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Poetry By Sergio A. Ortiz

The Things We Draw on Maps

There are men who write
where men don’t speak

peaceful revolts
which overthrow bloodthirsty kings

business men who give undeserved gifts
music in the middle of a battlefield

strawberries in the woods
people who meet & understand each other

amazing triumphs of love with no strings attached
There are small precarious paradises

along the path we walk
on the shore of a wild monstrous sea

where it smells like grilled fish
& festive laughter

where we play without rules and balance
in unison on large red hammocks

where we embrace & lose track of time.
Where we forget with cheerful vehemence.


He arrived from Lebanon
ready to repair and sell carpets.
Gold and ruby fibers
put the mystery of time to rest.

He doesn’t know
the twentieth century
will part like a blizzard,
same as every other century.

When night barges in
without hands
ticking won’t be necessary
and magical mango trees,
will shed the last light
of a lost recollection.

Blood says nothing
of his Maronite prayers
or of his grief in an old
Kobayat alley
where he scattered
his childhood.

A longing for an Arabic
call to prayer is rare.


Mr. Man’s Man

One day I’ll know you’re not eternal
and that you don’t exhale lavender,

that your sweat isn’t honey. I’ll learn
your hands don’t shape my world,

your laughter doesn’t own my hours.
I’ll undergo the loneliness of stars,

the impotence of the sea before the moon.
That’ll be the day my sunsets end.



He gave me
a handmade box

with floral motifs
and voodoo pins

inside, four tiny children
nailed to my body.

He said: I’m yours
even if required to prick

the bolt between my legs
and that viscera, the heart.

Pessimistic butterflies flew.
I heard their flapping

in the shadows. The snap
of a nonexistent tongue.


Martini Barhop

Did you like Waiting for Godot? I didn’t get it. That guy, what was his name?
Godot, baby, Godot. Yeah him, he never showed up.

That’s what it’s all about. Most people don’t understand. Tell your friends at the law firm that you saw it. It’ll give you status.

Let’s get a drink.

It’s two in the morning. You know I have insomnia.
That guy, why didn’t he show up?
Forget it, let’s get a drink.


Poetry By Sergio A. OrtizSergio A. Ortiz is a two-time Pushcart nominee, a four-time Best of the Web nominee, and 2016 Best of the Net nominee. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Loch Raven Review, Drunk Monkeys, Algebra Of Owls, Free State Review, and The Paragon Journal. He is currently working on his first full-length collection of poems, Elephant Graveyard.

Sergio Ortiz,
Editor of Undertow Tanka Review



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Published inPoetry

One Comment

  1. Wonderful and powerful poems by our friend Sergio Ortiz — as always! Not sure if his internet connection is okay right now, after his island of Puerto Rico got battered by Hurricane Maria. Usually he shares links to pages of his published poems immediately on our online poetry workshop; he must be heavily preoccupied dealing with the troubles wrought by the typhoon, along with his fellow Puerto Ricans. He recently got interviewed on TV news here: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/puerto-ricos-pleas-grow-ahead-trump-visit-50122774.

    Congrats on this publication, Sergio bro. And take care and God bless all of you there in Puerto Rico.

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