Aestheticizing Moralist & Other Poems

1.
Hmong

He is of the Hmong tribe
recruited
by Tony Poe
erstwhile leader of the CIA
during the Vietnam war.
But he’s at a loss
how quickly they have
forgotten him
who guarded
the Laotian trail
to stave off
Commie advance.
But America lost the war
& now, his guerillas
have been
for decades
on the run,
easy picking
for government soldiers
in the jungle
that slowly contracts
like their clan.
O How he wished
he had food
& new clothes
like his daughter Mao Yang
who had fled to Sacramento
but he’s become
a nowhere man
& Uncle Sam
to his pleas
is deaf & dumb,
when once upon time,
he was most fierce,
a most loyal servant…

2.
Toymaker

His robot
is most human
as it talks & moves,
replicates
mortal intelligence
long dreamt of.
But he has made sure
it does not think
independently –
like God
who wreaks havoc
on His creation
if it so much as run
on its own volition.

3.
Procession

Planet Earth
has millions of square miles
on its outer layer
but here in Quiapo,
a speck of dust
in the eyes of God,
millions of devotees flock –
never in Lourdes or Jerusalem
where Christ
registered His existence –
to be intimately close
to the wooden mimesis
of the Black Nazarene.
The ritual
is observed like clockwork
yet all touted miracles
of deliverance
are confessedly personal,
almost mythical,
& never collectively national.
But who would knock
on heaven’s door
if life was never bound
hellward?

4.
A Simpleton’s Centennial

A.

But, of course,
the institution must celebrate
itself,
crowing to perpetuate
the ideological machine
that has turned out
dictators & crony capitalists,
neo-fascists
& state artists…
It has conscripted
festival clowns
to sacralize the event
that prays
for another hundred years
of affirming the end of history
& the final burial of Marxism.
Roses therefore
to corporate guests
in limousines
& fat dowagers
with fancy credentials
mistaken for cosmopolitan style
& psychoanalytic real.
O The dark age
has long been upon us –
& fireworks will barely lit up
the cerebral sky…
Somehow, who hears
the jungle drums
as if marking
the quickening gyre
of the 12th hour?

B.

Without politics,
you say?
The press thematic
is unmistakably
hard-sell,
but idiots there are legions
who’d quickly believe.
Investors have paid their share
of what learning to disseminate
& kids raucously march
to multinationals’ hypnotic beat.
Without politics,
you say?
A country that lies
incessantly
is prone to hype
the genius of its own
mediocrity.

C.

But hasn’t it also bred
like fruitflies
jerks & dissenters?
As if the production
of outside forces
is argument enough for
honorific blah
& political rehab.
As if
these loose cannons
weren’t frowned upon
as chatterboxes
out to subvert
the majesty
of corporate reason.
No, they will not
be so honored,
have their day:
the stage is set
only for chosen guests
who have functioned
as state apparatchiks.

5.
Aestheticizing Moralist

A.

“Your man
has the hots
for young girls…”
The mysterious caller
summarily
pointed to the signifier
in the text,
the authorial signature,
never an imaginary character,
as the perpetrator
of the symbolic crime.
But the culprit
has been everything
in the totality of his poetry,
the actor in imagined
plays…
Now & then
he takes on the role
of former players:
Nabokov, Rilke,
Brecht, Calvino…
Like a child
who puts on the costume
of a superhero
& in falsetto
proclaims himself
as such
before a ghostly crowd –
anyone he fancies
with an exquisite
point of view…
He could be an assassin –
should he be
a bum to be damned?
Fiction & reality
may exchange places
but the text
is composite of colors
that mislead the eyes
& this alas
is where tragicomedy lies.
The moralist
who aestheticizes
can be trapped
by his/her own devices.
Patience is cure
for those who are
befuddled by signs:
the snake contorts
in so many ways –
allow time
for permutation
of designs.

B.
The Misogynist

Cherchez la femme.
The French, who think
masculine,
never really read it well.
& the women,
who cry marginal,
never understood it either.
For the words
are incendiary with the truth
that the female of the specie
holds real power
& can therefore be accused
of wielding the double-edged sword
of evil & good.
So modern women,
in the passion of the age,
band together
& wreak havoc
on all unsuspecting fools.

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