The fisherman
mends the net
at the beach
after the tsunami
& earthquake
that sent Port-au-Prince
into a tailspin.
He can only remember
the neighbor & house
being washed away
in the ravaging tide.
He scans the sea
for dinghys swarming
toward points of nowhere
spared of bodies
piled up in trenches.
& the unrecovered
under the shifting ruins.
He’s old,
says he “takes life as it comes.”
His eyes are dry,
firmly focused on his
fishing gear
to set forth in the night.


The young woman
brushed aside the old man’s
ambushing lips…
& she had to pay
a silly price
by being bowled out
on the internet
for her malicious conduct.
The Filipino expat
in Paris
had gifted her with
her portrait…
As if he expected
something in return?
O Why do old guys,
overwhelmed by senile passion,
expect to be reciprocated?
Their time is up:
like the river
that has turned spent & dry.
Calmly, with a secret laugh,
she sent the canvas back
to the old address
where cats scrounge
for daily scraps.


She is telling
the other girl,
“There are issues;
He’s older….”
Her voice trailing off
as if a deadend
has been reached
& the walls
caved in:
But should that matter
if passion
is true to itself?
Yet the summer story
is always brief
& repetitive.
Something is always missed,
& Frank Sinatra
knows it too well
in his drunken gut
how Ava Gardner,
a transcendent beauty
beyond all the fashions
of time,
could be enveloped only
by his eyes.


The academic was sacked
for an immoral act
of forcing himself
pathetically & sadly
upon a student
who resisted
his imagined charm.
Bystanders would chuckle,
Why did he do that?
Did he lose his head?
What text
did he read
to enflame his fantasy?
He must have turned
so goddam desperate
to drop his pants
before a raucous
& invisible crowd.
Surely, desire ever leaps out
of the despairing heart —
but he who is struck
by the gods
in the head
will ignobly perish.
O Old lovers
really never grow up.


A logician,
by presumption,
he keeps hypothesizing
about the old fogey
who tries to pin down
Lolitas far beyond
his habitude & age —
What strange beast
is he
who seeks the company
of her
who knows more
at her young age
all the pain & pleasure,
the comic & the tragic
of whatever pursuit?
He, of course,
is bound to lose,
too little time
to note of things less essential
to passion’s
real route.
He can never rely
on his masculine allure;
behind her nubile smile
lurks Venus’s
fatal fly-trap.


He says,
he’s in control:
he can pick up
any floozie
that smells of brand
& they can at the drop
his thick wad
seductively perform.
Hungry virgins
ever in need
even of promises
to survive the hard times
in style.
O How they look
with moist eyes at
high-end prostitutes
who also pray in church.
He says,
he’s in control.
Everyone has a price.
Money talks,
that no one disputes
in the age of capital
where virtue
is worth a hoot.


The lovers are young,
always in heat —
& all the seasons
of intimacy
they’ll smell of carnal sweat
& orgiastic moans…
They lock hands & groins,
like the classic statue
of lovers
in deep embrace,
steel melted into steel.
They are its paradigm,
no one can tear apart.
Why did the publicist
report recently
they have finally
& cordially agreed
to call it quits?
Desire wanes
like sun in desert evening…
Cool of summer
turns to rainy season’s
humid air…
O the workings of the heart
have always puzzled
both the insane & the wise.


But, of course,
he is branded
a dirty, old man:
& bystanders
in dark cafes
would smugly disdain
details from petty conversation
snatched like motes
in the festering rain.
Does he care?
Headshrinkers aver,
his addiction
is for something he continually
like women,
like his mother who left him
They are imagined antidote
for his interminable losses.
He is wont to mistake the Virgin Mary
for whores…
But there will be end
to all this gruesome sadness:
one morning,
when he wakes up on the
wrong side of the bed,
he’ll smash the mirror
& virgins will flee
from his important rage:
he’s old,
fossilized like a corpse.


Will there be
surrender to prose?
In due time
when evening sets in,
nothing is far behind?
Poetry, for Sartre,
is never instrumental;
other disciplines
won’t allow themselves
the ambiguity of language
unveiled by the infinite:
is blindness
that rules against logic.
Thus seeing
the signs on the wall,
he was seized by
inexhaustible fear,
as old mad people are,
for the abyss
may empty itself
to a zero finality.
They say
he’ll finally walk the talk,
& lead the parade
to the framed discourse.
Here, truth as alleged
fails to be elusive —
a tear is to be equated
with mix
of salt & water.


The old senator,
during the Marcos years,
groped for wit,
but instead
pulled his pants down
for the raucous gallery
to snicker
at his wild, wild gaffe.
It must be
his senior moments
coming in avalanche.
He bats for a big-time
to lead Congress
down the road,
like a chariot on fire
because he was once
of the tribe.
Now, the guy’s deep
in money scandal,
but he’s not wanting
in allies
who’ll sing hossanahs
with blind eyes.
O How badly
people age,
as if wisdom
had gone out of style.
History plays tricks
on those
who insist they dawdle
at virtue’s side.


The first time
he bristled about
written into
party policy.
he intones
he’ll stick by him
through thick & thin
because his candidate
will be a loaded gun’s victim.
Alas, when militants
bed with cheap politicians,
they’ll find the harlots
least guilty of sin,
for the pleasure
of their comradely company.
Who asks:
didn’t Mao traffick,
for revolution’s sake,
calculating warlords?


Tempest in a tea cup.
Paradox of metamorphosis.
For idiocy in the academe
is never countenanced
in its unjust halls?
But she’s fair game
for chancellors
who would bounce
the ball to the other side
of the court:
decision is not theirs to make,
but somebody else’s.
She’s too hot to handle:
activism here
is never an acceptable rule.
Her pedigree is ordinary:
no big shot would lift
the phone
to bamboozle them
this is
the age of reason.
Justice is always outside
the ambit of the poor
who make for bad politics
even if they are so gifted
as to challenge authorities.
In a country
of pelf & power,
if you let on
you’re head & shoulders
above ministers
you’re done for.
O How old people
unmask themselves
with so much sophistry —
they’re naked emperors!


She looked at him
for nanosecond
& he squirmed inside —
he didn’t exist!
She’s young,
arrogantly pretty,
& didn’t take it well
that old man
seated in a corner
would throw furtive glances
her way.
But she’s pleased
it unsettled her guy.
When she brushed
past his table
on their way out,
she slightly giggled
like a temptress
flicking off an insect.
O How his blood
rushed to his head!
O Where was his gun?
Years later,
remembering the scene,
he would still kill her
a thousand times
even if she wasn’t worth it:
That look had always been his
everyday nightmare.


Desire is eternal —
The body terminal.
But he continues to drift
in the company of women.
Is he Satyr personified?
An autistic idiot
who lives
in an imaginary planet?
He is clueless
why he’s still at it —
hunting for them
but getting kicked instead.
Longing for companionship
of those
who always leave.
A fixture in cheap cafes
he is,
a million cups
to still the unease.
He is stupidly tormented,
as any old man believes.


She turns gazes
into dollars
& she is all smiles.
The dirty glances
give her real high:
she strips
& teases
soft cocks
for it’s all body business
where old men
who pass wicked time
in dark rooms
savor carnal delight
they used to have
like ice-cream
under dim lights.
They dodder back
to their empty nests
heavy with impotent sighs,
dreaming about
this cool, wild girl
who stokes
again the embers
of their once-upon
ramrod lives.
Do they grumble:
Damn those women
who hold strange issues
against old men
who wet their bed
so badly
in the night?


Ozzie Osbourne
of Black Sabbath
is done with booze
& sex
like a Russian roulette.
He’ll keep on swinging
& won’t abandon
the band
that keeps the blood flowing.
He’s issued his memoir,
there will be more coming
if memory jags him right.
He views the world
from a different angle now,
committing to text
what his body electric
Is the horizon closing in?
Is the tremblor
growing louder
in his inner ear?
He’s on a long pause only
after such tumultuous journey.
Of course,
no one succeeds
in pulling back the clock,
but words,
he vainly hopes,
can stall
the coming of the dark.


The old couple
jogs down
the Diliman oval,
as if outspeeding
the growing grass.
Stop the ticking of the clock
for human cells
to turn to dust?
It is, of course,
a wise thing to do:
the mind persists
what flesh resists,
& if this be rare violation
of nature’s physics,
it is arrogant spirit
that tries to break through
the universal limit.
They only know it
too goddam well:
the sun will turn
them into wax.
they will seek refuge
in the shade
as if to register
an impotent protest
against the infinite.


The boy brags
he has scaled the Carillon:
he’s disappointed
it lacks mystique
oldtimers prattle about.
Nothing to marvel at,
angularly bare
but for the towering bells
that send musical chimes
all over,
thrice in the evening
when the sun fusillades
its orange rays.
The old companion
as if deeply hearing again
the sadness of his early
But what was it
he can no longer pinpoint
with his gnarled finger.
So long ago, so long ago,
& still pain
shoots up
like screams
of insane mistrels.


It isn’t fair:
she has to do
some balancing act
between diapers & computer
in a room
that should have been
all her own,
gazing out the window
& into a future
of texts & lectures
to signify a life
worth her scholarly measure.
Not this
kitchen & other worldly
She fears going on in years,
her body ransacked
by surgeries…
Her most cherished child
will crawl
then vanish outdoors
like a loveable ghost…
They always
leave gently
with lovers in tow.
What is there to do?
For now, she’s content
seeing her make
her first steps toward the infinite.
It has been thay way
for centuries…


He’s got an odd habit,
he must be old,
he says.
He skips the front page
& heads straight
for the comic section
to celebrate briefly
the day with his snicker.
Then perchance
glossing over
familiar & strange names,
noting how
people disappear
not even with a sigh:
A popular guy here,
a moneymaker there,
who seems to have left
nothing significant
but for family members
who briefly cry.
How did such existence
Like fruits that fall
God wouldn’t answer:
no prayer isn’t even noted,
as in Congress.
Like a quick afterthought,
some pause & wonder.
Then it becomes a blur
& no one dares
to utter the names
of the departed.


The drunkard
sagely poses:
what’s wrong?
Don’t brood.
Life is always
an accident.
No one leaves anything
worth keeping,
even heroes
ceremoniously proclaimed.
Do we bother about them —
only on special occasions
when nothing true is said,
but empty encomiums.
All, my friend, is
misspent emotion.
Be ready for loss —
the heart concocts
stupid reasons
why old fogeys
feebly pass on.
It’s all psychic fixation.
Tears dry up
in fleeting seconds.
The child in the crib
makes up for the dimunition.
Luck & love
is repetition.


After 20 years
Mila del Sol
is back,
her memorabilia
of Golden Years
with movie stars
Jaime de la Rosa,
Norma Blancaflor,
Nida Blanca…
all hauled in
by 40-footer truck.
Heavy with
bells & trinkets,
Chinese vases
& gifts from travels
to France,
Holy Land
that marked her
peregrine tales.
But will the artefacts
fill the lacuna
when she moves around
old places
& the heart
listlessly longs
for that distant pass
when she was
lovely & young?
are indices
of happiness so brief,
to her who contemplates
the final plenitude
of sadness.
The perfect bliss
of those
who haunt
the edge of sunset?


She would have been
down in the dumps
if she didn’t make it
to New York,
her mother says.
She had always wished
to hotfoot it out of the chaos
that makes travel
to local suburbia
pitifully perilous —
in this country of disasters
where one-eyed idiots
rule the roost.
Her steps, after all,
are suffocatingly monitored,
like Kamikaze plane
on the telescope.
Overseas, she’ll be
on her own
drawing images
of contrasting colors
& cultures,
where vision
defies the horizon.
But she’ll be back
after pushing the limits
to a newer route:
& why, of course,
in a world of possibilities
the infinite
should serve the market?
O She who rides
the subway of art
must safely get down
at the Brooklyn station.

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