C.N.P Poetry 

  • Cathexis Northwest Press

Baile De Magos

By: Tor Strand


This world is loss

and your grin

the angle

of the horizon

so tell me

what you saw

in the sky

lying there

like a sheet

of inked paper

the earth

cupped

in a fire

in your eyes

of whirlpools

and rain

when you

dance I breathe

the colors

of your

expression

when you

dance with

found wind

on black

sand stories

ossified inside

the river

on the firm

beach of desire

arms wide

skin like

smoothed stones

the blue

green backs

of crabs

and tumbled

glass glow

with you

the sea’s song plays

in your ear

spiral shell

take in

each note

with the same

invisible grace

that makes

our bodies

warm with

earthlorn light

dewy heartbeat

the valley

of twenty four hour

life blades

the morning

on your

calves

how I

imagine

your lips

pursed

on these words

in the rise

of every

s-curved slip




Tor Strand is an alumnus of Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. He graduated this May with honors in creative writing and a German studies minor. While in school, he was an editor of Linfield’s literary journal, “Camas,” and as a senior was awarded an internship to be the assistant nonfiction editor for “High Desert Journal,” a literary magazine of the mountain west. He has forthcoming poetry to be published in “Caustic Frolic,” a student-run journal of NYU’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences’ Center for Experimental Humanities, though he would like to give a shout out to Cathexis for being the first place to accept his work.


“This poem was inspired by a dear friend and the powerful connection she shares with her homeland, the Canary Islands. The unpunctuated train of zigzagging images are my attempt to reflect her vibrant, fiery nature. Another motivation, including the title of the piece, stemmed from a story she told me about festivals held annually in the islands called Romerías. In particular, a traditional dance that celebrates the Catholic saints of her home island of Tenerife, known as the “Baile de Magos.” “Mago” is conventionally translated as “magician” or “wizard” but in the Canarias it can also translate as “farmer” or someone who lives in a small town. My friend went on to tell me that many years ago, some parts of the islands were not fit for farming and lacked fertile soil. Therefore, the farmers (or magos) were said to have “made magic” with the land to produce their crops.


I chose the title in an attempt to not only represent landscape, but also the durability of the human soul and our deeply embedded connection to the land we are born from and thrown into. I also felt like the form sort of “dances” down the page. “

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