SHIPWRECKED SAILORS

1.

A.
“You could be stating
that proverbial untruth…”
he overheard the bartender
telling off a guy
at the end of the counter.
“Recent memory
may have pushed out
an old one,”
& no one could be sure
of the actual narrative
that has long been gone…
You might as well
locate the Malaysian flight
that crashed
in the Indian Ocean
but has eluded
the sonar sweep
of prowlers on the site…
Is Atlantis lost forever?
O How do you separate
fact from fiction?
He gulped down
a mug of beer
& smiled at the repertoire
of arguments in the midnight
conversation.
Did he realize he could be
capable of telling the same untruth?
No one would know
what he uttered was not fact
but a personal fable
culled from a doppelganger tact…

B.
O Memory speaks softly,
almost inaudibly
but shuts up
when shadows vanish
at daybreak.
Forever is the silence
that echoes
in the mind’s caverns…

C.
Conversations
are always ceremonial:
if we were truly honest,
how do we say
with a straight face
that you’re lying!
I am not buying it!
Then roll your eyes
that will not antagonize
with the challenge of knives?
Truth cannot be articulated
if it were real.
Only the gospel will
allow a certain freedom
to be laid squarely on the table
& invoke what is
non-sensical?
Can we present our true
face before the others
who will be our reflecting mirror?
& do we dare speak
it is all half-lies?
2.
When he told her
he was not at all
kidding like any honest lover,
she could only smugly smile
like someone
who knew the score
beforehand.
Was she after all
an angel in disguise?
O how comfortable
are we with white, white lies!
How could he level
up when the standard
of truth is so damned plain,
verifiable, empirical…
O the true is vised
between teeth like
Baudelaire’s evil flower!
How could he spill the beans
with a clean conscience?
All lovers lie?
What should he do
to invent himself
like an angel
with immaculate spleen?

3.
Summer is upon us:
The heat smoulders
in every dew drop
on the morning petal
that trembles
with the hot breeze
blowing in the garden
as if God were divinely
vindictive…
What have we done
but mumble little prayers
of worldly deeds?
Can we appease nature
with our Adamic innocence?
Change is everywhere
dying has not found
its limit,
& we scurry under the
blazing sun
like insects burrowing
in desert sand.
O summer is here,
but no bells ring?
Desire has dried up
with the incandescent air!
O flesh decays
& naked women on the beach
putrefy like ordained saints.
Do we dare challenge the sun
to come down
& deliver us to its infernal lair?

4.
May 4
& Mao Zedong’s underclass
is deeply stuck
in the vanishing point…
No one, this generation
of neo-capitalists,
remembers that once-upon-a-time
they were the
restive bunch –
who remembers the slow burn
& quick rotting of their kin & kind?
O How did they cope
with dictators of the land.
Stranded at the crossroads
between being & emptiness,
they had to disremember
the legacy of years?
O to affirm their ballyhooed
significance!
When shadow is consumed
by light,
do we bother to ask:
Why, why, why?
O capitalism forever
calls the shots?
5.
The wretched of the poor
from the slums of North Africa
are turning the Mediterranean Sea
into a watery grave –
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
of fictional “shipwrecked sailors”
has become fact,
never fantasy
for men, women & children
locked up at the lower deck
of capsized ship
manned by body-traffickers.
& they drowned by the hundreds,
like caged animals floating in
the ocean.
But they have nothing to lose?
They have only their destitute life
to risk
in claiming their share
of the pie from Europe
which has plundered their wealth
since time immemorial.
They are used to dying
in the ghetto…
& the world is used to watching
them like dogs drifting
at mid-sea…

6.
After the bestial heat,
we long for a storm
to wash us out
into the open sea…
But air is all
we can pray for –
a mode of dying
in a season
of mourning.
O Do we accept
the heavenly verdict?
Is God worth our servile
worship?
The deluge is all we are given:
that the rain will come
& the sun will hide
behind the clouds –
as we stand on the cliff
for the sea
to hook us down closer
to its murderous depths?
O There must be
respite for mankind…
This poetry is just a tapestry of words
that we launch like
an inflatable raft in the rising flood!

7.
This women of summer
will be gone
with the first rain
of May…
Towed toward
the sea
in the monsoon interlude
that is bound to happen
as the moon edges
the sun
from the blue, blue sky.
Should he find
them again
like wayward stars
in the milky way,
they won’t be recognizable
because
fully grown and full
of wisdom of the tribe,
repeating the mantra
of healing via the
triangulated psyche…
All will be nameless –
None will remember
how their worlds collided
once upon a summertime!

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2 Responses to SHIPWRECKED SAILORS

  1. JaneS says:

    Kamusta sir, mukhang matagal-tagal po kayong di nagpopost. Dati nyo po akong estudyante. Hanggang ngayon, kulang sa tapang kahit naiinis at nabibwiset.

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