Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Monday, March 20, 2017

Undertow Tanka Review Issue 11 is open for submissions until April 20th

Undertow Tanka ReviewIssue 11 is open for submissions until April 20th

Send up to 10 of your very best Tanka and/or Haiku to undertowtanka@gmail.com. We tend to favor surreal and modern tanka and haiku.  Surreal art is also accepted.


Shady Checo Man






Shady Checo Man


fuiste
crueldad
armonizada,
apego,
deseo
de
ir
hacia
ti

in-         
cumplido.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Angel of Shiraz - It's Naw Ruz, The New Year, this one is dedicated to all the Baha'i martyrs

.




Angel of Shiraz
At 7:30pm, Saturday, 23 October, 1982
four armed guards pushed their way into Mona’s house.


Graceful emerald with crystal pearl eyes
wrapping the embrace of children to your heart.

Chasing hammer         cup bur-singing
seventeen sonnets of love, so young
it pains the curb.

Three tic-tacs feel like years
searching the drawers.
Closet knobs gripping the guards’ hands
as joyous temperatures rise
to their ruby peek.

“Loop lady, don’t say the emerald
is only seventeen.
Children follow what she speaks
like roses marching straight into Zion.”

I would die for You.

“Furkhundih, azizum joon mama.
Don’t worry. They are my brothers too.”

There are no good-byes
in that blindfolded prison of Sepah.

Leaf Mothers rush
from their heavenly chambers
in anguish to safeguard
the Emerald of Shiraz.
Insults, interrogations,
Bastinado.

The Angel begs for the noose
to let her be the last.
She says: I chant the winds of change.
I will die for You.

Thursday Gypsy





Thursday Gypsy


Linda prepared for bed
confident she could not receive bad news.
It was Thursday, bad news
was announced in dreams on Fridays.

Linda walked over to the drawer
and took out the tied chicken legs,
and rubbed the tattoos, stricken
by the taunt of sailors, on the right side
of her neck for good luck.

Gypsies don’t read each other’s palms.
They understand war casualties, letter writing the fog,
black and white images that make you forget the wind.

She refused to think about the fuzz on his back,
how it spread to his buttocks.

The maid walked in the bedroom with the Acacia oil.
She was as thin as phyllo dough with a huge belly.
The señora wants me to brush her hair?

Wait. Please, wash your hands. My husband
will be home in the morning, I want my hair noticeable.
Look at you, skinnier by the day. Are you certain
about not telling me who the father is?

Señora, he is an important man.
He won’t give a shit about my baby.



Después de cruzar la calle





Después de cruzar la calle


loco con tu piel
pero luego       luego
te pienso más mío

más tiempo
más silencio                manantial
de planetas cósmicos
prestándole luz a mi sendero
salpicando de alegrías

(mis estrellas rotas o tal vez las nuestras)

y aquí estamos
tu sentado en mi lengua de roca
yo recostado sobre tu pensamiento de lluvia
comenzando a conocernos

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Outfits





Outfits


I stopped pushing salvation
on inner city streets after his funeral.

Maples lining the road home took me to the kimono
and the baby, anniversary gifts from my son.

Ruben changed clothes as soon as we got home
from Sunday school: mariachi, prime ballerina.
It was difficult to keep a straight face in the middle
of an argument with a little cross-dresser playing
in front of you.

The beginning of autumn,
that’s when he started collecting the feathers.
Ruben, lifeless. We found the first one
outside a Mud Wrestling Bar & Grill.
It had the Lord’s Prayer written on the barbs.
Soon, they were coming from all over the world.
He loved to collect them.

Close, my son was very close to his boy.
Closer than the rope he used to hang himself.
He couldn’t take the impact of Ruben’s passing.

I need to look in the mirror, put on the kimono,
cover my arms with the red yellow leaves of the sash,
to hide my teeth marks.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Martyrdom




The Martyrdom


One hundred and thirty-six mirrors
whirled around him
like a hurricane, the reflection
of his heart on The Hand
that shapes existence.

Mountains gathered around a line
of blood. Radioactive chain reaction
dripped from his open wounds, and I
despaired. He left me dressed
in shades of purple, aflame,
lowered back into my coffin.

The Smell of Sulfur






The Smell of Sulfur


The odor of sulfur
is as strong as the company brought
to the podium of Titans.
Gaia and Ouranos spit
angry epithets at each other
in the armory on Boulevard
where the effigy hides
bottles of gin.

On television, the rib-tickling,
righteous Titan gets an opportunity
to explain the notion of drowning
in the desert to the nation
recently targeted by white supremacist.

The program furthers
The Graven image’s intent
to build a wall. 
Is it to keep some out,
or trap everyone in?

Women tip-toeing north
through the desert
leave an uncomfortable trail of blood
too long to ignore,
rivers of pearls buried under the roots
of ancient saguaros on Cristero soil.

Words pronounced
by the Shebang Smoking Idol
don't mean a thing
to thirty million butterflies.
They were there first.

Postcards





Postcards


Willie, when Eloy showed me the wedding rings
I broke out in tears. I was so innocent, didn’t even know
why I followed you to Bolivia.

Yo fui la más callada
de todas las que hicieron el viaje hasta tu Puerto.


2.
Write me a poem that will bring me back to life, papi.
Be my distraction, or I am going to find a tall, blue eyed angel
with baker hands and lips like James Dean.

A dormir se van ahora mis lagrimas
por donde tu cruzaste mi verso.


3.
Negro, I’ve murdered myself so many times the effort is starting to hurt.
Someone stole my poetry. They wanted to teach me to write on paper.
As if everything I do isn’t already written in blood.
I begged mama to help me die, but she refused,
had to slash my own wrist.

Todos los ojos del viento
ya me lloraron por muerta.


4.
Do you think ghosts can ask for asylum in Cuba?
Willie, take my clothes off. Look at my scars
without crying and tell me I’m beautiful. Don’t lie,
don’t cry. I need to drink a cup of coffee with you
reading me Ginsberg, Simic, and Julia de Burgos.


Yours forever, The Ghost.


*The Italicized verses are lines from poems written by Julia de Burgos

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Intimate




Intimate


You saddle the other me,
the one you empty
each disappearing dawn,
the bulldogger with a bitten lip.

I am crowned with psychedelic
corollas, dreams beyond dreams.
I learn to forget by forgetting.

There is nothing left of my ecstasies,
or the color of my obsessions,
not even the seize of your mouth
on my words.


A Reverie of Horror






A Reverie of Horror


He finds the hallway leading
to death's wrinkled Greta Garbo legs.

Children standing by their mother's broken mirror
have their own boleros to remember.

Spiders weave the stench
of his sour jungle, a vile outbreak
of colloquial monsters.

My father sings a duo
with my father.



Wednesday, March 15, 2017

On the Day of the Dead




On the Day of the Dead


On the day of the dead, Pablo put on his pants
one mummified foot at a time. It wasn't
his fault, rain was the true culprit. Clouds
followed his feet for years, poured whenever
he tried to cut bread in the City of Glass.
His soles cracked, sprouting roots.

Julia entertained on her balcony,
levitating intimate secrets. People on 42nd Street
attributed her faculties to a Santero visiting
her family on the day she was born.
She stood tall and elegant like the mountains
to the south of Black Island, Pablo's home.
Her face had traces of unforgettable pain.

They married. Julia, carried down the aisle
by two old lovers, found the last bottle of rum
hidden in the trash before the wedding.
She bled life into a gutter, no one recited her verses.
No one knew she was Ambassador to the Island of Poetry.

Pablo was one mummified foot at a time
closer to banging pots and starvation. Medicine denied,
orders from the dictator.

They are gone but I keep their marriage vows
to read out loud on the day of the dead.

Collective Madness




Collective Madness
Around the house the flakes fly faster,
And all the berries now are gone'
Birds At Winter, Thomas Harding


Overexposed driftwood
is what we are.
Bewitched by the light,
pretty little cento,
eclipse enchanted with rainbows.

Our childhood memories linger
like pastoral triolets rolling about meadows.
Luck has nothing to do with interpreting
the veils with which we choose to cover our faces.
Enlightenment happens after we fall.

Madness comes in the form of eyes
appended to blood dripping rocks
when our demons fail to cross the river.
Never is where we usually drink tea
and endlessly suck on lemons.
Smiles are inevitable
when we spar with strangers. 

Silent



Silent


A chorus of genuflections filtered through the kitchen
ventilator and knelt beside my bed around midnight.
I knew Georgina was dead. My rocking chair peeled
its mahogany finish in her honor.

There were loud knocks at the door. Neighbors  
packing axioms, guns, crucifixes, shovels.
“Hi, we were wondering about the odor?”

It’s not coming from here, I’m not dead yet.
Occasionally, I see apparitions of myself
standing by the window, behind the shower curtain,
but I still go fly fishing.

Mother came to me in a dream last night, gave me the password
to a house where boas reincarnate into possessed lizards
catching mosquitoes on maracas. She said, everything spoken
becomes water, blends.

I am going to stop talking for seven years,
but first let me repeat this a few more
times

Harmonizing the sacred          Harmonizing the sacred
            Harmonizing the sacred

Sanctus
Sanctus
Sanctus

Saturday, March 11, 2017

My first sin





My first sin

was to ridicule a mocker,
and hate him

with clear adoration.
For in so doing,
I became the beggar

and he the overlord
of my will.

Now I know the devil,
I know Rome in its last hour.

Gray and Dead



Gray and Dead


I’ve thought about dinner parties,
the theatre: things no longer
in the budget. Sex. Doctors.

I’ve thought about cohesion,
Clairol, Herbal Essence
and Eyeliner.

I’ve thought about outreach groups,
raisins, peaches, and kiwis.
Still-life paintings in my city.

I’ve thought about The Voice,
and meals on wheels.
About slam competitions,

and another twenty years of less,
and less of a line
that does not disappear on its own.

I’ve thought about mangrove crabs
living in mud holes, pushed
back into the closet.


Toilets





Toilets


I’m in love
with a homeless man.

Now listen,
we’ve got a lot in common,
H.U.D., lawyers,
politicians.

We have heated discussions
about the face fucking
activity in the toilets
at the Whitehouse

but when he stares
at my dick
and licks my nipples

it’s just me
and him.

Para Recuperar la Desnudez





Para Recuperar la Desnudez


Mi pobre pueblo,
decenas de zapos y reptiles políticos
invadieron sus aguas.
Ahora todos nos odiamos.
Virus de ranas con putos zapatos
de cocodrilos.

Me huele a brea, y a trabajo forzoso.
Me huele a despedida, y a año electoral,
a mulato a punto de perder su reelección.
Me huele a rezo, a incienso
y a San Antonio de Padua naufragando.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

The End of Night





The End of Night


I exist
to be conquered.
I, set against all other I’s,
am a stillborn poem
taken out of my mother’s womb.

Once I was immortal,
condemned to endless mornings,
empty of the knowledge
of manmade rituals.
Until out of my mouth that knows,
came the shape I was seeking.
Now I want to be
a waterfall of hummingbirds
covering our bodies.

Sometimes I read you
under another twilight.
In that half-light
your voice is different.

When you open your wings
you do not look like yourself
but I know that it’s you.

The Alembic




The Alembic


Soft humid hair trickles
from his torso to his belly button.
I moisten my lips.

When the fruit ripens,
he places it in containers
fashioned

in scented Spanish Oak
and moss. But to me Jerez
is not what gives him

the fragrance of Montilla.
It only forces me to savor
the memory of his abdomen.

Dolphins and Moons





Dolphins and Moons


The sword of perfection is unworthy
of mention in my lovers presence
unless it be drawn with regret.

Bones wear out with age,
fire can be extinguished, but simplicity
is better chained to hearts,
like dolphins swimming around
the aura of a lunar eclipse

a centered pendant.

When my lover touches my hair
I shatter into dancing moons.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Blog Archive

Followers

About Me

My photo
San Juan, Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico
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.

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