MJ Redux & Other Poems

1.
The Widow

A.

She’s not in pain;
she’s resting –
the nurse confides
to uneasy kin
badly in need
of the patient,
she’s been isolated;
the air disinfected,
& body allowed
to take in chemicals
for stabilizing fluid.
Every drop of dextrose
is a push away
from mortal exit:
machines
must do the assigned work
lest all fall
like bowling pins
before the inevitable.
What is science for?
Yet it spends itself out
cleaning dirty bombs
that leave houses of stone
intact
but humans they
quickly dispatch.
He, in this small space
of a hospital ward,
reason fails to fathom
why we mourn the dying
but applaud war.

B.

They bead the rosary
outside the room,
their closed eyes
keen on the yellow days
when ribbons
fluttered from trees.
It has been
so many lonely years
of widowhood –
& she didn’t even want
to mount the husting
but elders pushed her up:
the ruling class
was in disarray
& workers / peasants
were restive.
O She did her part
of the bargain
to kick the dictator out,
her loyalists speechify,
& the Risen Lady
who prays with nuns
at her chosen sanctuary
must herself be prayed over.
For the icon of her caste,
mediated to stall revolution,
must have
historical absolution:
[Though denizens
of the sugar hacienda
fell from constable shots
& farmers would raise
what’s right, what is just.]

2.
July 4

Of course,
July 4
is a Gringo
celebration –
& colonial vassals
are wont to exult
this day
as worthy of confetti
& balloons
to float up in the air,
as if to circumnavigate
the globe.
In safe houses
advisers
in clean white shirts
keep waterboarding
traitors
to the democratic
cause:
Why do they have
to make life
difficult
when American truth
is absolute?
Marines
will be forever
on the road.

3.
Detainee

Wala nang
luhang maitulo,
the 73-year old
woman in correctional,
softly whines.
Is there sarcasm
or self-pity
in her voice?
The reporter
blankly stares
at her thin face.
O The prison house
is the kingly solution
to contain plebeians.
& she would surely
waste away –
she’s poor,
never had connection –
in the clean, lighted ward
where aging folk
ignominiously expire…
Because
the law is majestic,
way beyond
peasant comprehension
& beliefs.

4.
Unbeliever

He has stopped hoping.
Yesterday,
he didn’t wait anymore
for the return text.
He’s sure as hell
today
it doesn’t hit him
like crazy
as before.
Even if the phone
remains silent
like Rimbaud’s corpse
in the valley.
Yesterday,
Susan Fernandez
left for the light:
he briefly
felt sad,
as if a hymnal
flashed in his ears.
Old warriors
are having a tough time
these days,
& children
are at a loss
what to make
of tomorrows ahead.
He shrugs off
the fear
he’s in a twilight zone,
when acquaintances
have turned
into shadows.
But
he’s tired
of being anxious
about things
that won’t happen
or turbulently
explode.

5.
Workplace

There he was
idling on the stone bend
& making tired conversation
with a young major
struggling with her poetry
for her mentor’s
imprimatur.
It’s starting
to feel sad
this afternoon:
she’ll traipse along
the route
in the craggy woods
with her
peg-legged hunchback
who claims
he’s come from
the moon
where tales are aplenty
to overcome ennui.
When he stood up
from his hastily closed
book,
he found himself
again
driving a time machine
like he did before:
He’s everywhere
in bits
of shattered mirror.

6.
Loner

He fancies himself
absolutely alone.
But he looks up
from his cellphone,
listless to find
the world
emptied of ghosts.
O This generation, he muses,
fakes its sadness:
comfortable,
though they deny it,
with 24-hour
electronic voices.
To soothe their nerves
like call-center agents
sipping
at Starbucks
to work off
an automated ennui.
But he’s never been alone:
the cellphone
is just a button away
from Nirvana
or disaster.
He beats himself up
for whatever reason –
like things don’t add up,
he always holds
an empty bag.

7.
The Forbidden

A.

As a child,
they would shush him up
if he so much
as enquired
why he couldn’t linger
at the door
shut tight
though old people
came & went
on quick, light steps
as though pursued
by mean spirits.
Their faces were grim,
prone to cryptic
silence.
They shuffled
into the musty room,
gripping thermos
of hot water
or tray of fruits
as they passed
the threshold of the forbidden.
Something was wrong,
they were not telling
& when they broke
into muffled hysterics,
he was puzzled
at visitors
who wouldn’t
share their secrets
why somebody
was probably done for,
yet never even
bothered to signal
a farewell semaphore.
Today, tears well up
in his eyes –
& he still doesn’t know why.

B.

When science
that propels mankind
to a nuclear high
falters
like Icarus
shooting down
from the sky,
prayer
for the wasting flesh
fills the eerie gap
between silence & gasps:
so holy men
seek mediation
to stay His hand
from cyclical reaping:
& we could only
cling on to
the coat tails of hope,
making sure
the straw man
in the cornfield
is just another buffoon.
God tests
the heartbroken,
the pious?
But what for?
He’s privy
to belief’s amplitude
vainglory
of mortal beatitudes.
The clock ticks on –
coldly, mechanically –
& the cosmos itself
cannot undo
what it had laid down
a long, long time
ago.

8.
A.
Hombre

It’s Hemingway’s world
where tough, old men
drink elegantly
at a clean, well-lighted
café –
& no one would dare
intervene,
nay, cut short,
the solitary ceremony.
But this not longer
is fashionable:
everyone barely
looks up from laptops,
drinking decaf
instead of brandy.
Yes, it’s 24 hours
of getting wired
to the world,
but old fogeys don’t stay
at the pub anymore –
They retire
to their half-lit rooms
& think of nada,
nada, nada
as if everything
is rerun
of a late, late show.
Dudes, of course,
find it silly:
there’s so much
to live for
& enjoy.
In a barren place,
persisting is the ultimate
pleasure.

B.

But he’s just
Strawberry Fields’
Nowhere Man –
& he can never
hack it out
in a war of attrition:
class war
is on the rise;
he can’t dawdle up
any side.
Fancy
this classic frontiersman
who’d break ranks
with whatever cause
but his,
when things go haywire
with his obstinate desire.
O Times
are bleakly different:
you gotta
gut it out
with fellowmen
hellbent to stop
the uniformed horde.
Alone in a café,
Swaddled in darkness
mottled
with neon light –
who’ll get wind
of the dawning holocaust?

9.
Witchcraft

A.

This is the annual rite:
the chief of voodoo
must make
a full account of herself
before the tribes
mesmerized
by electronic words
silken like spider threads
that bind all –
criminals & saints –
into believing
there’s no one but her,
alpha of the flock,
to fire up her loyalists,
circle of chosen masses.
O How she itches
to rewrite
the tragedy of Moses
who was forbidden
to watch the wretched
descend
into the green valley.
She’s done with legends,
will force her way
through inflicted crises –
even if the Lord Almighty
points her
to the anointed corner.

B.

& they will spend
the rest of their lives
kissing
the ballot,
this piece of paper
that signifies
a choice:
the masses
are herded into the booths
where all hopes
repose
because the gun
from mountain lairs
& urban cells
interdict the Law.
So I stand
before you all,
beloved & abhorred,
to insist
despite the natural
deluge.
Everything’s ok:
no crime by the elect
has been committed:
who would question
my virtue, my vice?
It is destiny,
a cosmic decree
& the masses,
born to servitude,
have neither option
nor reason
to transgress
the Constitution.
I shall rule,
we’re all
packed like sardines
in a rickety boat.

10.
Unforgiven

They will not
cease to mourn
over crimes
that shouldn’t have
happened
if only greed
were an understatement.
Who wants
to cling on to power
when skeletons
rattle in the closet?
Yet madness
seizes every claimant
to the High Chair –
& there will be
no end
to retribution.
But church bells
still knell
for the unworthy children
of God’s immanence.

11.
Window

The weather
is foul this July,
but she wakes up
this morning
giddy with summer
straight up.
What did she eat
the night before
to register so fair
a mood?
She must have dreamed
to stop
all unnecessary brooding
over her years
grown merry & old:
Time to give herself
a second chance
at irrational happiness
that blunts rational
unease.

12.
July 27

The General
dutifully inspects
the troops
in full battle gear.
He studies the map
where target subjects
strategically
cluster in formation.
He sets up
his snipers
on vantage points
should the enemy
ominously advance.
He makes sure
all the bases
are covered,
like what
professional soldiers
do in Iraq.
After all,
he’s duly sworn
to secure
with SWAT
the beloved
Woman of the People.

13.
MJ Redux

They don’t seem
to get enough of him.
Traveling from afar,
they pay homage
with placards & roses
at the gates
of the mansion
where he mysteriously
expired
after battling insomnia
with drugs.
Then remember
his moon walk
culled from James Brown,
his Motown music
they profess
made something
of their petty lives.
Tales of kindness
flare like prairie fire;
but juvenile deeds
fly like black birds
in the night.
Yet all is forgiven
for MJ who didn’t leave
a sweet taste
in the mouth
with his sudden flight.
Is he Christ
whom disciples
would expect the stone
door
to roll off
& conjure as resurrection?
He won’t rise from the grave:
but his music
will stubbornly pipe on
from boom boxes
& in ghetto jive
until somebody
from the next century,
lugging a guitar & a gun,
comes along
to complete a revolution
whose matrix
of evil & desire
escapes his one-eyed fans.

B.

But it’s conduct
of life
philosophical
where contradictions
are worked out.
All tragedies
submit to the flow
of reason & eclipse.
Michael Jackson
lived
his color line
that allowed
in his day & time
black & white
to cancel
each other out.
Sure, his reconstructed
face
showed the agony
& confusion
of walking over
the precipice
off carnival land.
But he’s a child
who tried
to recover his childhood
that was forever gone,
the never frontier
that was a sad vengeance.
Diprivan did him in?
Enablers,
serving hand & foot,
were quick
to calm him down.
If only he could sleep
deeply into morning
but the beasts of nightmare
were ever in attendance:
O A boy
& saltimbanque
flying over his mind
like Peter Pan.

C.

They’re not saying it –
as if observing
a code of silence –
but they’re seething
with anger,
the children of the dead,
who couldn’t understand
the sudden leaving:
As if a player
upped & ran away
to ruin the game
with a sense of mischief
that led to grief.
Yes, they feel
so violated
by the unfairness of the play:
Read their lips:
They bare their teeth
like Dracula
when they weep.

D.

The network
is on 24-hour
watch
to flood
all mourners
with MJ memories.
Albums have
a second life
& impersonators
are thrilled
sky-high:
never have the lights
so treasured them
these days
as when
the fabled original
died.
O When will
the mourning deluge
end
& call it a day
for the fans?
Death has been
so good
for teary-eyed
capitalists
& ideologues
out to wring
all the tears
from dollar eyes.

E.

What are they thinking?
He sounds out of line.
Do they live
in glass houses?
Is it fated
that people must pry
their hearts out
with clawing eyes?
But there they are
natty in dark suits,
making a cinema
of their familial grief,
taking the crowd
on an emotional trip.
But forensic experts
know better
as knives cut deep
into the sordid details
of a myth:
gone bald,
his hair burnt
in a Pepsi ad,
addicted
to prescription drugs
to combat the beasts
that prance about
his sleep
father-cum-sadist
hung up on money
& Hollywood glitz;
kids with suspect DNA
but are beloved, anyway…
Hillocks of flowers
at the gates,
praying that
in heaven, there must be
peace…
& the network bloodsport
of ratings & upmanship,
for this 21st century’s
pop music gift…
& figures in black
on TV screen
performing
their treacly skills
to regale suckers
who beat their chests
as if orphaned
& aggrieved…
What are they thinking?
He looks out of line.

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2 Responses to MJ Redux & Other Poems

  1. Jen says:

    Hello Sir!

    Magkape naman po tayo minsan. Dadalaw ako. :)

  2. OK. Text lang. See you!

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