Gay Lover & Other Vignettes

I.

He was lining up at the counter,
his ruddy, loose cheeks
flatly shining with Chinese powder,
his lips streaked with crimson violence.
Obviously, “a flaming faggot”
who rebels against the social code
of tucking in his real gender.
His falsetto
was pipingly directed
at the supermart boy
for his red umbrella in the corner…
& he quickly turned around
to charge into the deafening rain
when it was handed over.
But people looked the other way
as if it were no laughing matter.
The city is hospitable
to legions of them
crawling out of the woodwork everyday;
& struggling
for manageable space
of peace & solitude,
this cozy alcove
for their secret & sacred paramours.
O to be old & in love
in a country
where their dalliance
is officially forbidden…
His eyes, shadowy with mascara,
tell it all.

2.
Petronilo

He was a giant that cast
an intellectual shadow
in those republican years
but his rememberers
would rather rank him with the lesser gods.
Yes, dear ol’ Pete
was the irreverent teller
of facts & fiction,
historical permutations
that saw through the robes
of pontiffs & scalawags
behind their neo-fascist repertoires
& saloon smile.
He was sworn in
as card-carrying Communist
in martial times
& never deviated from the line.
True, he kept a male lover
in his Campus house—
but that was a personal desire
conversant with sexual radicals
out to shock
like a neighborhood Marx.
When he retired in Bulacan
& set up shop,
like some genteel farmer
& iconoclast,
he’d be one with
Hispanic artifacts
contravening a way
that was consuming
all & sundry
in a city of decaying lives.
Now, his texts are prey
to rampaging termites.
& young turks swagger
they’re avant-garde in their own write.

II
Semiotics

The former chair
just flew in
from Canada
& slipped herself
into the room,
confiding how Canadians
themselves despair
over their news copy
that reeks
of grammatical malady.
Such revelation
is sop to academic satraps
who’ve vowed
to make the counry
conversant
with the master code.
The colonial outpost
In the Eastern empire
would beam
this is world-class turf,
after all.
Yet the poor
make love
in the vernacular
& couldn’t function
as equal
in terra firma
of foreign insertions
except as receivers
of lavatory signs
& brothel semaphore.

2.
Fiefdom

Walking down the corridor
& passing by flocks
of freshmen chattering
like babes in the wood,
he felt out of sync
with the times & the crowd.
He was informed
via the grapevine
that a claque of pedagogues
wanted him kicked out
because he’s a proselytizing
dude out to ensnare
suckers for the movement’s
cause.
Worse, he utilizes Filipino
in a department
that prides itself of its nasal lingo.
What more could he say
but to rage helplessly inside
for all this is blasphemy
of hawk-eyed neo-liberals
who resent his flaneur pose.
Isn’t this a premier post
where discourse is bound
to open up the system’s corpse,
not follow the procession
to the church where priests
turgidly hold court?
How long must they begrudge
his contractual pittance
& profess themselves
more equal to the task
of guiding the snotty-nosed
on to a wiser route?
Verily, verily,
the world is full
of aborted foetuses
& midwives’ hands
drip with blood & ichor.

III
Recidivist
(For Camille & Tara)

He must survive all this.
He must hang up his guitar
& forget all sonatas
in his head.
It merely keeps the memory
burning
as the strings resonate
with the music of her voice.
Yes, he must learn
to exorcise her
from everything he does
as he wakes up
even if the rain outside
drowns his heart.
He must junk his troubadour
songs
& let time, slow & fast,
vacantly pass.
It has always been that way
& will be for a long, long time,
until, out of the blue,
like lightning in summer,
she texts back,
& he’ll eat again his words
like a dunce
who never learns his lessons
by humming old, forgotten songs
that rouse old sleeping dogs.

IV
The Witnesses

The couple, who breathe their days
in the name of Christ,
saw the young men screaming
as clean-cut thugs
were hauling him off
to a waiting van.
But they froze in their seats
for the anonymous brutes
were pointing their guns
from inside their shirts.
He was quickly gone—
After some moments of shock
they repaired back to their table
& silently let
the puzzling crime pass.
No, they kept to themselves,
somewhat sparing their kids
the bizarre happening.
They were too young,
& must be protected
from evil spirits
that would ruin their pacifist habit.
& they went about their business
with the febrile prayer
that the Lord Almighty
would steer them off harm’s way.
No, they didn’t file a report,
who is there to trust anyway?
Everything works, they mutter,
according to God’s pre-emptive babel.

V
Kafka

“It’s an old story,”
he sighs,
his left eye
blinded by a vicious punch
& hidden by a patch of shadow
that breaks a bruise of light
on his face.
“They insist I was there
to carry out the order.
They might as well have suspended
the law of physics:
I, a loner, was in two places,
an object
in time & space
of conflicting coordinates…
It’s a done deal
with gov’t lawyers propounding
the law—& its legal macheney—
must be observed
as well as tested.”
He licks his lips
& closes his eyes
as though diving into the
watery depths of his mind.
In the drawing of wild cards
of fate
he is surely done for
in a country
where the blindfolded lady
has abandoned her post…

VI
Suicide Note
(For women of my time)

If he knew then
what he knows now…
He would hum to himself
like a young Sinatra
strolling down a mall.
Yet all things would remain
the same—
he was what he had been
through the years,
a cripple
with a broken heart clipped together
by iron wires;
whose laughter is dry
& less real now.
He has lost some bragging rights:
Time & space couldn’t be conflated
to beat the odds
when one was Dylan green
& theatrically drying…
every new knowledge
to keep him cool & forewarned
comes a tad too late
like love & passion
that wouldn’t mix together
on time.
Either one was to guileless
or too malevolent—
& everyday he’s holding
sun-filled promises
in an empty bag.
When she left
it is as if it was written
in the stars
& his dreams
would clink like silver coins
at closed bazaar.

VII

1.
Scooter Libby

Why shouldn’t I be pardoned?
I served VP Cheney well.
Valery Wilson should have
shut her husband up;
he had no business
questioning the war in Iraq.
His spiel was fodder
to Al Qaeda crap.
The prison term is most unjust.
I am just any dutiful bureucrat.
Two & a half years in jail—
for what?
It’s my President’s call.
Commies & left-wing senators
want me to take the fall.

2.
Hero

They drove
for three hours
through a raging snow storm
to claim their
dead.
The military plane
didn’t bother
to bring him
nearer to their site
& the flag wasn’t lowered
at the Capitol,
where a factotum
of an architect of war
was spared a jail term
for obstruction of justice
& leaking a secret
on a compatriot
who also served
America’s interest.
The family must have wondered,
despite themselves,
why their son,
called to duty,
is gone,
& Scooty,
who was all swagger
for Bush invasion of
the axes of evil,
is very much alive.

3.
One-eyed Jack, a local version

Cringe like a cornered rat?
The don’t scare me. It’s all crap.
This handgun
flashes a message to the bums
am not a soft target of a Mindanaon.
I’ve got the Boss in my pocket.
If they touch me at the Orchard,
the Palace will surely rock!
If they pull me up
to twist in the wind,
I’ll push them down
toward the gargoyle’s mouth.
There’s a chess game playing
between generals & politicians:
From Queen to Bishop to pawn
I can checkmate to the last tick of the clock.
O this regime lives/dies by their one-eyed Jack.

VIII
Subsman

He remembers him now,
the Old Chinaman
who worked at a bookstore.
He would greet him—
His eyes half-moons of smile—
& show him the books
he couldn’t however buy
but simply touch
the soft, white pages
& smell the fresh effluvium of ink
like Thai silk from Alladin:
beyond reach, hidden…
Yet there they were
within the brief solitude
of his glance.
The faithful salesman,
fixture like a doorknob
in the habitat,
would take the train
to Bulacan
every evening
where he had set up
a modest hut for residence.
Until he didn’t see him anymore:
He had died
in a manner he conducted his job—
Unobtrusive, accommodating
& virtually unknown
to the bustling crowd
outside the LRT station.
So many little guys
who wouldn’t impose themselves
on the world
quickly & silently vanishing
as if the universe
owed them nothing.

IX
Uncle

Yes, he was a cool dude
during my childhood years…
He wouldn’t squeal
on soldiers of his guerilla regiment
so the Kempeitai of Naujan garrison
brusquely cut-off his ears.
but it didn’t stop him grinning
as though God & his amulet
had spared him the pain.
Uncle was disappointed with
 a kinsman who broke down
when he was clapped into jail—
Mumbling to himself
about living tough & mean.
When he died of tuberculosis—
all his sons had perished
by disease or accident—
he willed his power to a favorite niec
who couldn’t catch the precious stone
he had mournfully spat out:
& witnesses were slow to curse
the choice that was
for his magical craft.
His legend supernal stopped at that.
Never would he live again
but in text memorials in my mind
where warriors of our line
blaze & love like any man’s man.

X
Humbert

So it is written in man-made stars:
Thou shall not fall for young women—
the rule of Faustian body decrees
fiery passion only fits nubile hearts.
When he slowly rose from the chair
& saw her gamboling in the rain,
her breasts sticking to her silken dress,
his heart inexplicably leaped
then mercifully crashed down
because this sudden flux in his veins
was most appalling, most forbidden.
Is there a rule in the universe
that stones should stay put in place?
The earth’s crusts shift & quake,
& he, transfixed by the beauty at daybreak,
must perforce close his eyes at ebbing tide.
This is most ludicrous, unfair—
The tribe concocts draconian rules & procedures
to keep law & order in passion’s wake—
  But cyclones of desire must break out:
Come hell on high water, he’s a Canute
raging against the onrush of waves & wind!
Stupid heart,
waiting for the final explosion of light
in an evening before the encircling dark.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s