The feverish python made you shrink like all the other little Hamlet's Cerberus bribes: Business men in silk ties, boogieing Isadora’s whose scarves tangle when they trundle around the globe choking on meth-amphetamines. They grease the bodies of social security millionaires in the back of warehouses.
You bring me Mariachis, or Japanese paper moons on my birthdays, but I am a virgin attended by banana breads, and an old withered Madeleine.
Money is the sperm fluid dead cats and frogs take to your bed—your breakfast, along with freshly cut roses imported from Iran while you listen to drums announce the countdown for yet another electoral confrontation.
I went to this protest thinking it was going to be a community protest of no great consequence. I had no idea of the seriousness of the problem in Old San Juan, a city that is hundreds of years old. Four days ago, I walked through this very site and took photographs of this garden on the side of La Casa Rosa. That photograph is in an album at Facebook. Yesterday, this was all that was left of that garden. To make things worse I walked by a couple cats that had been poisoned.
Some of you may already be wondering who to hold responsible for this atrocious act of stupidity and brutality, in Spanish we call it a "BURRADA". Well I have been informed that the donkeys on which to pin the tail for this criminal act are the First Lady of Puerto Rico and her friend, the First Lady of the city of San Juan. A city that is hundreds of years old and that has been the victom of donkey-monkey behavior in the past by our government. There is a Soap on our TV right now that describes our government's longstanding affections to this picturesque kind of mentality: Un Perro Amor. I wrote a poem entitled “Un Perro Amor,” it dealt with the same kind of unconscientiously idiotic behavior.
The organizers of the event did a spectacular job, but I noticed there was no Puerto Rican media present. That got me wondering, but there were about 7 state police officers. Why, why does something so barbaric have to happen on an island already full of violence, and senseless criminality? This was not the kind of protest that could end up in a scuffle, there was no need for the state police to be present; even though we were close the governor’s residence.
When heard these two stilts artist ask a little girl who was responsible for the cutting of the trees, she answered in our very typical expressive way, a way that denotes a certain kind of respect while still belittling the person which is being pointed out. She puffed up her lips and with a movement of her head she signaled the governor’s mansion.
But the problem is greater than just cutting down trees. To date over 30 cats have been poisoned, it is so upsetting to think that the First Lady of our country is behind a criminal act of this nature. But live and learn, sure enough, she is. A poet I met not long ago, the person to invite me to the event, tried to explain the sociological motivations for this kind of a violent crime. She said that we need to take a closer look at the history of violence, specially during difficult economic times. People in government become fearful and they end up cutting down anything and everything that could obstruct the view, anything behind which a sniper could hide. I thought she was insane, or at the very least a nature fanatic. Then I remembered that I had recently written a poem about the very same thing, the title is “Platforms.” I wrote it thinking about how the Mayans drove away the Spaniards from their empire in the Yucatan. It will be published this summer. But I am going to post it again for you to read here:
plataformas de lanzamientos
entre el odio y la guirnalda
vive un lobo esperantista/
entre el cacto y la dulzaina
existe rudeza de viento/
entre el borracho y la brújula
se emite el hedor que colma las distancias/
entre el pergamino y el volcán
surgen borrones de luz/
entre la zarzuela y los mayas
yacen institutrices neuróticas/
poetes maudits /
entre la adivina y el granizo
se esconden riachuelos
between hatred and garland
their… lives the esperantist wolf
between a cactus and a lute
there’s roughness of wind
between a drunk and a compass
emanates the stench that fills distances
between parchment and volcano
smudges of light arise
between a Zarzuela and a Mayan
lie neurotic governesses,
between fortune-teller and hail
there are hidden brooks and snipers
When you walk through Old San Juan you will see hundreds of mutilated trees. The strategy is to gradually mutilate them until they finally die and once that happens a crew of workers from the city show up after midnight or shortly before dawn and bulldoze what is left of the tree. Now, I am sure the office of the First Lady, or even the governor’s office is going to want to provide evidence that this is not a strategy, that is only due to the fact that the walled city is already facing a traffic problem during the day and that bulldozers would only heighten that problem. Russia had all sorts of excuses to pick up the people they considered to be a threat any kind of government control. Let’s not be naïve about these power issues.
This is the frog that is also being poisoned. It is on the endangered list. If anything, to poison an animal like this, for an intelligent and powerful public figure to poison an animal like this is a moral crime, let alone a criminal act.
el timbre tiene que cambiar
y así se ha hecho
todos los timbres suenan
para querer, devolver
de tu conciencia,
la que no te vale
como el kayak que usas cuando
nadas por las nubes
tocando tu tendón de Aquiles
un poco envejecido
envejecido y embustero
a ti te mueve
las conchas secas
la cintura estrecha pero envejecida
tu zapato derecho
la máscara que usas al correr
de grama linda
mi pobre pueblo
decenas de ranas y reptiles
políticos invadieron su pozo
ahora todos nos odiamos
virus de zapos con “putos zapatos”
Para aquellos días íbamos a la playa
a practicar el tiro al blanco: la seducción.
Aprendimos inglés, o francés.
Leer quitaba un poco
la mancha de plátano así es que
no faltaba el bestseller.
Se usaba la palabra tersa,
voz sobre modulada, mirada acaramelada.
Éramos los afortunados nacidos
después de la última guerra,
los que desechamos la zafra. Los que no
aprendimos a matar
y desplumar una gallina vieja.
La turba de futuros empleados públicos,
con palancas políticas,
dedicado a mi tía
El día de tu partida
te soñaré perfumando albas
vestida de orquídeas híbridas
frente a la casa vieja,
a corta vista de la abuela Gacela que por las venas recorres
el mapa de mi escuela
sentiré furia de olas
batiendo la arena capital
de mi memoria
Esto quiere ser
Este masticado agri-dulce ajo / esta asimétrica
pierna de Greta Garbo / esta gruta de silencio involuntario /
este inédito presagio de beso rígido / este anticiclón
en la topografía de un suspiro / este gentil lubricante
de orgasmos bovinos / esta obsesión kyriopascha
de convertir lo abstracto en lo concreto.
Estas cartografías oblicuas /estas canciones corales
con esos destellos lejanos / estos guantes de cesti
del Foro de Augusto / estos pequeños momentos
de nuestras “visiones del paraíso”.
Esta bolsa de lona desnutrida /
este pintor de dientes relleno de cemento / este gato
algebraico resuelto / esta tarjeta postal invisible
para el hombre invisible / este retumbe
que aterroriza la boca de un niño.
Recently I wrote a poem that will be published very soon. The poem “Transparency” is a reflection on how little input most of us get to boost our self-esteem from the people that matter the most. So much is overlook in family ties, lifelong friendships, and work relationships, we are left with the sensation of being locked-up in a cage like a neurotic animal reminiscing on the freedom of the wild. Recently pop singer Shakira put out a video where while sleeping with her significant other she turns into some sort of a shewolf locked-up in a cage. This is one of the most artistic videos I’ve recently had the privilege of viewing. Our anger has no other option but to populate that cage with our imagination (in Shakiras case it is the many distortions her body goes through as a half-breed human/gothic animal) an imagination that struggles to find the balance between fiction and reality. For some this is a good thing since it sets into motion the creative impulse, but for a good portion of people this struggle can lead them on the path to true isolation, apathy, and danger. Our imagination is both artist and predator. I believe the question that can help us keep a vigilant eye on this issue is: How transparent do we really believe our motives be?
Sergio A. Ortiz is a Puerto Rican poet and the founding editor of Undertow Tanka Review. He is a two-time Pushcart nominee, a four-time Best of the Web nominee, and 2016 Best of the Net nominee. 2nd place in the 2016 Ramón Ataz annual poetry competition, sponsored by Alaire Publishing House. He is currently working on his first full-length collection of poems, Elephant Graveyard.
Sergio A. Ortiz es poeta puertorriqueño que escribe en inglés y español. Actualmente trabaja en su primera colección de poesía, Elephant Graveyard, Cementerio de Elefantes. Ha sido nominado al premio Pushcart en dos ocasiones, al Best of the Web en cuatro ocasiones, y al Best of the Net, 2016. 2do lugar Premio Ramón Ataz de Poesía, 2016. Sus poemas han aparecido, o están por aparecer, en revistas literarias como: Letralía, Chachala Review, The Accentos Review, Resonancias, por mencionar algunos.