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The Four Faced Wind

Poetry by Valeria Castellanos

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Dreams

The Incurious Beatles

The incurious beetles
Are scurrying over the broken shards of reality
Slipping into the illusions of crevices in the canvas
Into cracks of absurdity, of obscurity
Obscenity, infinity
Into five fold mutations
Mutilations
Radiation situations
Stimulations
Simulations
Manipulations
Interrupted continuations
Eradications
Fornications, ejaculations
Fabrications of instability and insanity
Extinction events enclosed in a jar

It is the perfection of nature’s immutable laws
Which keeps me in balance
But, I am still descending into gravity
And, time is catching up
Space running out
Water turning into ice
Hair turning white
Bones cracking
Every mirage a possibility
But, don’t forget Fukushima

I am only a whispering flower
Made of dust
Thirsty
On the edge of the desert
On the edge of emptiness
On the edge of my own extinction
And, maybe the extinction of everyone else

Burned by passing asteroids
By raging daylight
Distant moons and meteor showers
And, howling, cosmic energies
Vibrations feeding my aura with sensations
And, revelations
Struck by a comet from another solar system
Bringing dreams fed by heavy, black stones
Moans transformed into a trembling, musical note
Of unimaginable beauty
And, a smile fed by the memory of every day which ever was

 

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

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

Afternoon in the Everglades

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Afternoon in the Everglades
After lunch of frog’s legs,
‘Coon stew and craw daddies,
‘Gator tails and catfish, fried,
Beside banana sinkholes, wide,
Bopping with mosquitoes,
Which I brush aside,
Before I hide, beside,
My glass of frozen lemonade,
Behind the buzzing-lizard promenade.

Here I hesitate, I wait,
Inside the merry, tropic shade,
Where turtles swim and heron wade,
I wait for you, to have some fun,
For, better you than anyone.

So, let’s hold hands and let’s play pirate.
Let’s go look for Peter Pan.
Let’s sail across the streams and rivers,
Made of pale-green glass,
Down criss-crossed trails,
Of dark cat’s tails,
Under sweet-green grass,
Through red-brown seas, brown-golden tweeds,
And, yellow-shot, dry ochre weeds,
That wave in the low and slanted rays,
Of the winter-hot, burnt-orange sun.

Set sail, I say. Let’s seek our way.
Let’s follow the paths of fairy tales.
You raise the anchor, I’ll set the sails.
Let’s search for sunken galleons,
Filled with myths and gold doubloons,
Lost in rainbow’s golden tunes.

Let’s search between the hollow reeds,
And, inside air-plant’s golden seeds.
Let’s search beneath the secret echoes,
Bounding off of the dark, brown fur,
Of chocolate-velvet, cat tail canes,
That fringe the hidden-heron lanes,
With bamboo swaying overhead,
In towers ten feet tall.

Oh, here in the pastel fields of grass,
We, in our ships, are Kings and Queens.
Adventure waits on every hand,
Where the saw-grass kisses the wet, white land.

The prow of our boat is a gumbo-limbo,
The riggings are ropes of the strangler-fig,
And the spiny-tall, palmetto trunks,
All gray and struck like sun-stained glass,
Are the sails of our ship,
Are the masts of our ship,
And, we sail through the saw-grass sea.

We beach on the floors of the forest-ferns.
We follow the wiggles of lizard’s turns.
We swing on the green vines with never a care.
May the snakes, and the scorpions and crocodiles beware.

Let’s adorn one another with lichen-lace gowns.
Let’s crown one another with red, persimmon crowns.
Arm one another with cactus spine swords,
Hung from our waists by green, liana cords.
Let’s wear cloaks of skink-skin reflecting back the sun.
And tell the shadows, dark and gray,
They must be on the run.

Hark! Ahead! The Jolly Roger!
Manned by raptor scallywags,
Ruffians and rag-a-muffins,
Dressed in bedraggled rags,
Long feathered, sharp billed,
Their pugnacious schooner filled,
With bowl legged, bully birds,
Screeching such contemptuous words,
Man the cannons! They won’t stay!
Fire! And they’ve all flown away!

Grab the spy glass, be the outlook!
Off the bow rides Captain Hook!
If a snout pops out, give a hearty shout,
For we don’t want a shock, from the tick-tock, crock.

We have no wish to be pirate’s captives.
We did not want to walk the plank.
So we turned and we rammed the wicked ship,
And we laughed when she buckled,
And she broke and she sank.
So we never had to swim,
With the Fakahatchee mermaids.
Instead we dance at pow-wows,
With the Micasukee Indians.
We have dinner pick-nicks,
With the Payhayokee Lost Boys,
Tell each other stories in their tree-house nests,
And laugh beneath the moonflowers
When the rain clouds rest.

The coming evening’s yawning, lazy.
Let’s jump up, do something crazy.
Let’s go capture all the tree-snails,
Painted-candy colors, swirling,
On their twirling, porcelain shells.
Let’s put them with the curl-tipped ferns,
And, give them to the clouds.

Oh, let’s not go to sleep tonight,
Let’s stay out all night long,
Let’s stay, you and me,
Let’s go live in a tree,
Oh, let’s stay,
In the saw-grass sea.

But, after the shadows,
Were stretched out longer,
Than anyone ever thought they would,
Than anyone ever thought they could,
The story book folk all went off to their beds,
And, the fairy folk pirates,
Shied away and shook their heads.

The ragged band of raptor birds,
Went home to nests in cypress trees.
Behind the red sun, mangrove seas.
With the turn of the wind,
With the change of the breeze,
And, without us aboard,
At the end of the day,
Our ship raised her anchor,
And, just sailed away.
Just left us behind and so what can I say?

We will have to go home now,
It’s time now for bed.

But, I wish that,
Forever the Everglades dance,
In your soul, in your life,
In your heart and your head.
V. Castellanos – 1999

Recluse

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Recluse

If you should die before me
I know where I would go
And, I know what
To the world I would say
“Leave me alone, now
Go away.”

I will become a recluse by the sea

I will walk ’till I reach
A silent beach
Beyond the passersbys.
I will fill my eyes
With the wind and the moon
And, I will think only of you.

I will walk with the shooting stars
Hand in hand
And, cry with the clouds
When they fall in the sand.

I will turn myself into
The Mermaid Who Weeps
And, who sleeps
With the lost ships
Which never made land.

I will weave widow’s weeds
With the pearls of the sea
And, my dreams will say
You are still dreaming of me.

V. Castellanos -1998

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