In your own chaos

you reached out


the imminence

of mine.


Your unexpected touch

turned my gaze.

Eyes locked

we previewed

the bitter darkness to come

–the night in which

your lamplike eyes

would be my only lantern.



you said.



Night did come

(your premonitory accuracy

still astounds me).

Hand on my heart

the second time.



you reminded.



Your warmth still

tethers me

to sanity–

even on days

when I teeter,


when the precipice calls

and I flirt

with answering.



Still one act away

I hesitate

in the shadows of creativity,

my longing

preparing me for another night.

Will I greet her

with your eyes

to guide me?


will your lanterns be


by a sea of darkness

in Act V?


Malo is a queer artist who oscillates between the fear of being discovered and being forgotten.


Clown Suite

If I had learned to paint existence,

if I would have had a Bertold Brecht in my drawer,

(Man is born in the Bertold Brecht of his shirt.

Children’s eyes and anxiety knock on his door)

this gulp of Japanese rum would have been

just like a son of a bitch rose.


But this country of drunkenness is insatiable,

Pedrito, almost like a back-lit photograph.

This small country promised us transience,

gave us many blank pages and some scribbles.

It also peed in our socks.


That’s why I love clowns.

For their contribution to the theory of horror,

for their wide and happy shoes,

and for the Bertold Brecht that redeems the usury

of dwelling in this rough alphabet.

Sergio A. Ortiz is a queer 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.