The Four Faced Wind

Poetry by Valeria Castellanos


December 2017

Vacation Day

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

The End of December – 2014

The End of December

There is a tornado warning in the air.
A strong wind has come up from the south,
Although I don’t know why it bothered,
Because all the leaves have already blown away.
Uranus is exactly square to Pluto,
And, there is bad ju-ju in the stars.
It almost feels as though some foolish person,
Forgot to seek permission from Chango,
Before cutting down a tree.
But, who would do such a foolish thing?

I am beginning to have serious doubts about myself.
I am questioning my beliefs and my choices.
And then, I wonder if it is possible for me to be anything else,
Anything other than what I am?
The world pressures me, impresses me,
Stresses me and, streches me,
Distorts me and, distresses me,
But, I don’t seem to change.

I no longer believe anyone.

I have forgotten how to sleep,
And so, I can no longer escape into dreams.
I am pretty sure my lover has gone insane,
And, he knows all of my secrets.

Sooner or later we will all be sacrificial victims,
To the gods of struggle,
Of destruction, of betrayal,
Distrust and dust,
Of our own ideas of romance or beauty.
Darkness can be very deep,
A long, downhill slope,
Into the arms of a serial killer.
Nobody is getting out of this alive.



City of Giants, built in the time before time, shadows falling neither north nor south and nowhere to hide. Mathematical rigidity. Darkness within darkness. Mountains within mountains. Massive stones of gray, heavier than the earth, abandoned long before my birth. A thousand steps into the sky, haunted by ceremony, flint knives and dread. Songs of sacrifice, copal clouds, and rivers of blood, bright red.

Images with feathers made of rocks and gaping mouths, the taste of the unseen Otherworld still on the tongue, wide eyed, sun centered, galactic, huge, infinite, eternal, all seeing images, watching through the souls of the stones, seeking destroyed alters, the bones of ancient shaman, worshipping words, the wisdom of the stars, rooms powerful and grotesque, full of nameless, forgotten gods, thirsting for blood, as dark as death, as the doom of the final black hole, filled with smoke instead of air, the sound of copper bells, the ghost flash of blue-black quetzel feathers, serpent’s scales and the rattlesnake’s tails, the Pleiades bright in the night sky, wondering why, escaping my dreams, ceremonial screams, ancestors underground, dancing around, painted, white bone skeletons, devoid of sorrow, influencing tomorrow, the future, the cosmos, the fullness of space, the pace of the human race, the place of witchcraft and clouds of archaic ecstasy, elation, transformation, above the center of the earth, under the center of heaven, under the Fifth Sun.

Water will burn, turn into fire. The serpent of the river, the earth, the heart of matter, will awaken at dawn, shed its skin, sprout wings and learn to fly. Take up residence in the sky. And, maybe I, will go there too, and try. Shame or blame? Still searching for fame? Let’s play the game. Admit or deny. Are you wondering why? Why else would I go to Teotihuacan?

December 2017

Every Star had its Own Name

Every Star had its Own Name

Every star had its own name,
And, long ago,
When campfires burned above the Everglades,
Although the stars were far away,
The sky was full of stories,
And, was carried by constellations.
But, like the residue of dinosaur’s shadows,
They have been distorted by yesterday’s memories,
Erased by today, forgotten by tomorrow,
Fallen into the fields,
And, carried away in the grasshopper’s skirts.

I once had a name of my own,
Before time began sliding away.
I had my own story then,
And, now I am sliding after it,
Because time has disconnected itself,
From the speed of light,
From the solar system,
From the beat of my heart.

Time has expanded,
Sped up,
Curled in on itself,
As smooth and hard and colorfully cold,
As an snail’s shell.
My memories, once as sharp as the spines,
Of the purple thistles.
And, now tease the way a promising summer rain does.
Sting like sandspurs or sand in the wind.

The lines of time,
Which once stretched straight,
Through my life,
Through the Everglades,
Through the black, mangrove smoke,
Over the campfires, into the night,
From here to infinity,
They have gotten away,
Have forgotten me,
Have forgotten themselves.
They have become confused between my fingers,
Have become jangled and tangled up.
They are interchanging the matrix of my childhood thoughts,
With the labyrinthine, interference patterns of old age.

Time has become unstable, elastic,
Has tricked my mind,
Made me blind,
And, wound around my wrists,
Taken me captive and turned me around,
Stolen my memories,
Tied me to the zodiac.

It lets me loose only between the seasons,
In unpredictable weather,
Or when the earth wobbles,
When days and nights are unequal,
When the polar stars change position,
When the names of stars are silently forgotten.

Under tonight’s nameless stars,
I again taste moonshine and turpentine,
Twisted time,
The smell of black, mangrove smoke,
Brings tears to my eyes.

The stars above the campfires have gone out,
And, I have forgotten the mangrove smoke,
The grasshoppers and the dinosaur’s shadows,
And, the spines of the purple thistles,
Because all of this was so long ago,
And, long ago is as far away,

As the constellations and the stars.



Tonight I ventured out and made my midnight way
To my favorite, little, friendly, shadowed, dark cafe
Perchance to meet a poet there, with nothing left to say
Perchance to meet an angel, who is lost and gone astray
A seer who knows tomorrow won’t be just another day

But, everyone here is in disguise
Unwilling to meet one another’s eyes

The couple in the corner have been to see a movie
Neither one of them liked it
But, for reasons completely different
They are arguing and will not stay together for long

More intriguing is the couple by the front door
Her back is to me but she wears her hair like mine
It is the same color as mine
His face is handsome and lively
He seems very pleased
Their hands meet across the table
They speak in low tones, like secret lovers

The two men by the window
Wearing suits and neckties
Are much more animated
One of them believes
Women should never have been given the vote
The other believes the aliens
Who have been sending us crop-circles since 1675
Are poised to rescue us at any moment
They’re voices keep getting louder

The cat in the alley has begun to wail
Louder than the necktied men
She is howling to announce
She has accepted a mate

There is a young man in the corner
Who has been sitting alone
Quiet as a ghost
Shuffling cards
He looks up suddenly and meets my eyes
I look away quickly
It strikes me as odd that he looks so much
Like the older man by the door
Holding his lady’s hand

I suddenly wish I had not put on perfume
I wish the room was not so bright
Was lit instead by candles
And, I could hide in their shadows
I wish my thoughts were strong enough to blow the candles out
And, I could hide in the dark
I wish the taste of bitter-sweet chocolate did not remind me of love

I am surprised by the clatter of my spoon
Falling to the floor, when I reach for my purse, to pay
The necktied men have fallen silent
After agreeing we never could have gone to the moon
The young man, quiet as a ghost
Has put away his cards
And, is reaching for his wallet
The woman whose hair is just like mine
Turns around and looks right at me
She looks like I might look
Twenty years from now

I am finding this very odd
I turn toward the door
The quiet, young man is already there
He is smiling and holds the door open for me

We pass the alley cat
Purring now, beside the door

The young man walks with me down the street

As though it were the most natural thing in the world
Because we are going in the same direction

At the corner he pauses
And, turns toward me
But, even before he says a word
I realize everything in my life has changed

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