Wednesday, March 19, 2014



a woman


with boundless incantations

her core sunk deep in earth

from there she rises ~ fire

Copyright © 2014 Odilia Galván Rodríguez. 
All Rights Reserved.

February Senryū 2014

coal crows descended | on a mass of carrion | plantain green cornfield 

copper colored dogs | so small but fierce in their charge | stand proud and loyal

her spine a taut wire | not for sale at any cost | upright convictions

mango tree budding  | flowers fragrant and spicy  | visions of chutney

four-year-old visits | her tropical winter dreams | says it’s time to dance

released  | for lack of evidence | by the music 

the potato line | stretched the entire block | no one pulled a knife

lettuce treasure hunt  | at the agro-mercado | people cheered the chard

today shelves are bare | our money no good here | we wait on tomorrow

mice dance in cupboards | claiming them as their own home | possession 9/10ths

songs for grandmothers | gone long into the ether | flowery

today more dancing | a rumba’s on the corner | everyone shakes it

adopted country | island that lives lost in time | for a new orphan

flowering hearts | bloom love as if it were spring | solidarity

love such a small word | indescribable feelings | to birth new flowers 

wee ones eyeing | birds nest in her mango tree | fruit that’s a mirage

more potato lines | husband asks what’s the fuss | people want mashed and fried

do the angels know | you are not just visiting | we miss you

hope you’re dancing | to all those songs you loved | tango in the light

embrace your sorrow | all you truly feel | it’s yours to swim in

ritual bath | take them into river’s mouth | to be spit out clean

crowned with your name | a new life is born to live | from here to ever

drums tell truth-tales  | mid-day presentations | new initiates 

sixteen teeth thrown down | hit the mat in formation | their bitter-sweet sound

summer breezes | in mid-winter seem so wrong |  a wrap around shawl

salt and sorrow | jewels that unbind us from death | help new ghosts move on

air scented with mint | basil peppery pungent | herbs spread their magic

lattice of twigs | small dove’s palace | a delicate home

thorn trees grow to form | impenetrable fortress | the end of the world

she wakes slowly | from a tangle of sleep | in the book of life

rain blesses them | their ceremony complete | onto a new day

Copyright © 2014 Odilia Galván Rodríguez. All Rights Reserved.

January Senryū ~ 2014


scaling high borders | walls that still exist within | now break them all down

at times you live | in a thick shell you've built | without knowing

in order to live | one must dream impossible | dreams of love and life

crows still caw at her | perched in judgment on pine trees | she laughs and gives thanks | 
their warnings acknowledged | takes the wild ride anyway

beautiful maguey | its milky sap | transforms to honey |
nectar of the Gods | and four hundred rabbits

hermosa maguey | su savia lechosa | transforma en miel |
néctar de los Dioses | y cuatrocientos conejos

cold questions from our past | long gone answers telegraphed | who's listening

remembering | we did matter even then | when we thought small |
were never good enough | for the big world around us

Somos de Maíz

nací del maíz | con cada grano de mi | distinto como |
gotas de agua santa | no transgénico

born from maíz | every grain of me | unique |
like drops of scared water | not transgenic

a circle dance | life's brilliant ceremony | in a jingle-dress

what keys of memory | unlock life long mysteries | a shot in the dark

sun absorbs each sigh | troubles washed away by tides | beautiful our earth

Standing people | watchover underground creeks | they speak the same language

albino spiders | sleep sound in succulents | until morning showers

they thought if they pressed | buttons displaying their dis- | approval it stops |
but no  streets must be taken | people must lift their voices

moon illusionist | shapeshifts under cloud cover | dreams will be sweet |
tonight she will timetravel | to the other side of night

the seer sees | invisible visible | worlds that await us

stopper of time | my messenger-guide | lead me to happiness |
offer me direction | always compassionate

oracle speaks through | shiny teeth thrown down on mats | rat a tat comes truth

he studies the wind | whistling through piñon trees | colors appear | 
in the moonlight he forgets | trouble's left for tomorrow

our big clunky skates | helped us fly down summer streets | fit with the right key

her religion | guardian of all life's web | what lives relatives |
in a world so abandoned | open your heart let love shine

sometimes hope breaks apart | in heartache's boil/hiss | wishing to turn clocks | 
back to beginnings not these | endings happier 

La Calaca rides | down fogged-over streets searching | see who will join him

we live on razors | edge of highwires we balance | trying not to fall

thirteen shades of blue | your face in every hue | she prays in indigo

she time travels back | doesn't want to relive past | we'll talk tomorrow

foreign landscape | manmade volcanoes smolder | at their molten core | 
dangerous poison silent | a David and Goliath

dreams are made of life | real or imagined | an elegant time machine

daily she struggles | for positivity | grasps at life's beauty | 
in devastation's wake | never saying yes to death

in shades of violet | her spirit danced in shadows | sure of nothing

ghost town's gone down | in seeds of man's destruction | planted as progress

from a whispering basket | spirit-saints murmured | truths from the other side

first day | of this appointed New Year | another marker | 
to continue to do right | fight the goodfight for justice

Poems copyright © 2014 Odilia Galván Rodríguez. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Xoxoctli ~ Little Green


for RL
verde como nosotros
when we met in that
long ago yoliztli
cuando éramos
tiernos como el maíz
verde as our love we thought
would last siempre
but forever is a long time
y los verdecitos no saben
nada del tiempo ni como
se mueve mas rápido
the older people get
pero un yolotli no se olvida
el teteyollocuicatl de su amante
a heart that flowers
in yuh (así como) tu y yo
cuando creíamos que éramos
todo lo necesario
to live a life in love
and together always
y lo vivimos así hasta que no
you went your path y yo el mio
but always you had temactli
ipan no (poder sobre mi) and
I was only safe
when I didn’t know
where tu corazón latía
couldn’t feel it calling me
from so far away
now I hear it
dondequiera que voy
lo oigo
y me persigue
me llama
tú, corazón
your heart
Copyright © 2014 Odilia Galván Rodríguez.
All Rights Reserved.

Notes on the Nahuatl words ~
teteyollocuicatl: heart beat
yoliztli: life
yolotli: heart
xoxoctli: little green

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

December Senryū 2013

December Senryū  2013

there are no borders | for butterflies know freedom | ignore barriers
a better world | possible with faith and love | struggle for freedom
you who brought laughter | your leaving left tears | will always be remembered
creativity | bring beauty into the world | for the joy of all
a sense of purpose | caring for more than ourselves | for the greater good
support our own | vendors and businesses | cooperate to win
responsibility | for self and community | collective love
from the whispering basket | spirit-saints whispered | truths from the other side
listen to your heart | think with your own mind | for self-determination
in unity | we are stronger than enemies | we hold together
she believes in angels | that show themselves in many | forms of love
winter's day and sun | stands still waiting to reverse | in its celestial tracks
the place of lost voice | memories claw at her throat | tears form a knot there
ancient sea stars melt | into oceans on fire | we bury our heads
if we save the earth | we save ourselves and future | generations
I remember | my first love a smiling man | tender as a sapling
my love north wind | leans on me to show love | unruly and tussled
Butterfly Virgin | you patron saint of dreamers | who fly for freedom
US adores zombies | vampires their obsession too | those living dead
icy cold whispers | winter sweeps in through the house | on a sunny day
she dreams in all blues | frozen mid-sleep wishing | for early Spring
nights have grown endless | she only sleeps during days | napping at the edge
all mother's souls | melt into their children's  | growing into their own |
persons full and realized | pass love along in their blood
arctic cold fingers | grip the Bay in its grey fists | refuse to let go
a rock of a man | always loved more than hated | beacon for freedom
I give thanks for grief, which teaches me gratitude for life, and always for love...
the day born gray skies | sun elbowed its way out | smiling in triumph
grey fog stretches | arms around hills I live on | today sun sleeps in
petals fall to earth | they turn into fragrant clay | sweet-scented our cups
crows no longer caw | warnings about her at you | now that she's at peace
winter the inward | time of introspection | reflection on life’s pond

Copyright © 2013 Odilia Galván Rodríguez. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, December 20, 2013

November Senryū ~ 2013

November Senryū


mizquitl tree | her place to sit | write letters to the future

this morning I wake | hearing jazz from your last room | know you are here

cuando dice un beso | siento miles | por todo el cuerpo

for survival | The People danced | all evil away

untangle this mess | we've made of Turtle Island | for children’s future

dance the balance | dance back clouds and rain |dance dance dance

we pray for the world | we are tiny bits of light | in the mother's web | 
born powerful in word | our deeds should be for right 

Georgia we miss you | secret smiles tucked in brush strokes | what a legacy

though innocent | our babies learn early | they are presumed guilty

sometimes praying | for loss of ones who've not loved | enough to deserve us

frosty autumn moon | full winter forecast | icy wind her companion

crows calling warnings | telling cars to quiet down | listen to the wind | 
they say on the avenue | we so need to free ourselves

we traded places | you love my Great Lake city | I fell for the Bay

in the thickest rind of night | when moon-void-of-course | sky a thick inky soup | 
she dances in the dark | wanting loved ones to return

a bigger purpose | our lives a journey to live | leave a legacy

your mighty voices | the sea's roar crying out | for all those now silenced 
they void green worlds |turn them sacrifice zones | non-places where rivers burn

sand paper scorched | heart bleeding for a sure loss | mind guilty of hope

we are born and sprout | grow into lanky wild weeds | then one day we go | 
with luck we sent out shoots | that bloomed brilliant as the stars

mornings I hear her | voice muffled through glass calling | I'm still here on the path | 
of a destiny foretold | zigzagging trouble

mother tree a legacy | elders passing life |to the next of kin 
death leaves a hole | we try to fill with living | and love an answer

misunderstanding | heartache wanting to be healed | when words aren't enough

smooth wooden boxes | relics from days before | cardboard became home

she is from this place | her blood mixed with rainwater | red earth in her skin

puny in comparison | to that which rises | a natural son | 
or stardust and light daughters | not needful of false fingers

she flies away | always returns home | to her city by the bay

our ancestors die | pass away into the light | in time we follow

Copyright © 2013 Odilia Galván Rodríguez. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, November 01, 2013

October Senryū ~ 2013

our ancestors die | pass away into the light | in time we follow

you sometimes lose | to people who don't deserve | the universe decides

bought a goodbye pie | for her loved ones to savor | and think of life's sweetness

her voice resonates | across time and space she laughs | while singing heart songs

tender the knickknacks | our love not bank balances | we cherish memories | not material trifles | in the end love is what counts

nine days to journey | to earthly places | you loved and cherished | to say fare-well familia | say hello to ancestors

tomorrow she cuts her hair | power sacrificed | for future heals loss | sign of endings beginnings | ancestors return again

a little one puzzles | learns to decipher | letters into words

she is traveling | to that emerald green light | which cradles the stars | ancestors smiling | down from the Milky Way

tears flow to release | this vigil of life and death | a slow dance

oftentimes there's fear | in taking that unknown path | but not if you trust | your ancestors will guide you | into the light

knitting memories | into scarves to be worn long | in to the future

days turn to weeks | wait almost unbearable | every door open

it is a good day | trees changing their hair color | for this life transition

life we took as fact | in the end we remember | is so precious

leaving this world | has it's own time and labor | a lot like coming in

Sunday, October 06, 2013

March through September Senryū ~ 2013


though violins cry  | your name still lights up the room | your smile remembered

a new song playing | you hear it calling you there | in that unknown place

a birthday blessing | no one you know passed on | today we celebrate

it is a journey | to be at your side | one last turn around dance floor

when your name is called | towards the sound of shining light | no turning back time

you a flower song | with heart to change minds and worlds | living in the truth

when you go | you are not gone | you are forever my heart

she's on her crossroads journey | an end beginning | searching for the moon

truth sets you free | if you know the difference | between that and lies

it was a red day | seven sisters bound by love | a rite of passage

what you plant with heart | is what you harvest in love | oh beauty of life

words do their work | shake worlds to the core | they enchant and live

believe in beauty | it's all around us to share | war is no answer


clouds welcome flight | even those with clipped wings | feel the freedom

rain keeps falling | as if all the world's grief was | trying to be healed

grounded on account of rain | sun keeps shining through | rainbows of trouble

the sky broke open | poured its life out in buckets | some stranded rejoiced


most nights she stares up | into the celestial | cemetery | of long ago extinguished | stars she's wished upon since birth

she longs to visit | your starry land and stay there | searching for the moon

she remembers childhood things | the way red earth smells | ancient before rains | like chaparral and copper | the flashing of thunder beings

today rain fell in | ropes lashing the windows | penetrating dreams

her mind travels there | land of palms and teal ocean | where time flows slower | 
people seem happier | for the natural world

now their gaze | doesn't worry me much | but how it creeped inside me | young and almost defenseless | I feel their cruel eyes chewing | at how I see | others like myself | the rule I use to measure | my kin whisper in my ears | it is all a big lie

heat bakes its way in | concrete construction ovens | retain its fire | 
the people lie in hammocks | trying to capture cool sleep

winds wear cruel heat | a shawl whipped around shoulders | its fringe shimmering

rose moon the color | of strawberry fields | forevermore the goddess | 
returns for summer solstice | reflected infields of light

raindrops land spirals | on newly formed pond's surface | lights flicker and fail

across time and space | your resplendent heart's | sparkling love still reaches us | 
and heals the abyss of loss | no more grief of your passing

a year of heartbreak | of uncertain certainties | yet to be revealed

she wants to shed light | in the darkness that prevails | nine candles shine bright

sunny day hides clouds | perched on deftwings of rain birds | call forth a downpour


everyday a rose | of a promise that is this | our beautiful lives

she has been shattered | but beauty shines from the shards | she will be made whole


family is not | only about DNA | it's about love

she's always known | who she is cien por ciento | ignores the doubters

no party to cover ups | she shares what rings true | no limitations

first day on the job | inserts holy foot in mouth | insults half the world

if there were only darkness | thoughts of you would light | up to shadows that turn ash | then deep purple that births dawn

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Border Bound

"There have always been borders
for a people considered other
in their own land."

Tejas 1938
terrible signs

she cannot read
but someone translates
you can not sit there
here is where we order
take our food to go.
In school, the teacher tries a smile 
as she shows their place
sits them all in a huddle
at the back of the room.
Sister says, speaking Spanish is bad
will be repaid with a ruler, or worse.

the Rio Grande

bad medicine
having a father
found face down
in the river-border 
between here and there
both sides were his home and
dark spirits rise
from such deaths
to negotiate a crossing
to a place with no confines
the ultimate other side.

it is not so easy
if ones spirit clings
to this life’s plane
refuses to move on
for unfinished business
or reasons of their own
restless, they refuse 
to find peace
these spirit become walkers too
constantly crossing the living
trying to find home.

the sleepy border

the border was not serious
not a force 
to be reckoned with
people and things crossed
that's how the word illegal
was made popular
because our own 
United States was lax
on how it policed this edge
of its new world.

new world b-order

The bigger and better border is
no deterrent to a people forced
to work as slaves in sweatshops
and on US corporate farms
in Mexico
people find a way to survive
there are ways around
and under obstacles
the powers that be know this and
when it’s convenient, look the other way
their hate turns to a sick love, again.

Present Day

the neo-cavalry chases
new Apaches
Cora, Comanches, 
Huichol, Papago, Pima 
Tohono O'Odham and Yaqui.
There is an indigenous invasion
Thousands coming north
Terracotta people
Who all look the same
To those who hate
anyone who doesn’t look like them.

Coyotes the two
and four legged kind
perched on the ledge
observing prey lost 
on the outer part
the edge 
separating us
from ourselves
worse, from each other 
between these 
broken and split