“Sycorax Martinez is a witch from Corpus Christi, Texas” – Poetry by Luis Galindo

Vuelo de Brujas- Francisco Goya, 1798

From our Winter 2018 issue, “Sycorax Martinez is a witch from Corpus Christi, Texas” is a spellbindingly brilliant poem by longtime contributor Luis Galindo.

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TELL ME, SYCORAX, of the time your heart was broken.
How it almost killed you.
How love itself decayed overnight like filet mignon
Left out on your kitchen table.
How flies gathered to buzz your rotting meat
Your heart meat
Your love offal.

Tell me of the bottomless pain in your chest
The razor sharp scissors of reality to your center.
How you turned to magick and witchcraft
To transform you out of your misery
To exact your revenge
How you sat for months in the botanica backrooms
With more seasoned Latinx brujas
learning, honing your abilities
Your plans for revenge.

Tell me of the spells you wrought
The hexes you spawned
How you drew your own blood with a flea market switchblade
The crimson rivulets that flowed from wrist to chalice
On those Mariachi midnights.
The thick burn of mezcal on your wounds,
Your tongue fat with chanting and prayer
With Marlboros and songs.
How it singed your innards
On those Summer nights in Texas.
Your body and soul engulfed
By the melancholy flames of forever.
Creating sigils, mixing tinctures
Conjuring saints, spirits,
anyone and anything to help ease the pain.

Tell me, Sycorax, how you conjured
The ghosts of Selena and Ophelia
How Selena, with electric wings and voice
attempted to ease your sorrow with songs
and held you, her broken sister
And sang, “bidi bidi bom bom” in your ear.
How Ophelia (who was taller and more powerfully built
than you imagined) appeared
In her diaphanous gown
drenched from her descent from that willow branch
How you said to her, “I thought you were fiction?”
How she replied, “I thought the same of you.”

Tell me, Sycorax, of your bruised heart
swollen and bleeding, nailed above the blue door
Of your consciousness
Like some throbbing crucifix
Your whole impossible existence hanging from a rusty nail

Tell me of your attempted suicide
How you drove to Matamoros and jumped in El Rio Bravo
How you wetbacked your spirit into damnation
On the banks of despair.
How your Americanized pig-sty soul
Was drenched by the river your grandmother crossed
that eventually led to you, wailing and crying
In the gringa nurses’ arms to here
now, wailing and crying again
The Mexicana- Americana tears of lost and unrequited love
congregating, flowing, dividing two countries
dividing your will to live and your longing for an end.

Tell me, Sycorax, how Selena and Ophelia
Cried and pleaded with you from either shore
Watching as you bobbed in the water like a cinnamon stick
until they sensed your will to live had won
how they pulled you to the Mexican side
and held you, wept, howled, laughed and chanted with you;
a triumfeminate coven of tragically wounded witches.
How they whispered and sang in your waterlogged ears

“Bidi bidi bom bom bidi bidi bom bom
And I of ladies most deject and wretched
That sucked the honey of his music vows
Blasted with ecstasy, oh, woe is me
T’have seen what I have seen, see what I see,
Cada vez, cada vez que lo veo pasar
Bidi bidi bom bom.”

Tell me, Sycorax, how you woke at your altar
wet and muddy, dazed and mumbling
how you opened your book of shadows and wrote,

“We are the dreams of the All, falling in love
with one another’s magnificence in spite of
our limitless capacity for avarice, violence and cruelty
and that, my sisters, is the real miracle of life.”

How you tore the page from your book
and set it aflame atop your black candle
and began writing again,

“Ovum, sanguis, cerebrum, aenima
Behold the girl, the woman
Being born again and again.”

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LUIS  GALINDO lives in Houston, Texas. He works as a professional theatre actor and Anime voice over artist. He’s been everything from a Texas pipeliner and offshore oil rig worker to a NYC bartender. Luis is the author of two collections of poetry and prose: Electric Rats in a Neon Gutter and  The Roaring Dawn, The Silent Mountain. He believes in alchemy, rock and roll and the power of the word. He received an MFA in classical theatre performance from the university of Delaware Professional Theatre Training Program. 

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