Why do I paint my lips red
when my secrets are hidden in blue?

Elegance is a commodity situated
in the fine print of my silky innocence.
There is strength in water.

Water is the freedom I never have.
Art beckons an eye full of the kind of lust
I can only share from a distance,
walking through the scourged alleys
of the city slums.

I dwell in secret among shadows
lost to the echoes of a bolero.
Dance is my chore and magic.
Once in a while, I raise my offer
to show a stream of temper.

It is then men gaze on my every movement;
I am a slave of lust schooled for a single branch
that will never belong to me.

The art of conversation bows as a swan,
never rushing into a premeditated pose,
equally matching the wits
of young and forgotten trees.

Sergio A. Ortiz is a retired educator, poet, and photographer. He has a B.A. in English literature, and an M.A. in philosophy. Flutter Press released his debut chapbook, At the Tail End of Dusk, October 2009. Ronin Press released his second chapbook, topography of a desire, May 2010. Avantacular Press released his first photographic chapbook: The Sugarcane Harvest, May 2010. His third chapbook: Wet Stones and Bedbugs in My Mattress, will be released by Flutter Press, November 2010. He was recently published, or is forthcoming in: Fried Eye, Shot Glass Journal, Cavalier Literary Couture, and Touch: The Journal of Healing. He is a three-time nominee to the 2010 Sundress Best of the Net anthology, and a 2010 Pushcart nominee.

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