The Four Faced Wind

Poetry by Valeria Castellanos


April 2017

I Speak to Mountains


I speak to mountains,
And, have conversations with stones,
Although this isn’t as easy as you might think,
Because, we have to speak,
In a different temporal continuum.

We talk about sizes and shapes.
We speak of temperature conduction,
Molecular construction,
And, about internal crystalline geometry.
We chat about atomic structure and astronomical design,
Expansion, contraction, density,
Texture, space and weight,
About volume and viscosity,
About force fields and reverberations,
And, about the nature of waves.

We never talk about eternal life,
Love or poetry,
Dreams or even time travel.
For that I have to wait and speak to the flowers,
Who understand romance and flight,
Pheromones and symphonic composition.

The stones tell me,
When the earth was slapped by the moon,
Perhaps just rough housing around,
Perhaps in a jealous rage,
The earth got piqued,
And, with fight-back “I’ll show you” energy,
Set about more magic,
Than was ever before conceived.
Then all of our symmetry was altered,
And, everything became a possibility.

The stones want to know if we appreciate,
The nearly impossible underlying precision,
And, the unending, multiple coincidences of the universe.

I ask them,
About the ice ages,
About the magnetism of the North Pole,
About particle entanglement,
The proportion of space to matter in atoms,
And, why it is that everything can be reduced to mathematics.

They never really answer my questions.
Instead, they complain because,
We are always moving forward,
With great regard to the future,
While the wisdom of the past,
Is swallowed up in the irretrievable gravity sink,
Of our DNA and, our dismembered memories,
Snaps at our ankles,
Crumbles into sinkholes and quicksand,
And, creates the karmic weather.

The Wailing Woman

The Wailing Woman – artist unknown

I did not return,
To the far Salinas,
The desolate salt flats,
The white Salinas,
Full of phantoms,
Wanting to be,
Haunting me,
The Salinas of ever-restless winds,
Forever blowing under my door.

At first, I thought I did not return,
Because of the bitter taste of the salt in the air,
Because of the treeless plains,
And, the disillusioned sand.

I thought,
I did not return,
Because the searing sun,
Would strike my face with a slap.
I thought,
The lack of rain would sober me up.
I would be disoriented by the absence of rivers,
And, the dearth of things,
Flowing downstream.

I thought, it was,
Because of the nonexistence,
Of the intensions of clouds.
I thought, it was,
Because I did not want to see,
The dizzy gleam in the old prospector’s eye,
Lost in his own mind,
Wandering, without remembering why,
Into mirages and illusive mountains,
Oasis daydreams and elusive fountains.
I thought I did not want to encounter,
The outlines of yesterday,
And, ghosts,
Floating with the rise of the moon.

I did not want to walk over the dead ground,
To tread on hollow roots,
To hear the empty sighs of the earth under my feet,
Full of memories and reverberations.

I did not want to be struck by the wild delirium,
Caused by the rattlesnake’s bite.
I did not want to taste the overly ripe apples,
To smell the odor of stinging, alkaline springs,
To feel salt crystals grow on my skin.
I did not want to see how quickly my blood would dry,
And, disappear into the soil when I die.

But, in the end, it was none of these things.
In the end, I did not return,
Because I feared to hear,
The sighs of the setting sun,
Welcoming the throbbing whimpers,
Which rise with the first, faint star,
The piercing sound of unforgiving tears,
And, the lonely banshee cries,
From the broken heart of the Wailing Woman,
Infusing the lightning and the thunder,
With the expression of extinction,
And, the oppression of oblivion,
Bemoaning the demise of a people,
The end of a civilization,
Ghosts of sons and daughters,
Filling the omnipresent sky,
Between the rolling dunes,
And, the scratching thorns,
With the moans of failing rituals,
And, a forgotten past, falling gods,
Flowing out of yesterday’s darkness,
From the Mayan shore,
To the center of the world.


Not my artwork

The rain is over and the forest is full of silver light
Symmetry and reflections, but, nowhere do I see myself
I only see green-eyed spiders, under the shadows
Dreaming in far off dances

The birdsongs have been carried away by the breeze
And, the lingering fog
Has become the color of
Perfume and promises
Radiant clouds, cobweb thick, are racing towards the horizon

I am trying
With eyes shut
To follow them
To catch the green eyed dances
Trying to sing the lost birdsongs
Trying to ride on the cobwebed clouds
Trying to hide in the cobwebed clouds

I am trying to breathe with the snakes
But, they refuse to take my hand
Because they have outgrown themselves
And, are busy shedding their skin –
Something beyond all my experience

I am trying to breathe with the lizards
Who are wrapped in one another’s arms
And, ignoring me
Because they are regrowing their tails –
Something beyond all my expectations

I am trying to breathe
With the dark-winged butterflies
Avoiding the cobwebed clouds
Rings around the rainbows
But, they are living in another time
Too fast for me
And, radiant with the accomplishment of metamorphosis –
Something beyond all my understanding

So, I breathe, instead
With mountains and valleys
With igneous stones and soft sand
With rocks and gullys
With myself
And, with the crystalline colors of the solid earth
Because I am planted
In the logic of words
In faith in thoughts
The tyranny of emotions
The restrictions of entropy
I am planted
Without the breath of after life
Without the bliss of transformation
Without the kiss of reincarnation
In the simplicity of death and birth
For whatever it’s worth
I have the ability to be nothing but myself –
Everything else is beyond my reach



I would with holi colors paint the clouds that float on high.
I would with absinthe paint my garden and my sky,
And there, without a thought or care,
I would get drunk with Baudelaire.

But, nowhere would I go with him.
He thinks perfection’s never there.

I stay at home instead,
And, brush my hair.

I think the world’s most wondrous lair,
Is mine,
And, therein,
Every speck of sand,
Does shine.

And, mine,
Each glass of wine,
So, too, the root of every vine.

And, through the heart,
Of, each and every,
Lovely columbine,
On me, and mine,
And, also thine,
The beauteous earth,
Doth shine.

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