Clouds do not pray: The poetry of Sergio Ortiz

By Sergio Ortiz


Rain and Toothless Angels

In my city, it always rains. Water
falls with an intensity that only belongs
to fables or dreams. Serious, insistent, almost
solid, a cloth made by hands without eyes.

It rains on currency circulating in shopping malls,
on every ticket drenched in sweat and bile.
It rains in courts, archives, between sentences, minutes,
articles, amendments. It rains as if someone were trying
to apologize, their voice crumbles into drops.

In the street, toothless angels slip while begging
door to door. In cemeteries, the dead spend
the eternity we gave them fixing drainpipes.

Clouds do not pray for the salvation: they’ve been baptized
by places of happiness. It rains: a clumsy gesture
covers buildings, moistens their foreheads, windows are silent.

The memory of my city is a puddle that wets legs,
softening my paper bones. Memories, like dull-skinned fish,
swim around, infect bystanders with insomnia.
Beetles roll awkwardly on sidewalks, buzzards watch
traffic in their free hours. Spiders weave the scaffolds
on which I walk. Gray scales grow on my front walls.

It rains on the history of the city, smudged and dispersed,
impossible to gather. Rains on the heads of the saints
that spit upward, armed with miracles of lead and beer.
It rains under the roof of the presidential palace: moss,
green as a caress, grows on the busts of heroes, on their eyelids
tired of so much corruption.


Death does not let you Say Goodbye

Let no one come tell me I am guilty of this or that.

True, the noise of knees falling on ground
embellishes the soul, the noise of teardrops
on blackened grass paves the way
to what is always a return.

Let no one come with his bouquets
of dry flowers to leave on the grave
where there should be a corpse, but there is no corpse,
only eyes who know how terrible it is to look at nothing.
So, let no one come to reveal what was disclosed before.

Don’t come to build walls around the house of the one
who before being young was already old.

Let no one stir the evil word whose center is an abyss,
whose edge is a storm.

Don’t try to close the sutured wound, or bring evil violins
to sweeten the unhealthy melody recognized
by my agonizing chest: the asthma where my winter rears
its dark birds, grows its fields of fog,

that night and day
can no longer wait, it wants to be closed.

Sergio A. Ortiz is the founding editor of Undertow Tanka Review. He is a two-time Pushcart nominee, a four time Best of the Web nominee, and a 2016 Best of the Net nominee. He is currently working on his first full length collection of poems, Elephant Graveyard.

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