Tag Archives: Texas

MÓNICA TERESA ORTIZ.April 2020


MÓNICA TERESA ORTIZ

Photo by Jeff Sirkin


 

AND I AM ALSO THINKING ABOUT TOMORROW

—SUZANNE CÈSAIRE

 

I encounter dead birds

on walks through tunnels

crape myrtle juniper ash they are almost never

starched just explosions

plumage on sidewalks

sometimes cradled

beneath shade of bush

I am not sure why I so often notice

bodies except I frequently stare

at the ground as if it is going to dissolve

under my feet and devour me

I do not trust the earth

she eats everything I love

I stop to memorialize posture of a crow

mourned by a soapberry

a pigeon shrouded inside burst of buffalo grass

and once a dove I kneeled next to

kissed a gutter delicately

arranged like a rose bought in the old souks of Tripoli

petals pinned between thighs

of a book I carried through Customs

to give to a woman who told me

she had a lot to say about dead birds

and then said nothing more

I waited

for an explanation

studying the remains of a blue jay

at the foot of a magnolia

I think about what sort of woman I fall in love with

I should fall in love with the kind that chases after

a snake with a machete

not the kind that kills it

not the kind who knows

what a dead bird means

and replaces an answer with an absence

 

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AND THE BIRD WHO KNEW MY NAME / AND THE WOMAN WHO HAD A THOUSAND NAMES

—AIME CÈSAIRE, Notes from a Native Land

 

1.

I like watching you carve out the guts of a pomegranate with a spoon

gobble a hundred bloody hearts all at once

so I can suck acidity off your lips later

you never fall asleep unless you are high or we fuck a few times

eventually neither works

pleasure never the point of the orgasm

it is always sedation you seek

we kiss in bars after

funerals

our bodies inconsolable

 

 

 

2.

once I ask if you love me

the tongue does what it must do

lie

a thousand names buried in your history

only mine vanishes from your vocabulary

I leave before you invite me to stay longer

disappearing like populations of birds from the northern hemisphere

we lack sufficient habitat for long term survival

 

 

 

3.

I cancel the rest of the eclipses

the next morning I leave for Paris

the one place that does not frighten me

as I map the 20th arrondissement

invent omens in gardens inside Pere Lechaise

crows watch bewildered tourists take photos of Oscar Wilde’s tomb

 

 

 

4.

I wonder if my memories might become obituaries

if I could condense an entire life into one paragraph

perhaps plant it under one of the paved alleyways

there near a sepulcher inside the necropolis

I try to delete you

 

 

 

5.

I dream of dragging the ocean

in search of the entrance to the underworld

you tell me you prefer space cowboys and that I should stop looking for you

in your dreams but in my dreams

I ascend into shadows of Patagonia

to sleep

where the wind

a tempest

taunts me

 

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IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO CHANGE THE BOURGEOIS STATE … YOU HAVE TO BRING IT DOWN

—DIONNE BRAND, from Ossuary II

 

ask for trumpets

finale of first world

concupiscent eyes

prepare for a parade

where polar caps melt

and the emperor of ice cream

just

became

king

call this age the Anthropocene

paleteros kept peasants

poets wear gucci shoes to perform and

sing of palaces while workers

cultivate lakes of lithium

poppy fields smother our faces

our feet protrude from sediment

cockroaches come out at last

let radiation affix its beam

here he comes

here comes our king

the last emperor

is the emperor of ice cream

 

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MÓNICA TERESA ORTIZ


Mónica Teresa Ortiz
was born and raised in Texas. Her first poetry collection, Muted Blood, was published by Black Radish Books in 2018, and her chapbook, winner of the inaugural Host Publications Prize, Autobiography of a Semiromantic Anarchist, was published in 2019.

 

 

 

To download a printable PDF version of this page, click here.

 

 

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April 2020.MÓNICA TERESA ORTIZ