MEMORY BOX

1.
How do you keep the score?
We’re all saltimbanques
on a high wire
teetering over the precipice.
As we fall down fast
the world turns into a blur:
at high speed
memory will not contain
all we’ve seen & missed:
friends who slowly melt like ice,
enemies we shun like the plague,
events & times
floating in the sea
like an iceberg
that dissolves under the sun:
& we’ll never know
how it all began.
Should we welcome the year
that only repeats itself
like the faces we put on
in rapid succession
as if in a series of innocent deception?
Every portrait drawn
turns with the cyclical season –
& we can usually sigh
as we look in the mirror –
loves lost & forgotten,
lovers in mad & frenzied action,
pain that pulsates like a river with ebb & flows –
O this Argentinian Pope
who kissed the doll of a manger child
plastic & cold,
to resurrect a myth
of original salvation –
Does he know soon after
he will return as Grand Inquisitor
to mete out his truth
on disloyal troops?
What if a mortal would dare ask
the question
about his tragedy & misfortune?
Would he speak
& offer absolution?
O there is only one fiction
to tell,
one poem to utter –
so we seek refuge in amnesia
to blank out the moments
that tend to deny
the surface meaning
that glides on our exposition…
Can we finally see
the Director’s cut
of the apocalypse of mankind?
Nada, nada, nada!
Is this the feral beatitude
of our journey toward
the cosmos?
No one would dare write
about sadness
as all poets do
only fools would dare
accept the tidings
of the brilliant rainbow…

2.
It’s time to clean house
& throw away trash
of yesteryears –
but a jade ring suddenly appears
that brings back sad memories
of Bangkok:
did he see the past
& future converge
at a particular point & moment?
So much history behind
material things
but did he succeed to grasp
the truth in the unfolding?
Poets & philosophers
tinker with age-old polemics
but the old oppositions
would not dare meet
as they diverge
in the “ fork in the woods”.
It has turned
toward the abolition of the subject
as in postmodernism,
& the QED returns
to the same origin.
Is the ring a symbol
of the circle?
It is infinity itself
like a snake devouring its
own tail.
How we batten down
the doors
but ghosts fly in
through the window
but won’t dare say
who won,
who lost…

3.

A.
Jesus,
a student of literature,
texted to enquire
if he knew A. Cuenca, the poet
who graced old books.
Nope, he answered,
we were never personally
acquainted.
O How sad to note
he vanished without fanfare
on Christmas Day
while his contemporaries
wrote about
their funded junkets
to memorialize their spiel.
O In this country,
charlatans
who chronicle themselves
as if they were national treasures
are given state funerals
as if they have done
history
a positive note.

B.
Julia says
it’s now time to deal
with new nonsense
in the new year
Flippantly snorting
as if it were possibly true.
Could she be smartly prophetical
& light-hearted
on the heavy template
of growing up
in the time of earthquakes
& super typhoons?
She must be telling the truth
as politicians keep
on inventing their diatribes
& circular lies…

4.
They no longer talk
about Samar & Leyte:
it must be a bore
to repeat the old issue
of death & destruction.
Nothing shocks anyone anymore
even the survivors have tired of retelling
the Southern fiasco.
The movie houses would rather
show inane tales
of gays & rebellious psychos
that dumb down
the hoi-polloi
who won’t even opt for
revolution to change the world.
It isn’t cool, they croon.
No longer a tradition
to uphold
as the countryside reels
from despair & hunger:
O relief goods this time
sift down in trickles
like some fickle miracle.
The future will be
a recycling of
the corpses that
refused to be buried
as if scripted from
the Land of the Dead.
O the desire to forget
has never been a divine gift.

5.
Light up firecrackers
to ward off evil spirits?
Have the fools failed
to see the devil in themselves
who must be exorcised
by the explosions that
bombard the streets?
When will idiots
escape the grip
of superstition & pagan beliefs?
Steer clear of misfortune
that comes like
rain from natural disasters
that lurk behind the corner,
poised to ambush
the innocent & malicious!

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