Little Guys: Special Edition

Once he opens the door,
the little guy
brushes his legs
as if to meow, Hi!
He dawdles on top of the stairs
like a zen master
eying the scene below,
waits for his turn
in his litter box
while the Boss detoxifies.
Or he peeps
into the half-open fridge door
as if to cool himself
in the sudden whiff of chilly air,
because it is savage summer
& he must frolic in the air-con
even for a brief, brief while.
Yes, it is awkward
coming down to follow up routine –
there is no pair of eyes
staring from a corner,
softly walking on the floor,
almost getting in the way
as is his nature
of being underfoot…
O the distraction, civilized & gentle,
that you need to break the habit
of senseless busyness…
He is always there
as if to remind –
Cool it, what’s the rush?
There is always time
for everything, anyway…

Kenny Rogers
had just opened shop
when the trio walked in –
the first among early risers –
for the ritual of breakfast
to ease into the day…
The conversation lapses
into silences & nervous banter,
punctuated by critiques
the baked bangus is
cheesy & cloys,
the order of corned beef omelet
seems ok –
though against familial principle
of indulging in cured red meat,
a no-no temporarily lifted
for the crack of dawn,
April 19
when they hied off to Talayan
& left Kayenne
in the company of Bugsy
who had earlier
ascended heaven.
It is easier
for the heart
to slide into
the normative
by remarking
the two guys are reunited
up in the sky,
romping around like kids.

Of course,
it is not easy:
at midday, the women
texted they’re off
to Gateway with the Petoys
to watch cinema
& shop.
It is, after all, a way
to take their minds off
the state of things,
& return with a bagful
of bread & paint tubes
for LA to start on
her Manila exhibit…
Life must go on,
after all.
Only when we pause
does the pain return, throb!
In the most private moments,
away from prying eyes
we silently cry!

How deep is the pain, therefore?
He was with us
for two decades,
bypassing the limit imposed
on orphans left in our backyard
one unannounced day
like a gift
to lift our underclass spirit.
Deeper, indeed
than the humans he remembers
while rocking in his chair
who were grossly insensitive,
never texted…
The little guy was always there
to share his presence,
looking you in the eye
as if to remind all & sundry,
he’s always there, dummy
& don’t you forget it.
He’s gone now
& the air is heavy with emptiness
as you hit the streets.
O it’s not being broken-hearted,
nor saccharine
like any busted lover,
but you feel so damned alone,
as if floating in a vacuum.

Something has died in him
but people say
isn’t he being dramatic?
It’s terribly true,
words have their limits,
but when you remember
the little guy,
your heart tightens
& stupid tears well up
in the eyes…
Are you being trivial?
Even neurotic?
So you say with a sense
of irony,
peppered with humor
to disguise
what may be called obsessed,
hopelessly crazy.

The women, MB & LA,
stood by him
the whole humid night:
stroking his emaciated body
as he went through
his spasms
until the final convulsion
when he made his sad exit.
He must have refused
to leave…
& he couldn’t hack it:
he ran out of the door
& into the garage
to mumble some prayer
for being fainthearted.
Until their muffled cries
that staggered into his ears
led him back
to their whispered farewells
for someone
so beloved…
The little guy was family,
but the world,
of course,
unlike in cheap movies,
didn’t stop a bit.
O A pathetic fallacy
he knows
but in his heart
everything stood still
because an angelic cat died.

How do you go about
as if the morning after
would eternally be the same?
Who can stop
the workings of the universe?
It’s terrible to say,
& you cross your fingers,
we must move on…
A cliché to comfort
& blindly hold on to.
Somehow, something
lurks behind the clouds,
some miracle may come true
& you swear however
ever you won’t forget
his passing.
Kayenne & Bugsy
are gone
& they would have probably
in their animal wisdom
counseled the living:
C’mon guys. We love you –
La, Ba, LM & MB –
just the same.
Don’t cry. We’re ok.

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