Poems of Cynicism

1.
Postmortem
A.

So many questions
about the dead:
to shed a tear
or shrug it off,
the whole infinitude
of mourning…
How to weigh
the fruits of a passage
to the cosmos of light
or infernal region?
No traveler
can tell where she belongs,
how the myths
will affirm
the self-comforting tale
she’s with her lover,
first & last…
O How they wish
for such a fantasy
of a life hereafter,
to assure the orphans
true fellowship prevails…
But Thomases doubt
if death opens a door
to something greater…
They say
the blood of farmers
stains her hands,
the county has never
had a Chinaman
chance
despite the liberative sign…
But she’s as helpless
as a child
to swim against the current
of her oceanic class.
O if only
she didn’t suffer
at the final hours…
We exist,
we die:
what is there
to eulogize
but to bead
like a rosary
our sighs.

B.

“Masses”
in a word
too often used
has turned abstract,
almost oneiric,
unreal:
the gasoline boy
who pumps
the morning gas
simply plugs his ears
on the blah-blah
of the fuel rise.
He doesn’t want
to dig deeper
into the national malaise
that triggers
the monotonous wail.
In his mind
he only prays
for a windfall
of the sweepstakes.
The widow’s
time on earth
had simply expired.
Who’s sentimental?
What matters
more than ever
is the suffocating fumes
that saturate
the air.

2.
Summing up

So many millions
don’t see it his way:
how to judge
the unfolding play
in its history
of passion, will
& bourgeois despair.
Could they be wrong
to have summed all up
in a cockeyed way?
She didn’t bring it on
the democratic flair
but left peasants & workers
in constant disarray:
the scumbags
are still at it;
the assassins
still man street corners;
breathing is always
on perfect hold
like an angelic wrestler’s…
O There must be
an alchemic mix
of anger & gratitude
in equal measure
to mourn justly
someone’s demise
without the wind
snuffing the candle flame,
or turn grief
to stone
& mercifully move on.
Who has found
the existential solution?

Fatalist
3.

There he sits
before his pedlar’s stuff:
he lets time
overtake him
like a plastic bag
wrapped around his head
until he suffocates
& turns to marble bust.
Then, with a deep sigh
he packs up for home
to lug them back
the next morn
& repeat
the age-old malediction.
May the weather
allow him
fortunate sale
but he wouldn’t moan
with grief
anger or tedium:
the seed of discontent
is never his own.
Trained he is
by fate like a dog
to bark & scratch,
but that’s all —
he’s simply letting time
dissolve his misfortune.

4.
Pretty Fool

Her lover
just smacked her down
but she’s used to it.
She could have
a change of heart
& be done
with his heavy hand.
But she’s used to it,
believing her power
is all intact:
he’ll be back
like a prodigal cad,
& she’ll orgasmically squirm
at her calculated patience
like a chess player
in a lover’s game —
who assumes the upper hand
in the daily entangling
of hearts & minds?
She claims
she always wins the setto
when he beats
a path to her cunt
but that is another theme
of winners
at the edge of erasure:
She’s flying up
when
she’s falling down
in an inverted world.

5.
Lecturer

The 7 o’clock class
tempts him
to scream like a mad Steppenwolf
at his idiot fate —
but there’s no need
to beg scoundrels
at the textual mortuary
for favors, anyway.
He’ll hack it up,
inventing in his mind
the thousand ways
to kill
the enemy — & time —
who strut around
like peacocks
in mating mission.
How could fate
play tricks on him?
How would the gods
be full of mischief
as to let him loose
among the dogs?
There is no justice,
cynics leer,
the jigsaw puzzle
has missing pieces
that will not play —
Virtues are mere charade.
The Lord gambles
with players’ fates.
He who thinks
is a troublemaker:
Whine like a pup
or despair over his strut?

6.
Sunday Patriot

He pins
a yellow ribbon
on his shirt,
grinning he’s most moral
in the morning’s
mourning —
but it cuts both ways:
he’s aiming for a change
in a bourgeois state,
or signals the semiotics
of a revolution
like a novel momentum
on the chequered board…
But there he is,
content
to have been enveloped
by a deluge of kinsmen
from shifting classes —
as if revolt,
intimate & public,
could be fused
in one fell swoop
by necro rites
that will tie
yellow ribbons
around a nation.
Should the dead
clear the path to the future?
But it’s the living
who must kindle
the prairie fire
that will burn down
the devils
in a field
of dry eyes.

7.
Scandal

They are
up in arms
against Executive fief
messing up their choices
& procedure:
contaminated
most foul
by a street-smart
who conceives of the masses
as pot of witches’ brew
where demiurges
& celestial heroes
upturn the upper world,
where peasants
in chain
wear talisman
to conquer
patrician fools,
where penitents
are graced by God’s dove
if weary to revolt.
Yes, the national icons
won’t have it
any other way:
medallions
hanging in their necks
like albatrosses
must be saved
from regime’s saltimbanques
who shriek & prance
for their share of spoils…
Yet from the start
the pantheon of idols
has been a tribal site
overseen by their own
centurions,
all in the name of genius,
& sovereign passion.
Fie, fie!
Let the waves of the Bay
behind the Marcos Parthenon
rush in
& drown all claimants
to the throne.
None deserves
the perfidious accolade:
Authentic artists
have never had a need
for reverential plaques.
Alas, alas, alas!

8.
White Zone

In the white zone
the masses
have spoken:
they’ve decided
to forego all opprobrium
& allow tearful sympathy
to shoot up
from the muddled bottom
of sentiments & attrition —
thus hailing
the chief
for all the blessings
& errors
fashioned out
for the promised restoration.
Celebrating action
they’ve set up,
this tradition
of seizing things
as per charitable Christian
doctrine —
forget her sins,
recall her pious reverence.
O the awful direction
this hiphop generation
must cut its way through
the jungle of signs
while in search
of a real revolution.
The fire next time
may be on plain sight
But seers see
with blinded eyes!

9.
Disciples

They are stirring
the cuckoo’s nest:
honor guards
are praised profusely
for standing like automatons,
souping up the procession
with militarist nobility
of a feudal kingdom.
Then they air
their plea
to canonize
her memory
elevate to a saint
like Mother Teresa
of Calcutta
for her austere piety.
History stops
at her demise?
There is no second coming
for a mediatrix
between Catholic Heaven
& subversive Hell?
A patrician
who captained
a rotten ship of fools —
she, who was moneyed
but purveyed
Calvinistic exactitude?
Enough is enough!
Let the dead forever sleep
in their arcadian cove.
Let her venerators
stay off
the metaphysical mode.

10.
Sainthood

How shall
history probe
the Event
as consequential,
worthy of a memoriam
exultantly told.
There will be testimonies
on her virtues,
her spiels & prayers
to constitute
interminable folk lore…
But she’s not perfect,
a daughter confessed,
as if to motion to the crowd
not to go overboard…
They love their mother
who loved in return
as any mother should…
Enough said then
of the Widow
who blazed her own
puritan code.
She’s remembered
for all her worth —
all texts
would impartially record,
shorn of beatitudes.

11.
Crystal Ball
A.

Apres moi
le deluge?
So many charlatans
have said it
to project the future
from the spectacle.
Complete with charts
& numbers
to map out
the modes of action
to secure
any regime’s stronghold.
But who
is saying what?
The morning after
they’ll be thankful
the sun has risen again
in the sky —
& they’re luxuriously alive!
Tomorrow
is just another
day & time.
The rest is litany of lies.

B.

He is adamant
to cross the raging river
in Botolan
that cuts the town
in half.
His family is marooned
on the other side.
He must deliver
his sack of harvest
hanging on his back…
But the current
is too violently strong
for any swimmer
to survive.
In the city,
mourners brave the rain
to join the funeral
cortege,
with dark presentiments
evil spirits
may yet be exorcised.
But he doesn’t think
of that:
it’s hundreds of miles
distant
from his prayer
to traverse the swollen divide
then hike inland.
He had done that before
so many times
to gather the fruits
of his own labor.
[To & fro,
to & fro,
chorus the Furies
while Sisyphus
rolls the stones…]
He just wanted
to be with loved ones
& take stock
of his sorrow.
O Does he have time
for profundity
about a noble’s death?
He only craves
for his little peasant clique.

12.
Necropolitics

She has turned
invisible
but has not become
one with air.
The moon no longer
reflects the sun
but light
reaches
from eons of distance.
Even memory
fails to exist,
but why do
scars throb
like anti-matter?
Everything solid
has melted,
but the signs
blaze the mind.
She is nowhere
but everywhere
All contradictions
of a presence
that is absence
in a death
intimately alive.

13.
13th Poem for a Queen

Always,
history repeats itself,
pundits say.
The Queen of France
threw at the mob
crumbs of cake
& ended up
with her coiffured head
on the chopping block.
At Le Cirque, New York
this won’t happen to GMA
in civilized times.
Spinmasters
could easily minimize
the outrageous media hype:
if the poor eat
only twice a day —
cups of rice,
dried fish & noodles,
why, isn’t that a feast
already for the able?
Revolt is flummery
for those who keep their noses
close to the grindstone.
There is no picture bigger
than one’s own.
Marie Antoinette
born in a wrong century,
was a child of misfortune.

14.
Faith

The priest was shaking his head.
He had just ministered
to a guy who had lost his confidence,
holding himself in low steam.
He’s tempted to slit his wrists,
but too damned scared to commit.
“There were doors everywhere
in that strange country in his dream,
but they all shut down on him.”
He had confessed, like half-the-man
he thought he never was at the beginning.
“He was a born loser,” he had whimpered.
Disgust had surged up within
the man in the cloth
but indifference is strictly forbidden:
He instead had counselled
“Don’t ever lose hope;
things could change for the better.”
But the guy had heard it before:
he walked out of the old church
his shoulders theatrically sagging.
The priest stood like driftwood
in his shoes:
the congregation is thinning out,
believers are slowly deserting,
all talk of certainty & salvation
is scoffed at.
Nothing even moves
to resolve a spiritual stand-off.
In his mind, he’s that man all over again.
But the doubts & futility
he couldn’t entertain
even if he too was privy to the same dream:
Doors closing,
never opening.

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