VANISHING POINT

1.
He no longer recognizes the place.
It is not a case of déjà vu.
O Memory has played tricks on him?
It is as if nothing momentous
has happened:
ghosts seem to lurk in his heart.
The architecture of the concrete
jungle has changed.
This metropole is a virtual labyrinth.
O what has happened to the store
Where he picked up Tubby
to gift his daughter?
Like a lover, she has changed her face.
What existed then
has vanished like an evening nightmare.
He zips up his hoodie
as if a sudden chill
has crept on his warm, warm heart.

2.
But memory, like the self,
is a dark, dark void
he cannot peer into.
Consciousness, for Lacan,
of the self is impossible
to explore.
Any moment is unique,
almost independent
of any other.
Ghosts lark in every pulse beat
What was then true
can only be real, now –
point of fluxion
in infinity.
O Times moves on,
leaving him behind
like a child
building castles on the sand.

3.
It is the umpteenth time
to navigate the place
but everything is a mirage
in the misty gloom
of the Merlion city.
R, his guide now
when years before
he would regale her
with the twists & turns
of the rising city,
would know Sing
like the back of her hand –
The subway is a labyrinthine
network of tubular passageways
where natives spill out
of trains & rush out
toward high-end supermalls –
He remembers no familiar
faces,
like ants crawling out
of the woodwork.
There is none to remember,
even memory itself –
He himself is a phantom
that lingered in the dark
corner of a place
where thousands had lodged before,
nameless, faceless
like the frosty air.

4.
He remembers NJ
who visited HK
& poetically recalled
he was “older than the hills”
of his seminary days.
How could he have confronted
his lost youth
in that interlude?
A secret tear, a wish,
a swig of beer while gazing
at the ancient slope?
Only the remembering itself
remains –
the sad celebration
of a coming home
that retraced the long, long hours
spent in his miasma of solitude.

5.
To keep Neruda alive
in the heart of his countrymen,
Andrea Gama, creative director
of Delight Lab,
“projected from a vehicle
the image of Neruda”
moving like a shadow
on his residence,
as if he were alive –
walking in the neighborhood
& reciting his verses.
It must have been eerie
to see Neruda
speak like a risen ghost
flitting from the walls
of one house to another,
celebrating the people of his time!
If Villa were alive,
would his poetry resonate
with his plebeian audiences
that now crowd Intramuros?
Who would imagine his
tigers & anchored angels?
The past can never be relived?
Images must sprout
from the hell-hole
of the people’s hearts.

6.
He keeps wondering
while eating gelato
in a side café
how could people
streaming
in & out of the underground beehive
be able to splurge
on high-end shops,
then congregate into food stalls
where a bacchanalia of food
from Saudi Arabia,
Europe, Asia
bursts out of shelves
like a proverbial manna
from Heaven.
When will the fiesta ever
end?
How is everything seemingly
in control by the sovereign state
linked to finance capital
that exiles
beggars to hidden
corners of the subway
with their electronic guitars
harmonizing
with the rhythm of passersby?
Peasants & farmers
are neatly swept away
in the countryside?
O How terrifying it is
to be stranded penniless
in Singapore & New York!

7.
At the Universal Studios
the motley crowd flocks
toward Sesame Street figures
like naturalized demons
on the collective id.
Hollywood has infected
the infantile ego with
its fetishized objects
to materialize in the tinsel
“reality”
of Bert & Elmo
as if they were alive
in everyday world!
Does the paying mob
know its feasting on the simulated fantasy
of alien artists
who celebrate fictional myths
that hung like musical play things
over the nursery crib?
Walt Disney’ Mickey then,
now Jim Henson’s
Big Bird & fellow Muppets
that crowd
the spoon-fed imagination?
Will the high-tech production
be the fountainhead of modernity
that rakes in millions
in mercantile ululation?
Here in Singapore,
the narrative is coached
in the sacral vision
of hyper real innovation
as if it were Buddha’s religion.

8.
You take a selfie
to record a moment
gifted by a situation.
But this once reflashed
to the psyche
vanishes at a point
in the mind,
which misrecognizes
it anyhow.
So this is it?
You were there in a specific
juncture
but failed to understand
why,
or could only dredge out
the moment with
a regretful sigh,
a stony gaze,
as if disturbed by the picture
that is far, far away
from the imagined eyes.
Will there be a gnashing
of teeth?
A sigh to realize
the past is irretrievable –
No time machine
that will allow you
to revisit the real?
People come & go –
you can only watch
the dead-end of air
spinning like a tornado.

9.
Will memory speak,
Nabokov asks.
Shall it seal its lips –
Now then it confronts
you like an axe
poised to cut you down.
Serendipity is the meta-key:
It doesn’t happen, so Althusser insists,
at the last instance.
Always, disbelief lurks
around the corner
& it kicks you in the butt.
Did I say that?
Did I do it?
What was it all about?
No one’s answering –
only the self
that is startled like
a stupid clown…

10.
Andrea Rosal
has been cleared
of murder & kidnapping
charges
leveled by military minions…
Wasn’t she the daughter
of a communist spokesperson,
ergo, a rebel herself
by virtue of blood
& biological connection…
Her child had died
from the stress
of incarceration,
but there will be
no apologies from
medical experts
& corporate armed teams…
Does she deserve
her chosen perdition?
O only in this country
it will be hilarious
to tinker
with the truth
that there is democratic
tradition
& the Bill of Rights
doesn’t countenance
rebellion.

11.
Memory,
the bartender shrugs
as he wipes the glasses,
is a can of water
that continually leaks.
Then the talk
segues to Andrea Rosal,
the alleged communist
who, he claims
with certainty of a cynic,
will eventually
recede into the dimming past.
Archives won’t carry
even a footnote
in the collective text –
only her kinfolk
will keep the fires burning –
but for how long?
Time is a shadow
lurking in the thicket
that shall be smothered
by the luminous sun.
O will there be no end
to mankind’s genteel savaging?

12.
Yes, forensic experts
brag about making the dead
speak,
but who shall avenge
the terrible deed?
Who will round up
the accomplices?
What generation shall
be forfeited?
Pinochet of Chile was sick & doddering
when convicted of his
foul deeds,
but who sighed with relief
upon his demise?
Now & then a young archivist
would profess to set things
right…
But it always comes late,
& truth is almost forfeited.
O How long shall
we keep faith
with Cartesian vision?
[Somehow
Bonifacio’s widow
sought the facts
of her husband’s execution –
she struggled to know
about it.
& changed the perpetrators
with historical infamy.
Did she feel good about it?]

13.
Truth will out,
incurable Marxists aver
but who shall give
a damn –
Only the immediate victims
keen on history’s singular
unfolding,
will stand by the assurance
about the justice of quickening blood
to atone for the iniquitous past…
The rest, clouded by forgetting,
will let the grim scandal
be buried like bones
in the stony ground.
There will be no absolution?
We shall move on,
the Brazilian President
who suffered at the hands
of the dictatorial regime,
remarks:
O She cannot stay rooted
on a spot
as if stuck in the past.
Life is too complicated yet simple
to be defined
in a single tear.
[Antidote
to imperialist metaphysical
despair?]

14.
Kinesis is the root
of life.
Any struggle by generations
must be sought & revived
on the onus
of freedom.
So all modes of mourning
must be worked out
to lay bare the
so-called truth –
that time moves on
& generations shall redefine
the agony of bereaving,
the helix of salvation.

15.
What is the proper definition
then?
How shall we reconstruct
history of remembering,
forgetting?
To be willing victims
of our knowing by imperial
ravagers?
Shall we forever be
assaulted by allegedly superior
knowledge?
Where lies the vanishing point
to be dialectically engaged
so we could start
from what beginning?
Questions, questions, questions…
That can only be answered
if we look inside
our eyes
& let the wound of servitude
to be sutured, healed!
We is the pronominal,
never the I,
that should lead
us to comprehend
our stunted learning.

16.
Here on this third floor lobby
of an old building,
the students hustling about,
he muses,
demonstrates perfectly
the quantum theory
that specifies mass & volume
cannot be mapped out,
as if to conclude
uncertainty in everything that moves –
A clutch of children
has trooped to Mendiola
to protest the marginalization
of Filipino language;
a bustle of kids in white uniform
to simulate upper class education
bristles about like cockroaches
hunting for food & pleasure;
janitors push the garbage trolley
with blinded fury
as if they were needed badly
by the squalid institution…
He waits for the time
to melt down
& meet children of the proletariat
who would shrug
they cannot the text understand:
O they will wear their togas
brimming with false joy
so they can bring home the bacon?
While parents grin
they have done well by their
offspring like responsible denizens.
A theory of chaos, indeed
in between summer & rain
that crushes his spirit apart…
He lifts his knapsack
with dragging feet
toward an empty room
that’s worth a lunch of macaroons.

17.
For those smut-nosed
kids
who pretend to be schooled,
educated,
what’s in store for them in the
future?
Will they rue the day
once they realized they
have been suckered
by two-bit mentors
who boast they shall have
when the time comes,
solid footing at bureaucratic door?
Will they run amuck
if they realize
nothing is philosophically
worth having,
even their despondent loves,
in the context of chaos theorem?
Who must pay the price
of blindly believing
in the old tradition
that history shall forever
leave one behind?
Knowledge comes always too late –
& we are defenders
of ignoble lies?
There is only nada, nada, nada
as exemplified by Hemingway
who blew himself up
with his hunting gain
quick to unload on safari animals?
But who shall espouse
the rule of nothingness?
We cannot look the devil
in the eye.
Only the void is waiting
in our own mortal hearts.

18.
The future
is never in the shuffle
of cards,
the bartender shrugs
like a prophet ersatz.
It cannot be mapped out
like the cloud
that flits by.
O How long can we hold on
to tradition
that science cannot lie,
that if stays infallible
like a voyager on the streets
& narrow path?
After Einstein, with his roll
of die to show Reason
con fathom God’s mind,
then comes Niel’s Bohr
with his chaos
that explains the uncertainty
principle
that no one can ever be sure.
O We shall never be
comforted
even by poetry
that pretends to amaze the world!
Who’s telling the truth?
Only religion
can say with a straight face:
God knows what He’s doing
He will never eat
His divine words.
But who’s the babbling idiot
who speaks for Him
who is forever trapped
in the dungeon of profound silence?

19.
When all hell breaks loose
shall we just stand aside,
light our proverbial pipe:
It has been foretold,
as if Sherlock Holmes
would sigh, Elementary, dear Watson
to affirm his prophetic insight.
O If death results
in the predicted carnage
& an innocent perished
in the man-made fight
between the just & the foolish,
shall we only keep our distance
& smile?
O there must be something
of a truth
to go by:
lest the demons take over the
dark side…
Life sucks, indeed,
But there must be some reason
for anyone’s credible existence.
Or we reduce ourselves
to a hopeless & hapless mouse
skittering in the sewer
happy to be alive,
never knowing why.

20.
What if there is no theory
to speak of?
To simply wait for truth
to hit the light?
Things suddenly happen –
Must we wait for meaning to unfold?
How shall we configure
the signs?
Who interprets it?
Everyone has a baggage in his mind!
Death, pain, solitude & agony
we mortals are prone to suffer
must be named
to hypothesize the nature & differance
of the cause…
The doors of knowledge won’t open
& assault us with good tidings
of salvation
while waiting for Yahweh
to pantomime the telling?
O there must be something
to hold on to,
not to be mystified
by fractious unknown.
There must be reason for being,
this cold comfort
that will not flummox,
never make us cry like an abandoned child.

21.
If nada is true
thrice over,
then there is zero difference
between life & crucifixion.
The doctor in Gaza,
who has been in the ward
attending to victims
of Zionist bombing,
should stop altogether then
doing his dutiful routine
of opening up bodies & limbs
& scrounging around for gauze
& blood
to save the dying?
What is all the weeping
in the land of the chosen?
Would it be worth anything?
But he keeps plodding on
as if there is something
he couldn’t pass up.
Life is precious, after all.
He keeps his passport
in his pocket
while doing the round –
he is prepared for the invasion
that may kill him in the conflagration:
How can he abandon
the wounded & the sick
& go about his
professional business
in the midst of cataclysm?
Living must be worth something
even a Philippine cent…

22.
No condolence,
the Australian couple
strangely & draconically
pleads to reporters
who covered their journey
to MH-17 crash site.
She was an astro-engineer
who wanted to be an
astronaut.
They reached the spot
despite the dozens checkpoints
of Russian hooligans
who could only give way
to their persistence
in Eastern Ukraine
by virtue of parental right.
Were they prepared
to see the body
that dropped from the sky?
The mother was tough,
the father grim-faced
as if nothing would deter
them
from being mortified.
She was an only daughter,
now embarking on
another astral flight.

23.
In the cyberworld
the past is dead.
the vanishing point
has been resurrected,
now visible, palpable.
But who says so?
Philosophers of technology
have proclaimed it
to rule the minds
of the consuming world.
The underprivileged,
those for Brecht
are “crude thinkers”,
could only watch
& grin as if it were
an intellectual feat –
that they are to stay put
where they are,
at the point of disappearance
& non-existence.
This is another virtual
holocaust?
After this, there should
never be any poetry
to be written?
To be exorcised from the world
is pure murder!
Is this a sophisticated
lie that virtually
exorcises
the living from the realm of silence?

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