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The Four Faced Wind

Poetry by Valeria Castellanos

Off to the Shore

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“Off to the Shore” – My Digital Art – 2018

If I should have my way,
I would be off to the shore today,
Where the air is full of breezes,
And, the sky is full of birds.
The bright, clear, brilliant, liquid light,
Is cut into by palm tree silhouettes,
Lizards quick and slick,
Are hidden in the thick,
Spike shadows,
Smooth, gray driftwood,
Swirls in the tide pool,
Prancing, bright eyed, hermit crab fool,
Hovering yellow butterflies,
Adorning perfect turquoise skies,
Spring waves murmuring,
Beneath azalea mists,
All kissed,
By periwinkle sprinkles,
Breezes graced by silver gongs,
Invisible songs,
Water the color of the fishes scales,
Wave the color of mermaid’s tales,
Hibiscus the color of sunrise,
Sands of ancient oyster shells,
The color of kisses pure,
Jasmine white,
Perfume and salt.

I am an ocean of my own,
Composed of blood and bone,
Of minerals, metals,
And, mostly water,
Flowing under the surface tension of my skin,
An ebb and flow of emotions,
Premonitions, preconditions, preconceptions,
Imprinted on the space between time and God.

How could I be anything then,
Except a reflection of myself?
I am a fluid being,
Flowing with my currents.
Even when I am not at the edge of the sea,
I am required to bend with the tides,
Washed by weather and seasons.

These patterns cannot be understood.
They are larger than my perceptions.

The morning dew calls me by name.
I answer, my footprints sink in the sand,
In the morning tide,
Wandering, here and there,
My feet are bare,
Frangipanis are flowering in my hair.
I am bowing to floating clouds.

I am still young,
And, trying to learn,
To smile with all of my being,
Trying to find a way to live recklessly,
And, completely,
In the present.

March 2015

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I Shall Dance with the Storm

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“I Shall Dance with the Storm” – Beautiful Photograph – Unknown Photographer

I shall dance with the summer, sun filled days,
And, with the purple banners of dark evening clouds.
I shall dance with indigo skies and roaring rain,
With laughter, with simmering splashes,
With thunderous clashes,
Closing in for the coming storm,
And, the changes in its wake.

I shall dance with shattering, cut glass showers,
In the rush of the quickening, twilight hush,
Because rain flows in my veins,
Because my thoughts are contained,
In the dreams of serpents,
Asleep in the crevices of the banyan’s roots.

I shall dance in the perfumed, evening haze,
Because my flesh has been hoarded and distilled,
By the flowering jungle,
And, together we are standing, with expectations,
At the edge of the break of the ozone.
We are wondering if the wind has a will of its own.
We are wondering if the lightning,
Knows why it is heating the heart of the clouds,
Green as the tree frog’s back.
We are wondering if the rain had decided, before dawn,
It would awaken seeds today.

All I ask of you is not to interrupt,
The wonders of this rain-is-coming moment.
This moment is important,
This moment of hush,
This silk-chiffon, gray-cloud moment,
Of falling jacaranda petals,
When tangled tentacles of moss are set aquiver,
In awful twilight’s purple,
And, the Fates, succumbing to laughter or tears,
Disguise themselves or turn their heads.

I know I cannot become a part of the storm.
I can become neither a sunset nor a Jacaranda flower.
I am only a witness,
Inhaling the air,
Ingesting the rain,
And, internalizing whatever it brings.

I stand against the wind,
In puddles of lavender rhinestones.
I am willing to stand, on my own,
Against the convictions of others,
Against the thoughts of ages,
Against beliefs in yesterday’s traditions,
And, tomorrow’s rebellions,
Willing to stand, if I must,
Against even the wishes of clouds,
And, giant, ghost-stained oaks.

I am willing to let the storm strike my cheek,
And, announce the decisions of the Fates.
I am willing to wait for the universe,
Poised on its turning edge,
To make up its mind about what to do.
If the future has a will of its own,
Does that mean I have none?

The heartbeat of the storm has turned,
And, she has begun to close her eyes.
The crescent moon,
As orange as the beak of the Ibis,
Has rent the veil of clouds,
Which open their mouths,
And, whisper into the sky.
“They say I have changed,”
And, “So have you.”

 

 

1998

Circus

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“Circus” – not my photo

I sat on the wall and watched.
He said, the piebald pigeons started laughing in the street but,
This I did not see,
For I was busy,
Sitting on the wall and watching.

He said, the ragged squirrels juggled ten walnuts at a time and,
The outrageous sparrows flung themselves, upside down,
Off of the trapeze.
But, again, I did not see,
For I was,
Sitting on the wall and watching.

Ten thousand orchids flew into the city,
Landed on the lampposts in the night.
Bloody snapdragons sprouted fiery tongues and,
Were carried away by the MorningStar.
The mountains all decided to stand up on their long, thin legs.
They marched away, across the land,
Leaving puddles as footprints.
They rolled over, onto another shore,
Sending their spume as far as the moon and,
Drowning the soul of the sun.
But, I was busy, busy,
Watching from the wall,
Busy, watching my child grow up.

Just like me. Replica of myself.
Nothing like me. Mirror image of his father.
Sometimes, I cannot tell the stones from the trees or,
The others from each other or,
My son from myself.

In the evenings, everyone sits on the wall and,
I am told of great events,
Of treaties signed and kingdoms sold,
Of stocks and bonds and interest rates,
Technology soaring, epidemics,
Crime on the rise and tax revolts,
Migrations and wars and summit meetings,
Trade unions, accidents and,
Famines in far off climes.

But, once again, I did not see,
For I was busy watching,
Watching from the wall.
I was watching my child grow up and,
He was watching the circus.

August 1985

The Garden

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“The Red Moon” “The Garden” – Digital Compilation by V. Castellanos

We went into the garden,
To plant a seed,
And, watch it grow.
But, then I found,
That someone else,
Was walking in the garden.

Someone was there.
I could not see.
And, evil never dies.

There are voices in the garden now,
Voices without faces,
Voices whispering,
Whispering,
To the innocent ones,
Things it does not mean for us to know.

And, there is laughter in the garden,
Which is neither mine nor yours.
It is not the kind of laughter,
Which I like to hear.

This sound does not belong in the garden,
This dark sound,
Crawling behind the indigo, poison shadows.
This is not the humming of hummingbirds.
It is murmuring,
Dark and torpid murmuring,
Murmuring from under the fountains,
And, from under the grayness under the stairs.
It is not the sound of green or sun,
Or, the joy of praying mantis’ prayers.

I cannot understand the murmured whispers,
But, the innocent ones are laughing,
Laughing,
And, this is not the smell of flowers,
Or, beehives filled with honey.

Something in the garden is calling,
Calling to the innocents,
Calling, calling gray and thin,
Like the sound of chilling rain,
Calling, thin and hollow,
Calling the innocent ones,
To bring their souls,
And, to come into the garden.

Now, I am hearing songs in the garden,
Songs you and I have never sung.
The innocent ones are humming the songs,
Humming the songs,
Humming the gray and hunting refrains.

I fear that the innocent ones will think,
This is only a game.
I fear that the garden will lure them away,
And, they will be tricked,
Into trading their souls for trinkets.

The flowers in the garden are withered,
And, the voices in the shadows are gathering faces.
The gate to the garden is standing open.
Neither you nor I would have left it that way.

I do not remember another time,
Of so many spiders and spider’s webs.
And, there are so many whispers,
Whispering, whispering,
Thin and cold,
Like the sound of chilling rain.

The innocent ones are whispering now,
And, speaking in tongues,
Whispering now and humming,
Singing and laughing,
The laughter I do not like to hear.

I do not want to go into the garden.
The withered flowers have gathered faces,
And, the faces are faces,
You and I have never seen.
The voices never cease their calling,
Murmuring, whispering, moaning,
Humming the hunting refrains,
Of music I don’t understand.

I do not want to go into the garden.
I do not want to go out,
Into the poison, indigo shadows.
Not even just to close the gate.
I do not want to go into the garden,
Of so many spiders and spider’s webs,
The garden of grayness from under the fountain,
From under the stairs.
But, the garden is the whole world,
And, so I have to go.

Wanderer

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Wanderer

I am a barefooted wanderer, On a road not of my making, Adrift between landscapes of light and thunderstorms of evil, Entangled in forests which hide the underground earth, With wild weeds and the aroma of roses. Ephemeral like a leaf already fallen out of the tree, Out of the clouds, Out of the songs of the stars hidden behind the daylight.

I let down my hair and I walk beyond solemn visaged cities devoid of reality, Shunned by miracles, Filled with angles and corners in which demons dwell, Temptations swell, Cathedrals full of deceit and conceit, games of guilt and sin, trying to win, pity and gold, control and adornment. Madness following madness.

I have mistaken the blue heron for shadow, And, I have thought the moon was a smile interrupting my dreams, Coming closer than ever before, While I was aglow like the ripest sunset, Like a dozen circus freaks beating on drums, Like a barefooted, fire eating juggler, A sword swallower on a tight rope. A trapeze artist swinging in the breeze, A clown pursued by the devil, Climbing a mile high skyscraper. Entertainment everywhere. Don’t look now. A whirling dervish dancing in the wind, A faker climbing into the mouth of a serpent. How could anyone be so high?

The audience stands mouth agape, Staring wherever the spotlight shines, And, watching the wrong hand of the magician. The piper is on the march, Leading the children away, Into the realm of black eyed ravens and unreality.

To avoid the three ring circus, The sacred has gone underground, Awaiting resurrection, expecting insurrection, Biding time and playing the angel’s trumpet. Truth is disguised, confused and obscured. Covered up by the carnival music that keeps us spinning. Everyone out there thinks they’re winning. Playing games of glamour and gold. Eyes you should close and breath you should hold. It’s nothing but lies you are being told.

A visceral being, Desperate for connection, Seeking continuity, clarity and direction. I have not yet followed the birds, Cast aside instinct in favor of words, But, now I am fading and calling, Falling, Failing, Sailing, Into the ripe, setting sun, Knowing that nobody won.

June 24, 2018

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.

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

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