Letter #51 by Sergio A. Ortiz

Today there’s a self-drawn sketch
of rice on my forehead, a tiny sorrow.
This mourning is the unhappy reward
of what we never talk about.

Today I tire of birds,
I cut off my wings. A tiger
devours my legs,
an old disgruntled tiger.

He drinks my blood,
disappears like smoke
resembling the roar
of an insomniac ocean.

Today I walk into the surf
with my pockets full of rocks.

 

Sergio A. Ortiz is a poet, 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.

 

Editor’s Note: Sergio A. Ortiz is our featured writer for August. Click on his tag (his name at the bottom of his poems) to find all his Califragile work as it is published! Watch Califragile‘s Facebook page for announcements of his upcoming book of poems.

Dolphin by Robert Lowell

My Dolphin, you only guide me by surprise,
a captive as Racine, the man of craft,
drawn through his maze of iron composition
by the incomparable wandering voice of Phèdre.
When I was troubled in mind, you made for my body
caught in its hangman’s-knot of sinking lines,
the glassy bowing and scraping of my will….
I have sat and listened to too many
words of the collaborating muse,
and plotted perhaps too freely with my life,
not avoiding injury to others,
not avoiding injury to myself
to ask compassion… this book, half fiction,
an eelnet made by man for the eel fighting
my eyes have seen what my hand did.

 

(Robert Lowell, 1917-1977)

Slaughtered Stalks by Dana Bloomfield

Corn ghosts linger
over slaughtered stalks
in Elmer’s field, where

thirteen deer, songless, bound
out of the neutral zone
of the land trust.

In foliage-free turns
of the wheel, no antlers
betray prize kill

as it jetés on a bullet line
toward muted woods
and crouching fluorescent terrorists.

You know to deflect
from my car. If I were
my neighbor, you’d go home

a dozen.

Dana Bloomfield is a retired preschool teacher. Her poems have appeared in Baltimore Review, Digges’ Choice, Baltimore Women’s Times, Green Revolution, and the anthology Grease and Tears.

3 Haiku by Timothy Pond

Focus

World watches Harvey.
Trump arrives, claims camera:
“What a great turnout!”

Charlottesville

In Greenland time burns,
peat smoke seen by satellite.
In Charlottesville, tikis.

The Silo

The silo holds firm
what is placed inside curved walls,
food or destruction.

 
Timothy Pond loves the Staten Island Ferry because it’s orange and a free way to escape Manhattan. She is named after the grass.

Restless by Sergio A. Ortiz

Youth carries with it the demanding, relentless need to relate everything to love. Martin, I sat on the doorsteps of your house. I saw flowers with leaves like swords. They looked like soldiers. You were a soldier. You marched into my life. I came to say, I love you but you were not here, so I wrote it down on a notepad. Martin, I stopped writing to let my arms hang uselessly over my body.

I always sat down and waited, even as a child I bided my time. All women wait for a future life, their images forged in solitude. We see bridesmaids walking towards us, a promise, a man, a pomegranate that opens and displays its red, shiny grains, a pomegranate like a thousand mouths. Oh, my love, we are all so full of inner portraits, so full of unappreciated landscapes.

 

 

Sergio A. Ortiz is a poet, 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.

 

Editor’s Note: Sergio A. Ortiz is our featured writer for August. Click on his tag (his name at the bottom of his poems) to find all his Califragile work as it is published! Watch Califragile‘s Facebook page for announcements of his upcoming book of poems.

April in Myth by Wren Tuatha

April is old like water, prehistoric, recycled. Womb
and bladder. To my Third World parched skin,
she’s America, running the tap.And now, in a foreign
hot tub, she mothers me, as if she has it to spare.
Water and muscles, air and my salty grief.

April has bloomed before, on schedule, sometimes
an early surprise. She has chased and she’s been cupped
to the lips, been drunk in, and done someone’s share
of drinking. Me, too, always in August.

On April’s flesh, tears and kisses evaporate,
leaving shine. On mine, brine, crusty, leaving in cakes
like the ice shelf. I watch it go, with foreboding
that natural disasters will result.

But water and her children won’t be possessed.
In time, she does the possessing, pooling foolish souls
like shrimp, pulling us through hurricanes and extinction
and silence from space.

Mammoths, raccoons, wrens and Americans.

Like water, April is old, knows how to crest and trough,
be a beating organ of the beast, a good germ on the living
planet. Some herons are like pterodactyls pulled by hunger
too far from shore. There are fools and there are fish.
Drink, says April. Extinction breeds myth.
And oh, what a magnetic myth we make.

(Previously published in Antiphon Poetry Magazine.)

Wren Tuatha’s poetry has appeared or is upcoming in The Cafe Review, Canary, Peacock Journal, Coachella Review, Arsenic Lobster, Baltimore Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Loch Raven Review, Clover, Lavender Review, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Poetry Circle, and Bangalore Review. She still has no hot tub of her own.

The Fish by Marianne Moore

wade
through black jade.
Of the crow-blue mussel-shells, one keeps
adjusting the ash-heaps;
opening and shutting itself like

an
injured fan.
The barnacles which encrust the side
of the wave, cannot hide
there for the submerged shafts of the

sun,
split like spun
glass, move themselves with spotlight swiftness
into the crevices—
in and out, illuminating

the
turquoise sea
of bodies. The water drives a wedge
of iron through the iron edge
of the cliff; whereupon the stars,

pink
rice-grains, ink-
bespattered jelly fish, crabs like green
lilies, and submarine
toadstools, slide each on the other.

All
external
marks of abuse are present on this
defiant edifice—
all the physical features of

ac-
cident—lack
of cornice, dynamite grooves, burns, and
hatchet strokes, these things stand
out on it; the chasm-side is

dead.
Repeated
evidence has proved that it can live
on what can not revive
its youth. The sea grows old in it.

 

(Marianne Moore, 1887-1972)