"The Damage," "The Wound of Hate," and "Instead of Smiles"

The Damage

Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ourselves
The Gift Outright, Robert Frost

 

Maybe life gave us too much
at the beginning
and we kept looking

for a path that maintained
enough of a balance
so as not to become
this pestilent air.

Maybe life did not belong
to us anymore,
maybe the things we believed in
were part of the damage,

part of the petulant wind
knocking down the walls
of our nation.

And if we had known the outcome
would we have put our hands together
or looked elsewhere,
renounced everything to stay still
so as not to cross the days that agonize?

This is so immense
it doesn't fit into tears.

We’ll hear the results,
but there’s no greater nostalgia
than that of the future.

 


 

The Wound of Hate

Your smile hurts,
so does your voice
and the sea
in which you bathe,
even your ashes wound me.

The mourning seed
I feed with fire,
that is my currency,
this long, amorous nightmare.

And, how to tell,
                                   tell you
that I have closed eyes.
If at the end of eyes, I keep
the almond and the broken election.

How do I keep quiet
when there are halved doves
on fields and fields of blood.

 


 

Instead of Smiles

We all have specks of hate
gilding blue our day
in our bed of magnolias,
flecks macerating juices,
framing
cheerful blooms, its leisurely fruit.
What seas, what tempestuous depths
beat against our chest?
Instead of smiles,
they open claws and fangs.

The sea raises
and its roar stirs the waters
with hatred. Behind it
comes another wave, another ferment,
another secret
giving you more of its hate.

The studded tower rises
like an emergency,
it is a monument of unbridled fury.
When we feel the smell of burning flesh
there's such a deep cry, a mask on fire
ignites our words. 

We all have a lethal spear in our tongue,
because where there was warm blood,
explosive blooming bones, bones without woodworms,
doggedly, hate grows,
its tongue scalded by
the atrocious vinegar of meaninglessness.
And our hearts, made to house love
thrash our muscles,
pump the desperate juices of anger.

When our index finger stirs
and points with fire,
when it prints in the air its mark of disgust,
when fully erect phalanx by phalanx,
          what a rain of reproaches.

The gesture, the expression,
the accusative finger,
and the nail.
Oh! The nail,
a buckler hamstring kneeling on Trump's chest.

We all have something to reproach the world,
its inaccurate portion of pleasure and melancholy,
its unhurried, vexatious, virtue
of being beyond,
elsewhere,
while we are with hands clasped close to the rumble air
of disappointment,
and of course, its circumstances of
edge, extreme lassitude, blind abyss, its
inappropriateness, and all its hastes.

Somewhere in our body
there is an alarm, an alert thermostat
sending its pulsations, something that says:
NOW!

Sergio A. Ortiz is a gay Puerto Rican poet and 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. His poems have been published in hundreds Journals and Anthologies. He is currently working on his first full length collection of poems, Elephant Graveyard.

 

 

Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief