Children of Time & the Assassin


They open the book
& turn the blank pages.
They look out the window
& see the fall of leaves.
O they will not hear him—
their future does not include
his droll pedagogy.
Do they know better,
these strange planetoids orbiting
in another Andromedan space?
How could he be trapped
in this forsaken place?
Their histories do not intersect,
as if the whole grand story
were written in cascades of water.
The flotsam stirs his mind,
& he slowly drowns
in the whirlpool of their eyes.


Of course, they won’t listen.
What is he saying, anyway?
Hardly, their sole existential concern:
the sun dapples the play of leaves
& the still campus air feeds off
their languor.
They look at themselves in another mirror
& the mentor is not in the frame.
When they leave,
it is for good,
dismissing him with perfect finality.
But there is no need for cheap sentiments.
This is a brutal lair,
where children are born to be cruel,
numinous cyclops
to devour him
like lions a cornered antelope.


Where shall he store his memory?
Like a tape, it will be deleted
in a stroke:
& there will be a comedy of tears
as he replays whatever is irrevocably lost:
no one shall remember the minutia
of moments
that occur like a plague of locusts
pecking at his recall:
& none shall be witness
to how he mournfully lost time
like a wounded bird in wobbling flight.
Is anything worth, even a dime?
O Even she who vanished like a vapor
in the smouldering air?
Years later, when they bump into each other,
they will briefly nod
as if assaulted by a blinding glare.


So it is, so shall it be:
living has no metascript
to record the found & lost.
The survivor stares at the horizon
as if asking what the hell that made him
foam at the mouth in anger,
scream in delight & sorrow,
as if something significant were worth
the morrow?
At the end of the day,
who remembers what anyway?
The camera registers an explosion
of white light
as figures in the landscape
melt like ice.


What it is you want?
To be remembered.
For what?
She sneers as she combs her hair,
like a wood nymph’s,
that falls down her shoulders.
Touche! He is pinned down like an insect
on the wall
& he can’t wiggle out with any password:
Is he a mad man
gesturing against the tide of waves?
He has no necromancer’s wand…
& drowns before her eyes
in the onrushing sea of smiles.


Vanity, all is vanity!
A wiser man says.
To exceed the limit a mortality
is what drives all to be.
So he scribbles things down
as if in desperation,
but even the clock outruns him
like a flash of lightning:
he’s always seconds late.
He’s eclipsed by all possible imaginings.
Vanity, all is vanity:
& the book remains half-opened,
its pages turned like bones
drying ivory-white in the wind.


But assume,
as in the Black Nazarene feast,
there are miracles to share:
the injured/diseased are mysteriously cured,
disbelievers are put in place…
the children of stones
finally walk the chosen path
of virtue & purity,
changing the world wished for by even
false prophets of modernity…
The earth spins,
promising new beginnings:
yet do barbarians lurk in the corner,
as if waiting?
Will there be dark angels
hovering in the wings?


The old couple in Bicol
swallowed by the rain
will return to their hut after Noah’s flood:
as sure as daybreak when hawks
puncture the sky.
As if to show their indomitable spirit
will prevail over this shithole of a place:
he is bedridden with rotting feet,
she is diabetic who gropes on the slope:
but they will keep on living on true grit
& pure hope
to deny all misfortunes from men & nature
that come their way.
To persist is all?
This is their religion, never to be visited
by despair.


St. John Bosco’s millennial visit
to the country
as a wax replica inside the glass box
where the relic of his right-hand bones
is interred
draws devotees to his imagined person…
like the Black Nazarene of Quiapo,
burnt during the voyage to the Islands,
that makes for fulcrum
of frenzied adoration
in besieged carriage & clothes wiped off
his body & face
to confirm the narratives of miracles
for the diseased, injured, infirm,
the cynics, the hopeless…
O What century is this?
A reign of scientific reason
or return to medieval lore?
They say it is the dawning of spirits,
never the arrogance of human calculus
to resolve the universal issue…
& we are dumbfounded,
after centuries & knowledge gained,
we still long for the certainty of truth.
In this age of charlatan
& pedophile priests
the holographic wristband on the frail
& athletic
makes for personal talisman,
minus the rites of prayers & supplication.
What is there to believe?
Who intercedes in the cosmos?
To survive, it seems, is all:
Each to his own despair & salvation.



The assassin is self-righteous,
who thinks of his self-proclaimed divinity
to mete out punishment.
He babbles about justice
as if he has all bases covered—
yet Ministers of the Act aver
he has long coveted the throne.
Is he for real?
He opens his hand to show
he has nothing to hide,
but behind him is a knife
surreptitiously tucked.
If only there were no witnesses
he could have easily carried out the attack.


Can he proclaim himself,
on his own volition,
genius of the text?
Sheer folly it is
like a one-eyed cyclop
who professes to read things clearly.
A hitman with an imaginary shotgun
that sprays everyone within range,
as he snipes from his ivory tower,
is easy target
for mortal shooters on the ground:
Idiot is he to believe
he’s higher than the sun.

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