NOAH’S ARK & OTHER POEMS

1.
The universe is expanding
faster than humanity imagines,
a physicist warns,
& may turn into an empty space…
How long will things last?
Memory will eventually fail
to exist,
even the soul that mythifies
the heavenward Rx
to hold the invisible together.
O like returning to a room
emptied of itself,
himself floating on an imaginary
network of cobwebs,
& how he will fall or rise
to the rhythm of shadow
& light
when nothing is within sight.
So much like her
who never left a trace —
she won’t even answer
whenever non-memory
seeks a question
that doesn’t even pose itself.
Between the point
of forgetting & remembering
where lies his being is —
like a solitary angel
dancing on a pinhead
at the edge of the abyss.
Nothing, nothing, nothing —
photographers have since
hit paydirt:
O the planet doesn’t even bother
with you & I,
& all our prayers
will never be heard
in the realm of the absurd.
It keeps thinning out at hellward
speed,
mindless of human disasters.
The headwind of stars
rushes in to break the human prey.

2.
Ka Roger is dead
deep in the forest.
He whom the enemy
claims to be misguided
was the son of a sugar worker,
turned unionist-activist
at declaration of martial rule…
He didn’t succumb
to offers of hospitalization,
fearing entrapment
by the fork-tongued guys
in fatigue uniform.
O Resolute was he,
never falling for the lies —
at his marked grave
comrade fired the guns
in salute,
remembering the heat of combat
& his indomitable spirit
as imaginary music
from his silenced harmonica
filled the mountain air.
So many have fallen,
so many will follow
but more will also rise
like the sun
every morning
for nothing has changed…

3.
She never knew
her father was an impostor
who killed her parents
fighting the regime
until forensic experts
exposed the unbearable lie.
Victoria Montenegro
of Argentina
couldn’t hack it
at first
that the Church worked
with the military
to steal the children of guerrillas,
as if they were spawns
to be delivered
from Satanic cult.
Her foster parent died
in prison
defiantly believing
“his actions during the dictatorship
had been justified.”
O How could she therefore
erase her childhood memory
of untruth
now that she was told to see it
in a new light?
O If only she could leave
the past behind,
but how must she break
the news to her three sons
who bask in the rainbow world
of lies?

4.
A.
He catches sight of her
sitting across him
at the back cafeteria.
Looks familiar,
some ghost of a deja vu.
Is she avoiding his eyes?
O she was a student
semesters ago,
who confessed
her difficulty keeping pace
with his readings.
He passed her on to the next level,
just the same —
no need indeed to concern
herself
with academic babble
that would only weigh heavily
on her future:
She just dreamt of being
a cog in the media machine.
He wonders though
why she quickly folded her
laptop
& rushed out of the canteen.

B.
We didn’t do anything —
the blue book confesses
as the examinee
aligns herself
with the rest of the class
for a higher grade…
But didn’t the mentor
hold discussions,
prodding minds
in the direction of juvenile sloth
toward multiple contradictions
that synergizes the world
of left & the socius?
& this gym rat
who flexes muscles,
never words,
simply shrugs off
the theoretical discourse,
as if
the whole season
she had plugged his ears
while dozing off
in the early morn…
Like a whore
who counts out the seconds
until she turns on her side
of the boudoir bed
& wraps with a towel
her young, nude body…
& the professor blindly
finds out
he has never existed
at all.

C.
The crowd is growing
like a swarm of locusts
at Wall Street —
they’ve been duped
by those high-end operators.
They want to be in control
of their own lives,
never stats in charts
at corporate halls.
The Diliman generation
of future bureaucrats
may be holding their ace
up their sleeve:
there’s nothing in the present
to claim a truthful order
& democratic rule.
How can they take
their mentors with their
Papal Bull?
The scene is in disarray —
even during the legacy
of cacique fables.
Should they break out
of the academic turf?
Should they rise up
early morning
to struggle like workers
in the salt mines?
Should they eye the future
with a sneer or smile?
Should they gamble
their desire,
driving headlong
into the inhuman fray?

5.
A.
He eyes them
like an interloping cat
bouncing from the ledge —
the young women
in the cafe
who puncture the air
with their boisterous cackle.
He’s sizing them up
like specimen
on a laboratory dish,
his clinical eyes
foretelling how they will be
years from now —
shrivelled breasts,
loose thighs,
thinning hair,
former magical phantoms
of delight
ravaged by a savage aging
of time, time, time…
This moment is their very own
to gamble away
or cry out…
O How he wished
he were wiser then
but it comes ever too late.
Now, he wears
the dark mind
of an old drunkard
whose right fingers
curl around his beer mug,
his left drumming on the table
as the nubile bitches
pass by.

B.
Has he lost his desire
that used to bedevil him
when early in youth
it kicked in
& he was adrift
like a leaf tossed about
in the spiral of the void?
Is this nirvana,
old sages pontificate,
that leaves him
standing frozen & still,
bereft of tears & anger?
O barely Solomonic,
almost like the second
visitation of death
— first in the womb
where nothing
in the mind’s eye existed —
as he surveys
the crowd,
& he isn’t moved —
compassion & arrogance —
because nada is
meaningless, pure chaos.
If Lacan’s jouissance
is forever drained, gone,
has he turned
one with the telamon,
a veritable stone
to be stepped on?
His lips are sealed,
like the trees around him.

6.
Like Noah’s ark
floating in the grey metallic sea
of floodwaters,
but this cold thin roof
is no haven
for a menagerie of abandoned
house pets snuggling
in the blast of wind & rain.
A clutch of Samaritans,
as if devotees of St. Francis,
aims to rescue them
yet straggles on the awnings,
nursing their own merciless hunger,
in the submerged site,
perched like drenched scarecrows
stopped in their flight,
simply shut their eyes —
as if in mourning
of their own drowning victims,
& deaf to animal silence?
O Why do priests & prayers
fail to civilize penitents
who churchly commune
with “miraculous” wooden saints?

7.
November, the First,
is upon us all —
but he refuses to celebrate it.
The departed have always
been living inside his heart:
like a beast
that keeps gnawing at his guts,
the stoic Spartan boy
who refuses to scream
at midnight
& into the dawn.
The loved & unloved
won’t ever let go.
& he is forever
grasping at straw
in his ocean of memory…
O What manner
of torment is this!

8.
If the world,
as measured by physics,
moves toward
its own annihilation,
something that vanishes
suddenly into thin air,
Marx’s mixed tidings,
then what for
is all the current joy
& suffering?
Their full value if weighed
on the scale of nothing?
The dead never come back
to regale us
with the tales of the beyond —
O how we freeze
on our feet
like deer stunned
by headlights
of an onrushing car!

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