Friday, February 26, 2010


La orquesta

Yo soy / Tú eres / Nosotros somos
Esta tríada que pide al cuarto / este no muerto, no vivo,
que no sangra salvo por el clamor desesperado,
el consenso amplio de lo torcido.

El hospital

Yo soy / Tú eres / Nosotros somos
Esta procesión de confesos criminales / esta tusa arrabalera,
capaz de matar por un centavo / esta privación del sentido común /
esta máquina sin piel / este oído sordo
que no sabe disfrutar del tango /
 este sinsabor postoperatorio /
esta inexistente sala de emergencias.

El Extravió

Yo soy / Tú eres / Nosotros somos
Este elipsis / este grillete en los labios
que te encarcela la boca /
esta mano abierta que no se atreve
a aterrizar en la mejilla
del vampiro / este cirujano de mierda.

Las Lenguas Muertas

Yo soy / Tú eres / Nosotros somos
Esta madre muerta/ este hijo muerto / este padre muerto / esta hermana
muerta / este anciano muerto / este amigo muerto,
solo porque los dejamos solos
en sus últimos momentos.

El Otoño

Este futuro invierno / esta depresión subtropical /
esta maldición primaveral / esta despedida
lenta / esta melancolía que me regalo
la muerte. 

© Sergio A. Ortiz, 26 de febrero de 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

There is no such thing as Emergency or Post Operation Care in Puerto Rico

Today I went to Pavia Hospital in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, because I thought I was having a heart attack. It took them close to 5 hours to run test and take care of me and only because I opened my mouth and demanded attention. 

There was a disoriented man, a junky, possibly with a life threatening disease, in the same emergency ward where I was. No one paid this man any attention until I started taking pictures of him. Then they gave him some food and something to cover his torso, but I never saw a doctor get near him.

If you go alone to a hospital in Puerto Rico, if you live alone and have to provide outpatient care without the proper help of a professional, if you or your family do not know how to defend yourself from these abusive institutions, chances are you will not come out alive from a hospital in Puerto Rico.

La Castañeta

Estuve temeroso y fui la castañeta,
juglar blanco con la cara pintada de negro.
No fui la coleta del torero que amortigua golpes
o señala el honor su retiro.

Castañeta de Zambra Mora sacudiendo
mis caderas, reposando tu palma sobre
mi ombligo. Baile nupcial tormentoso,
palillo de fiesta tentadora.

©  Sergio A. Ortiz 25 de febrero de 2010

Mama got AIDS from an enemy soldier

We walked five miles to the nearest waterhole.
A baldin’ boogeyman convoy
left her unconscious by the roadside.
We ran—three little birds (cryin’ and cryin’).

My brother stayed in my head—boogeyman’s body
sucking his breath (yellin’ and yellin’) yeah
(yellin’ and yellin).  He’ll live, or I’ll shoot him myself.

Death (wow - wow - wow) sprawled like a lizard.
Papa (whoo - whoo - whoo) tore off
his ankle bracelet and went for the gun.

© Sergio A. Ortiz Published in the 2010 February Issue of The Houston Literary Review

This Wants to Be

The Imagination

This chewed sweet and sour garlic / this asymmetric leg
of Greta Garbo / this involuntary grotto of silence /
this unpublished premonition of a stiff kiss / this anticyclone
in the topography of a sigh / this genteel lubricant
of bovine orgasms / this kyriopascha obsession
of turning the abstract into the concrete.

The Words

These oblique cartographies / these choral songs
with those far-off glints / these cesti gloves
from the Forum of Augustus / these small moments
of our “visions of paradise.”

The Impossible

This malnourished duffel bag /
this cement stuffed tooth painter/ this resolute
algebraic cat / this invisible postcard
to the invisible man / this rumble
that startles a child’s mouth.

© Sergio A. Ortiz first published in Whispers&Screams Magazine,  24 February, 2010 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


She shares a room
with eight strangers.
None of them know
where to buy money grams.

Her face flushes
at the grocery store,
but she still looks straight
into my eyes and asks:
Can I walk there?
Which way is it?

Jobs are scarce,
so he eats what he finds
in dumpsters near
the house, squats on a vacant
lot that floods in autumn. 
He doesn’t say it,
but he’s scared of fever.
Knows that if he dies,
back home, Juan will stop by
the bar and flick quarters
in the jukebox.
Jose will tell dirty jokes
at his wake until four
in the morning, while Pedro
recounts the story
of the irate husband
shooting at his naked butt
flying over the fence.
But here, he doesn’t have
a name, he’s constantly
cold and unnoticed.

She makes it difficult
to ignore the wet clothes
on a man’s back
as he wanders into la migra’s
office for a 24-hour stay,
or a free jet ride home.

She’s too alarmed to remember
the two daughters left behind.

Umbrellas keep her in the shade
while officers bring tamarind flavored
snowballs to douse her dehydration.

They wick the sweat off her breast,
keep her armpits from staining,
stinking the robe.

Tomorrow she’ll rattle all this away
like cows shake off flies.

© Sergio A. Ortiz 10/19/09

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Edificando la nación: prótesis + circuito cerrado + panoplia = Infierno

Os cortaron los testículos
con fuego, luego insertan
la prótesis (un dispositivo
de circuito cerrado)
esperanzados en captar
la deslumbradora panoplia
de maricas marchando derechitas
hacia la visión del infierno
según Rivera Schatz:
a Spanish tea party.

— ¿ Que es un Spanish tea party? 

  Yo no sé.  ¡Búscalo en el diccionario urbano!

© Sergio A. Ortiz 20 de febrero de 2010

My brother and his son in my apartment in Jayuya

I made all of the arts and crafts in the living room, including the knitted bed cover my nephew is sitting on.

My brother and my stepfather. My mother and me.

Me, my sister Priscila, and my brother Carlos in Chicago

My brother the cop, his wife, and my stepmother. This was also my apartment in Jayuya, PR

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dulce Ponte

Me in Fifth grade. The year I got glasses.

Me in a Choir, Chicago 1960



entre el odio y la guirnalda hay un lobo esperantista
entre el cacto y la dulzaina hay rudeza de viento
entre el borracho y la brújula hay hedor de distancias
entre el pergamino y el volcán hay borrones de luz
entre la zarzuela y los mayas hay institutrices neuróticas—
poetes maudits
entre la adivina y el granizo hay un riachuelo y un francotirador

© Sergio A. Ortiz 19 de febrero de 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Efrain Lopez Neri, Puerto Rican actor.

To My Leaf Storm

To My Leaf Storm

Don’t fear my touch.
Sustenance from windmills
slowly gathers around our skin:
leaves never fall,
fragments spiralling into your smile,
tears humidifying our lips.

Don’t whisper to an alien ear.
Look away to my lap,
brush my breast.  Edges sooth
the tip of a finger on my back,

deeper fragments.
Don’t list the possibilities.
Keep stretching our secret.
Swim in my hair, flaunt
your smile on my torso,
until the fragments and the leaves
come to a sudden stop.

© Sergio A. Ortiz 2009, first published in All Rights Reserved a literary journal. Issue, Margin of Error, 2010

Chavela Vargas

"Isabel Vargas Lizano (born April 17, 1919) is a Mexican (Costa Rican born) singer. She is especially known for her rendition of rancheras genre - a folkloric musical genre widely popular in Mexico - but she is also recognized for her contribution to other popular Latin American song genres. She has been an influential interpreter in the Americas and Europe, muse to figures such as Pedro Almodóvar, hailed for her haunting performances, and called "la voz áspera de la ternura", the rough voice of tenderness.

Her first album, Noche de Bohemia (Bohemian Night), was released in 1961 with the professional support of José Alfredo Jiménez, one of the foremost singer/songwriters of the Mexican cancion ranchera. Vargas has recorded over eighty albums thereafter. She was hugely successful during the 1950s, 1960s and the first half of the 70s, touring in Mexico, the United States, France and Spain and was close to many prominent artists and intellectuals of the time, including Juan Rulfo, Agustín Lara, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Dolores Olmedo and José Alfredo Jiménez..  She partly retired in the late 1970s due to a 15 year-long battle with alcoholism, which she has described in her autobiography (Y si quieres saber de mi pasado [And if you want to know about my past], published in 2002) as "my 15 years in hell". At 81 years old, she publicly declared that she was a lesbian."

The Poem I wrote: Divination, Photography, Labyrinth, is dedicated to her.  I will put it up as soon as it gets published.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Al enemigo:
un cara a cara.

Al insomnio:
peras o manzanas, una zanahoria dulce.

A la espera:
un celador Sur Africano blanco dormido sobre una mina
de diamantes.

Al salón de clases:
un reloj, la sobriedad del agua.

A la lejanía:
lo que recuerdo de Omar,
un resplandor sigiloso, desnudo
y húmedo en lo más profundo
de mis pupilas.

Al amor:
una tregua, y otra tregua.

©   Sergio A. Ortiz febrero 16 del 2010

Lucecita Benitez y Alberto Carrion singing a song that is actually a poem from our greatest poet, Luis Pales Matos

Monday, February 15, 2010

Heraclitus: Coral Sea to Black Sea expedition

© Sergio A. Ortiz 2009

El hombre de las palomas

© Sergio A. Ortiz 2010

Grandfather and granddaughters / Old San Juan

© Sergio A. Ortiz 2010

Tempestuous - Tomorrow I hope to be reading at The Poet's Passage

So stormy a night
So, so bright a day

So wide a river
So, so shallow its waters

So ingenious the thief
So, so small the dowry

So white the paper
So, so muddy the ink

So lingering the love
So, so treacherous the lover

So strong the perfume
so, so foul a nape

© Sergio A. Ortiz 2009

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Esto Quiere Ser

La Imaginación

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.

Las Palabras

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."

Lo Imposible

Esta bolsa de lona desnutrida/
este pintor de dientes rellenó de cemento / este gato
algebraico resuelto/ esta tarjeta postal invisible
para el hombre invisible/ este retumbe
que aterroriza la boca de un niño.

© Sergio A. Ortiz 14 de febrero de 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

My first photos

© Sergio A. Ortiz Feb. 12, 2010

Sunday, February 07, 2010


She came out of church dressed 
like her other life, purple, ready 
for the parties and las palizas, 
carrying the eighty extra pounds 
of luggage she pawned the day before. 

"Funny how a lonely day 
can make a person say, 
what good is my life…"

The first time I felt mutual kisses,
whispers nibbling on my ears, 
under the cover invitations penetrating,
taking flight, I went along
with the salutation. 

"Funny how I often seem 
to pick and find another dream…"

The boxer, the man I bumped 
into on the corner, 
Sylvia Rexach and her guitar 
taking my imagination
into humidity. 
We were one 

"This is me, this is me…" 

His hand on my back 
crossing me to the other side 
of the street, taking me 
to the movies, giving
me his lucky charm

"This is my life 
and I don't give a damn 
for lost emotion… ."

The day the Jewish boy picked 
me up from a gutter, sat me 
on his bike, and took me home. 
It was Sunday and I held him
as tight as I could.

© Sergio A. Ortiz 2008

Video: Two poems by Imtiaz Darkher

“Gloria a esas manos aborígenes porque trabajaban.

Gloria a esas manos negras porque trabajaban.
Gloria a esas manos blancas porque trabajaban.”
Juan Antonio Corretjer

there among the moon
and sun
Iguanaboina signaled
my arrival

i had found the cave
the serpent and
a stone from which Atabey
drilled and looked through
the hole

Inriri carved my future

in the clouds there were dreams
and in the bite
of the reptile-cobra
those dreams
became a sounding conch

the owls regained
their razor-slit eyes
and my life was set free

free to worship flamboyant trees
and dualities

© Sergio A. Ortiz Feb, 2010

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