Starting Over

1.

Homeric

First, the shock of silence
at the sudden leaving…
She felt betrayed
as if a crime she had not committed
were thrown her way.
But was it really?
Her heart was a mix
of hate & sadness.
Was it a week,
a month, a year
before she could show
her face in the mirror
& gaze into her eyes
turned heavy-lidded
but dry?
O, “after so much weeping”
she took a bite of sandwich
& scoop of ice cream,
remembering the bereaved women
of Athens.
No need to mope
like sad sack…
No, not that life must go on,
it always does,
but she must leave behind
closed door
all memories of passion
like skeletons.
Crones had counseled
her before:
Move on, move on, move on!

2.

Suicidal

It was almost
a blank ritual
to meet obligations
at the rostrum.
He weighed his words
of calculated diatribe
against the rape
of reason
in a country
that bandies it
like an orison.
What was there
that wasn’t said before?
He had to repeat
everything
like unlearned lessons–
freedom is an illusion
yet bored like a hole
on the wall
widened into a door
through which
must enter all —
bodies heavy with dust,
arms/limbs dried up.
But the room
overflowed with
words, words, words
as though to signify
a point missed,
a truth haphazardly told.
The young would troop out
of the room,
sighing for coffee mugs
at nearby Starbucks.

3.

Hands

His hands
were his grandmother’s —
a calligraphy of veins,
trembling like leaves.
He would stare at his palms
as if scanning the lines
for the ancient oracle
why life is bereft of beatitudes…
yet they would quickly
stare back like the cosmos
that wouldn’t reveal the cause.
How do you keep the silence
of his fingers
that groped for the ghost
of her
who was forever lost?
He balled them into a fist
but the imaginary sand
just slipped through
the bony crevices.
Like Time,
he would never understand
the origin of love & loathing —
once fervently desired,
now desolately denied.
Even his hands
wouldn’t move to care
why he should stare
at them
like lifeboats adrift
from the strand.

4.

The Country of Sorrow

This is nothing extraordinary–
the heart is just word
for country
always visited & explored
but never emptied of its sorrow.
Ague in the blood,
Othello in the eyes
& all the hieroglyphs
of falling leaves in that site
from which dark travelers
scamper like rats
blinded by reason’s light:
that nothing stands
for all seasons,
lovers slave to passion
are in for ultimate destruction.
But this is never learned:
Paramours ever tiptoe
at the edge of treason.

5.

The Revolving Door

The door
swings
like a carnival’s
merrygoround:
anyone who enters
can leave at the same
moment
without seeing anything
or leaving something
that may cause grief,
even happiness.
[He never knew
how she could have
left
a presence
when she didn’t
seem to enter
the door at all.]

6.

News

She was reportedly
pregnant
when soldiers abducted
her.
At the interrogation room,
they played brutally
with her exposed sex
as if their mothers
didn’t have the same
orifice.
Then they tired of leering,
burning her like a pig.

No one talked
about her husband.
Where was he?
He must ave known
of her ordeal
that the stones & grass
had whispered.
There, in the shadows,
is he watching
waiting for God’s sign
“It is time:
Let blood flow where it must!”
& we shall be with her,
be him himself,
on that unholy hour
when words are real,
no longer hot air
that throbs
a love eternal.

7.

The Idiot

He was a boy
from “the other side
of the mountain”
& given to sending flowers
to the girl next door.
Later he would get wind
she would throw
the bouquet away,
her muffled laughter
rising above the air.
But he never wised up
to any feminine allure
yet to this day
he remains the knight-errant,
beholden that women
are worth every poetic line.
But don’t they
snicker behind his back.,
how klutzy indeed
is his stuff?
He will die,
haha!
affirming the Shakesperean credo:
Love is blind,
lovers are seduced by Calypso.

8.

Macho

A.

He gets away with it–
sucker women up.
Deep in his masculine heart,
like the Spartans’,
they long for that smackdown.
Bitches, after all, never care
for puny, sensitive men
who once upon a time
were culled from the warrior clan.
The playboy of the Eastern
world
knows his stuff:
Have money, will call the shot.
O, baby,
they like it rough!

B.

Gynowarriors

But Don Juans
are hunters on the prowl
to mutilate & kill,
the amazons in unison cry,
pointing to a mock reverence
that turns their sisters
into prized hunt.
Don’t they hear
the howl & rage at campsite
to take back the night?
Rewrite the history
of infamy?
It’s not the swing, surely,
of the pendulum–
now here,
now there —
in syncopated motion
that signals circular salvation.
It’s not in the stars, either,
but the infernal rupture
in the silence of centuries of hurt.
Don’t you hear the distant drumming
that crawls nearer
like ants
into your ears?
The prey is set loose upon the hierarchs!

C.

Raison

& if we fuck around,
as boozers drawl,
it’s our libido.
isn’t exclusive
for just one man.
Multiple, like nature —
rivers that overflow.
O for that thrill
that women folk
so anciently desired,
always brutally denied…
why call us loose,
crazy floozies
stalking byways
where earthly passion
ripples, drives?
We demand
no standard
for our kind
We live as dangerously
We grieve as tormentedly
We exult as erotically.

9.

Intersecting Narratives

A.

Professors won’t admit
a crime has been committed,
passing the ball around
in the name of legalese.
But words hide behind the skirt
of officialese
that always pronounces otherwise:
what is north is south,
what west is east
& never shall the readings meet.
She did play according
to the rules of the game:
They’ve craftily changed the givens
& refs won’t blow the whistle either
for what is foul or fair.
What then must be spoken
when words are cheap
in the babble of idiots
behind executive desks?

B.

He drags his companion
to the side of the island
where they can seek cover
from the whizzing cars
that fly
like bullets, around
risking his puny life
for a stray blindsided.
O Never has such humanity
been so precious & humbling
in two dogs
caught in the middle
of the turnpike
where barbarous people
outrace each others’ balls
to see who’s king
of the road.

C.

General Solution

His son had confessed that Dr. Aribert Heim, better known as “Dr. Death,” died in the 1992 in Egypt 17 years ago & Jewish trackers of Nazi war criminals are skeptical about his alleged demise. After all, descendants of the fugitives don’t squeal on them, having lived with their bestial untruth.

Yes, detectives certainly know how most can be found—they have in their computers the house number & place, but governments are not keen to extradite them. So much so that justice has remained elusive, the closure to the holocaust still suspended.

Of course, the general solution is something not to be devoutly wished for. Counter terror favors neither victim nor execution. The contradiction in the notion of violence nullifies its logic & cannot be sustained.

Yet, there at the lobby of Palma Hall, where protesters congregate to denounce the case of Sarah, he would find himself thinking what a General of infamous reputation would do to settle the matter of hypocritical academics who insist on reason where there is none. Bullets to stop the talk when words are false & devious?

The shoe on the other foot?
To make an omelet, one must break eggs.

10.

Faithful

He doesn’t see her face
peek into the door
as the coffee turns cold
in a cup gripped
by neurasthenic fingers
O days when he would
stubbornly wait
but the light blue sky
would turn indigo dark
like the uneasy weather.
How long the charade?
She would now & then
keep her promise–
shoot the breeze
over tea,
sit at the table
for sympathy…
that’s all he clamors anyway–
a stupid, quotidian gesture
to calm down his world.
Time however
when she would meander
into the somnolent shop
as if nothing catastrophic–
an absence,
a failed appointment–
had occurred
& she would babble
like a child
brightening up
& turning his brooding heart
inside out.
She’s sudden rain,
then dry spell
Has she on the side
a lover?
But should he care?
An old, old story
he only knows too well:
to possess her
is to have her
like air.

B.

She’s an Iraqui widow
who takes pride
on her bomber-husband’s
fiery death.
Such privilege
to answer the sacred call
from the minaret–
O love beyond intimacy,
Love in the name
of divine duty.
[But what madness is this?
what love is this?
Romeo & Juliet
died deeply in the passion of youth!
Must she perish
in the name of tribal truth?
love is a hydra of definition —
Neither here nor there,
for silence is all
the undiscovered country’s traveler
will disclose.]

C.

Nightmare

He saw her
in his waking dream
again —
from a distance,
She keeping to herself
as if she herself
is drowning in the dream.
O She keeps appearing
like a chronic disease.
Is she witchcraft?
Seized is he
by the magical tricks
of beauty & deceit?
Yet no crime
has been committed.
What court of desire
shall dispense justice?

D.
In the time of Patriarchs

Daintily sipping tea,
they exchange smiles
from across the small table,
snug in each other’s company.
But, now & then,
her downcast eyes
settle on him with that anxious expectation
that something in her reply
was amiss,
exposing her frame of mind–
Does he overread?
Is she a misplaced dot?
Is she a blank page?
The thought has always
made her uneasy
in the privacy
of their tete-a-tete.
O He’s at it again,
sizing up his profundity
against her shallow depth?
Always, the fear rears up
at this daily cafe visit.
But sooner of later,
she must feel her patience
fray at the edge…
If not already.
O if only she were
a gifted reader…
But why should she be?
She slips her eyeglasses
back in her bag…

E.

Constant

You can’t keep her
in the house:
She’ll find ways & means
to slip out the window,
a crack in the wall,
& she bums around
the neighborhood.
Sometimes she drags
herself in like a wounded warrior
licking her paws
after a catfight–
& you can only nurse her
gently
like some spoiled child
She’s wont to leave
in some feline ceremony,
her gift of a mouse,
fish bones
laid out on the altar
of a floor —
& your heart is squeezed dry,
as in a soap-opera rigmarole.
[But when she,
a most cherished one
who vanished without a word,
suddenly
pressed the door bell
in urgent monotone,
pain in her eyes,
he was puzzled
why his heart
wouldn’t skip a beat,
if only to minister
an iota of cure.]

F.
Slave

When she dropped
her bag on the bed,
combed her hair
& slipped into her night wear,
he almost lost his footing
on an imagined wire
across the abyss:
how long would she stay?
Would she play with his heart
again?
His knees buckled under,
no one was inclined
to throw a rope from the edge.

G.

Manservant

In the morning
everything is still.
She deeply sleeping
on the eastern side of the bed.
he, quickly risen from the west
to prepare for breakfast
& the day’s disaster.
At the back of his thoughts,
She’ll leave again for sure.
O he has no certainty of control.
But if he beats her to the door,
& she snuggles
like an abandoned kitten
in the room
who must have the gift
of viaticum?

H.

QED

& so it goes
like actors onstage,
mouthing lines
they didn’t make —
yet meeting
the requirements of the trade
as if they have lived
so truthfully
the tragicomic play…
The curtain falls
lights dim in the hall:
The past like ashes
in a box
& the future on hold.

II.

A.

Wild Flower

She wouldn’t stop:
she’s an Energizer
rabbit
who kept going & going
& going…
Behind the desk
of her paper work,
with brats who needed
comfort;
with friends to share
the daily petty news;
in projects
that bore her imprimatur;
then in the pub
till the crack of dawn
only to whip up
again & again
the cycle, next morning,
of her wild seasons…
She was busier than Queen Bee —
& he could only shake his head
for this huntress turned
prey
had been dumped
by her truant motherfucker.

B.
Cure

But it was the Rx
of her heart’s ordeal:
to wait for a change
in the blast of weather,
staving off grief
from daily fare.
Somehow
between gin & tonic
was the hopeful gaze
out the window
for a knight-errant
to spirit her away
from the banality
of slow days.
When her plane crashed,
her lover in tow,
her waiting sadly ended
for whatever
pushed her off
her quest’s ennui,
inconsolable sorrow.

C.
The Wait

The blur
on the fast lane
was only a fast-forward
of her days:
she’s stock still
in her chair
on the spot in her mind,
waiting, & waiting
& waiting
for something
to overwhelm
heart’s desire.
For what?
For whom?
At the gates of the universe,
she waits
like time’s pauper.
Is the waiting all
in the coming
& going?
Lovers imagine
they’ve beaten the curse,
they’ve got it made.
A slow-mo of their lives
would only reveal
the whir
of disentangled hands,
the secret welling
of tears
in sunglassed eyes.

12.

Exile

A.

She grins from ear
to ear
in the photoshoot,
but the caption says otherwise.
It is all a lie,
& surfers snicker
at her feel-good performance.
Living it up Down Under
where she flew allegedly to
1. be with family
2. pursue graduate studies
3. mend a broken heart.
This last imperative
is too damned maudlin
for one so green
& has yet to really
handle
the old, old story
of pain
of being screwed
by a cockroach of a guy
on the kitchen floor
of the universe.
Why must she languish in her private hell?
O it takes a lifetime
to start over.

B.

Apparition

Looking out the window
he saw in the ocean
hundreds of dolphins
swimming toward shore.
The night before
the moon had partially
blocked the sand in the sky
like an Inca metaphor.
Suddenly, he was inexplicably
alarmed!
Is the end near?
Apocalypse signaling
a holocaust?
& he has been foolishly
watching his heart,
only his sad, sad heart,
when the world
seems about to spin
to a halt.

3.

Unconventional

A.

When the camp
hoved into view,
he was overwhelmed
by the sight of muscular,
sunburned men
in fatigue uniforms:
fished out of
the underground
after martial law,
a certain joy
whipped up his heart:
he was gay,
& surely
he’s like a fish
thrown in the water.
But in civilian life,
he took under his wing
a young barrio stud
as if there’s no time
to be wasted:
Marcos taught him
every minute
is a quest for survival
& happiness.
But the lover turned truant,
absconding with his funds.
In his sickbed
he could have sighed—
He had seized the
day, as it were,
but if men were beyond his grasp
what could be said
of his sad, fairy life?

B.

Danger Zone

She’s fallen for
another woman,
but that would
mean disaster

for all the men
who tend to leer
for messing with their property,
like beer bottles.
But desire
is desire
& everyone is born equal.
So, flower in hand
she “socked it to her.”
The tough guys
around her howled
she’s no competition,
she’s just a female brat
out to prove
she’s got balls
& that’s that.
When they left
the bar,
like lovers
on one-night stand
cowboys could only
crush the glasses
in their hands.

Starting Over

1.

Homeric

First, the shock of silence
at the sudden leaving…
She felt betrayed
as if a crime she had not committed
were thrown her way.
But was it really?
Her heart was a mix
of hate & sadness.
Was it a week,
a month, a year
before she could show
her face in the mirror
& gaze into her eyes
turned heavy-lidded
but dry?
O, “after so much weeping”
she took a bite of sandwich
& scoop of ice cream,
remembering the bereaved women
of Athens.
No need to mope
like sad sack…
No, not that life must go on,
it always does,
but she must leave behind
closed door
all memories of passion
like skeletons.
Crones had counseled
her before:
Move on, move on, move on!

2.

Suicidal

It was almost
a blank ritual
to meet obligations
at the rostrum.
He weighed his words
of calculated diatribe
against the rape
of reason
in a country
that bandies it
like an orison.
What was there
that wasn’t said before?
He had to repeat
everything
like unlearned lessons–
freedom is an illusion
yet bored like a hole
on the wall
widened into a door
through which
must enter all —
bodies heavy with dust,
arms/limbs dried up.
But the room
overflowed with
words, words, words
as though to signify
a point missed,
a truth haphazardly told.
The young would troop out
of the room,
sighing for coffee mugs
at nearby Starbucks.

3.

Hands

His hands
were his grandmother’s —
a calligraphy of veins,
trembling like leaves.
He would stare at his palms
as if scanning the lines
for the ancient oracle
why life is bereft of beatitudes…
yet they would quickly
stare back like the cosmos
that wouldn’t reveal the cause.
How do you keep the silence
of his fingers
that groped for the ghost
of her
who was forever lost?
He balled them into a fist
but the imaginary sand
just slipped through
the bony crevices.
Like Time,
he would never understand
the origin of love & loathing —
once fervently desired,
now desolately denied.
Even his hands
wouldn’t move to care
why he should stare
at them
like lifeboats adrift
from the strand.

4.

The Country of Sorrow

This is nothing extraordinary–
the heart is just word
for country
always visited & explored
but never emptied of its sorrow.
Ague in the blood,
Othello in the eyes
& all the hieroglyphs
of falling leaves in that site
from which dark travelers
scamper like rats
blinded by reason’s light:
that nothing stands
for all seasons,
lovers slave to passion
are in for ultimate destruction.
But this is never learned:
Paramours ever tiptoe
at the edge of treason.

5.

The Revolving Door

The door
swings
like a carnival’s
merrygoround:
anyone who enters
can leave at the same
moment
without seeing anything
or leaving something
that may cause grief,
even happiness.
[He never knew
how she could have
left
a presence
when she didn’t
seem to enter
the door at all.]

6.

News

She was reportedly
pregnant
when soldiers abducted
her.
At the interrogation room,
they played brutally
with her exposed sex
as if their mothers
didn’t have the same
orifice.
Then they tired of leering,
burning her like a pig.

No one talked
about her husband.
Where was he?
He must ave known
of her ordeal
that the stones & grass
had whispered.
There, in the shadows,
is he watching
waiting for God’s sign
“It is time:
Let blood flow where it must!”
& we shall be with her,
be him himself,
on that unholy hour
when words are real,
no longer hot air
that throbs
a love eternal.

7.

The Idiot

He was a boy
from “the other side
of the mountain”
& given to sending flowers
to the girl next door.
Later he would get wind
she would throw
the bouquet away,
her muffled laughter
rising above the air.
But he never wised up
to any feminine allure
yet to this day
he remains the knight-errant,
beholden that women
are worth every poetic line.
But don’t they
snicker behind his back.,
how klutzy indeed
is his stuff?
He will die,
haha!
affirming the Shakesperean credo:
Love is blind,
lovers are seduced by Calypso.

8.

Macho

A.

He gets away with it–
sucker women up.
Deep in his masculine heart,
like the Spartans’,
they long for that smackdown.
Bitches, after all, never care
for puny, sensitive men
who once upon a time
were culled from the warrior clan.
The playboy of the Eastern
world
knows his stuff:
Have money, will call the shot.
O, baby,
they like it rough!

B.

Gynowarriors

But Don Juans
are hunters on the prowl
to mutilate & kill,
the amazons in unison cry,
pointing to a mock reverence
that turns their sisters
into prized hunt.
Don’t they hear
the howl & rage at campsite
to take back the night?
Rewrite the history
of infamy?
It’s not the swing, surely,
of the pendulum–
now here,
now there —
in syncopated motion
that signals circular salvation.
It’s not in the stars, either,
but the infernal rupture
in the silence of centuries of hurt.
Don’t you hear the distant drumming
that crawls nearer
like ants
into your ears?
The prey is set loose upon the hierarchs!

C.

Raison

& if we fuck around,
as boozers drawl,
it’s our libido.
isn’t exclusive
for just one man.
Multiple, like nature —
rivers that overflow.
O for that thrill
that women folk
so anciently desired,
always brutally denied…
why call us loose,
crazy floozies
stalking byways
where earthly passion
ripples, drives?
We demand
no standard
for our kind
We live as dangerously
We grieve as tormentedly
We exult as erotically.

9.

Intersecting Narratives

A.

Professors won’t admit
a crime has been committed,
passing the ball around
in the name of legalese.
But words hide behind the skirt
of officialese
that always pronounces otherwise:
what is north is south,
what west is east
& never shall the readings meet.
She did play according
to the rules of the game:
They’ve craftily changed the givens
& refs won’t blow the whistle either
for what is foul or fair.
What then must be spoken
when words are cheap
in the babble of idiots
behind executive desks?

B.

He drags his companion
to the side of the island
where they can seek cover
from the whizzing cars
that fly
like bullets, around
risking his puny life
for a stray blindsided.
O Never has such humanity
been so precious & humbling
in two dogs
caught in the middle
of the turnpike
where barbarous people
outrace each others’ balls
to see who’s king
of the road.

C.

General Solution

His son had confessed that Dr. Aribert Heim, better known as “Dr. Death,” died in the 1992 in Egypt 17 years ago & Jewish trackers of Nazi war criminals are skeptical about his alleged demise. After all, descendants of the fugitives don’t squeal on them, having lived with their bestial untruth.

Yes, detectives certainly know how most can be found—they have in their computers the house number & place, but governments are not keen to extradite them. So much so that justice has remained elusive, the closure to the holocaust still suspended.

Of course, the general solution is something not to be devoutly wished for. Counter terror favors neither victim nor execution. The contradiction in the notion of violence nullifies its logic & cannot be sustained.

Yet, there at the lobby of Palma Hall, where protesters congregate to denounce the case of Sarah, he would find himself thinking what a General of infamous reputation would do to settle the matter of hypocritical academics who insist on reason where there is none. Bullets to stop the talk when words are false & devious?

The shoe on the other foot?
To make an omelet, one must break eggs.

10.

Faithful

He doesn’t see her face
peek into the door
as the coffee turns cold
in a cup gripped
by neurasthenic fingers
O days when he would
stubbornly wait
but the light blue sky
would turn indigo dark
like the uneasy weather.
How long the charade?
She would now & then
keep her promise–
shoot the breeze
over tea,
sit at the table
for sympathy…
that’s all he clamors anyway–
a stupid, quotidian gesture
to calm down his world.
Time however
when she would meander
into the somnolent shop
as if nothing catastrophic–
an absence,
a failed appointment–
had occurred
& she would babble
like a child
brightening up
& turning his brooding heart
inside out.
She’s sudden rain,
then dry spell
Has she on the side
a lover?
But should he care?
An old, old story
he only knows too well:
to possess her
is to have her
like air.

B.

She’s an Iraqui widow
who takes pride
on her bomber-husband’s
fiery death.
Such privilege
to answer the sacred call
from the minaret–
O love beyond intimacy,
Love in the name
of divine duty.
[But what madness is this?
what love is this?
Romeo & Juliet
died deeply in the passion of youth!
Must she perish
in the name of tribal truth?
love is a hydra of definition —
Neither here nor there,
for silence is all
the undiscovered country’s traveler
will disclose.]

C.

Nightmare

He saw her
in his waking dream
again —
from a distance,
She keeping to herself
as if she herself
is drowning in the dream.
O She keeps appearing
like a chronic disease.
Is she witchcraft?
Seized is he
by the magical tricks
of beauty & deceit?
Yet no crime
has been committed.
What court of desire
shall dispense justice?

D.

In the time of Patriarchs

Daintily sipping tea,
they exchange smiles
from across the small table,
snug in each other’s company.
But, now & then,
her downcast eyes
settle on him with that anxious expectation
that something in her reply
was amiss,
exposing her frame of mind–
Does he overread?
Is she a misplaced dot?
Is she a blank page?
The thought has always
made her uneasy
in the privacy
of their tete-a-tete.
O He’s at it again,
sizing up his profundity
against her shallow depth?
Always, the fear rears up
at this daily cafe visit.
But sooner of later,
she must feel her patience
fray at the edge…
If not already.
O if only she were
a gifted reader…
But why should she be?
She slips her eyeglasses
back in her bag…

E.

Constant

You can’t keep her
in the house:
She’ll find ways & means
to slip out the window,
a crack in the wall,
& she bums around
the neighborhood.
Sometimes she drags
herself in like a wounded warrior
licking her paws
after a catfight–
& you can only nurse her
gently
like some spoiled child
She’s wont to leave
in some feline ceremony,
her gift of a mouse,
fish bones
laid out on the altar
of a floor —
& your heart is squeezed dry,
as in a soap-opera rigmarole.
[But when she,
a most cherished one
who vanished without a word,
suddenly
pressed the door bell
in urgent monotone,
pain in her eyes,
he was puzzled
why his heart
wouldn’t skip a beat,
if only to minister
an iota of cure.]

F.
Slave

When she dropped
her bag on the bed,
combed her hair
& slipped into her night wear,
he almost lost his footing
on an imagined wire
across the abyss:
how long would she stay?
Would she play with his heart
again?
His knees buckled under,
no one was inclined
to throw a rope from the edge.

G.

Manservant

In the morning
everything is still.
She deeply sleeping
on the eastern side of the bed.
he, quickly risen from the west
to prepare for breakfast
& the day’s disaster.
At the back of his thoughts,
She’ll leave again for sure.
O he has no certainty of control.
But if he beats her to the door,
& she snuggles
like an abandoned kitten
in the room
who must have the gift
of viaticum?

H.

QED

& so it goes
like actors onstage,
mouthing lines
they didn’t make —
yet meeting
the requirements of the trade
as if they have lived
so truthfully
the tragicomic play…
The curtain falls
lights dim in the hall:
The past like ashes
in a box
& the future on hold.

II.

A.

Wild Flower

She wouldn’t stop:
she’s an Energizer
rabbit
who kept going & going
& going…
Behind the desk
of her paper work,
with brats who needed
comfort;
with friends to share
the daily petty news;
in projects
that bore her imprimatur;
then in the pub
till the crack of dawn
only to whip up
again & again
the cycle, next morning,
of her wild seasons…
She was busier than Queen Bee —
& he could only shake his head
for this huntress turned
prey
had been dumped
by her truant motherfucker.

B.
Cure

But it was the Rx
of her heart’s ordeal:
to wait for a change
in the blast of weather,
staving off grief
from daily fare.
Somehow
between gin & tonic
was the hopeful gaze
out the window
for a knight-errant
to spirit her away
from the banality
of slow days.
When her plane crashed,
her lover in tow,
her waiting sadly ended
for whatever
pushed her off
her quest’s ennui,
inconsolable sorrow.

C.
The Wait

The blur
on the fast lane
was only a fast-forward
of her days:
she’s stock still
in her chair
on the spot in her mind,
waiting, & waiting
& waiting
for something
to overwhelm
heart’s desire.
For what?
For whom?
At the gates of the universe,
she waits
like time’s pauper.
Is the waiting all
in the coming
& going?
Lovers imagine
they’ve beaten the curse,
they’ve got it made.
A slow-mo of their lives
would only reveal
the whir
of disentangled hands,
the secret welling
of tears
in sunglassed eyes.

12.

Exile

A.

She grins from ear
to ear
in the photoshoot,
but the caption says otherwise.
It is all a lie,
& surfers snicker
at her feel-good performance.
Living it up Down Under
where she flew allegedly to
1. be with family
2. pursue graduate studies
3. mend a broken heart.
This last imperative
is too damned maudlin
for one so green
& has yet to really
handle
the old, old story
of pain
of being screwed
by a cockroach of a guy
on the kitchen floor
of the universe.
Why must she languish in her private hell?
O it takes a lifetime
to start over.

B.

Apparition

Looking out the window
he saw in the ocean
hundreds of dolphins
swimming toward shore.
The night before
the moon had partially
blocked the sand in the sky
like an Inca metaphor.
Suddenly, he was inexplicably
alarmed!
Is the end near?
Apocalypse signaling
a holocaust?
& he has been foolishly
watching his heart,
only his sad, sad heart,
when the world
seems about to spin
to a halt.

3.

Unconventional

A.

When the camp
hoved into view,
he was overwhelmed
by the sight of muscular,
sunburned men
in fatigue uniforms:
fished out of
the underground
after martial law,
a certain joy
whipped up his heart:
he was gay,
& surely
he’s like a fish
thrown in the water.
But in civilian life,
he took under his wing
a young barrio stud
as if there’s no time
to be wasted:
Marcos taught him
every minute
is a quest for survival
& happiness.
But the lover turned truant,
absconding with his funds.
In his sickbed
he could have sighed—
He had seized the
day, as it were,
but if men were beyond his grasp
what could be said
of his sad, fairy life?

B.

Danger Zone

She’s fallen for
another woman,
but that would
mean disaster

for all the men
who tend to leer
for messing with their property,
like beer bottles.
But desire
is desire
& everyone is born equal.
So, flower in hand
she “socked it to her.”
The tough guys
around her howled
she’s no competition,
she’s just a female brat
out to prove
she’s got balls
& that’s that.
When they left
the bar,
like lovers
on one-night stand
cowboys could only
crush the glasses
in their hands.

theworksofedelgarcellano
5edelgarcellano5

Starting Over

1.

Homeric

First, the shock of silence
at the sudden leaving…
She felt betrayed
as if a crime she had not committed
were thrown her way.
But was it really?
Her heart was a mix
of hate & sadness.
Was it a week,
a month, a year
before she could show
her face in the mirror
& gaze into her eyes
turned heavy-lidded
but dry?
O, “after so much weeping”
she took a bite of sandwich
& scoop of ice cream,
remembering the bereaved women
of Athens.
No need to mope
like sad sack…
No, not that life must go on,
it always does,
but she must leave behind
closed door
all memories of passion
like skeletons.
Crones had counseled
her before:
Move on, move on, move on!

2.

Suicidal

It was almost
a blank ritual
to meet obligations
at the rostrum.
He weighed his words
of calculated diatribe
against the rape
of reason
in a country
that bandies it
like an orison.
What was there
that wasn’t said before?
He had to repeat
everything
like unlearned lessons–
freedom is an illusion
yet bored like a hole
on the wall
widened into a door
through which
must enter all —
bodies heavy with dust,
arms/limbs dried up.
But the room
overflowed with
words, words, words
as though to signify
a point missed,
a truth haphazardly told.
The young would troop out
of the room,
sighing for coffee mugs
at nearby Starbucks.

3.

Hands

His hands
were his grandmother’s —
a calligraphy of veins,
trembling like leaves.
He would stare at his palms
as if scanning the lines
for the ancient oracle
why life is bereft of beatitudes…
yet they would quickly
stare back like the cosmos
that wouldn’t reveal the cause.
How do you keep the silence
of his fingers
that groped for the ghost
of her
who was forever lost?
He balled them into a fist
but the imaginary sand
just slipped through
the bony crevices.
Like Time,
he would never understand
the origin of love & loathing —
once fervently desired,
now desolately denied.
Even his hands
wouldn’t move to care
why he should stare
at them
like lifeboats adrift
from the strand.

4.

The Country of Sorrow

This is nothing extraordinary–
the heart is just word
for country
always visited & explored
but never emptied of its sorrow.
Ague in the blood,
Othello in the eyes
& all the hieroglyphs
of falling leaves in that site
from which dark travelers
scamper like rats
blinded by reason’s light:
that nothing stands
for all seasons,
lovers slave to passion
are in for ultimate destruction.
But this is never learned:
Paramours ever tiptoe
at the edge of treason.

5.

The Revolving Door

The door
swings
like a carnival’s
merrygoround:
anyone who enters
can leave at the same
moment
without seeing anything
or leaving something
that may cause grief,
even happiness.
[He never knew
how she could have
left
a presence
when she didn’t
seem to enter
the door at all.]

6.

News

She was reportedly
pregnant
when soldiers abducted
her.
At the interrogation room,
they played brutally
with her exposed sex
as if their mothers
didn’t have the same
orifice.
Then they tired of leering,
burning her like a pig.

No one talked
about her husband.
Where was he?
He must ave known
of her ordeal
that the stones & grass
had whispered.
There, in the shadows,
is he watching
waiting for God’s sign
“It is time:
Let blood flow where it must!”
& we shall be with her,
be him himself,
on that unholy hour
when words are real,
no longer hot air
that throbs
a love eternal.

7.

The Idiot

He was a boy
from “the other side
of the mountain”
& given to sending flowers
to the girl next door.
Later he would get wind
she would throw
the bouquet away,
her muffled laughter
rising above the air.
But he never wised up
to any feminine allure
yet to this day
he remains the knight-errant,
beholden that women
are worth every poetic line.
But don’t they
snicker behind his back.,
how klutzy indeed
is his stuff?
He will die,
haha!
affirming the Shakesperean credo:
Love is blind,
lovers are seduced by Calypso.

8.

Macho

A.

He gets away with it–
sucker women up.
Deep in his masculine heart,
like the Spartans’,
they long for that smackdown.
Bitches, after all, never care
for puny, sensitive men
who once upon a time
were culled from the warrior clan.
The playboy of the Eastern
world
knows his stuff:
Have money, will call the shot.
O, baby,
they like it rough!

B.

Gynowarriors

But Don Juans
are hunters on the prowl
to mutilate & kill,
the amazons in unison cry,
pointing to a mock reverence
that turns their sisters
into prized hunt.
Don’t they hear
the howl & rage at campsite
to take back the night?
Rewrite the history
of infamy?
It’s not the swing, surely,
of the pendulum–
now here,
now there —
in syncopated motion
that signals circular salvation.
It’s not in the stars, either,
but the infernal rupture
in the silence of centuries of hurt.
Don’t you hear the distant drumming
that crawls nearer
like ants
into your ears?
The prey is set loose upon the hierarchs!

C.

Raison

& if we fuck around,
as boozers drawl,
it’s our libido.
isn’t exclusive
for just one man.
Multiple, like nature —
rivers that overflow.
O for that thrill
that women folk
so anciently desired,
always brutally denied…
why call us loose,
crazy floozies
stalking byways
where earthly passion
ripples, drives?
We demand
no standard
for our kind
We live as dangerously
We grieve as tormentedly
We exult as erotically.

9.

Intersecting Narratives

A.

Professors won’t admit
a crime has been committed,
passing the ball around
in the name of legalese.
But words hide behind the skirt
of officialese
that always pronounces otherwise:
what is north is south,
what west is east
& never shall the readings meet.
She did play according
to the rules of the game:
They’ve craftily changed the givens
& refs won’t blow the whistle either
for what is foul or fair.
What then must be spoken
when words are cheap
in the babble of idiots
behind executive desks?

B.

He drags his companion
to the side of the island
where they can seek cover
from the whizzing cars
that fly
like bullets, around
risking his puny life
for a stray blindsided.
O Never has such humanity
been so precious & humbling
in two dogs
caught in the middle
of the turnpike
where barbarous people
outrace each others’ balls
to see who’s king
of the road.

C.

General Solution

His son had confessed that Dr. Aribert Heim, better known as “Dr. Death,” died in the 1992 in Egypt 17 years ago & Jewish trackers of Nazi war criminals are skeptical about his alleged demise. After all, descendants of the fugitives don’t squeal on them, having lived with their bestial untruth.

Yes, detectives certainly know how most can be found—they have in their computers the house number & place, but governments are not keen to extradite them. So much so that justice has remained elusive, the closure to the holocaust still suspended.

Of course, the general solution is something not to be devoutly wished for. Counter terror favors neither victim nor execution. The contradiction in the notion of violence nullifies its logic & cannot be sustained.

Yet, there at the lobby of Palma Hall, where protesters congregate to denounce the case of Sarah, he would find himself thinking what a General of infamous reputation would do to settle the matter of hypocritical academics who insist on reason where there is none. Bullets to stop the talk when words are false & devious?

The shoe on the other foot?
To make an omelet, one must break eggs.

10.

Faithful

He doesn’t see her face
peek into the door
as the coffee turns cold
in a cup gripped
by neurasthenic fingers
O days when he would
stubbornly wait
but the light blue sky
would turn indigo dark
like the uneasy weather.
How long the charade?
She would now & then
keep her promise–
shoot the breeze
over tea,
sit at the table
for sympathy…
that’s all he clamors anyway–
a stupid, quotidian gesture
to calm down his world.
Time however
when she would meander
into the somnolent shop
as if nothing catastrophic–
an absence,
a failed appointment–
had occurred
& she would babble
like a child
brightening up
& turning his brooding heart
inside out.
She’s sudden rain,
then dry spell
Has she on the side
a lover?
But should he care?
An old, old story
he only knows too well:
to possess her
is to have her
like air.

B.

She’s an Iraqui widow
who takes pride
on her bomber-husband’s
fiery death.
Such privilege
to answer the sacred call
from the minaret–
O love beyond intimacy,
Love in the name
of divine duty.
[But what madness is this?
what love is this?
Romeo & Juliet
died deeply in the passion of youth!
Must she perish
in the name of tribal truth?
love is a hydra of definition —
Neither here nor there,
for silence is all
the undiscovered country’s traveler
will disclose.]

C.

Nightmare

He saw her
in his waking dream
again —
from a distance,
She keeping to herself
as if she herself
is drowning in the dream.
O She keeps appearing
like a chronic disease.
Is she witchcraft?
Seized is he
by the magical tricks
of beauty & deceit?
Yet no crime
has been committed.
What court of desire
shall dispense justice?

D.

In the time of Patriarchs

Daintily sipping tea,
they exchange smiles
from across the small table,
snug in each other’s company.
But, now & then,
her downcast eyes
settle on him with that anxious expectation
that something in her reply
was amiss,
exposing her frame of mind–
Does he overread?
Is she a misplaced dot?
Is she a blank page?
The thought has always
made her uneasy
in the privacy
of their tete-a-tete.
O He’s at it again,
sizing up his profundity
against her shallow depth?
Always, the fear rears up
at this daily cafe visit.
But sooner of later,
she must feel her patience
fray at the edge…
If not already.
O if only she were
a gifted reader…
But why should she be?
She slips her eyeglasses
back in her bag…

E.

Constant

You can’t keep her
in the house:
She’ll find ways & means
to slip out the window,
a crack in the wall,
& she bums around
the neighborhood.
Sometimes she drags
herself in like a wounded warrior
licking her paws
after a catfight–
& you can only nurse her
gently
like some spoiled child
She’s wont to leave
in some feline ceremony,
her gift of a mouse,
fish bones
laid out on the altar
of a floor —
& your heart is squeezed dry,
as in a soap-opera rigmarole.
[But when she,
a most cherished one
who vanished without a word,
suddenly
pressed the door bell
in urgent monotone,
pain in her eyes,
he was puzzled
why his heart
wouldn’t skip a beat,
if only to minister
an iota of cure.]

F.
Slave

When she dropped
her bag on the bed,
combed her hair
& slipped into her night wear,
he almost lost his footing
on an imagined wire
across the abyss:
how long would she stay?
Would she play with his heart
again?
His knees buckled under,
no one was inclined
to throw a rope from the edge.

G.

Manservant

In the morning
everything is still.
She deeply sleeping
on the eastern side of the bed.
he, quickly risen from the west
to prepare for breakfast
& the day’s disaster.
At the back of his thoughts,
She’ll leave again for sure.
O he has no certainty of control.
But if he beats her to the door,
& she snuggles
like an abandoned kitten
in the room
who must have the gift
of viaticum?

H.

QED

& so it goes
like actors onstage,
mouthing lines
they didn’t make —
yet meeting
the requirements of the trade
as if they have lived
so truthfully
the tragicomic play…
The curtain falls
lights dim in the hall:
The past like ashes
in a box
& the future on hold.

II.

A.

Wild Flower

She wouldn’t stop:
she’s an Energizer
rabbit
who kept going & going
& going…
Behind the desk
of her paper work,
with brats who needed
comfort;
with friends to share
the daily petty news;
in projects
that bore her imprimatur;
then in the pub
till the crack of dawn
only to whip up
again & again
the cycle, next morning,
of her wild seasons…
She was busier than Queen Bee —
& he could only shake his head
for this huntress turned
prey
had been dumped
by her truant motherfucker.

B.
Cure

But it was the Rx
of her heart’s ordeal:
to wait for a change
in the blast of weather,
staving off grief
from daily fare.
Somehow
between gin & tonic
was the hopeful gaze
out the window
for a knight-errant
to spirit her away
from the banality
of slow days.
When her plane crashed,
her lover in tow,
her waiting sadly ended
for whatever
pushed her off
her quest’s ennui,
inconsolable sorrow.

C.
The Wait

The blur
on the fast lane
was only a fast-forward
of her days:
she’s stock still
in her chair
on the spot in her mind,
waiting, & waiting
& waiting
for something
to overwhelm
heart’s desire.
For what?
For whom?
At the gates of the universe,
she waits
like time’s pauper.
Is the waiting all
in the coming
& going?
Lovers imagine
they’ve beaten the curse,
they’ve got it made.
A slow-mo of their lives
would only reveal
the whir
of disentangled hands,
the secret welling
of tears
in sunglassed eyes.

12.

Exile

A.

She grins from ear
to ear
in the photoshoot,
but the caption says otherwise.
It is all a lie,
& surfers snicker
at her feel-good performance.
Living it up Down Under
where she flew allegedly to
1. be with family
2. pursue graduate studies
3. mend a broken heart.
This last imperative
is too damned maudlin
for one so green
& has yet to really
handle
the old, old story
of pain
of being screwed
by a cockroach of a guy
on the kitchen floor
of the universe.
Why must she languish in her private hell?
O it takes a lifetime
to start over.

B.

Apparition

Looking out the window
he saw in the ocean
hundreds of dolphins
swimming toward shore.
The night before
the moon had partially
blocked the sand in the sky
like an Inca metaphor.
Suddenly, he was inexplicably
alarmed!
Is the end near?
Apocalypse signaling
a holocaust?
& he has been foolishly
watching his heart,
only his sad, sad heart,
when the world
seems about to spin
to a halt.

3.

Unconventional

A.

When the camp
hoved into view,
he was overwhelmed
by the sight of muscular,
sunburned men
in fatigue uniforms:
fished out of
the underground
after martial law,
a certain joy
whipped up his heart:
he was gay,
& surely
he’s like a fish
thrown in the water.
But in civilian life,
he took under his wing
a young barrio stud
as if there’s no time
to be wasted:
Marcos taught him
every minute
is a quest for survival
& happiness.
But the lover turned truant,
absconding with his funds.
In his sickbed
he could have sighed—
He had seized the
day, as it were,
but if men were beyond his grasp
what could be said
of his sad, fairy life?

B.

Danger Zone

She’s fallen for
another woman,
but that would
mean disaster

for all the men
who tend to leer
for messing with their property,
like beer bottles.
But desire
is desire
& everyone is born equal.
So, flower in hand
she “socked it to her.”
The tough guys
around her howled
she’s no competition,
she’s just a female brat
out to prove
she’s got balls
& that’s that.
When they left
the bar,
like lovers
on one-night stand
cowboys could only
crush the glasses
in their hands.

theworksofedelgarcellano
5edelgarcellano5

Starting Over

1.

Homeric

First, the shock of silence
at the sudden leaving…
She felt betrayed
as if a crime she had not committed
were thrown her way.
But was it really?
Her heart was a mix
of hate & sadness.
Was it a week,
a month, a year
before she could show
her face in the mirror
& gaze into her eyes
turned heavy-lidded
but dry?
O, “after so much weeping”
she took a bite of sandwich
& scoop of ice cream,
remembering the bereaved women
of Athens.
No need to mope
like sad sack…
No, not that life must go on,
it always does,
but she must leave behind
closed door
all memories of passion
like skeletons.
Crones had counseled
her before:
Move on, move on, move on!

2.

Suicidal

It was almost
a blank ritual
to meet obligations
at the rostrum.
He weighed his words
of calculated diatribe
against the rape
of reason
in a country
that bandies it
like an orison.
What was there
that wasn’t said before?
He had to repeat
everything
like unlearned lessons–
freedom is an illusion
yet bored like a hole
on the wall
widened into a door
through which
must enter all —
bodies heavy with dust,
arms/limbs dried up.
But the room
overflowed with
words, words, words
as though to signify
a point missed,
a truth haphazardly told.
The young would troop out
of the room,
sighing for coffee mugs
at nearby Starbucks.

3.

Hands

His hands
were his grandmother’s —
a calligraphy of veins,
trembling like leaves.
He would stare at his palms
as if scanning the lines
for the ancient oracle
why life is bereft of beatitudes…
yet they would quickly
stare back like the cosmos
that wouldn’t reveal the cause.
How do you keep the silence
of his fingers
that groped for the ghost
of her
who was forever lost?
He balled them into a fist
but the imaginary sand
just slipped through
the bony crevices.
Like Time,
he would never understand
the origin of love & loathing —
once fervently desired,
now desolately denied.
Even his hands
wouldn’t move to care
why he should stare
at them
like lifeboats adrift
from the strand.

4.

The Country of Sorrow

This is nothing extraordinary–
the heart is just word
for country
always visited & explored
but never emptied of its sorrow.
Ague in the blood,
Othello in the eyes
& all the hieroglyphs
of falling leaves in that site
from which dark travelers
scamper like rats
blinded by reason’s light:
that nothing stands
for all seasons,
lovers slave to passion
are in for ultimate destruction.
But this is never learned:
Paramours ever tiptoe
at the edge of treason.

5.

The Revolving Door

The door
swings
like a carnival’s
merrygoround:
anyone who enters
can leave at the same
moment
without seeing anything
or leaving something
that may cause grief,
even happiness.
[He never knew
how she could have
left
a presence
when she didn’t
seem to enter
the door at all.]

6.

News

She was reportedly
pregnant
when soldiers abducted
her.
At the interrogation room,
they played brutally
with her exposed sex
as if their mothers
didn’t have the same
orifice.
Then they tired of leering,
burning her like a pig.

No one talked
about her husband.
Where was he?
He must ave known
of her ordeal
that the stones & grass
had whispered.
There, in the shadows,
is he watching
waiting for God’s sign
“It is time:
Let blood flow where it must!”
& we shall be with her,
be him himself,
on that unholy hour
when words are real,
no longer hot air
that throbs
a love eternal.

7.

The Idiot

He was a boy
from “the other side
of the mountain”
& given to sending flowers
to the girl next door.
Later he would get wind
she would throw
the bouquet away,
her muffled laughter
rising above the air.
But he never wised up
to any feminine allure
yet to this day
he remains the knight-errant,
beholden that women
are worth every poetic line.
But don’t they
snicker behind his back.,
how klutzy indeed
is his stuff?
He will die,
haha!
affirming the Shakesperean credo:
Love is blind,
lovers are seduced by Calypso.

8.

Macho

A.

He gets away with it–
sucker women up.
Deep in his masculine heart,
like the Spartans’,
they long for that smackdown.
Bitches, after all, never care
for puny, sensitive men
who once upon a time
were culled from the warrior clan.
The playboy of the Eastern
world
knows his stuff:
Have money, will call the shot.
O, baby,
they like it rough!

B.

Gynowarriors

But Don Juans
are hunters on the prowl
to mutilate & kill,
the amazons in unison cry,
pointing to a mock reverence
that turns their sisters
into prized hunt.
Don’t they hear
the howl & rage at campsite
to take back the night?
Rewrite the history
of infamy?
It’s not the swing, surely,
of the pendulum–
now here,
now there —
in syncopated motion
that signals circular salvation.
It’s not in the stars, either,
but the infernal rupture
in the silence of centuries of hurt.
Don’t you hear the distant drumming
that crawls nearer
like ants
into your ears?
The prey is set loose upon the hierarchs!

C.

Raison

& if we fuck around,
as boozers drawl,
it’s our libido.
isn’t exclusive
for just one man.
Multiple, like nature —
rivers that overflow.
O for that thrill
that women folk
so anciently desired,
always brutally denied…
why call us loose,
crazy floozies
stalking byways
where earthly passion
ripples, drives?
We demand
no standard
for our kind
We live as dangerously
We grieve as tormentedly
We exult as erotically.

9.

Intersecting Narratives

A.

Professors won’t admit
a crime has been committed,
passing the ball around
in the name of legalese.
But words hide behind the skirt
of officialese
that always pronounces otherwise:
what is north is south,
what west is east
& never shall the readings meet.
She did play according
to the rules of the game:
They’ve craftily changed the givens
& refs won’t blow the whistle either
for what is foul or fair.
What then must be spoken
when words are cheap
in the babble of idiots
behind executive desks?

B.

He drags his companion
to the side of the island
where they can seek cover
from the whizzing cars
that fly
like bullets, around
risking his puny life
for a stray blindsided.
O Never has such humanity
been so precious & humbling
in two dogs
caught in the middle
of the turnpike
where barbarous people
outrace each others’ balls
to see who’s king
of the road.

C.

General Solution

His son had confessed that Dr. Aribert Heim, better known as “Dr. Death,” died in the 1992 in Egypt 17 years ago & Jewish trackers of Nazi war criminals are skeptical about his alleged demise. After all, descendants of the fugitives don’t squeal on them, having lived with their bestial untruth.

Yes, detectives certainly know how most can be found—they have in their computers the house number & place, but governments are not keen to extradite them. So much so that justice has remained elusive, the closure to the holocaust still suspended.

Of course, the general solution is something not to be devoutly wished for. Counter terror favors neither victim nor execution. The contradiction in the notion of violence nullifies its logic & cannot be sustained.

Yet, there at the lobby of Palma Hall, where protesters congregate to denounce the case of Sarah, he would find himself thinking what a General of infamous reputation would do to settle the matter of hypocritical academics who insist on reason where there is none. Bullets to stop the talk when words are false & devious?

The shoe on the other foot?
To make an omelet, one must break eggs.

10.

Faithful

He doesn’t see her face
peek into the door
as the coffee turns cold
in a cup gripped
by neurasthenic fingers
O days when he would
stubbornly wait
but the light blue sky
would turn indigo dark
like the uneasy weather.
How long the charade?
She would now & then
keep her promise–
shoot the breeze
over tea,
sit at the table
for sympathy…
that’s all he clamors anyway–
a stupid, quotidian gesture
to calm down his world.
Time however
when she would meander
into the somnolent shop
as if nothing catastrophic–
an absence,
a failed appointment–
had occurred
& she would babble
like a child
brightening up
& turning his brooding heart
inside out.
She’s sudden rain,
then dry spell
Has she on the side
a lover?
But should he care?
An old, old story
he only knows too well:
to possess her
is to have her
like air.

B.

She’s an Iraqui widow
who takes pride
on her bomber-husband’s
fiery death.
Such privilege
to answer the sacred call
from the minaret–
O love beyond intimacy,
Love in the name
of divine duty.
[But what madness is this?
what love is this?
Romeo & Juliet
died deeply in the passion of youth!
Must she perish
in the name of tribal truth?
love is a hydra of definition —
Neither here nor there,
for silence is all
the undiscovered country’s traveler
will disclose.]

C.

Nightmare

He saw her
in his waking dream
again —
from a distance,
She keeping to herself
as if she herself
is drowning in the dream.
O She keeps appearing
like a chronic disease.
Is she witchcraft?
Seized is he
by the magical tricks
of beauty & deceit?
Yet no crime
has been committed.
What court of desire
shall dispense justice?

D.

In the time of Patriarchs

Daintily sipping tea,
they exchange smiles
from across the small table,
snug in each other’s company.
But, now & then,
her downcast eyes
settle on him with that anxious expectation
that something in her reply
was amiss,
exposing her frame of mind–
Does he overread?
Is she a misplaced dot?
Is she a blank page?
The thought has always
made her uneasy
in the privacy
of their tete-a-tete.
O He’s at it again,
sizing up his profundity
against her shallow depth?
Always, the fear rears up
at this daily cafe visit.
But sooner of later,
she must feel her patience
fray at the edge…
If not already.
O if only she were
a gifted reader…
But why should she be?
She slips her eyeglasses
back in her bag…

E.

Constant

You can’t keep her
in the house:
She’ll find ways & means
to slip out the window,
a crack in the wall,
& she bums around
the neighborhood.
Sometimes she drags
herself in like a wounded warrior
licking her paws
after a catfight–
& you can only nurse her
gently
like some spoiled child
She’s wont to leave
in some feline ceremony,
her gift of a mouse,
fish bones
laid out on the altar
of a floor —
& your heart is squeezed dry,
as in a soap-opera rigmarole.
[But when she,
a most cherished one
who vanished without a word,
suddenly
pressed the door bell
in urgent monotone,
pain in her eyes,
he was puzzled
why his heart
wouldn’t skip a beat,
if only to minister
an iota of cure.]

F.
Slave

When she dropped
her bag on the bed,
combed her hair
& slipped into her night wear,
he almost lost his footing
on an imagined wire
across the abyss:
how long would she stay?
Would she play with his heart
again?
His knees buckled under,
no one was inclined
to throw a rope from the edge.

G.

Manservant

In the morning
everything is still.
She deeply sleeping
on the eastern side of the bed.
he, quickly risen from the west
to prepare for breakfast
& the day’s disaster.
At the back of his thoughts,
She’ll leave again for sure.
O he has no certainty of control.
But if he beats her to the door,
& she snuggles
like an abandoned kitten
in the room
who must have the gift
of viaticum?

H.

QED

& so it goes
like actors onstage,
mouthing lines
they didn’t make —
yet meeting
the requirements of the trade
as if they have lived
so truthfully
the tragicomic play…
The curtain falls
lights dim in the hall:
The past like ashes
in a box
& the future on hold.

II.

A.

Wild Flower

She wouldn’t stop:
she’s an Energizer
rabbit
who kept going & going
& going…
Behind the desk
of her paper work,
with brats who needed
comfort;
with friends to share
the daily petty news;
in projects
that bore her imprimatur;
then in the pub
till the crack of dawn
only to whip up
again & again
the cycle, next morning,
of her wild seasons…
She was busier than Queen Bee —
& he could only shake his head
for this huntress turned
prey
had been dumped
by her truant motherfucker.

B.
Cure

But it was the Rx
of her heart’s ordeal:
to wait for a change
in the blast of weather,
staving off grief
from daily fare.
Somehow
between gin & tonic
was the hopeful gaze
out the window
for a knight-errant
to spirit her away
from the banality
of slow days.
When her plane crashed,
her lover in tow,
her waiting sadly ended
for whatever
pushed her off
her quest’s ennui,
inconsolable sorrow.

C.
The Wait

The blur
on the fast lane
was only a fast-forward
of her days:
she’s stock still
in her chair
on the spot in her mind,
waiting, & waiting
& waiting
for something
to overwhelm
heart’s desire.
For what?
For whom?
At the gates of the universe,
she waits
like time’s pauper.
Is the waiting all
in the coming
& going?
Lovers imagine
they’ve beaten the curse,
they’ve got it made.
A slow-mo of their lives
would only reveal
the whir
of disentangled hands,
the secret welling
of tears
in sunglassed eyes.

12.

Exile

A.

She grins from ear
to ear
in the photoshoot,
but the caption says otherwise.
It is all a lie,
& surfers snicker
at her feel-good performance.
Living it up Down Under
where she flew allegedly to
1. be with family
2. pursue graduate studies
3. mend a broken heart.
This last imperative
is too damned maudlin
for one so green
& has yet to really
handle
the old, old story
of pain
of being screwed
by a cockroach of a guy
on the kitchen floor
of the universe.
Why must she languish in her private hell?
O it takes a lifetime
to start over.

B.

Apparition

Looking out the window
he saw in the ocean
hundreds of dolphins
swimming toward shore.
The night before
the moon had partially
blocked the sand in the sky
like an Inca metaphor.
Suddenly, he was inexplicably
alarmed!
Is the end near?
Apocalypse signaling
a holocaust?
& he has been foolishly
watching his heart,
only his sad, sad heart,
when the world
seems about to spin
to a halt.

3.
Unconventional

A.

When the camp
hoved into view,
he was overwhelmed
by the sight of muscular,
sunburned men
in fatigue uniforms:
fished out of
the underground
after martial law,
a certain joy
whipped up his heart:
he was gay,
& surely
he’s like a fish
thrown in the water.
But in civilian life,
he took under his wing
a young barrio stud
as if there’s no time
to be wasted:
Marcos taught him
every minute
is a quest for survival
& happiness.
But the lover turned truant,
absconding with his funds.
In his sickbed
he could have sighed—
He had seized the
day, as it were,
but if men were beyond his grasp
what could be said
of his sad, fairy life?

B.

Danger Zone

She’s fallen for
another woman,
but that would
mean disaster

for all the men
who tend to leer
for messing with their property,
like beer bottles.
But desire
is desire
& everyone is born equal.
So, flower in hand
she “socked it to her.”
The tough guys
around her howled
she’s no competition,
she’s just a female brat
out to prove
she’s got balls
& that’s that.
When they left
the bar,
like lovers
on one-night stand
cowboys could only
crush the glasses
in their hands.

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