Sergio Ortiz – Four Poems


In the Clear Age of Water

The work of this day consists
of carrying a bag laden with rain
from here to there.

Once done, it’s lift the bag
with our tired eyes,
bury it in the lake of indifference
where sad conversations rot.

Stamp life with graffiti.
After all, we’re just the so-and-so’s,
the whatshisname’s,
the Tom, Dick or Harry’s of life

and rain is nothing more
than corrected, repetitive poetry,
a new pair of shoes
wanting to be so joyful
happiness tires
and refuses to do any overtime.


Far from all forms of charity,
I am the prophet, the retired apostle
of faith in myself.

My friends: escape artists,
foreshadowers of verses,
sunk in the quicksands of language.

They believe in the melodies I babble
exalting legendary elephant graveyards
and mystic monsoons.

We witness the paradigms of a century fall
while celebrating a Wimbledon match,
a joy much greater than revolving revolutions.

Reparations to Eros

May silence never ride
on the dormant back of a heron.

May it leave a homeopathic drop of luck
on the waters of my trembling body.

May my skin bear no resemblance
to the unshakable epidermis
of a frozen pachyderm.

I must confess, I am in debt
to a slave driver’s arms.
Tasted his fruit,
but could not distinguish
sour from sweet.

If Ulysses should Die on a Tuesday

It’s the hideout (inside my heart)
where I bank the depleted
pages of my life.

It’s imagining the unimaginable,
the languorous side street,
my Ulysses without his Dublin.

It’s the tacit climate we refer to
when there is no champion,
no comfort inside my bungalow.

I know what texture
your thighs are compelled to surrender
to my dreams.

I’m the one who doesn’t want closure.
The man with no vested interest in
hearing your voice fade into a separate horizon.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

Beauty is looking into the eyes of a baby only to discover that s/he is smiling back at you. It’s watching a person carry themselves so lightly, so gently, you think they’re an angel. Beauty is waking up at dawn and feeling tears run down your face because of the impressive magenta sky before you. It’s finally coming to grips with your mother’s death, because now you can see what a wonderful, talented woman she was, and she’ll always be present in your life.


Sergio A. Ortiz is a Puerto Rican poet and the founding editor of Undertow Tanka Review.  He is currently working on his first full length collection of poems, Elephant Graveyard.