Wendy C. Ortiz


Resist vs. surrender
There have been times when I didn’t know the difference

In the thick of the unnameable which,
when reduced, is transparent
Or nothing I can touch anyway

Why and how: repeat with 100 different responses to each

Chart your love as on a seismograph.
Remember that you are charting the motion of something that is essentially anchored. It is anchored in something you can’t see.

Consider the last three times you resisted and the outcomes. Consider the last three times you surrendered and the outcomes.

Muscle under skin loosening in the sun. Make slack. I listened to a song I listened to habitually a dozen years ago again today on the trail, the song I used to run down the mountain with, braids flying, bounding. Today I ran with the song again but no tears like before. Just a loosening.
Let go

Beautiful occurrences after earthquakes.  Touching a splinter, lightly fingering it.
Some things are best not to deepen.
Work free




I feel safest
everything I touch I learn from
it’s not a choice

forced to remember
when I was your anchor
(stay in your body, stay in your body)

magazines arrive in the mail
there’s nothing to believe in, really
(body, body)

when the voice says Are you really     ready
what it means is
can you let go

do you know
what you’ve been looking at here
the last two years?

I haven’t
because how do you let go
when it’s ripe for the writing

if I let go
where’s the anchor
oh right
I’ve got it

it’s over my head
ripping the air


Wendy C. Ortiz is the author of Excavation: A Memoir (Future Tense Books, 2014), Hollywood Notebook (Writ Large Press, 2015), and the dreamoir Bruja (CCM, 2016). Her work has been profiled or featured in the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus, and the National Book Critics Circle Small Press Spotlight blog. Wendy lives in Los Angeles.