Rigorous
Volume Four, Issue 3



Sergio Ortiz


Little giants wearing green carnations

Suffering is one very long moment.
We cannot divide it by seasons…

Oscar Wilde, De Profundis

A shadow watches as a couple walks
hand in hand --dawn leaning on dawn--
to lie between each others thighs.
What words describe her disgust,
jail-sentences, ridicule, head-bashing?

Iron never tastes as good as
when love shimmers, sparkles
before a religious liberty
spokeswoman with a hate banner
before our state Senate.

Siddhartha says, we see
purely for ourselves. Elton John
asks, if we still feel the pain.
I saw those men scuff Alexa's face
against the sidewalk.
Her memories grew old
and perished on that street,
Charbonier. I can't forgive
or forget your hand in that.

It's been a thousand days
I've had to starve, hundreds of
nights asleep on cold boulevards,
a million insults by my side
kick my withered
measly pride while my brethren
hide their eyes.



Notes: Alexa was a transgender woman assassinated in April of 2020. The first of four trans women assassinated in one month's time in Puerto Rico.

Tata Charbonier is a conservative religious politician in the Puerto Rican statehood party (PNP), a lawyer by profession who has been working tirelessly to take away LGBTTQI freedoms and rights already achieved by federal law.




Death row

Today's the execution.
Death row's counting hopeful faces
and we fight    because we know you,
because I know your dream,
your    somewhere else
            your Guanajuato         or New York City.
We know you can give us directions,
can turn on the radio
and take every innocent man
on their way to a lethal injection
home.
            Because we know you
                        I know you
need to be     home.  Because you know
            who and where you    stand
staring at me.



Sergio Ortiz: "I am a retired English literature professor and bilingual poet. My 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. My poems are also forthcoming in Breath and Shadows and Unlikely Stories."




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