"I had to do it," "This is why I'm joining a gym," and "Damaged"

I had to do it

plant both feet
on your libido
the same amount
of time it took
you to satisfy your skin
with my skin.
My silence
your lack
of creativity
so I got dressed.
Cronopios and famas​
laughed, and danced
around the crumbs
of your insensitive
life but I left.



This is why I'm joining a gym

Across the street from my window
lives an old gay man without family.
He has photos of his exes in the windowpanes
and an army of useless kites.

Like all houses with that many broken kites,
it's a crazy place to live, his silence reigns,
the boyfriends never get old,
the television is never turned off.
Friends, almost-relatives, argue,
throw all kinds of fears and drama
in the old man’s face every time he tries to talk.
The only thing absent: the resounding
welcome of a lover.

When he's fed up with being invisible
and doesn’t want to be a vintage pic
he walks to the beach, plants feet in the sand
next to a tropical grape tree and waits.

That is where he spends the endless night.
He doesn't leave until exhaustion invades.
Always looking at the sea,
to some non-existent radiant point
at the end of the darkness,
like the whirling stars
in Starry Night, lying
in his memory hammock,
unraveling primitive rainbows,
hallucinating his failure and defeat.

The small and modest apartment
that he moved into after weathering
sixty-eight hurricanes was his last
refuge of solace.

Yesterday I looked out the window
and he was gone along with the portraits
of his exes, the useless kites
and the sand he’d leave on the doormat.




Surrender got lost
in the war on my bed
and I couldn’t sleep
so I'm floating over
evening shadows in water.
Didn't have a choice.
There was nothing serene
in the chaos I encountered,
no larger lake
than the starless black sky
seen by these weathered eyes
to face the dark horizon ‘
empty of luxurious trees
un-scrolled, never still,
our bodies spinning from ice
into layers of hard liquid,
our names chiseled in water
that never disappears.



Sergio Ortiz is a retired English literature professor and bilingual poet. His recent credits include Spanish audio poems in GATO MALO Editing, an important Spanish Caribbean publication, Maleta Ilegal, a South American journal, Indolent Books, HIV Here and Now. His poems are also forthcoming in Breath and Shadows.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Thursday, November 29, 2018 - 23:54