Showing posts from July, 2009

The Smell of Sulfur

The Smell of Sulfur By Sergio A. Ortiz The odor of sulfur was as strong as the company brought to the podium of Titans. Gaia and Ouranos spat angry epithets to each other in the oval office of the armory on Boulevard where the effigy hid bottles of gin. On television the rib-tickling, righteous Titan got an opportunity to explain the notion of drowning in the desert to the nation recently targeted by terror. The program furthered the graven image’s intent to build a large metal barrier. Who knew if it was to keep some out, or trap some in? Women tip-toeing north through the desert left 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 shebang smoking idols didn't mean a thing to thirty million butterflies. They were there first. Copyright © 2009 Sergio A. Ortiz

Collective Madness

Collective Madness Around the house the flakes fly faster, And all the berries now are gone' Birds At Winter, Thomas Harding Collectively we are over exposed driftwood bewitched by the light, pretty little cento, an eclipse enchanted with a rainbow. Our childhood memories linger like pastoral triolets about rolling 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 yet fail to bring about change. Copyright © 2008 Sergio A. Ortiz Published in Kritya


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: my neighbors standing outside packing axioms and any other thing they could find: guns, crucifixes, shovels. “Hi, we were wondering about the odor?” It’s not coming from here, I’m not quite 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. She had me thinking about my space. 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. Sanctus Sanctus Sanctus Copyright © 2008 Sergio A. Ortiz Publi

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 all the traces of unforgettable pain. They married; Julia, carried down the aisle by 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


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. Copyright © 2008 Sergio A. Ortiz Published in Origami Condom

A Reverie of Horror - Cento

He finds the hallway leading to death's wrinkled, Garbo legs. Children standing by their mother's broken mirror have their own boleros to remember. Spiders weave the stench of sour jungle, a vile outbreak of colloquial monsters. My father sings a duo with my father. Copyright © 2009 Sergio A. Ortiz


Outfits I stopped pushing salvation on inner city streets after the funeral. Maples lining the road home took me to the kimono and the baby, anniversary gifts from Tent. Rubin changed clothes as soon as we got home from Sunday school: toreror, 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. My baby, fourteen, lifeless. We found the first one outside a Mud Wrestling Bar & Grill. It had the Lords Prayer written on the barbs. Soon enough, they were coming from all over the world. He loved to collect them. Close, Tent was very close to his son. Closer than the rope he used. He couldn’t take the impact of Rubin’s passing. I needed to look in the mirror, put on the kimono, cover my arms with the red yellow leaves of the sash, and hide the teeth marks. © Sergio A. Ortiz 2008

At the Church of 80% Sincerity

At the Church of 80% Sincerity it was no crime to be born a delicate male, but reaching puberty while you're opening up a frog in biology class ruined your sex life for good. Games were another gray area. No such thing as “hard” contact during basket-ball practice was allowed, and it wasn't because of the balls, or the running style. So, I took ballet three nights a week, studied sincerity percentages. It was not easy. Everyone I knew hid 20% of their life at the Church of 80% Sincerity. © Sergio A. Ortiz 2008 first published in Children, Churches, and Daddies


India I did not fail to see your shroud cover my hands, like a mother greeting a son with garlands. What was this light you possessed that guided me out of the dark, wheeled my thoughts in navy blue, tendered my voice, and spiraled into a dance? The hands holding up invisible walls, carried my sail to streams untouched. Hands that fenced passions and cushioned the blows each time I fell. Chant a bhajan melody while the fingers of my right hand form a crown lotus soaring in mid air. My left hand imitates a wave caught in the vortex of fate. My eyes look away from physical forms as if all the toiling in the fields had set them on fire in celebration. Clattering kartals accompanied by humming drones, and chiming manjiras, sitars and nals, complete the circle swaying rhythms in perfection. Why do you till my eyes in your fields of saffron? © Sergio A. Ortiz 2008


Searching We are both close to fear, my brother and I, boom babies, witnesses to an age saturated with violence. Him, a virgin at twenty-five. Me, used and afraid by sixteen. I want to hug my brother tell him how much I’ve missed him. Night has not been the same without a sentinel looking out the window, searching. Thank you for understanding what it is to be a man without the bling hanging on my neck or a gun in hand. I want us to see the dawn while our faces turn to each other, and the clothes we wear burn off. © Sergio A. Ortiz 2008

Peak Oil

Peak Oil We read about the old dying from the cold. Fifteen days later there was no food. When it happened a third time politicians got mobbed on the streets. As if law makers could keep away cardinals perched on the outstretched arms of concrete scarecrows. © Sergio A. Ortiz 2008

On the Brink

On the Brink Merchants of war, you hide in what you wish were called, “the Mansions of Heaven,” while a trigger is squeezed to death on the street. I have a bird that whistles, but it doesn’t stop me from crying. I heard some students were crushed for walking in each other’s dreams at a love-in. Too bad I couldn’t be there with them. I’m a dada bird on the brink of extinction, need to get away from Oxford, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. © Sergio A. Ortiz 2008

Tanka- Jump in Water

when dawn remembers to seize your dreams jump in water even if you can't swim or wiggle your ears

Sevenling: Beautiful Ruins

I see a cloud so old it wants to sail across the moon and rain. I tend my garden: the water, marble, forgetting which runs into which. Where is Eden? Is there a hammock there? © Sergio A. Ortiz 2009


Gypsy Linda prepared for bed confident she could not receive bad news. It was Thursday, bad news was announced in dreams on Fridays, After walking over to the drawer and taking out the tied chicken legs, Linda rubbed the tattoos, stricken by the taunt of sailors, on the side of her neck for good luck. Gypsies don’t read each others palms. They understand war casualties, letter writing in the fog, black and white images that make you forget the wind. She wasn’t going to think about the fuzz on his back, think about how it spread to his buttocks. Teresa walked in the bedroom with the Acacia oil. She was so thin she was starting to look like phyllo. The señora wants me to brush her hair? Wait. Please, wash your hands. Mr. Puttock will be home in the morning, I want my hair noticeable. Look at you, skinnier by the day. Certain about not telling me who the father is? No señora, it doesn’t matter. He is an important man. He won’t care of my baby. Teresa your pulling my hair, how