The Suffocated Terrace

“Silence is the refuge of the helpless, and burrow of accomplices."

                                 Jorge Gómez Jiménez, Editor in Chief of Letralia

a corpse buried
under a mound
of coconuts

at the hour
of the early breeze
the red ground

where heat and light
are born like eggs
with chorizo

the stench of vomit
a dead man’s journal
I opened and

read the first entry

today I went to talk about my pension plan

with the people at the suffocated terrace

and it was like a revelation

like walking down the steps of a twisted scar
to the crack at the bottom

of my back

the journey was
sprayed with vinegar

I remembered grade school

we had better toys
and our shoes

were made of leather

hardly anyone complained
about their DNA

or taxes and I was single

a kid but I paid taxes
nothing like I do now

to the same people

at the suffocated terrace
should I say suffocating
or call it The Suffocate

is it a terrace

now that it’s walled

and readied for the next

this sterile longevity

that someday soon will not have anyone
to pay their pensions or their health plans

and yet they

suffocate us on their terrace
or the likes of us       the nopalitos

coyoles fritos

pupusas rellenas de cerdo y queso
the rice and beans

of the rich       the political

the butt of their jokes


Sergio Ortiz lives in San Juan, Puerto Rico and is a retired educator, a poet, and photographer. He has a B.A. in English literature, and a M.A. in philosophy. Flutter Press released his debut chapbook, "At the Tail End of Dusk", in October of 2009. Ronin Press released his second chapbook, "topography of a desire", in May of 2010. Avantacular Press released his first photographic chapbook, "The Sugarcane Harvest", May 2010. He was recently published, or is forthcoming in: YB: A Journal of New Poetry, The Shine Journal, WTF PWM, The 13th Warrior Review, Deuce Coupe, and Heavy Bear.

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