The Best Thing I Can Do

Hungry in the dark of night, in the dead of night, the dread of night, under unfamiliar stars, hunting for something. I don’t know what. Maybe the missing moon, maybe advice, maybe guiding stars or ancestors or answers, an escape, a reason, more time, an insane flower, hidden from the sun, overflowing with silver night perfume, blooming for moths and bats, petals made of pearls, shining spines, sharp as a whip, spiralling planets spinning towards predetermined destinations, and all I can do is watch, hide between the rocks, ride lizards, wait in secret caves with rattlesnakes for lullabies and wishes for comfort, spiders for companionship, venomous, ultra violet scorpions for protection, nothing but my own heart for warmth, hoping, beyond body and blood, growling, howling, under the covers, under the cover of darkness, stones underfoot, footfalls unsteady. I am not yet ready. I am as gray as the ghosts and the grass is as black as beetles, everything in silhouette, drum beats throbbing in the heat, a wild web above my head, beyond the clouds, featureless, frightening, resonating, haunting, undaunting. A handful of smoldering sand covering the ashes of the breath of an owl, a siren’s howl, invoking the rising tide, trying to keep it all outside, trying to take it all in stride.

Trying to escape my pain, eyes wide in the wham bang, hologram landscape, taking off, landing, demanding, meandering, marking time, cursed, off course, a scream the color of steam, a hand without a sword, a voice without a word, sounds never meant to be heard, nothing left but a skeleton, raw, a mask carved out of a giant’s claw, with a double row of metal teeth, unflattering, chattering in my clenched jaw.

Under the circumstances, just between me and you, I think the best thing I can do, is just wake up.

Temporary Contemporary Art

Think Caulder’s mobiles. Think Klee’s portraits. Think Monet’s puppets. Think Chagall’s paintings. Think Kandinsky’s craziness.

Think clowns. Think bubbles. Think big balloons. Beach balls. Bubble gum. Have some fun. Fun in the sun.

Think kids and carousels. Lollipops. Laughter. High ho and hoola hoops. Think champagne and the colors of salt water taffy.

Think on a molecular level. Think like an election microscope. Think like an alien trying to understand. Think like a madman.

Think like a painter.

Think like a tree.

V. Castellanos – May 2020

View Lots of Leaves

Unsteady Underground

I no longer know who I am, or what I am.
I’m starting to wonder, is it a scam?
I think in ever widening circles, generating parallel lines, trying to meet at infinity, even without an identity. Trying to hug one other. Trying to overcome. Trying to turn two into one. Then one becoming zero. No one’s becoming a hero. No one left behind. Nothing left to find. No longer an expansion. An imploding universe. Entropy slowing down matter. Light speed diminished. Heat no longer radiating. Out of range. Climate change. Random weather. Here we are, still, all together. A pandemic spreading pandemonium. How are we doing? Close to ruin?
At zero degrees Kelvin everything stops. Atomic spin frozen. Molecules dismembering. Compounds collapsing. Economies shrinking. Keeps us thinking. Time trying to catch up. Sounds dissolving before they’ve begun. Politicians trying to run. Trying to win. Things are getting really thin. We are in a tail spin. Unsteady. Getting ready. Everything’s going around and around. Ready or not we’re going down. They won’t let you out, so, you can’t go to town. So instead of a protest, a fight or a frown, come on into my Underground.

Underground Artwork

Written by V. Castellanos – April 2020

No Rules Here

These are the crossroads.
Not even very far away.
They are the meeting places,
Where things happened.
Where things continue to happen.
Where anything could happen.
Hasn’t happened yet.
Where nobody knows, Everyone is on their toes,
And, anything goes.

These places are marked by stones instead of crosses.
Crosses were not yet in fashion.
At first a cross just meant “this is the crossing of two ways”,
Two leylines, two roads, two ways to go.
Where are you going? Do you think you know?
If you don’t, just wait around.
Someone will show up, sooner or later,
From up the road or down the road,
From the right way or the wrong way.
Yea or nay? Who’s to say?

Maybe things will get better.
Maybe angels will emerge from behind the wings,
And, sing to you, like they do, in the theater.
Maybe the rabbit will tell you where he is going.
Maybe he will invite you along.
Maybe he will sing you a song.

Maybe you will be fooled by gypsies,
frightened by giants,
confronted by wizards,
challenged by dragons,
entertained by troubadours,
wined and dined on honeycake and holly berries, by the fairies,
feasted with soldiers returning home from war,
their work well done, brandishing a gun, celebrating they had won, don’t know what they were fighting for,
but, drunk on beer and tons of fun under the sun,
conferred with fortune tellers,
conversed with fools,
confused clowns with rules,
tried to shoot down the moon,
concocted a fire breathing, tight rope, lion taming, balancing act,
swallowing a sword on a trapeze,
(quite ok, as long as there isn’t a breeze, but, still, be careful and try not to sneeze),
crossed borders, battle scarred, holding your breath, scared to death,
crossed bridges without maps or hangovers, lightening rods or four leafed clovers,
crossed fingers while praying for better luck, tried not to get stuck,
prepared a disappearing act, after the fact,
to rescue the lovely, enchanted princess, from the vipers who live in the viper’s nest.

So, that’s the whole show, and, now you can go. You can go wherever you want to go.
Nobody even has to know.
Never a fear. Never a tear.
No rules here.
Just try it, my dear.

Underground Artwork

Written by V. Castellanos – April 2020


Oh, taffeta, taffeta.
Wear it and they’ll laugh at ya.

This is a warning. Never wear taffeta,
In the early morning.
You will only wake everyone up.
They will call you a schmuck.
Especially if you are in your pajamas.

You should never wear taffeta before noon at a backyard party.
Splashing is sure to occur.
You don’t want to make other girls drool.
You don’t want ridicule at the pool.
You don’t want anyone saying you’re a fool.

Taffeta in the afternoon,
Has no style and will make a stir,
More like an alley cat than a kitten with a purr,
Whether you are rocking with a stocking on a chair,
Or swinging from a rafter, or a trapeze in the air,
Wearing white shoes before Easter or after Labor Day.
You still need to follow all of the rules.
You really should not stray. You should not go your own way.
Certainly not before tea.
Even if you have a lace handkerchief and gloves.
No one will be ready, no matter what color it is.

At 5 p.m. you can pour a drink,
But, I don’t think you can drink it until 6.
Taffeta is still not advised.
Wait until after sunset.
After twilight.
After moonrise.
After midnight.
Wait until everyone has had a drink.
Until you’ve had some time to think.
Until you’re sure that you’re in the pink.
With your taffeta a drumming,
And, your taffeta a humming,
Everyone will hear you coming.
Don’t let this phase you.
You know they’re gonna appraise you.
But, you are going to be the life of the party.
You had better be.
If not, you will just be so annoying.

Or, you could avoid the whole mess,
By just wearing a dress,
Of satin or silk, or, God forbid, velvet,
Which just means you’re a slut.
And, you don’t want to be that.
You want to be anything but.
You want to be cute and to make the cut.
You want to be the right size.
You want to win the first prize.
You want to learn how to flirt with your eyes.
To hurt with your eyes.
Just never try to be curt with your eyes.
You could tell them the truth,
But, they’ll still tell you lies.
Don’t show them your bareback,
Your ass or your thighs.
You should know what to do,
When you want a big rise.
Keep the best for the end.
It should be a surprise.

Its a game we are playing,
A game we all play.
That’s what my Grandma,
Would usually say,
At the end of the day,
When at night by the side,
Of the bed we would pray.
You can win in the end,
Is what she used to say,
And, you might make a friend,
If you’re willing to stay. And, you don’t go astray.
Whoopdee do! And, hooray,
Is what she’d always say,
You can win any night,
You can win any day,
If you know it’s a game,
And, you know how to play.

Written by V. Castellanos – April 15, 2020

Cabin Fever

The edge of insanity looks just like everywhere else.
Smells like gunpowder.
Sounds like a rip-roaring, good time or a flip-flop, fizzy pop,
Paper weights on roller skates.
A drowning clown.
Jelly beans are on the rise,
Swimming upside down.

Everything makes sense because twelve is equal to three.
Nothing is equal to everything.
Everything is equal to nothing.
Nothing times anything doesn’t exist,
Doesn’t explain.
Don’t try to complain.
There’s nothing to lose and nothing to gain.
I’m staying out of the wind and the rain.

Otherwise, I am everywhere.
I am a round, inside of a square.
Bet you’ve never, ever been there.
Not like this anyway.
Who would dare?
Trying and multiplying myself.
Why would you even care?

Now, I’ve got a thousand eyes.
Questioning whose and wheres and whys.
A blinding, blinking strobe light,
Another blinding insight,
Always wrong, but sometimes right.
If you don’t like it I’m willing to fight.
I have left myself on an empty shelf,
Trying not to run over myself.
For the rest of the day,
I’m going and growing and, going to play,
With a fish and a frog,
And, a fly and an elf.

What are you going to do?

Written, very quickly, by V. Castellanos – April 14, 2020

Fun In the Art World

Imaginative Painting

I am no longer painting hit or miss. I am painting the real thing. I am painting masterpieces with precision and perfection. I am painting with white oil paint on white oil cloth. I am writing poetry with white ink on white paper. Anything goes. Beautiful brush strokes, imaginative and invisible. No need to say anything. Don’t need to cross my ts, Never need to finish a sentence. A masterpiece by any standard. Better than a masterpiece. Nothing like it ever seen before. That’s real art. Says something different to everyone. Whatever you think, whatever you want, whatever you fear. Whatever is relevant, whatever is stronger. As meaningful as you want it to be. Everything is included. Don’t know what you are looking at? Use your imagination. Join the party. Validate yourself. You’re just as good as anyone else. So, vote for me.

A sham or a shame, It’s a way to play the game. Everyone wants to win the race, Everyone wants to be in first place.

I will be hanging out with the Emperor, awaiting the results and expecting to win first prize.

Written, tongue in cheek, by V. Castellanos – April 13, 2020

A Bad Saturday Mourning

Black Saturday. All I can think of is death and darkness. A cave of cold stone. Left, forever, All alone. I am watching through cold blood, And, eyes which are not my own. Watching through all of the underground eyes, underlying eyes, my emotional eyes, eyes below the horizon, eyes of angels and worms, water particles and air, through the eyes of sounds and. aromatics, molecules, atomic nuclei and quarks.

Exoskeletons reverberating like a brass gong, like a holy song. Miracles and blue claws twisting reality into unfamiliar shapes. Somewhere in this grave world where everything is the same color, or transparent, or invisible there is a dreadful path, a path too hard to take, no longer leading forward, instead it’s leading back. Back through everything lost, every mistake, until you can’t take it, ego destroyed.

The air has turned into ink, shutting down the stars. No fans to unfold, No hands to hold. Nothing is real. Everything is internal. Too dry. Stinging eyes. The taste of salt. Black feathers. Slippery steps. The moon too hard and too heavy to rise. The earth the wrong size. A valley of tears. Footsteps melting into mourning rains. Flooding the drains. Nobody gains. Everything gone. Rainbows forbidden. Every disciple hidden. Pandemic in the air. Everywhere. Wandering minds without a compass, Hearts hollow. Who do we follow? Blood rushing uphill. Breath still. Wailing wind without an end. Everything going the wrong way. It seems that today is a very bad day. What else can I say? A very, very bad day, So, stay out of my way.

It isn’t over yet, you know. We have a long way still to go.

Written by V. Castellanos – Black Saturday, April 11, 2020

The Storm Rages On

When I awoke the fragile sky was trying to resist the breakthrough of the storm,
But, even then, it seemed she was losing the battle,
Overcome by electric overtones of lightning from the east,
And, the purple thunder of the horsemen,
Coming out of the minds of monster clouds, and prophesy,
Viral winds, Viral wounds,
Tearing out of the mouths of Titans,
Into this place where we breath between birth and death,
Where children fight and lovers turn into flowers,
Where seeds grow, with or without fruit,
And, gods with eyes as spiral as the galaxy and a breath of death,
Come to visit the landscapes of our lives.
Angry rain, midnight blue, indigo, black,
Thick and quick,
Come to drown anything already half gone, Wind taking down whatever it can, No mercy, A crown of thorns,
Leaving nothing but right now. I wash my hands.
Flash floods and body bags gouging out my mind,
Tears never drying out,
No possibility of tomorrow’s sun, But, maybe in a week or two.

The raging wind is racing toward the end,
Taking everyone with it,
Replacing yesterday’s idle dreams of tumbleweed and waterfalls,
Pink sawgrass, picnics and bye gone rainbows,
The memories of a hundred cities, A thousand roads, A cross around my neck,
Lost in white out skies and inundations,
Soaring out of the moaning of clouds, Tied up with barbed wire and already refusing to shake hands,
Covering the horizon, grown into dark giants and farewells,
Reverberating on the edges of my mind,
Breathing, wavering, receding mirages, Lost in daylight and in night,
Soon to be given up, even by the hoards of newly arrived ghosts,
And, the abandoned bones of yesterday,
Buried beneath the leaves, Fallen branches, Trees old or weak in untimely take downs,
Raging residual emotions of skeletons made too soon, Gravestones engraved with the last words of empty, cracked bones, only aches and memories left behind, Waiting for the sunshine of tomorrow,
To be covered by kudzu and dirges, kisses and goodbyes.
What’s gone is gone and, never to return, while the rest of us can only go on.

Written by V. Castellanos – 9/19/2018 – Revised Easter Weekend 2020