stones and cackling lizards
rocks, barking like a mad coyote
rumbling tunes of tumbling sand dunes
changing the textures of my being
outrageous sunlight stinging my skin
and hideous frozen stars
dictating the colors of my thoughts
and rearranging my emotions

The desert distorts me
rolls me over
rolls over me
with heat waves and grit
gets into my stomach
gets in my eyes
in between my thighs
It needs to be viewed
like a sculpture
from all of its sides at once
from all of its angles
all of its tangles
from underneath
from over and above
upside down
inside and out
from anywhere and everywhere
if you can get there
You will find this is exhausting
requiring almost all of your time

There is no expectation here
that anything will be fair
Everything is just as it is
Without exception
When it comes to the soul
the desert brings no peace
the images it casts before you
often are not real
but the objects it throws in your way
always are

Someday I plan to go live in the desert
because it is extremes which keep the soul alive
Then today and tomorrow will be the same
with no divisions
Yesterday will have ceased to exist
and no one will be paying attention

I will forget the differences I have with the world
the differences
between reality and my beliefs
between the run away tumbleweed
and the hysterical road runner
between the glint of gold
and the stinger of the thousand year old scorpion
between the eyes of the vulture
and my heart

Everything I experience then
will be something that no one has known before
I will become the same as the elements
illusions and phantoms
a dry, dust devil, dancing
I will become who I really am
sand beneath my fingernails
without words to explain myself
and no one will object
insanity is, after all, just a disagreement
over reality
and madness
in the desert
is a normal state of mind


Perhaps – self portrait photo by V. Castellanos

“What is it that keeps you alive?” they ask.
“It is ambition,” I reply.
But, perhaps I am wrong.
Perhaps it is curiosity or sensuality.
Perhaps it is reverence and awe.
Perhaps it is selfishness or love.
Perhaps it is because,
I have discovered that I am the center of the universe.
Perhaps it is because,
I am so insignificant,
I have been overlooked by the spaces in between the stars.

Perhaps it is because of time,
And, things to come.
Perhaps it is because there are things still to be done.
We are, in the end, the sum of our actions.

Perhaps there is something I still have to find.
And, if this is true, do I want to find it?
Certainly I do.
I am searching everywhere.
I am sifting the desert sands and dissecting clouds.
I am reading the news.
I am looking through electron microscopes,
And, trying to decipher the pronouncements of whales.

I have visited imaginary numbers,
And, gone on quantum leaps.
I have held holograms in my hands,
And, landed, with a giant step for mankind, on the moon.
I speak in analog and binary voices,
Sing with angels,
And, dance on the edge of tomorrow,
With the fool who believes in himself,
And, shuns reality.

I understand the subconscious mind and subatomic matter.
I have investigated genomes, gestation, gravity and ghostly apparitions.
I have sought after the unifying principle,
The one thing that holds everything together,
The unified field theory,
The center of the spider web,
The one thing that engenders everything else.
I am pretty sure it is what we have long called God.

This God has told me,
You can’t find the theory of unity,
By taking things apart.
So, I am fitting together all the pieces I have gathered.

I have begun to suspect that we are the unifying principle.
It is our thoughts which are holding everything together.

I am hoping, before the curtains fall,
The chorus will arrive,
And, in unison, with their beautiful voices,
They will explain what everything means.

Carving Insects

Carving Insects – ink on paper by V. Castellanos

I walk on the edge,
With the desert phoenix.
The sky is full of light,
And, I am tangled up with snakes.

I walk in robes of jasmine perfume,
In clouds of dreams,
With tangled seed pods,
Bracelets hung with humming birds,
Are twisted ’round my neck.

I am going off to visit,
The mountains and the gargoyles.
Going to kiss the masks with open mouths,
That open caves.
Going to stir the dust that has gathered,
Under the unsung songs.

Off to the Village of Honey and Justice,
Where sages still drink tea of herbs,
Still sing the words of ancient times,
Still recite the ancient rhymes.

I am a lone bird,
Winging home,
In the afterglow of life.

All of my life,
I have spent carving insects,
Ivory, jade and sandalwood.
I have polished their skin.
I have dusted their eyes.
Now, in the dreams of my old, old age,
They are oozing into life.
They are flowing over the fragrant grass,
That grows at the end of the skies.

I do not think,
The way things are,
That I will pass this way again.

The Glass Bead Game

The Glass Bead Game

I awoke with the land folded in on itself.
A sky full of clouds,
With open mouths,
With tongues of sun,
And, eyes of wire,
Taunting the skies,
With spears of fire.

Wandering with fireflies,
What do you watch with moonlight eyes?
Are you lost, tonight, in moonlit nightshade?
In what darkness do you wade?
Do you dance with Belladonna?
Do you toast a toadstool moon?
Are you tossed about tonight,
By a hail storm’s tune?

The mist is mired, and maze inspired.
The labyrinth is spinning loud.
It sings in the opaque landscape’s light,
Behind the steel gray cloud.

Eat golden fire and scarlet weed,
Drink the tea of the dark datura seed.
Laughter, tears and heart aches feed,
Now, string another cold, glass bead.
Dust devils dance in warm swamp gas,
And, the Phoenix burns in the mermaid’s pass.
Jeweled thoughts roam outside my mind,
For the meek are weak and, the strong will shine.
It is always so, it will always be.
You must stand and fight or turn and flee.

Achieve and conquer,
Gain and grow.
Take the next glass bead,
Then turn and go.

With dragons are you dancing,
In the Hell-cat fires?
Did you pick a fight tonight,
With the tongue sharp liars?
Begonias, pink, boom in the shade,
With crooked sword and sharpened blade.
Is all this just for a cold, glass bead?
Does it fill your heart?
Does it make you bleed?
Is now the time to be afraid?
Are you ready to go? Was the piper paid?

Did you wish on the wishing star?
Do you know where you went? Did you travel far?
Did you know yourself. Do you know my name?
Do you think that you won the glass bead game?

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