Parabolic Mirror & All That

1.
Parabolic Mirror

A “future that’s always arriving
but that never arrives finally”
is the secret of his poetry.
He says, squirting out a jet
of tobacco juice & licking
globules of saliva on his lips.
Yes, the sacred rose
in his head like her image
hoving into view in the window
of his mind
but which quickly turns into mist
& dust
when she moves like the spectre
of his mourning
to the ringing of the phone
that ensures the vacancy of her voice.
Hope is the force that snatches
the language of his songs
from the jaws of death—
But love comes like the future
that never makes it anyway:
Surely, he’ll no longer remember her
for the revolution sneaks
like a thief in the night
& runs off with the memory of the past:
loss, death, beauty, evil,
must no longer exist in that moment
which always threatens to arrive,
like the voice & face of God
fanatics wish in their prayers to behold
but will never realize
because the infinite overwhelms
& makes all mad.
Poems turn into empty shells,
like ghosts overtaken by their ghostliness.
He who waits for her
in the future that will never be in
his lifetime,
has really therefore never waited at all.

2.
Gay Lover II

The young man,
in love with another
young man,
keeps stirring the coffee
to kill time of his desire
that grips his heart
to virtual choking—
But the young gay
suddenly feels terribly alone
because the object of his passion
boisterously snuggles
in the arms of his girlet,
oblivious of the vise
that tightens on his green,
green heart.
O it will always be like this…
When he turns old,
toothless & grey
& tires of paid studs,
shall he pull the trigger
& be done finally
with this death
he has always known
since he was a child
wanting madly to be loved?
But what for?
He had always died
a long, long time ago.

3.
Dead End

She was idling the engine
when she blurted out—
Yes, she’s a lesbian
& couldn’t respond
to any manly affection.
She was smiling
somewhat relieved
by this truthtelling
she had finally steamed off
the crevices of her fears.
She couldn’t buck
the call of her genes.
He shrugged off the confession,
the while funnily humming
an old fifties song,
“Que sera, sera…”
Because the world
no longer surprises.
There’s this continuing
electricity of pain
he couldn’t shake off,
because like the sea,
there’s no stopping,
the nocturnal waves’ weeping.

4.
Gigolo

He’s a handsome bloke
but women don’t interest him.
Yes, he finds their company
light & comforting
but he desires the intimacy
of something else.
The mirror of his own gender
that sears the flesh in extreme pleasure
& inflicts pain in a soaring gradient
because at daybreak
the guy will pull up the trousers
& out of his bed
to service another client:
Love is fleeting,
more so if you pay for it.
My lot, my infernal fate,
he says without blinking
at evenings when he’s most alone
& penniless
to procure a lover.
Temporary dalliance
is the permanent mode
of his desiring days.

5.
Love for Sale

Old & dumpy
with wings of fat
flapping under her arms,
she lifts the choco cup
daintily to her lips
because her lover,
a woman half her age,
is snugly by her side,
getting old, she twitters,
isn’t a lost cause—
but she has talent for amnesia,
having blotted out
of her memory
those footloose vamps
who deserted her boudoir.
O She mustn’t run out of moola
otherwise
she’ll be dawdling
like a cat at midsea
on a raft floating.
“Can’t buy me love,”
the Beatles sing to lovesick kids—
But that’s all juvenile crap.
Guys & dolls
prefer casinos
to throw dice & sex
over telltale verities
of monks & archives.

6.
Now & Forever

The young couple is too damn cloying,
like pure molasses,
for his urbane taste—
But he was young, stupid & in love once
so he could understand.
The lovers were however flouting
his doomsday line
that love is sheer baloney
& flies out of the window
when poverty knocks on the door.
& he’s so arrogantly right,
for years later,
the coosome twosome would split
their blessed lives
for separate cozier nests in the suburbs.
Where has love gone?
It was all physical then
like a nocturnal, holiday dance.

7.
Against the Odds

I

He has always been
 decently forthright
about his, uh, case:
he’s gay,
but his parents
never held it against him:
His mind is sharp;
schoolmates have spared
him from masculine spite
& through the years,
they have stood by him,
showering him with affection
in a motherly way.
The world is not cruel,
after all.
Love is still possible.
Like life without remorse.

II

So they went through
a lot of hassle,
at a time when lesbian union was a counterfeit
celebration
of divine passion.
But she fought for themselves
& when she died,
she followed her to the grave.
They had been together
for so long a time
their nieces couldn’t remember:
Daily fresh flowers are laid on their tombstones.

III

The obituary lied:
She was never
the dutiful hausfrau
who grieved over
her husband’s death.
She was terribly relieved
that the Lord finally heeded
her prayers.
The welts of bruises
that scarred her frail body
would no longer trigger
the memories
of nocturnal touch
& intimate words
that camouflaged
her mechanical throes…
The company of women
would never make her tremble
at the door
when she comes late
from shooting the breeze
to have time for herself.
O The bliss of living alone
& with friends
who firmly understand
the rule of men
is falsely the rule of Absolutes.

8.
Resolution

He left
when the kids
were still crawling on all fours
for somewhere.
Until the days turned into weeks
& into months
& into years
& she defeatedly accepted the fatal truth
that she was abandoned—
But hadn’t she the world
all to herself
to forge & carry on?
Will she still be on the look-out
for “my man”
to fill her empty days
& barren nights?
She had lost track of her
desires.
Her daughters are grown.
She’ll just keep on moving—
with or without
a dream companion.

9.
Castle’s Soliloquy

I

The Castle
is under siege.
& the Queen must rule
according to her ordination
to keep the mob
off the Palace garden
where grass is deep-green,
flowers in orchidean bloom
& no savage interlopers
in yellow & crimson
must ravage the man-made beauty
of her realm.
She therefore must issue
the sovereign resolution.
Secure her security
& let loose the generals
& those who dare trespass
the margin of constitutional turf
& suffer the consequence
of their malodorous act.
Her word is Law
to keep the world under
Pax Americana.
Why can’t the mob
drum into its head
that if the kingdom perishes,
so shall it be?
Fools! Fools! Fools!
Their terrorist knavery
must be stopped
lest civilization’s stonewall
be breached by thieves & dogs
out to grab
the power of her breed.

II

They don’t know what they’re doing.
No poetry reading
can change the state of things.
Just throw them a loaf of bread,
some grants or scholarships,
even a bullhorn
at the farthest end of the street,
& the people’s rage
would flow down to a trickle
like spent waterfall.
How can these idiots understand
the complexity of Presidential rule—
the agony of decision,
the sleepless nights of negotiations,
calls to the right connection—
when at the whim of troublemakers—
who wave their neo-liberal tomes—
puppets besiege the Castle,
screaming: Justice! Bread! Freedom!
They must be taught a history lesson
to keep to their small spaces
where their voices in unison
bounce off their human walls,
keeping the air
pacifically calm & monotoned!
The Police must patrol the streets,
& zip tight the protestors’ lips!
That has been the way of tradition,
ritual of baranganic custom.
To redefine freedom
as a public exercise
is to make a mockery of the law
that spells
only a few are chosen
to lead the flock of sheep
which must dutifully follow.

10.
The Triggerman’s Tale

Yes, I did pull the trigger
& watch him crumple down the hole
like a sack of air.
But I’m a thousand times innocent.
The guy is not lily-white & pure
like his photo’s childlike demeanor.
I cannot confess to my act
as a crime denounced my militants
who weigh the logic of my job.
No sir. Am just an instrument,
like a priest or gardener, of a higher order.
He, the victim, is the devil iconified
like the fallen angel,
& God had asked me to destroy,
his ilk to be nipped in the bad.
A communist is this fool
who wouldn’t recognize
the power of my Boss as fount of wisdom
that all things flow from law:
I observe the rules of engagement
to actualize governance’s flow.
Is it a crime to weed out
the Lord’s & President’s detractors
who focus their cantankerous wrath
on those who call the shots
with constitutional imprimatur?
The regiment protects me from sparrows
who kill & ambush my kind,
insisting we lack ethics, are judicially blind?
The street charades should stop.
I am just a dutiful cog
in the machine that devours NPAs & scalawags.
My office takes care of my family, my needs.
The secret I shall carry to my grave.
I am loyal to my command, its cause.
  Heil be the target of their ire, my Boss!

11
Gethsemane

The old priest wept
upon being told by the President
marines died & were beheaded
in hot pursuit of his kidnappers.
Did she have to say that?
Yes, she must make sure
the Italian missionary is beholden
to her power & sinecure.

The old priest wept
for all who’ll be rescued in the future
because it would be a favor
where there is only warrior adventure
& none for tooting the horn
& serving her grandiose pleasure.

The old priest wept
for a land scarred by goons & typhoons
& children armed with guns
under the shadow of the moon.

The old priest wept
at the jester of sardonic desolation.

12.
A Hitman’s Drunken Spiel

I

I’m no weasel.
They can’t pry off me
state secrets.
These human rights flunkeys
talk badly of my soul.
But I’m not the bum
with stinking balls.
I have my loyalties
& ideological bull.
I don’t give a damn
about the so-called victims,
who’ll never bother
if I’m hungry or out of sync.
Am a professional like them.
I earn my pittance.
I have my own circle of friends
who never abstract
my job as a monstrous theme.
O To each his own.
I only attend to little things.
Big shots entrust me with
because we have the same whims.
They love my simple being:
God wants me to toe the line
& keep watch over rallyists
who are all infected with isms.
I don’t give a hoot
if they’re rich or poor.
Life is a Russian roulette.
O I didn’t say anything; remember?

II

But I’m no dummy.
I’m my own man.
She owes me
as much as I owe her.
She can’t be where she is
if I’m not where I am.
It takes two to tango.
On what moral hype
can the judge my life?
If I’m clean, so must she be.
If I’m dirty,
a thousand times she is, too.
This is a looneytune jungle
where elephants stampede
& crush lowly centipedes.
For the Queen to enjoy the Hunt,
she needs trained & well-fed hounds.

13.
Collaborators
(For Bugsy & Friends)

I

“Any regime will have its fair share
of collaborators.
He/she maybe your close friend
who kept his/her card
close to his/her chest,
or your passionate lover
who at the end of the day
differs from your view of heaven—
the present & the future
that constantly change
like white clouds overhead drifting.”
He was waxing poetic
as his words dribbled on
at the honkytonk coffee shop
into the night slowly emptying.
“Yes, rare is the companion,
that’ll see you through thick & thin—
But that’s how life happens
& explains the stormy heartaches
as you walk down the labyrinth.
Watch your back, take note of old men
who failed to keep their wit & passion,
& even the young who try out new play stations.”

II

He died of cardiac arrest:
In an inside news of column
that informed nostalgic readers
he once was
a power figure in unlamented years.
But you never heard anything from him
since he was eased out
of the stage by a rising order:
From where he roosted, how he viewed
the politics of events—
he didn’t bother.
But he was a doting grandfather,
even a loyal husband
who deeply cared for his brood!
His lips were sealed
on the litany of salvaged children
that ruffled even dense conscience.
Was he the usual collaborator,
the man on the street,
of all dark & ancient regimes?
Like a fly, he’s a dime a dozen
who maintains his pregnant silence
because like any rattled old man
he’s busy with his own minor dying.

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