December Leaves

1.
Didith Reyes

They got into her pants
like ants burrowing
into a mound of honey –
& she wasn’t cagey
about her truckful of studs either.
She would tell ehrendira tales
about the size & shape of pricks
like rising demons from her id.
O She was that kindhearted –
never turning out
anyone in need,
mourners averred
at the wake in retrospect,
when all seemed forgiven,
only the shaking of heads
lamenting in giggles
what could have been a turn
at the end of the street.
But drugs & alcohol,
a childlike trust,
had did her in:
her once soft face
had turned hard, angular;
her ivory-smooth skin
coarsely shriveled
through the years’ passage.
How did the melodrama end?
This Venus onstage –
passion’s incandescent flytrap –
that launched a million
wet dreams
among beerhouse bums?
They tried to fix a rudder
to her boat on wayward voyage
but she was lost forever
in her own tormented sea.
O a candle, a wit shrugs,
that burned at both ends
& melted into the cheap, cheap dark.

2.
Bobi Valenzuela

A.

The first stroke
ominously tied him
to his hospital bed
while his kinsmen
scrounged around
for bills & comradely kindness.
The third, the final whip
didn’t come in the night
like a thief:
his guardians knew
the clock’s ticking
would stop
at a silent wailing –
when the brush of blue
on his canvas
would be splashed,
like the last thread of gold
in his tapestry.
He had his usual falling out
with friends turned foes
& friends again.
Always, when persistent,
that weariness
in his voice
as if he had had enough
of tedious arguments & acts.
Bobi left
without his knowing
he had gone
& mourners around his coffin
would piece together
his little memories
as they all brace up
for the storm of their mortality.

B.

All things must come to an end,
of course.
A bromide shrugged off
with a smile
on days of wine & roses.
But time slaps all into nodding
at the final step
closer to the line.
O Indeed implacable
this mutability
of things that are bound to happen.
He preens himself
in the black mirror
& sees traces about him
of those who had earlier signed off
& exited through the revolving door,
as if they were impatiently waiting
for old discussions
& drinking bouts to resume.
[He remembers her
& the moving line across the wall:
still terrified,
as though he had not known enough
an ending
so long ago foretold.]

C.

For the nth time
at the international airport
scars are ripped
wide open again
as in a Chaplin film
where comic sadness
from the same spot springs:
She on a plane
as if Time is on her back;
She at the counter,
as if Time is a circular rack.
O The crystal ball
assaults our blind side
& we are awkwardly pinned
like scarecrow on a wall of air.
The wheel of fortune
turns whichever way –
but ports of exit & entry
have disparate tales.

3.
Shoes

Start the morning unthinking.
There is no need for
logic or emotion
to rule the workings of your day:
if things don’t happen your way,
suck everything in.
Let it be,
the Liverpool kids sing.
Nothing is designed
for exclusive fate.
Shall you tie your shoes,
or leave the fly open?
Of course, you must observe
the modicum of protocol:
Not worth a dime to swim
against the current
if it won’t cost you a penny.
But where shall your feet lead?
Expect not
any fantastic journey.
Don’t even gnash your teeth:
this counsel from the sole,
tough skin for combat
of any brute or pauper.

4.
Circle

A resolution
is in order
if only to show
he’s alive
even if desperately.
If last year’s
never was any truer,
the next could be
a crossing of fingers.
Live & let live.
The gods may be merciful.
All things follow –
like manna from heaven –
a pious prayer.
If all prescriptions fail,
live the way of strays
& insects
who survive all manner
of weather –
This life made in hell
where lovers
stay put in the seventh circle.

B.
The Future

[With an egg
held against
the light,]
undergrads
dreaming of jaguars
& women of cheap thrills,
jibe down
the FC hallway
in hurried steps
as if brimming
with ennui & distress.
In humid classrooms,
words of weight & color
are their journeymen’s tools
to quick-fix
the habitude of glass
dungeons
that stay sealed
from the prattle of beats & rappers.
“The Revolution is Dead!”
[Though Che Guevarra
is alive
in expensive T-shirts.]
& naifs stomp
the campus trail
like Jews at Treblinka
on their way to the chambers.
But a clutch
in the wings linger,
claiming
“Resistance isn’t futile!”
& rolling out banners,
“No deal! No deal!
We’ve been betrayed by elders!”
[O skeptical postmodernists
are trapped by mixed messages
in corporate hell.]

C.

He was looking
for a charger
but the clerk
could only crook
a subaltern bummer.
His cellphone had
blanked out:
A sign too tempting
to assay
calling isn’t worth
a damned thing
if no one cares to listen?
But one is cautioned
never to overread,
that leads to
senseless grief & pain.
Poets do –
& there’s the rub –
& this makes all the difference
between interminable hell
& terminable heaven.

D.
2009

The year is a fog
slowly crawling
inside his head.
Slowly waking up,
he finds himself
still stuck
in familiar setting.
Has nothing changed?
Even the weather
has gone degrees warmer.
O Everything
as one writes, speaks:
a moment ago,
one was a limb sturdier.
But the clock ticks on
until the face in the mirror
shocks to bereaven:
always, a ghost
lurks behind the subliminal scene.
None is exempted from the rule.
He may have, after all,
been running in circles,
never engrossed with the passing
of ages.
[2009,
the new kid on the block,
opens again
rainbow’s Pandora’s box.]

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