April-May

Medication

1.
It’s a pity
they’re no longer here
to tell the story
of his first coming
when he broke
the silence of the room:
Did the earth move?
Did the people stop
in their tracks
to hear the infant cry
in a mudpatch
devastated
by war?
Nah, he was cheap,
cigars weren’t passed around.
It was an ordinary day-
to this moment
when friends
he could count
on his fingers
did bother to spiel:
like the lamented Nicks of May
“he’s older than the hills!”

2.
So it has been foretold:
Nothing eventually
matters?
Women will pass him by
crinkling their noses
as if disturbed
by something, ignominious, foul.
Where are they?
Always
the lessons to be learned:
a kind or two,
the small household
& clutch
who were wont
to make sure
an added notch,
like a tattoo
could be propitious
for a convalescent pup
wheeled around
the corridors.
Did he expect something
tumultuous?
Were there unreal expectations?
Nah, kids will stay
bipolar in their
wide-eyed fashion:
sullen, then a smile of a garden than blows
on visages,
Time to stop
and crush the roses underfoot.

3.
And what does the future
hold?
Flat, as it has always been:
The rich holding court,
fools having a ball,
Wars breaking out
to solemnize a fall.
& he looks out the window,
bracing himself
for the rising cold.
The laughter of children
playing cards
echo in the obscene neighborhood,
& he finally resolves
to forget whatever it is
quick
to kick him out
of memory’s threshold.
Brutal is history-
it doesn’t really give a hoot.
The hurtling angel
stares at his foot.

4.
So he finally
enters the day
by whistling
through the breaking dark
as if nothing portentous
is about to occur.
Every ticking
of the proverbial clock
should be dutifully ignored:
leaves & flowers
are only meant
to be looked at
as they fall-
only the barren desert
of sentiments
on memory & time,
passion & hurt
ambush the crazy fools:
Turn with the world
holding the sewed-up
heart
in his hands
as if there’s still
so much time to cover the future?
Run, run, run
As if whizzing by
faces
he should no longer
bother to behold.

5.
Solidarity
is an accidental antidote
for the silly shy guy
stuck in the corner;
when the lights turn on
& the crowd turns wild,
he puts on his mask
to conceal his sneer
boozers frown at,
as if wary of hermetic style:
so push him out
the door-
such a prehistoric killjoy!
Yup, it is always
the class rule:
don’t mix
with that long, long face
of a worn-out marathoner,
They may patronize
with their toothpaste smile,
but your jive
they’ll flick off
like a fly…

6.
Grow up, man,
grow up!
He is told
as if to console
like a beatitude.
But what does it mean?
Grow with the world?
Shout with the mob?
Play his card as if he calls the shots?
Wedge himself
between seats
at the poker game?
Nah, too late
to get heroic
with his bagful of words
minted in bronze.
There’s nothing to do
no ware to sell
for the market
demands value exchange,
He sips his beer,
in a corner
to catch the wind
as it gusts by.

7.
The sms
a cheque for empty coffer,
an Estrel cake
for sweet-toothed kids,
& latecomers
who drop by
to keep old conversations
going on high…
It’s humongous fantasy
enough
that of the billions
on planet earth,
this would happen
to a guy
deemed luckier
than a refugee from Darfur,
even one-eyed bums
scrounging for food
in city dumps.
After all,
all a man needs
is air in his lungs,
fruits in his hands
& a fellow straggler
to stave off the night.

8.
He only exists
In the imaginary
of the other.
Beyond that…
he leaves no
“footprints in the sand,”
giving lie
to Desiderata
that assures
time & memory
persist
for something
to remain
angelic.
Yup.
If they suddenly decide
to leave his side…
who shall bear
witness
to the miniature
of a forgettable life?
Without
the vicegrip of their eyes,
who will live
like Mathuselah?

9.
Summer
never shroud
its lovely face
at all-
All is veiled with rain
that mists
the heart’s windowpane
& at highnoon
he was shivering
like a flu-stricken patient.
She was however
still at it-
on the lookout
for new wave of lover
& new embraces.
He was still at it,
gazing from across
the sea-distance of a table,
grinning at his grief.
Sure, she kept
the music playing
but on the morning
of all his summers,
the town seemed
to forever rain.
O summer
never showed
its lovely face
at all.

10.
After a small feast,
how does the morn start?
Back to the droll routine-
same old, same old-
of charting routes
to survival & dreams:
to prepare the face
to meet all the faces
on the street;
to alter the scapegoat
of a heart
from cyclone’s edge…
Like an orphan,
assured that the shadows
in the wings
will be watching
the drunken idiot
won’t fall over the precipice-
O Daily miracles
that pass unseen.

11.
Split

A strange delight
spikes the intimate conversation
with confidantes
when she vividly details
how she responded
to her ex-lover’s sms:
Yes, he did make
her wait
like some courtesan
while he goes about
pumping up his abs
like some Atlas god.
Yes,
he threw her out again
when she resented
his officious conduct…
But what did she
see in him, anyway?
The streak of violence
she must be beholden
like moth to candleflame?
They are puzzled,
the dark side
of all things
that flummoxes
why murder happens
even among
children.

12.
Getaway

A.
Condoleeza Rice
bristles at the obscene thought
that America tortures
detainees:
waterboarding is legit,
approved no less
by international allies.
The crime is malicious
imaginary–
beyond the barbershop
talk
of those outside
the tedious circle
of statecraft.
To snuff evil
is to take in everything.
But there will always
be witnesses,
even one left to live
by accident…
But the executioner will
always be ready with paperwork
that implicates all…
even children & paupers
who loosely benefit
from the cautionary act
against terrorist attack.

B.
Clash

The Taliban is edgy:
he suspects the interview
is a set-up.
But he has said
a mouthful already
defending the cause:
Jihad is the call
when foreign devils
waged war against the Moor.
If they leave us alone,
we shall stay our troops.
We have warned
the public
against straying into the target
but…
The war continues,
none is safe
on either side
of the demarcation line
where combatants
move to edge
each other out.
Words are just ploys
to forge a strategic assault.
O Death feeds
so luxuriously
off the cause.

13.
The Lover

A “butterfly
was already on the wing”
& Vladimir Nabokov
felt it in his bones…
Dimitri sensed it too:
his father’s time was up
when the aerial voyager
fluttered beyond
his grasp…
How to pin down
the moment of a beauty’s
full incandescence?
The sage collector
would seize it
by his hands
& murder the ephemeral.

14.
Lucky

He was “sickly,
destitute,
an epileptic gambler.”
She was young,
beautiful
but “chance brought them
together”…
Feodor Dostoevsky
couldn’t believe his luck
that Anna Snitkina,
who was half his age,
wouldn’t
through thick & then
“leave his side,”
mos loyal like a cur–
As if the God of Passion
had performed
His brutal trick
on mortal union
reason itself
in its imperious reign,
would have found
most bizarre,
wanting in logic.
But such are the workings
of desire
& nightmare imagined
is symptom
of heaven
in disguise.

15.
Boxer

They flock around him
like flies over shit
& he claims
God is on his side:
What about the other bloke?
To hell he has been exiled?
He speaks softly
like a low-key peasant…
but he could kill
anytime
with his brutal left hook
that sends
idiots & neo-fascists
into catatonic mood.
He makes tons of moolah
for himself
& offers the iconic fight
to a barbarous country
in cheap pubs & arenas
to stomp & scream
everything is possible!
Even in a town
robbed of honor & capital.
What method of madness
is this?
Voyeours are trapped
in the power spectacle,
But only a select few
can enter
his mansion’s door.

16.
Lamb

He won’t post bail.
He might as well defend
his Tirad Pass:
they won’t stop
to chase him out
of his mind–
But the nuns won’t let him
fail the gauntlet
for the Devil lurks everywhere
& can pluck him out
of their iron vise,
drop him dead elsewhere.
Sure, he used to be
a government flunkey,
had his share
of backroom perversity.
But Barrabas
is a biblical story
believers can edify.
The end of the road
to Calvary
is so far away yet…
& his faithful
are praying for a positive twist
in Sunday sermons
to put in place
doubters of Christian gift.

17.
Caregiver

Their teeth
flash enamel white
& passports thrust
into camera’s eyes.
O How the batch
is all afrenzy
at the 75,000 yen–
if certified as nurse–
to send their tribe.
Have they heard
the cautionary tale
about the agreement
that enforces procedures
insulting their profession?
Caregivers first
before authorities
clear them to handle
Japanese icons…
The exchange is monstrous:
toxic materials
to be shipped to Philippine soil
while Filipinas
care for their aged
expendables.
But none of that
should worry natives
whose noses
are held close to the grindstone.
The world is a vicegrip…
Who would see
shadows of grief
when family finally eats?
Beggars can’t fastidiously choose
the manner of their death.

18.
Non-Poetics

His poetry,
a dilettante says
while holding court
at a roadside cafe,
doesn’t have
the fragility of glass
that cuts deeply,
mournfully.
Sledgehammer no less
that crushes everything,
leaving no shards
for shadowy meaning.
His world is one-dimensional,
flat;
his voice booming
like a Nazi general’s
reviewing the guards.
He doesn’t whisper
to soothe tender hearts,
but screams & rants
into ears
to rattle patients
in a ward.
Softness
is not his virtue,
nor a vice
that pushes the unwary
into imagistic trap.
Que sera, sera, he shrugs.
Let words
be bulldozers
gone amuck:
those who stand in the way
will be crushed.
O His language is not
a garden
but a minefield
for sybaritic brats.

19.
A.
Mother’s Day

She reached only
the sixth grade
but o how lovely
was her penmanship,
like an academic’s.
Timidly aware
of her little knowing,
she would keep to herself
except in moments
when neighborhood crones
would saunter in
& kindle childhood fires.
O How she must
have suffered
her second-born’s
impertinence.
But doggedly she held
her secret sorrow
about a prodigal
who staggered in
half-blind from
drinking bouts.
Her temper
was on even keel,
unlike the sea
that roars
even in mid-summer
& he rued
why his life of a boat
would drift away
from her
who watched tearfully
from the shore,
Only when she’s done for,
he would despair
of the lighthouse
of her semaphore.

B.
The first woman
is Mother to a Child
who seeks
refuge
in a world of danger
& chaos…
Primal scream
is the word
stuttered in the dark
as if she confirms
all truth,
in mankind
& everything
& if she vanishes
into the sunset
like an efflorescent cloud,
the world crumbles
under his feet.
O Who can
measure up
to her worthiness?
A lesson
& ancient wisdom
tangentially forgotten,
slowly remembered
after her demise.

20.
Parking

The guard
was courteous but firm:
please park elsewhere —
slot is for a National Artist
whose credentials include
keynoting progressive causes,
serving the people.
The state generously allows
balding dignitaries
who have been honored
as creative treasure
space for their
genteel habitude.
But what gross entitlement
is this
for dissenters
against neo-fascist rule?
The ploy is real,
disarming radical discourse.
For blind he is
to the irony
consequent of his NCCA
consecration…
Down with injustice!
& earn a seat
on the platform
rising over a crowd
in hysterics
over radical agendum?
In Russia,
commissars
have their dacha
& state sinecure.
Do we repeat
the reign
of Stalinist repertoire?

B-day Boy
(for Mark)

He was living on the fast lane.
But as if roused
from somnambulist sleep,
he decided to stop
& smell the flowers.
But it would be a span
of hand
in the distance
of the infinite…
& off he goes again
tying up his sneakers
to face the musketry
of eyes
in the academe.
Is this where he’s fated?
The lure of words
is a siren call,
& imaginary bodies litter
the backstreet.
But he’ll suck up
on the moment’s fantasy.
Will he seek
again his white-hot
habitat
where his young heart
drowns in the brilliance
of the sun?
Too often
seasoned navigators
of the dizzying route
fly off
like sparks
from a knife
on the grindstone…

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