Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On Assignment

On Assignment

We met in the Secret Service,
On our first assignment
we were briefed on the case
of the kidnapped shoe.

At lunch Sebastian came over
to talk about life,
the one we see and
the one we live
but never evoke.

He took his shoe off,
demonstrated the kidnapping.
Suddenly, he brushed
my elbow with his finger.

I found myself undressing,
promising him every satisfaction.
All he needed to do was allow me
to care of him for one year.
If his desires were not fulfilled by then
he could be unfaithful with any woman.
I would watch them ignite my bed, humiliated.

John?  Sorry Sebastian,
I was picturing the shoe
on wet asphalt.

©  Sergio A. Ortiz, Publisher:  Flutter Press, 2009

Ronin Press

Ronin Press will be publishing my next Chapbook.  I am so thrilled by this I had to let everyone know.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rust and Metal Handles

I too live in a death house.
Root rot between
sugar maple and dogwood
burning my toes.
But I'm not sad or thirsty,
I've got the wind
and a little piece of sky.
When it thunders
I stick my bones out,
wait for rain, and smile.

©  Sergio A. Ortiz, Publisher:  Flutter Press, 2009

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Shop

The Shop

This afternoon it will rain
and I will wrap my fingers around your throat
to submerge you in the rising water.
You will kick and wriggle, fight
because you won't let go of life voluntarily.
You are driven to wake up and turn on
the coffee percolator in your newly remodeled kitchen.
Driven to fill the pantry and read the New York Times.
You must find out if the justice was confirmed,
if swine flu mutated in North Korea.
Driven to give your wife multiple orgasms.
You're afraid she'll fuck another man,
a neighbor, or the woman she talks to
at the post office about how little you please her.
I will tighten my fingers around your throat
and cut off the air. Your eyes will bulge.
You'll be seconds from pissing in your pants.
This afternoon you'll give in to me
for as long as I want, wherever I want.
Here, in the Calvin Klein mannequin display.

©  Sergio A. Ortiz:  Publisher, Flutter Press, 2009

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Stoning of Sarah

The shot was fired
and the child, stripped of more than a veil,
turned from the false honor of stones.
Weeds bleeding in dead men's eyes
splattered her flesh muzzling a nameless
crowd amidst applause.
Together, on the back of a pick-up,
rushing through fields of split fig, they rested
after walking up to a water place.

At home
I wrestle with striking teachers,
careful not to get hit by flying Yucca,
suspicious of terms: Latin lover, communist,
slave, tranny.  And I don’t have a job,
or a single dream, but rivers of words
transgressing, drive me mad
as I join the picket line taking my bath
to the middle of the street.

©   Sergio A. Ortiz, Publisher, Flutter Press, 2009

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Barbary Dove

I don´t need to visit Africa,
climb Kilimanjaro, or bathe
in the Limpopo River.

On Friday
she is in my ankles,
travels to the knees whenever I stand
in front of a Barbary Dove.
Saturday night,
boogaloo’s her way to my waist.
by mid Sunday
she jabs a shoulder.
she gazelles to an elbow
and later creeps down to the waist.
On Tuesday,
I hop on one foot,
then another.
my arm rises and Africa
is inside my fist.

But at midnight, when Wednesday
turns into Thursday
she steals my heart and beats
like rada drums
in the ceremonies
of the vodoum.

©  Sergio A. Ortiz, Publisher: Flutter Press, 2009

Before Darkness: A Trilogy

Before Darkness: A Trilogy


We decided to hunt for butterflies
on the other side of the fence,
between old statues of father,
in overgrown grass,
the place he kept his untamed calf.

Rolling towards the pit,
(where civets churn out musk,
and the sky gives way to night)
was father's code to play,
the list of sanctions
too long for me to write.

We put our catch in glass jars,
pushed, touched, and joked
in such a way as not to break
my father's code. But in the end
you kissed another man.

They rested on the shoulders
of statues. He said they perfumed
summer with a kind of musk.

We took the beautiful ones
out of the jar, pierced with a pin
and let them dry. The ministry
of their wings kept us awake.

We disappeared to the other side
of the fence where father
kept the untamed calf. He unbuttoned
my pants. I didn't care, father had been dead
for years, dead and all I wanted
was another kiss.
Father's code was the magnet:
his classical order, control, synthesis, rules.

I was ten and a half
on the day of the magnet,
his untamed calf.
He was half a year older
and never quite faithful.

Aunt Enriqueta would read us
stories of houses that made noises,
—padam padam padam—
dogs' eyeballs slit
with half a razor.
It was rainbows on butterfly wings
and the scent of musk
we found in a kiss
and I do believe in you and you in me.
We've been together for half a century.
Now, give this old man one last kiss.

Half a statue was what was left,
half a pasture, half a fence.

©  Sergio A. Ortiz, Publisher:  Shipwrights and Flutter Press, 2009

Friday, March 26, 2010


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, or 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 eventually
becomes water and 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.
Sanctus Sanctus Sanctus

©  Sergio A. Ortiz, Publisher:  Flutter Press, 2009

Thursday, March 25, 2010

In Memory

Abel was on the north corner of central plaza
in El Paso when we met.  Eighteen, already adept
at selling skin to one-eyed sirens.
I am hard at it Ese, was his first answer.
I do it for my family on the other side, was his pitch.
Amigos? Amigos are dead presidents in my pocket.
I like work, but breathing hurts when I don’t eat.

Early the next morning, I passed through the plaza
of poorly-paid services and noticed him lying on a bench
resting the smile of a child who forgot who he was.
He wanted Nikes, so I gave in. Bought him a suitcase,
filled it with angry tears and a camera, then took him back
to Chihuahua. I made him take snapshots of los hijos de puta.

When his mother called, the constant fear of the 80s
got in the backseat of my car. I didn’t want to know.
It stayed until he died the following year.

A few tears were gathered here and there;
I sewed them each to each and made a rosary.
Looking at it makes me think of a poem by Fernando Pessoa,
O Infante. my child, my prince.

©  Sergio A. Ortiz, Publisher, Flutter Press and Origami Condom, 2009

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

La Muerte y Yo

Te sigo esperando
como la niebla espesa

como el papel vació,
espero al instante vivo, 
como la muerte,
como la muerte
salió al camino
de los amantes.


Liviano te busco
frágil bálsamo, 
sutil te miro
tenue dulzura, 
sobre ti escribo
mi desconsuelo
como la muerte,
como la muerte
salió al camino
de los amantes.


Todo lo escucho
para mimarte,
todo lo toco
para obsequiarte,
todo lo hago 
por alagarte,
como la muerte,
como la muerte 
salió al comino
de los amantes.


Si yo lograse decir 
cuanto te extraño,
te lo diría así: urgente
como la muerte, 
como la muerte, 
salió al camino 
de los amantes. 

©  Sergio A. Ortiz 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Talking to Ron

Talking to Ron

Ron spent mornings trying out words,
Texture missing in his personal life.
Routines didn’t matter anymore.
It was the touch that was important,
Recognition of strings, fiber and
A cup of coffee. Comrades didn’t understand.
He was tired of their
Let’s Sell an Image shit.
His tissues needed embossing.
He was stepping out of suffocating outlines,
Wearing dashiki, braiding his hair again.
He wanted holograms of Marilyn on his lips.
You see, he was honest about his affection.
But what did it get him, a political conscience,
An eye to eye conversation with God?
I said: Ron calm down, it’s just a phase.
And if it isn’t, get a house on the beach, swim,
Breathe in the salt, pick up this trash,
Go back to school, become an embalmer.
You’re not listening, he said, words enter and exit
Surface I haven’t explored. And he showed me out the door.

©  Sergio A. Ortiz, first published in Journal of Truth and Consequence, 2009

Monday, March 22, 2010


Twenty years amid palm trees,
among guitarists playing ardent jungle beats

to the moon, my wild orchid: Place your hand here, tense
these strings. Tremulous fingers strum, strum, strum.

Dawn stole your cinnamon-guava scent,
filled me, bursting like a rumba.
Put your hand here.

©  Sergio A. Ortiz, Published in Flutter Press 2009

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My grandmother used to administer this hospital in Jayuya, Puerto Rico

This is now a cultural center, but my grandmother administered this hospital for many, many years.

I was twenty nine in this pic

Photo: Geishas reading, Edo Period

I love Japanese art, specially from the Edo Period.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Miguel Bose, tv snap shot by Sergio Ortiz

I really love doing these tv snap shots because they come out looking very surreal.  They go very well with my poetry which is also a bit surreal.  You are all welcome to visit my gallery at Flicker.

Sergio A. Ortiz

Lighthouse at El Morro by Sergio Ortz

Lighthouse at El Morro by Sergio Ortiz

Breath: Photography by Sergio A. Ortiz

TV snap shot by Sergio Ortiz March 19, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

alma perdida

tanto odio
entre mangos escondidos
casi maduros
yo los como muy picantes
y echo el corazón al olvido
la vida es así

entre los bosques y ríos
irremediable locura

que me llena de hastío
allegada a los mares
batiendo el cuerpo
contra corales



© Sergio A. Ortiz: Published in Letralia, 2009

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Al aire libre

El manjar de tu reclamo
corrió sobre mi río
hasta llegar a la arena fértil de la sabana
donde se deslizó sobre troncos,
piedras y alguna que otra hoja caída.
El gemido matinal,
la respiración de nuestros cuerpos,
despertó la música
de tu locura.
Regresé a tus brazos inquietos
acariciando las corrientes translúcidas
de tu aroma,
manchado por la fuerza torrencial
de tu lujuria,
en el sedimento
de mi piel oscura.

© Sergio A. Ortiz: first published in Letralía


Sorry I had to take the pic down, it has been accepted for publication.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010


No se pudo evitar el retraso.
Anduve perdido con mí muerto a cuestas,
El hombre de cincuenta y nueve veces nada
Sobre el claro de cincuenta y nueve calles calladas. 

Allí me asalto la cordura,
Cincuenta y nueve amores perdidos, a patadas. 
Y mi cuerpo desfigurado por la gordura
Volvió a desfigurarse en tu mirada. 

Es mejor no intentar predecirle al viento nada,
Si te agarra por los pelos y te arrastra
A la zona portuaria de cincuenta y nueve vidas,
Pues la suma de mi vida llega a casi nada.

©  Sergio A. Ortiz 17 de marzo de 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Willie Perdom estara en La Universidad Inter UIPR, Recinto Metro

Como parte de los eventos destacados de este semestre se encuentra Artes palabrales: emprendiendo con la poesía, producido por la estudiante Taína X. Colón, perteneciente a la Organización de Estudiantes Emprendedores de la UIPR, Recinto Metro. Este singular evento contará con la participación de figuras de la literatura puertorriqueña como: Mayra Santos Febres, gestora delFestival de la palabra de Puerto Rico y el galardonado poeta Willie Perdomo, autor de Where a Nickel Cost a Dime y cofundador/ editor de Cypher Books.   
Para Perdomo, "viajar a Puerto Rico y compartir con estudiantes universitarios es un gran intercambio cultural". 
Los escritores tendrán a su cargo una charla para los estudiantes, la cual se llevará a cabo el jueves 18 de marzo a las 9:00 a.m., en el Centro de Estudiantes. 


¿De qué está hecho usted,
mimo de palmas y pies pintados,
descubiertos, sudorosos?  ¿Cuánto más
puede aceptar el aire vacío que el da
a respirar ese caimán? Marco frágil,
afina la malla blanca de organza
para la serigrafía que su imaginación
busca pintar. Cuándo la lona seque
no se olvide de limpiar
la cárcel atestada
donde siempre ha
de morar.

©  Sergio A. Ortiz, marzo 16, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

Un Amor

Fue bolsillo de mesa de ocho negro
para todas sus rayas,
el único que ella no se molesto en tocar.
Ablandó su permanente
ser chico duro de campo
que sabia las reglas del billar,
periodista inverosímil de bailarinas
y gongos,
viaje bárbaro de peine fino,
no hubo otra consecuencia posible
que ser modificador de vida.

© Sergio A. Ortiz, 15 de marzo de 2010

On Family Days

On Family Days

You don’t try hard enough, she’d say.
All the while, his thoughts grow increasingly grisaille.
She can’t smell the fear he inhabits,

a macabre work of art from which he comes and goes,
the run of wind at a deserted crime scene.
She forgets, like he forgets, control

will arrive soon enough,
and that brachiated spectacle of blame
and praise will dissipate

like hurricanes weaken after touching land.
They’ll both be left wondering about the pieces
of debris, the river’s current,

and how much to fix of whatever comes undone.

©  Sergio A. Ortiz, Published in Right Hand Pointing Issue # 31, 2010

Three Poems: Dedications / Divination, Photography, Labyrinth / Pirates

To my enemies:  

To insomnia:  
pears or apples, a carrot.  

To landscapes:  
a white South African security guard asleep 
in a Kimberly diamond mine.  

To classrooms:  
a clock, the sobriety of water.  

To distance:  
what I remember about Omar, 
the brightness of a sweaty, naked body.
a stealthy light deep within my pupils.  

To love:
a truce, and then another truce.

Divination, Photography, Labyrinth   
First Movement: The Divination

I am / you are / we are:
This hemlock teardrop, if it makes 
you love me a little longer / this fractured foam / 
this island continent of death / this wavering weakness / 
this burning carousel / 
this casting of lots.

Second Movement: The Photography

I am / you are / we are:
This uncertain space in the still-relief
of birds / this song coming off the fused pistil 
of a violet tulip / this deep blue shawl 
carefully extended over fretful 
grey waters / this Styrofoam abstract 
on the sidewalk.

Third Movement: The Labyrinth

I am / you are / we are:
This moss-mouth morning after / this caribou moss / 
this mossback turtle / this perennial moss / this Irish moss / 
this haircap moss / this split-tooth moss / this no fruit moss / 
this water-measuring moss / this flat moss /
this Spanish moss / this fucking flea moss.

“Somalia, since you know how to kill, 
you should learn how to die.” 

there’s a chorus 
in the crack 
near the center of my 
large hips 
call it 
pirates dans le Caraïbes 

call it Mogadishu 
Port-au-Prince or New York City 

it’s only a crack 
call it anything you want 

it’s on the moon wavin' 

© Sergio A. Ortiz: Published in Journal of Truth  or Consequence, March 13, 2010

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