Has a certain beauty
turned the rogue to stone?
He has become one
with the earth,
transformed by Medusa’s
passionate distance…
O How the snakes sprung
from her hair,
her strong gaze
calcifying everything –
the fear, the quiver,
the Apollonian spear
that split the heart.
O How time stopped
when she moved past him
who had stayed frozen.
She must have horrified
like a pebble on the road
at the temple of wisdom.
Must Icarus of waxen wings
fly toward the sun,
only to plummet
down to the ocean
of blue as foretold?
Why would he dare
such a fatal stunt?
O madness overwhelms all,
like Achilles who intimated
the wager of his feat:
the warriors he had slain
would all line up
to welcome him
at the gates of Hades,
silently grinning…
A damned mortal is he
who never learned
the history of it all.

Tiempo muerto,
time when patience
stays the plantation hand
to wait for the crop
to mature
through the dire season
to dawn…
But he doesn’t have
the luxury of time –
has he stepped off the edge
like a circus clown
to the laughter of the crowd?
Can he invoke the gods
to change the rhythm
of the universe
& deny the ancestral prophets
of their truths:
as if the world should
spin counterclockwise
& he could return
to his youth
when seasons spun so dizzily
& he screamed like a child
he wanted to get off?
Eons ago,
truth had taken
a foothold on his soul,
& he could only wring
his hands
why he had missed
the point,
cradled in a cosmos
he never understood.
Will he ever see
the season of dawn
to harvest the gift of fruits?

O Why does remembering
tell him nothing at all?
Forgetting is an antidote
but it might as well
be the slash of a descending sword…
O Nothing to behold
in the dark crystal ball –
all the stones hereabouts
fail to decipher
a meaning that is not,
only the mystical codes.
How can life go on
the usual route
if it only wobbles
through the seasons
of grief & joy,
sweetness & gloom?
Words won’t approximate
the absolutes
nor the truths
that hide
in the heart’s thousand folds.
& she, who dazzles
in the mist,
dissolves into a blur
in the mind’s mirror.

What of time then?
You see a child
blossom into adulthood
then crawl again
toward singular solitude…
Isn’t that a mortal rule
of cycles & habitude?
It must be time itself
that affirms a manner
of decrepitude
to lead toward forgetting
all that is painful,
even beautiful –
this redemption
when one faces a blank wall
that confronts the soul?
Where lies the lesson then?
He who wakefully forgets
commits what crime
that is yet to be defined
by saints & philosophers
who are prey themselves
to the same disease?
Why recover the pain
that cruelly afflicts
the weak-hearted
& passionate immoralists?
Forgetting is a reprieve?
An amnesiac wall
to hit
at blind speed?
The night bartender smirks
as he wipes clean
his beer bottles…

Achilles, the legendary warrior
whom the gods had spawned
sulked in his tent
to protest the avaricious Agamemnon…
Yet he too must perish
in the end
to warrant the power of gods
for being most humanly passionate
& cruelly rebellious…
Why follow the heart
if the head shakes otherwise?
But the rogue at café
knows deep in his bones
he will weep again & again
as she finds her
twinkling like a star beyond the moon.
There never is a rule,
but the X of destiny
that suffocates the will
& human power,
& the warriors on their
death march
fritter away their senses
on the road to doom…
Is this a mode of elision
for the final mystery
of the pointless point?

The Zambo siege
has left thousands of refugees
to fester like an open wound
of the evacuation centers.
The Muslim renegades
never knew they had been had
by a play of unlawful
never was there any divine mandate
so orchestrated by the truant
who were invisible players
on the front…
Should they stand down
& refuse the call
by charlatans
who sparked the assault?
When he was young
like any young devil
he dreamt of shocking the world
like Mao Zedong…
But times they are a changing,
The rules have changed,
& the young
should realize
the captain of the ship
is just rowing a paper boat.

Torrential rain
spawned by monsoon & distant storm
caused the slope
to slide down from the mountain,
burying the children
living in the Subic death zone…
“But it wasn’t included
in the hazard map,”
lamented the mayor
who must have felt responsible.
An arm dug up
as if reaching out for the sky,
a doll
covered with mud,
a father who pleaded
ser, ser, ser
to ill-equipped rescuers…
O His children
for sure would never savor
a better life –
even if they did survive –
in a country that has never
moved at all
while politicians/bureaucrats
fill the air with static,
grumbling about
the complexity of elite rule.
Do we hear the poor
as if an act
in a noontime show
has transpired?
Life is unbearable
like the state of their being?
Uprising is never on the table,
they are God-fearing people,
& tunnel-visioned
like those mental patients
in a sanatorium.

He had to stop.
In this part of Makati
where cemeteries abound
like hotels & condominiums
a funeral hearse
had cut across the street
at noon…
It had a right of way:
so we stood aside
to make way for the departed.
Old people in the cortège
slowly followed,
as if burdened with
a secret grief –
No one smiled, of course,
for the loss refuses
the question on death
& resurrection.
There’s a catch in the throat
among the mourners
who looked like orphans
of empty biblical truths.
Was the dead’s existence
worth living?
Who would dare
measure his imaginary sins?
Like the criminals,
we presume their innocence.
His destination
we desperately steer clear of,
with tribal prayers
& arcane incantations –
this phenomenon
at noon
like the usual sad, sad song.

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