Gregoria de Jesus

I am dying.  & I have stood watch over my love, my

No longer with the terrible equations of the mind nor of the
I understand love’s constancy, or love’s transparency:
O I seek the voices that spill the blood that wakes the night:
O I seek the faces that grip the mind that wields the fire:
In the rivers of my solitude I thus rowed,
along the shores of magistral fright of governors
to shield the secret from explorers of loins & rites
bastion of fever, languor of winter & Mount Buntis
His words my child & child weighed on balance of dust &
What then is betrayal?  Loss of faith?  Anitos of kinship?
The regions of his heart opened toward all imaginary beasts:
O My father expired upon my visit—
& my blaze of tears comforted him not in his most solitary
O My child perished in the flood of fever—
& my blaze of tears comforted it not in its most
solitary hour
O My husband drowned in the stupor of steel—
& my blaze of eyes comforted him not in his most
solitary hour
Yet O never have I drunk the witches’ brew, gnawed at
gypsum bone:
O Wolves about the lair howl in gluttonous droves
that in secrecy of my secret dreams I have so scourged!
O Evangelists about my breasts claw into anvil groves
that in the secrecy of my secret dreams I have so spawned!
Let women by their warrior husbands stand—
Let men by their tender amazons shun—
Let brats by their dry innocence demand—
Thus have I spent the time that was given unto me:
To collect all instruments of murder, seal letters & spell
the grief of maddened women who implore rabbis of hell!
I am dying…Beware, tribesmen, of the Eternal Wheel:
No brew of beasts shall not the black stone of History stain
No secret of knives shall not the growth of murder guise
No blot of dark shall not the cruel blast of light dry
Though lesser crones so quickly drown in
The epaulet embrace of strangers—O Wooden Horse!
Cool cool architecture of desire on long-forgotten shore—
I have not wavered at the roll of drums:
Verily have I watched the burning of the oil lamp
& stoked the failing fires of love—
The geology of knowledge is heavy with the smell of blood!
The privy of passion is heavy with the absinthe of studs!
O The whispers of lovers brief, full of solitude—
O The call of horns low, full of gratitude—
O The sighs of Makiling meek, full of finitude—
Let all keep the faith then, as in the mountains’ years
My Love, his limbs were torn in lair of straw & glass
The Council of Elders scribbled & pontified
in the florid prose Magdalo’s mercantile meteor, craft!
Thus did I search his grave to honor, his words obey!
Let not Sisas therefore of lesser magnitude
Whimper at the bottom of stairs
Why lordships are so fickle, graven in smelly beer!
Why memory is crawl of corpses, bastards drily stare!
O Let women of deception perish, weep their silly fate
Hearts be warped to steel, tears into neighs
& mount stallions of Gabriela, in lunar consonance, rage!
Frailty is never a female virtue—let my kind beware!
Avenge the massacre of all loves, rotten fruits & fortresses
love must overwhelm treason of tribes & Cavite reign!
O Constancy is lovely faith, burns through thick & thin!

I am dying.  & I have stood watch over my love, my

From Conjectural Poems, 1977

This entry was posted in POETRY OF EDEL GARCELLANO, selected by G.Y. Guillermo. Bookmark the permalink.

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