Mal de Ojo

for Silvia Galis-Menendez


1 pinch thyme

1 pinch rosemary

1 egg, broken

rose water, blessed

1 cuban cigar

1 glass of water, a tincture

1 rosary


We are on St. Marks, somewhere between Phoenix and the tattoo parlor. You said I had the mal de ojo. This is before the final fall. Before the hospital. Before I learn that my brain plays tug-of-war between melancholia and mania. (It might beat me, before I beat it). My day dreams have become wishing to wake up dead. I want the quiet. My brain is a motherfucker.


Recipe for cleansing of the mal de ojo:


Pray the rosary. Pray the rosary. Pray the rosary knowing that you are really praying to Orishas.

Sprinkle rose water on the afflicted. Pray to God (or Shango)

Strike a match, light a cigar. Smoke until only the tip is left. If the afflicted coughs, hurry with the ritual. They are truly cursed.

In a glass of water, put a pinch of thyme and rosemary in. Crack an egg. Drop it into the water. If the egg is cloudy, pray the rosary again.


On Essex St, I decided I wanted to swim in my own blood. A lethe of sorts. This is melancholia. Wanting to eat yourself whole. I think about dying. This is a thing you can not say in polite conversation. This is something you can not say in polite conversation. This is not something you say in polite conversation. This is the week afterwards. After the hospital. Before I read about the monoamine theory which means my melancholia resurrects in the spring - a coup between my receptors. Before I know the fluoxetine has been sabotaging me.


We've been doing this since the slave ships reached the new world. That is what your grandmother has told you.


I've been told I'm too beautiful to be so sad. As if my brain will stop double-dutching because of how I look. I'm certifiable, nonetheless.


Pray the rosary. Pray the rosary. Pray the rosary even though you are praying to Oshun.


Even with prayers and lithium, one day, these poems will be all that is left of me.