She loved him so intensely,
much more than her daughter
who rebelliously turned wayward
by fucking around with neighborhood
Was it her fault?
The informant shrugs,
declining to be most shocked.
When she died of cancer
unable to bear the pain & distress
of being abandoned
by the scoundrel
with cherubic smile
who now has a brand-new wife
& child,
as if her death were a relief…
She loved him so dearly,
never fearing the consequences
of her future tragedy.


He was drunkenly mushy:
O To be loved & chosen
from among the faceless pack
that beats a path to her door
was sheer miracle.
O if he were
a speck on the terrestrial space
hit at deadcenter
by a bird dropping
from the sky…
Why him? There were more illustrious
He couldn’t understand
as if it were so much a dark blessing
as a tragedy benign.


Should she leave him:
he’s old & doddering,
no longer the virile lover
as in the early days
when the sun burned in his loins
& night turned into a flaming morn.
He was exquisite,
so was she in their minds
but all things pass
like the sudden plague of locusts
in their Egyptian lair…
If only she could fly,
but she had always lived
in a cage.
O If the years were only merciful
but time is always cruel
& gone on a nanosecond.
Wisdom is just a silly afterthought.


Will she or won’t she?
He’s forbiddingly senior. She fears like courting hell,
traipsing down an eerie graveyard
if she so much as flash a smile…
She is young, after all—
her robust life opens toward a foliage of a future
she can burn/explore.
But what if desire overwhelms
like none other?
The moment is all.
Tomorrow is just hypothetical.


Both are young & frisky,
blazing like dandelions in the field
& they link hands
as if nothing was left to evil chance,
abandoning time & morals
to seek their bodies’ “splendour
in the grass.”
But when dusk breaks in
like a thief
& scuttles their secret joy,
will they only pause to remember
the blind recklessness
of their imagined forever
& laugh?
What a lovely crap
of angels cavorting in the
dark, dark air!


Brecht offers a Solomonic wit:
the old couple wished
they could get divorced:
they had reached the limit
of passion & desire
& going separate ways
guarantees safe passage
from infernal tumult
of conjugal life.
But everyone chuckles,
this is no longer funny
neither is it a tragic copy.
Too late it is to start
all over again?
They can only accompany each other
loyally to the grave.


How do you pronounce love
on this mythic occasion?
Everyone has uttered aloud
the three terrible words
a billion times
as if they were always novel, new:
lovers insist they’re real & unique
because meant for each other
But wise men note
nothing is ever original, fresh
& all tread the path
toward familiar desolation & despair.
O How they cross their fingers
as they whisper truths
in each other’s ears!


She’s engaged, allegedly in love:
Her passion is surreal,
encrypted in some cheap comic book…
Head over heels,
she gazes at him as if
bartering the future for the stark present.
Youth is never wise,
the fever in the blood allows
the gambler in her
to roll the dice…
If she wins, she’ll shut up
kibitzers on the side.
If she slips,
will anyone care a bit?
A thousand ways to commit


She left a bf
back home in the south:
he to pursue his own career,
she her ambition in northern Diliman.
You’ll outgrow him, he teases.
Manila is a bumpkin’s New York
where almost everything goes.
She smiles,
barely listening.
It’s her life, after all.
No one can tell her
the old wisdom of the tribe.


She teases in jocular response:
But I need a younger bf, too.
Both laughed,
knowing the humor is surface deep.
No, she won’t abandon him,
she takes comfort in his presence
a talisman she can hold on to
in times of despair.
But there must be something
in her voice to intimate
she could be conflicted,
like all lovers at the crossroads—
there’s always someone
lurking around
whom her heart has fancied
like a hangman’s rope.
That’s the rule of the game:
everybody is prey to the hunter
when real passion
lies neither here nor there.
(Que sera, sera
as in the turning of the wheel).


What now after the affair
when roses wilt
& red cards turn cold bloodedly pale?
Will smile linger in her lips,
window open to welcome the breeze
as he flies out of her embrace?
Questions are never asked—
it is the Rx for hearts
so weather beaten
& seawracked
but refuses to suffocate.

He sits again at the dark corner
of a café looking healthy & strange.
He has survived disasters
& promised valiantly
never to fall again for the siren trap.
The task is never accomplished.
He always fails
to follow through the pledge.
He will be looking for her again
even if she no longer exists.
Ever are we resigned
to accept the second best.


He needed a trophy girl
to show off in public & office parties.
O She didn’t relish the role
of being prized toy on the imaginary catwalk…
She has never regretted since
splitting from the scene…
Yes, now & then
a guy would hove into view,
but she has learned to avert her eyes
from potential patriarchal disaster.
After all, friends surround her
with different colors of the social planet.

He was a Muslim devotee,
& wouldn’t relish
her painted fingernails,
her madeup lips & cheeks…
Willing at first
to observe the religious protocol,
she finally choked at the velvet grip.
O Goodbye then to all the moments
Intermittently, he breaks his silence
by sending word or two on the internet,
but she has never looked back,
unable, as it were, to recall the water
that has flowed under the bridge.


Only in a poem
will a Navajo Indian
talk about death
even the mention of dead man’s name
hasten its coming.
The arrangement for departure
must be clothed in metaphor
as the spirit flies through
the northern hole of a Hogan
to meet Shi’dy in
in the sky.
Do the talk about love
in ordinary conversation
which is death
in an inverted way?
In Russia,
Aleksi Putser Sarno
is on the run,
his circle of artists having been
rounded up
& meted out sentences
for engaging in art
blasphemous toward the state.
They denounce corrupt officials
in their visual diatribe
like the giant prick they draw
on a “St. Petersburg drawbridge
that rises up pointing at the FSB
the dreaded security service.”
They mince no words/images.
As in sadomasochist sex,
he is exhilarated
by the cat-mouse affair
with the police.
This is orgasm
at the edge of the abyss,
Dr. Strangelove at the precipice.


He cannot be in absolute control.
He’ll never be informed
where she is & what she does:
there is only a word to hold on to
for the common trust.
If Othello’s fear rears its ugly head,
the heart of glass will crack,
never to be whole again.
Always, a necessary blindness
to attend love & all that jazz.


She is any amateur lover’s
secret fantasy of the virginal Madonna
on the pedestal
but an acrobatic whore
in the boudoir.
She’s a pro in the ways
to satisfy her carnal pleasure
yet guiltless before no one,
hopping from one loin to another
as if in frenzied drive.
She’s too damned cool
at loving & being loved in return
but keeps an eye on other studs
lurking in the dark.
Does she ever cry a river
at every lover’s exit
from her serpentine thighs,
this survivor of the game of hearts?
Only this, therefore:
Within her passion,
she is inviolable
& to love in excess
& uninhibitedly like desire
gone awry
is the cherished dream
of mortals
to step beyond the limit
of the finite.

She used to text
once in a blue moon,
as if truthfully concerned.
She has been unheard from
for a long while now,
completely like a ghost.
But he knows
deep in his guts
she has a new lover to cuddle
like a toy.
But was he thinking, anyway?


He contemplates the nude
like a holy eunuch.
Her allure is unmistakably
beyond words.
But like a satiated dog
he lingers by the spoil.
Will he bite/devour?
Why this bestial impulse to destroy?
It goes against human nature.
Priests, after all,
in nirvanic pose
never fail to knife the sacrifice
at the temple.


Always, it is summer in his heart
O For those lovely girls
with sunlight in their hair
seen from a distance
by a shy, young lover
who could only stupidly sigh.
Love has never been simple, anyway.
& how the rain floods
the country of his heart!
How did he ever survive?
Like a soldier come from combat
he blindly staggers on,
believing there is always something
behind the clouds.
Always, it is summer in his heart.


The twitter is unmistakably sad.
Someone familiar has passed on.
He, with his double aneurysm,
was a walking time bomb,
his brother says.
But he had a good, good life
Who can handle this misfortune,
a cycle’s end?
Through the tunnel of light,
Navajo Indians tell,
the spirit flies in unfathomable delight.
Must he find comfort then
that the dead could no longer
painfully love & hate?
O Despite the wisdom of centuries,
discourses of poetry & philosophy,
nothing to the bereaved satisfies.

He is still in a state
of mild shock:
how could he be gone
as if on short notice?
He isn’t privy to his ailments
so his passing is unprecedented.
Something, he muses,
like a love affair
come too fast & gone too soon,
of blitzed emotions
& all the heart’s febrile handicap.
His family avers though
this is all in God’s will..
O How we must assure ourselves
we can transcend
a common, acceptable grief.
So are we consoled,
as in all things gone bad,
to move on,
bury the sordid past.


An unfinished business of sorts,
he says.
This game of hearts.
One quickly falls in & out
of love,
then looking back,
who counts the score?
But it won’t always add up,
who got the better deal.
None can claim innocence,
both are liable for criminal scheme.
The judge can only recuse himself
from the case.
Will the cards show any Ace?


They were done
with their own respective spouses
but found new leash
on each other’s passion.
The years were good
for whatever it was worth—
traveling & spending time together
like campus lovers.
But as in the law that governs
the workings of the universe,
everything changes, flows:
calls eventually turned intermittent:
the flame, as it were,
flickered like “candle in the wind.”
This was no crying scene,
she said, as if to affirm
an amicable agreement
to seek separate ways again:
there wasn’t need to mark down
the final sentence.


They make him out as virtual patriot
despite the scandal,
who had done his country proud.
They all threw bouquets of praises
at him
who was not without his circle
of loyalists & friends.
Was he pushed into a corner
by the raging tide of evidence?
Could he be a man for others?
Jesuits ask.
He left his family hanging…
A bullet through the heart
to ease an insurmountable pain?
Is this a Shakespearean play?
The Greeks have their hubris, anyway.

The street-smart
simply says:
It’s a cop-out.
They all lie who claim
he’s a solid guy.
He didn’t face the music.
which was his other craft.
He failed to protect his family
from parting with dirty money.
Now, they’re twisting
in the wind…
Should he have ratted
on the criminal gang
to rectify his blackened name?
Was he a warrior to the end?
The street-smart shrugs,
as if knowing…

The day starts
like a curse:
O She lives inside his head
& he cannot move about.
Everybody is doing a pantomime
in the liquid air
& stony silence greets
silence in the eye.
He staggers around—
a drunken fool
“who falls in love so easily
& so fast”—
the half-lit room
Stockstill as if in prayer,
but in a state of shock…
O How to say the word,
for God’s sake,
to pull her inside out:
he must survive
his heart!
But the benign curse
he fears to exorcise.


He has only this to say
to lovers
as if he has a clue to whatever:
love—in the complex of signifiers—
always fails to pursue
the logic of what it signifies.
Will he fit the image with desire?
If expressed honestly,
it falls short of what is defined.
When language is uttered
it opens the world to everything & nothing.
Is there a vacuum in the hollow of his mouth?
Blindness, emotion, moments
fill it up with arbitrary signs.
Will they suffice?
Thus are we comforted
by the plaisir of non-sense
this gift of silence,
as the world spins
oblivious of the tormented living.
Dos she love me, does she not?
O Never can it be answered
by sages & eremites.

Yet we keep falling in love…
& you ask:
Is that a crime?
No one is innocent.
The world happens that way
unless we exist as stones
on the pathway.
Nothing can put us in estoppel:
We always start,
as if from the beginning.
The narrative of loving
is ever a constant becoming;
though we carve the scars
of morning, desiring, living
So sayeth those whose litany of torment
dares God for their suffering.
Loving, after all, is their best revenge.

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