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The Poems of Lisa Ortiz

AE_LisaOrtizEditor’s note: The poems of Lisa Ortiz have appeared in “Zyzzyva,” “Comstock Review,” “The Dirty Napkin,” “Pedestal,” and “Crab Creek Review.” She was a recipient of a 2007 and 2008 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg prize, and her work has been featured on “Verse Daily.”

Revision
I have decided against the castle
and leave it empty.
In the gatehouse, the ticket taker
is hunched and picking at his nails.
I leave behind the bereft queen,
the perfidious king, they way she does him in
with scissors, the line about mercury and blood.

Instead I pull in circus imagery:
elephants with satin ribbons, sequined women,
clowns with carnivorous mouths,
and behind it all the broke-down trailers
where the real acts happen.

I will take out the stanza about acrobats
an overreaching metaphor for love
the way it dances on tiptoe
how the fall is choreographed
how I should have known.

I will take out your name.

I will leave in this part here,
in which the speaker stands alone
in the empty lot, dry grass and plastic cups.
She creases the program between her fingers
She kicks up tiny torrents of dust;
she is glum but satisfied.

 

Song
Partly, I was mussed
and then what. You
fussed—forgot the good
in me. Frankly

you left. Oh loneliness!
I am empty: a howling,
a bluff, a dark shaft, tailings,
a single plastic bag, rising.

 

Desire Boat
On an island of sugar sand
we are bone thin.

I wait up for you. In the morning
my eye sockets are two dredged harbors.

The Buddha said: spread your heart like a rug
for company. Sweep it.

You are the only visitor I want. The rocking does not stop
even after months on the mountain.

Were I farmer, I would grow seas
of flowers and grains: you could row home.

I close my eyes and the boat tilts. You
hold me as we go under.

 

Rue
A whole field of grasses
blazing in tribe and genus,
and here’s my heart: last year’s dried-up fruit.

I waited for you: my iconic prince
my ghost-robed invalid, my great regret.
Give others the lavender and aster

the lupine, the blazingstar.
I like the bitter stuff. Lay me in the water
with beggar-ticks and coltsfoot.

Anyone can choose pretty. It takes
a half-grown woman to choose wild.

Comments (2)Add Comment
...
written by Patricia Lucas, December 20, 2011
So very talented you are, Lisa. Thank you for sharing these deepest thoughts of your heart and soul with all.
poets
written by michael mccausland, June 12, 2010
i can't believe it. this lady can write. i'm sorry, but most of the stuff you print in this rag is awful, as is most anything i've tried to read in forever. nobody has reached me like this since Charles Bukowski and that's as high a compliment as you can get. she's as good as Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen.

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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