Jan 19, 2009
About desire: we tend to
.....betray ourselves. Meanwhile,
embers scatter and smoke
............rises like prayer
........there's a kind of giving
like that stain on silk
.......you didn't see
.When it comes to secrets
.....people always wait
............to be asked.
...But, by then,
petals will unfurl
Dec 13, 2008
it is the sound of porcelain
slammed against the walls
without letting go, only letting it
it splinter into tiny shards
that dig deep into skin,
slipping inside blood vessels
en route to the heart.
Nov 9, 2008
I've walked the plank so many times,
I could have been a ballerina―
dancing on guilt trip wires because
I'm graceful when head over heels,
tumbling. "Look Ma! no hands!"
Look what he did, Ma, they're broken:
promises written on bones
too heavy to carry this far
out to sea. So I drop anchor
where dreams go to die.
I lie, dead still,
his name chiseled off my back
with an ice pick― because
I needed to make holes
to breathe again.
Perhaps if he had a backbone
I would not need to carve my own.
It costs too much and I should be
saving the tears inside cups
for him to drink; and forget
the time the water broke
me open, spilling hopes when
no hands were on deck to stop
memories from seeping through
the cracks where our smiles used to
Aug 11, 2008
All over my fridge are magnets,
keepsakes from the places I've been.
In San Francisco, I bought the Golden
Gate the moment my 13 hour flight landed.
I don't have one for Tucson,
where I met you for the first time.
As if you, too, couldn't see beyond
just in front of us.
I didn't get one in Nogales, though
we went to many gift shops.
About hunger: I've known it,
and I've been told to bear with it.
As the days passed, my Arizona
collection grew: Wupatki Ruins, Sunset
Crater and yes, the Grand Canyon,
bought the week before I had to leave.
In Manila, I arranged them on
my fridge, a souvenir shrine
to remind me of what
I could not bring home.
Jul 13, 2008
They do it, the ones who love
without making love, by dancing with words
that reach out to each other, falling short
over the glass, fingers pressed
against monitor screens, curved
over keyboard bodies, faces
red as the sun, one setting the other rising
at the other end of the world, wet as the
oceans that come between their need to
come to, come to come to God come to
each other. They do it without kissing
the love that gave birth to their poetry, whispers
spreading steady like warmth from heated
laptops. These are the true romantics,
the dreamers, the mystics, the ones who
have accepted the logic of distance,
the mathematics of bridges and yet
don’t turn back at the sight of the gap, for
they are the greatest gymnasts: ones who
arch their backs over the globe, flipping
electrical switches to cross the synapses
of their bodies, neurons shuddering
in rhyme—these factors, like the bed
never been to, is the solution, to the
problem of souls divided by 2, reaching
over the universe defying
their lack of owned time.
At the mental seams
you and I were conceived,
(stitched from the rags
of empty arms)
souls joined at the hips,
grinding against each other’s need
to be. Above the bed lay
its parallel line (contract, horizon,
point of rest) where slept
the discovery that you and I
were not supposed to meet
in this illusion of a future woven
into our past-entangled arms.
Jul 7, 2008
The morning after
he took one of his cigarettes and lit it
with what might have been a pistol.
The floor had been swept
of the garbage
spilled on its cement tiles.
The sink that was piled with dishes
was clean. no remnants
jammed in the drain,
the bathroom reeked of antiseptic.
Smells like the hospital, she whispered.
He helped her lie down
and kissed her forehead,
her eyes resembled
Quiapo stalls and sampaguitas,
memories seeping through
like her monthly stains.
He knelt beside the bed,
Septembers might've been a baby
one that could've been theirs
screaming for milk
they could not afford,
when the neighbors couldn't sleep
would they ask him, why? how?
he would've answered,
he couldn't do everything.
He watched her sleep and
put the pistol lighter down.
he saw too much not to feel
her silent cries through the
thin blankets she clutched
like they were the walls
of her own womb.
[old poem, might polish later when I have the time]
I don’t think I’ll make a real transvestite,
wear my heart in fire-engine heels,
and still walk straight, head high.
No, every morning, before I put on
my acceptable black pumps,
I cup the soles of my feet and
feel the weight of regret at
what I could never be: proud
and comfortable with my identity,
unafraid of being packed away in
the labels that would make
anyone craven, shirking
inside their own closets.
Jul 5, 2008
stripping away of her beauty.
Some say she was,
some just shook their head
and refused to look at her eyes-
where it began.
The long route of wide winding roads will eventually lead her to the safety of the old city walls, but for now, she tells herself that we wear old habits like halos, circular patterns where we must look back to get ahead of ourselves. Born from the river, perhaps she was not one who believed in straight lines, knowing that at some point the path she treads will branch out again into sooty alleyways and back streets of Ermita where she will learn to dance along the cracks of her broken spirit, the music allowing her to hide them beneath her calloused soles.
*My first prose poem...woohoo!
May 23, 2008
I have replaced you so many times
In my mind, changed your age and face.
Today I imagined you five years old, wearing
one of my shirts that fell all the way down
to your knees. We watched TV for a while and
when a dog was shot in a movie you asked
“Is that puppy sleeping?” And I said, “Yes, for his own good.”
At nights I would tuck you in beside me,
watching you sleep softly still, until
I realized that whenever I stand still
the landscape stretches and reveals new things—
mountains, previously dots on the horizon,
loom and threaten to crush or force me to run;
and so I run in the other direction
forgetting, keeping the memories in the dark
closet, where the cat, Milky, liked to sleep.
Later, I asked you not to go near her as she had
Just given birth on my newly washed towels.
Later we found that the kittens were stillborn,
flesh stuck together, like a foreboding feeling
that couldn't be shaken off, only buried,
in a shoe box grave under a willow in the yard. Though
Milky came every night to look for them in the closet anyway.
During fiestas you would speak to me as a pig would speak
before it was slaughtered. Your voice drowning the
busy chatter of relatives and friends preparing meals,
skinning sausages with sharp kitchen knives, slicing
fetal curves of garlic, crushing them into pepper, and I -
would choke on a throat full of water
and watch you trickle on the metal basin
full of raw dinuguan.*
*dinuguan - "pork blood stew" or "chocolate meat" or "chocolate pudding" in English, is a Filipino savory stew of blood sausage and offal simmered in a rich, spicy gravy of pig blood, garlic, chili and vinegar.(from wikipedia)
May 17, 2008
small and smooth because it fell
with rain I never saw coming
hard to catch in palms that bruise easy
the way it sat in my stomach long
after it slowly climbed up to sit
on top of the wall, a Humpty Dumpty
on a heart that needed
just one more
May 12, 2008
I found you in this mailbox
when my hand reached
inside to look for a laugh,
little did I know that
when I pulled you out,
you tickled my heart
so much, I just had to