MATRIX

1.
It has taken mythic proportions –
this story of a beast
who prowls the central plains
& devours virgins & peasants
like a Minotaur
in the caverns of ancient Crete.
Is he half-bull, half-man
of lore?
But when he sees his face
upon capture
he sees only fear in his eyes
as mobs mill around him
as if to lynch, or try the
shadow of a legend
quickly for his crime…
Does he feel vulnerable,
naked like a child without
his toy armalite
by his side?
So real, so alive,
all cut to size…
But he quickly snaps out
of the momentary doldrums,
returning to his garrison cool.
A secret smile plays on his lips,
as if comforting himself –
everything is OK,
it is a frame up by ignorant mob.
O he’s sure as hell
his gang will spirit
him from the iron trap.
They are sworn
never to leave soldiers behind.

2.
The caged animal
sniffs the iron bars,
then howls in the night
as if wailing for the forest
where he used to roam freely
& devour tribals
like primitive sacrifice…
How could he have lost
his cunning
when slow-witted hunters
managed to set up traps
for him
in the interstices
of the city’s labyrinth?
O How he rues being so
stupidly reckless,
putting his guard down,
like a casual civilian?
The temptation is always
overwhelming.
Must he pay
for his salad days?
But he’s innocent,
his mind insists,
of the foul deed they charge
him with!
The law must protect him too –
his loyal eagles
will surely snatch him
from the barbarians
whom he had stopped
with his bare hands.

3.
But why should he confess!
He has nothing to say
like Socrates before the magistrates.
He must keep mum
lest his tongue be twisted
by blood-soaked judges!
Nothing to peek into his soul
but a blank sheet of desire
that his ego will expose.
& to the mothers
who squirm in their seats
in stony silence,
their eyes like revolvers
cocked to fire
at his hair-trigger presence:
O How they wish madly
to lay their hands on him
vulnerable & helpless
like their fire-eating children…
He is like Jesus Christ, his lawyer avers,
set up in pillory
by the ignorant mob.
Evidence is stacked against
his person…
But the Nazi general
spirited out of Argentina
defended himself in the same manner:
he’s a professional soldier,
who performed his duty
in service of dear, old Fuehrer!
4.
Will there be no end
to this mode of persecution?
If they kill me
by firing squad,
or lethal injection,
what will it profit their souls
if I am made to pay
the price?
Can they sleep the sleep
of the just
in those interminable
nights of nightmarish conscience?
Is this blasphemy?
Today, I am proclaimed
a butcher, a criminal.
Tomorrow, they’ll hail
me a state patriot,
hero exemplar
who stayed the Commies
at the Palace gates!
This is all a Pentagon
oplan;
I am just a commandant
leading a horde of real men.
Even today’s President
aims to scuttle
those pestiferous militants…
We’re on the same boat…
I only leveled it up
to a higher notch…

5.
The gusty wind
from the dark, dark mountains
carries strange voices
over the trees
that ripple mournfully
in the ears
of loved ones
who have stood watch
over the dead’s
long, long disappearance?
It semaphores a howl
of messages
as if rumblings from the underground.
O What does it mean
when they barely understand
the language of ashen spirits?
& if they
can speak clearly,
what will they say?
That it is all the zero-sum
of human existence?
What justice will
balance the scale?
How will the fire in the belly
be kept burning –
& remembering never be
a sad, sad burden?
How to comfort
the dying?
How must the lost
& the damned be appeased
in the history of the living?

6.
So there,
a bystander pontificates,
it is finally asked
of men of supreme wisdom
& lordships of the realm –
what for is their suffering
that can’t be puzzled out
by reason dialectical
& hearts that refuse
forgetting?
Is retribution a heavenly equation?
Why they must be savaged
like sacrificial lambs
& dumped into unholy ground?
Only their names
will be encrypted
by archivists
in search of glory
who draw up the trajectories
of the cause
which will clench its fists
& scream like maddened beasts!
How will they be remembered?
Dots on statistical maps
or flies swatted off
the festive table?
O How to simplify the game
that speaks of endless
infamy
of chaos & mankind!

7.
There is a dark place
waiting for him,
a mourner who echoes the mothers’
lament over their daughters
demise.
But they won’t cry a river,
if their wish for vengeance
is granted by angels –
even if the testament
would declare it an apostasy…
Blood for blood!
But they won’t give a damn!
Even the rower
would refuse to carry his body
across the river Styx.
& there will be rejoicing
in the lower realm,
even by pious Christians
who swear by God’s
compassionate & even hand!

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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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QUANTUM

1.
Eduardo Galeano
is 73, Uruguayan writer,
whose book “The Open Veins
of Latin America”,
has sold millions…
He recently declared it himself
that “it was badly written,”
& that “he’s incapable
of tackling the subject.”
He, moreover, is “horrified by
its prose”,
which caught however
the attention of left-wing
campus radicals
overwhelmed by its poetry.
O How they must be shocked
by his declaration,
as putting to naught
their youthful veneration –
O like a lover who saw
his paramour’s stained beauty
& deception?
Could such heart-breaking spiel
be what Zizek calls
the diminution of the Big Brother
who controls the symbolic Order?
As if God was shocked
by his creation in the Adamic
Garden?
It is as if on his death bed
the patient witnessed his life
unreel like a film
whose images he himself would
never recognize
like the air he couldn’t fathom
in the recesses of his id?
O there is a continuing blindness
to the puppeteer that
makes us move
as if we are alive!

2.
Is truth possible
in the welter of conflicting
discourses?
Can we see its open face,
this dark void
that escapes recognition?
Quantum physics cannot
dare declare its finitude,
instead tiptoes around
the inexplicable edges
like a vicious dog
that will snap at us
as we move, even with our wiles..
Can we see the rendering
of our life
from the very beginning
like a cinema
that goes back to its
origin, at the flick
of the universal machine?
O is it the transcendental
spirit
that pulls the strings
of our heart’s desire?
Ever the perpetual crossroads,
of lies & truths,
we fail, o will always fail
to chart the journey’s route
which is never our own!
O How do we gaze
at her,
the apple of affection,
& insist she’s truly
& forever our heart’s eternal fire?
O How will we let
the secret tears to flow
behind our deluded eyes!

3.
Isabel Allende, Chilean novelist
on exile in California,
would be shocked
at Galeano’s self-inflicted wound:
“I had dinner with him,”
she recalled,
“And said to me he was the same man.”
O How we change,
[the metamorphosis is constant]
as if a second is always
as distant as the star
from another moment –
the first time we utter a word,
do we mean
the same intention as in the final pause?
Is the period the finality
of truth?
Is the man looking
from the depth of the mirror
the same from him
who stands before it?
What of time
that wreaks so much havoc
in a matter of seconds?
Every particle in quantum physics
cannot be mapped out –
it is impossible to fix
a code that will freeze
the infinite movement
of the galaxy within
the constellation!
Everything is in total flux –
Are you always the same
one from birth to death?

4.
“The prose of the traditional left
is extremely leaden
and my physique cannot
tolerate it –
Galeano in his old age declares
o so boldly.
To his detractors
that would be their final
revenge on his fans
who are “idiots losing their bible.”
But the senior citizen
insists he is still the man
“very much of the left,”
having seen the failure
of social experiments
in the “last decade”
in the continent,
& elsewhere.
Was he thinking of the
Castro brothers of Cuba,
Chavez of Venezuela,
Mao Zedong of China
whose term is most
maligned by the present
crop of warriors
& apostates?
Did they foresee the sun
setting on the West?
Did the vision
of global revolution
outrun their dogma
& catastrophic involution?
O did the millions
who heard the siren call
perish with
false conviction?

5.
“Reality has changed a lot –
and I have changed a lot.”
The human condition
is diverse, he averred,
as if to strike a note
of what could be maligned
as perverse revision…
The old patriots
must be turning in their graves –
risk-taking is a loser’s gambit,
the future is always an elusive
target…
Did he insult the
old warriors who perished
on the road,
& denounced by his apostates
from a radical spectrum?
How could he be truthful if he diminishes
their virtuous act
to topple dictators?
O when did he see the light?
O Did Ka Roger & his guerrillas
die in vain
in the solitude of his jungle lair?
Pray, pray, pray
tell us, observer who smirks
at the wayside.

6.
& Now the breaking news –
“Astrophysicists are casting doubt
as to what just recently was deemed
a breakthrough in confirming
how the universe was born!
The observation of gravitational waves
that apparently rippled through
space right after the Big Bang.
But blogs and scientific
US journals
claimed a serious flow in the analysis…”
So it is back to square one.
Are post-modernists pointing
to a non-direction
for the salvation of mankind?
The social experiments
have involved millions
in the name of unorthodox principle.
O should we keep our cool,
like academic philosophers
calmly puffing on their pipes
while sitting on their rocking chair,
murmuring that nothing is nothing,
zero is zero
all things remain the same…
Ever skeptical & uncertain
of all scientific reasoning,
must we hold
to our cherished beliefs?
Like Abraham
who must conjure a God
to whom
we’ll be obedient & loyal like an amanuensis?

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AMAZON

1.
She was a communist
daughter of a Southern Luzon
spokesperson of CPP.
But the military would
rather call her an Amazon.
When she was arrested
& brought to Bagong Diwa
in Bicutan,
she was seven months pregnant.
She recently gave birth
to baby Diona,
who died two days later
of “persistent pulmonary
hypertension.”
Was her health medically
monitored
in this age of technology?
But she was an Amazon,
born to tortuous situation…
The judge had allowed her
to attend the wake for
three hours,
then quickly hustled back
to her jail cell.
She couldn’t even grieve
in private
as jail officials crowded
her cell which was a space
fit for animal squalor…
How her aunt wished
she could dig up
Ka Rosal from his grave in the mountain lair
& let him see how his daughter
had been made to suffer,
sleeping on the cold cement floor
in her delicate condition…
But she was an Amazon,
communist women who
seek the freedom of the masses
are known for…
They are
supposedly
immune from
post-partum
depression?
O What is going on
in this neck of the woods?
Where is human compassion,
according to priests & lawyers
on the court?
It pains observers to see
the scumbag Queen Napoles,
attended by her chosen physicians
& tenderly secured
from protestors that crowd the hospital.

2.
They paint the world
in monochromatic black & white –
& nothing in between.
A communist is an atheist?
She maybe an unholy child, therefore,
driven from Adamic garden…
Where are the barbarians
trooping at the gates,
poised to strike down the sacral savages?
She is hellishly evil?
She couldn’t swat a fly
in her grief & privation…
Is she her father’s child?
Why visit the “crime” of the father
on her children,
as if this were the edict
of the New Testament?
O If only God could speak,
who would really be punished?
Ebony & Ivory
isn’t a simple rock & roll
for the popular crowd
who would never cringe at
the savage truth of the song!
It’s all the heart could conjure
but no one, as if in catatonic swoon,
would listen
to the ultimate rupture
that should not be the Age’s
raison…

3.
He doesn’t brook any opposition.
He only hears his own voice
that screams everyone is his inferior.
The rest is the herd,
& Nietzsche is the standard
of his gradation:
what is, what should be evil & good.
He is a narcissist,
conscripting everyone to his cause.
In the time of Aryan,
could he be a Nazi general
who loved the music of Wagner’s
Gotterdammerung
who would send Jews
on trucks & trains
to the gas chambers
so the crippled minds
could kowtow to his genius?
Is he the god
that would finally reveal
the truth
& change the mordant world?
O the sage says,
he’s just a poor boy who could
not stand being alone,
rattled by his own incomprehensible voice.

4.
The raining season
is upon us, the bartender says.
The clouds are gathering in the horizon.
Summer is about to end.
Just as well, he quips,
the heat is unbearable,
the ladies in the pub
fan themselves
as if seized by an uncontrollable
passion that wets
their inside thighs.
It always happens in May,
he mumbles,
when the heart sizzles
with strange palaver.
The world, he says, turns on
constant rupture…
Shadows eventually envelop
his soul…
When rain falls on the rooftops,
so does his world –
As the sun dies at the edge of the ocean,
so is she, who is
finally gone
with the season…

5.
The jeepney driver
nodded
as he talked to a friend
who hitched a ride
to Project 6.
Yes, his cousin’s kids
have graduated from
college;
& they are doing well.
He sounded amazed
being an unlettered hick
himself.
O How they love to be
educated,
brimming with pride
as they gazed at their
framed diploma
on the sala wall.
The neighborhood is
awed at this newfound status.
What college did
they finish their courses?
He mentioned a cheap one
& that will be enough
to claim a place
in the sun!
He wanted to ask himself:
Is there something between
their ears?
Who cares if they didn’t
play billiards
while classes wear on
inside the campus?
O How they passed
muster
easy professors
who are trapped
in a time warp
with their yellow syllabi?
Did they ever learn
how to size up the
ideology of it all?
O But does it matter?
O They think they do.
Who would dare pass judgment?

6.
O She claims
she’s a pragmatist –
it’s all the nose for
the ways of the world that lead
to the hidden valley
of fortunes.
Que sera, sera!
Everything is a game of luck.
High grades do not
define success!
The permutations in the world
are infinite –
if you don’t look for it,
you’d find it!
Her ears are close
to the ground
& hear the temblor
of eternal secrets…
If she wages her body
like sin –
which doesn’t exempt
anyone…
What about it?
A Superior IQ
does not open
Ali Baba’s cave!
Didn’t she breeze through
her academics?
Her diploma is worth
all the carnal fantasy
of her lovers
who led her to
immeasurable ecstasy!
The formula of success
is charted by daily pragmatics –
O Hear the Queen of Scumbags,
Napoles,
who is out to seal a deal
while dangling over the precipice.

7.
He can hustle like her.
Even if he’s never been articulate.
His language is never immaculate,
but he knows how to ingratiate
himself to the Big Boss
who is worth the humbling risk.
Does he need to sucker up?
He could recommend some clinical cases
that approximate his –
Yup, he would never ruin
any moment that will advance
himself like a cleric
who quotes God
loves those who quietly work & submit.
What fancy thought should he
contemplate?
Of what use are Kant, Hegel,
Freud, Lacan, Nietzsche, & Marx?
The world is the handmaiden
of dastardly capitalists…
& he will never miss the immediate target.

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SPIRAL

I.
Colonization is a brand-new
jargon
for these college kids
who never realized,
with their ghetto background,
that they were themselves
colonial subalterns
trained never to question
the sovereign power of the feudal state
which allies itself
with Gringos
who ravaged thousands
of Katipuneros
& spawned a generation
that wags at the techno sound
& fury of white terror.
O How to detoxify
these street-smart dudes
who all dream of America
& get conscripted
in the war against Al-Qaeda?
O How they wrap their bodies
with the star-spangled banner
of Obama!
Haven’t they heard of
Sterling admonishing his black bitch
of a mistress,
like a plantation owner,
never to mingle
with blacks in his coliseum,
where Afro-Americans play?
O It’s a long, long way
from the streets of Alabama!

2.
The survivors of Yolanda
in Leyte
wear oversized shirts
emblazoned with NBA logos,
playing basketball
to show off to Justin Bieber,
despite the conflagration,
they are still cool.
O How they love the selfies
with the Canadian brat
who stayed for a few minutes
then flew off to the city
after a photo-shoot!
Will they remember
that moment as if it were
the infinitude of their lives?
They have sorted out
the tedium of their days,
the hellish silence
of hearts
that await burial
of their missing dead
in the cusp of unbearable
tomorrow.

3.
The state
is turtle-slow
to succor the victims
in their blueprint
peddled in media
as cure-all for the
catastrophic visitation…
Always the sky
falls on Tacloban
where houses have yet
to be rebuilt
& workers have
to recover their lost
capital & muscle?
The ruins stare
them in the face –
babies break the silence
with their sullen cries.
No one would dare scream:
as if they have been
too drained to cry out.
But the villagers will surely return
the scalawags to office
as if Yolanda
never came to Tacloban.

4.
The young guy,
street-smart in his outfit,
slipped out of the room,
his back pocket
bulging with a rolled notebook,
representing his quantum wisdom.
He’s killing time
for the lecture to expire
by pretending to wait out
smoking in the dirty lavatory
where smell of shit stings & suffocates.
Do his parents wait for him
at the gates
like a nursery tyke?
They who set great store
by his diploma
to pull them out of the rut?
O How do you pray
for the daily bread
future graduates of suburbia
are expected to put on the table?
Will they make money
when there is nothing
between their ears?
The wind whistles
like a boiling kettle’s.

5.
The fat kid
polishes his bracelet
on the girl’s back shirt
who relishes her imaginary
massage.
It is a midterm exam,
but they don’t care at all
in this cheap university
where tuition
is worth a plate of noodle
in high-end Boni.
O How the poor will kill time
tinkering with their bodies
crawling with lice,
then segue into
summer class
when heat oozes out of armpits & thighs.
O they will march
like the walking dead
into the ranks
& middle class
who rule over our unbearable despair.

6.
The girls bunched up
along the aisle,
like provincial hookers
outside a pub.
O they would rather sing
the hottest Korean pop,
& do away with
listening to a professor
moping why he should
end up lecturing
to village idiots
in a godforsaken place…
Did Rizal invest
heavily in youth?
He must be mistaken –
they will sell their elders
down the river.
The children are fully sexed up,
most a few hours pregnant
in hidden alcoves
on campus.
Always, an excess of testosterone
bursting at the seams
while cretins try
to outdo each other’s
plebeian voices.

7.
So this is the circle
of Alighieri’s hell –
mentors who wait out
the appointed hours
& sleepwalk
through the course;
students who rave & rant
if marked with a low grade
of approval;
janitors who toil
in dirty toilets
on low wages & dumbly grit their teeth,
kids who preen themselves
in broken mirrors
with dash of cheap cologne,
sporting white uniforms
to look like expensive interns –
How can one survive
the suffocating white-hot corners of hell,
which is only an LRT ride
away?
Imagine the coaches to be
Nazi trains rolling
into the gas chamber
of Auswitchz?
Now & then, some girls
would break free from the usual mould –
focusing on the minutia
of the lesson –
but she’ll eventually settle down
to the old equation
of sloth & limited foundation.

8.
The young rebels
southwest of the hinterlands
would bike to the center
of the city to toughen
their bodies & minds
for the daily struggles ahead?
Will they turn out
Nietzsche’s supermen
with their mountain bikes
that will blaze through the trail?
Motorized bikes can’t
dodge the usual military check-points
anyway…
Then onward to the suburban
campus
where they grew up in,
all het up
to change the old, same things?
O the stories they share
about supercilious professors;
& nubile girls
who are quick to open their legs
in bestial celebration
of biological production…
Is it the order of the day,
the ritual of trivialities
in the front of learning?
As in Diliman
there is the rule
with highfalutin
hustlers quick
to promote their bureaucratic order.

9.
The senator
was imperious:
why his PDA is
delayed?
The NGO needs it badly.
The budget officer
could only hem & haw,
gently dropping the phone
as if properly chastised…
The dean was tactful, on the other hand.
Could he just readjust
the grade of her child?
She’s depressed.
She might lose her dean listing.
He quickly understood –
cognizant of the ways of the underworld.
O How cheap emotion
had held him in thrall.
Like a prisoner,
was he ordered by the warden
never to resist higher authority?
He could only shake his head,
like a dog who strayed
into a cannery…

10.
The boy confesses
he dreams of tormenting his mentors.
They didn’t prepare him well
for the job.
He has become a laughingstock.
Most times, he didn’t understand
things, but he was so embarrassed
to be named a dullard.
How could he have asked for more explanation
when his schoolmates
didn’t give a hoot?
The mentor isn’t a great shake, either.
He’ll rarely appear in class –
could it be he’s done with us
who never gave ourselves a chance?

The girl says
she has a dream:
how she loves to line them up
against the wall.
How could she be deemed
most qualified for the job
when she had not been clarified
of all prescribed resolution.
The person simply dismisses them all
as arrogant, immature!
How she would like to be given
extended hours to elaborate a point
of exclusion & departure.
But the mentor is always in a hurry
to leave the hall.
Alas, there is no pronounced dialectic:
ideas are left to rot in the air
like garbage…
Besides her classmates
would rather chatter about
their petty lives,
& two-timing lovers…

11.
The professor knows
like the back of his hand:
most likely a sob story
that will tug at
his heart:
is he soul-searching then
like a struggling Christian?
But the kid is misplaced
in the career he had chosen.
Could he be better off as a florist,
never a therapist?
His parents are in hock,
he’s promised them he’s bound
to graduate come June
& would surely help out:
extra allowance for his sister
& board & lodging
when she enters college…
That’s the real score
of educating village idiots
in the classroom.
Will he ask the Pope?
The Vatican is rich,
overflowing with money
during the canonization of his
pious barkada?
But his plan will come to naught.
No answer will be given
by God & Man
for the kid to realize his ambition
& gather fruits of the season.
O How the guy is burdened
by unholy expectations!
But He had lost it a long, long time ago
since he was born
into a hovel of a home!

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CONUNDRUM

1.
We must stop
writing love poems,
the bartender
winks conspiratorially.
Only stupid young poets
do that.
They can sniff our decay
a mile away
& hear the bark
of Bolano’s romantic dogs
from the region
of our hearts.
He grins,
having parodied his poetic
style.
He wipes the spoor
of beer dribbling down
his lips.
Pablo Neruda,
in his old age,
shifted to shafting
dictators
in Latin America
who dragged his people
through mud & stones
of impunity & sloth.
But the people
never seemed to rage
against the past
when criminal lords
ruled the farms & urban sprawls.
Do people forget
so easily?
Oblivion the Rx
of all perdition?
O The children must be saved!
Lu shun lamented
as if ancient trolls
have come back
from the jungle & suburbs…
Is poetry ever a solution?
Will words mean anything?
Is it a hyper valued commodity?
Duh.
They stare into the beer mugs
while shadows stream
into the windows.

2.
But, of course,
who remembers
May 4, 1919
nearly a century ago
when “a massive student strike
forced the Chinese government
to reject the Versailles Peace Treaty
which have ceded to Japan
the province of Shandong.”
The young intellectuals
saw through the ruse
of foreign colonialists
to give control to Japanese
militarists a piece
of the homeland…
So much like in Manila,
where Obama must be offered
the access treaty;
the activists must rage
against being sold down the river
by their elders in Malacañang…
O that was the order
of history in his time,
there in distant Mindoro
where his family had to
make both ends meet,
stuck in rustic poverty
& millennial despair –
O there was nothing to look
forward to then
in the heat & dust
of summer that hovers
with perpetual silence
like buzz of locusts in his
ears.

3.
Should he act out
the secret plea
of Barrabas
to the other guy by his side
for a free ride
to the undiscovered region
of his mind?
The one at the center
had lamented
he had been abandoned,
after all,
& left to the mercy
of centurions
who speared
brutally his side?
Barrabas couldn’t accept
the verdict he should be
nailed to the cross
for brigandage
when the Romans had stolen
his sacral land.
He could only
say to the guy in jest,
why not include him
in his journey to the so-called
paradise?
Hell is bad enough;
he could only cheat death
by seeking the confidence
of the man called Christ…
O Does the world
move on without
moral & logic…?
How should he fathom
his dire existence?
Such was centuries ago –
he, too, had the same
bucket list
that he would forward
via a postmaster
sauntering in the sky…

4.
In the labor market,
he finds himself
trapped in the graveyard shift,
stuck with street kids
who claim, that being poor,
God must have loved them
as if salvation can be had peacefully,
by praying to Yahweh
for the blessing of knowledge
to serve them in corporate hell.
They’ll be rewarded
by heaven by settling for
the silent order of things.
O How they love
to support the crippling system
they aim
to beat
from inside?
But the darkness around
allows them a blindness
to navigate the terrors
of the night
as if the inward sun burns brightly
in their eyes?

5.
& the women?
The sirens who ululate
in simoom of air?
How foolish can you be?
The bartender teases him.
O they will play you around,
twirl you on their pinkies
& drop you eventually
when a dude in white convertible
drives by…
Cinderella they all are,
awaiting their Prince Charming
who will fit their glass stiletto shoes
in the Palace…
Did he believe his ears?
All is truth
from him who knows
the ways of the world.
The women are floozies
who have run off
with lesser bums
& opened their legs
with all the virtues
of a sacred harlot?
O Damn him who falls
in love so easily –
a sucker to cheap charms,
a knight with rusty armor
& ghostly horse:
O If only he could laugh
without suffering hurt…

6.
The day will pass
like any other…
In the neighborhood,
a wake blazes
in the heat of summer –
the children of kinsmen
who paid homage to
the departed,
play in the shades,
flirting like secret lovers.
O Oblivious of the state
of familial mourning
where elders drop their voices
to a murmur
& talk about the harvest
of flowers to beautify
the circumstance of the day…
Then the burial
at Lemery where the deceased
practiced her medical craft
to the unfortunate…
Nameless folk
in cheap vans flock in to pay homage
& bid her a final farewell.
O But this day in April
will be eventually forgotten –
crossed out of the calendar
to give way to marriages
& baptism to break
the ritual of mourning…
O Everything will come to pass,
the first rain of May
will wash it away
in coming torrents
of floodwaters
& laughter will again reign
like a happy disaster…

7.
In this dive,
they give free passage
to celebrants of natal day
for the buffet table…
In his mind,
he had reserved empty seats
for beloved figures of his
youth – old companions & pets –
who have passed
into the light…
The living are busy with
their own lives,
fortifying their career
& familial loves:
will they send messages
over the cell phone?
Nah, at his age
he has learned never to hold
expectations…
He can only hear the ticking
of the clock
& the premonition
that the gift of life
is strange & often unjust.
The earth spins
on its merry amoral ways
& he could only watch
the mob wave & curse
as day turns into purple dusk.
Where are the women of
yester years?
Who triggered immeasurable
desire?
They have morphed into bitches
& sluts.
How can the orange seasons be
unforgiving & black?

8.
It must be a rare occasion
for the buffet table
is heavy laden
with food from certified chefs
who seem beyond reach of
native expertise:
intimate guests had invited him
to partake of the feast
to give him a feel
how gourmets live –
as if his time hovers
on the edge…
The good, good life
his ideological sentiment
would not dare permit?
To suffer Christ-like
was never copacetic…
O What is this vice
that sounds Calvinistic
his grandmother
fanatically practiced
like a vise?
To indulge the body
is to feed the spirit
that seeks pleasure
in sybaritic trip.
O let vanity be damned!
Should he languish
like a monk in the monastery?
But he cannot help it
if the world is in flames!
Mendiola is burning
Obama & Aquino effigies
to impress upon
the lords of the realm:
They the public
cannot countenance
the onerous exchange,
the access pact,
O the foul, foul deed!

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RHIZOME

1.
He’s been treated
for hypertension,
the military spokesman
reports.
Were they wary
of talks that the captives
are being interrogated?
& therefore tortured?
It is SOP in ops
to squeeze out info
from collared combatants.
The language is deceptive,
skeptics point out,
for detainees are subject
to water boarding,
electric shock & cure…
The two are prized animals
in the stockade
& no stone is left unturned
to gain points
from the summer heist…
Is the fight over
for players in the field?
It is only a comma,
never a final period,
that marks the transition game.
Will the enemy stand down
& guns remain silent
in the night?
O peasants still wait
for their hacienda lot;
workers still raise hell
for higher wages…
Has the dove of peace
flown down with
an olive branch?

2.
The spokesman
of a former discredited regime,
who has fattened his ass
in the Palace,
could only chuckle
why this old & gaunt marcher
during their Diliman phase
is still at it –
raising his clenched fist
despite the handcuffs,
ideologically fixed
on an idea that mesmerized
them
during their salad days.
O Why does he continue
to plod on
with a struggle
that the world has forgotten?
Chairman Mao is dead;
capitalist roaders
are back on the saddle
in polluted Beijing…
who now claim
West Philippine Sea
for their own,
with its gas & oil reserves
worth billions…
But the bartender,
who has heard it all
during nights of heavy rain
& forlorn carousing,
knows the final narrative
is yet to be written.
O this season of fortune tellers
& empty political palaver!
A macho game, he muses.
He still sees brats
scavenging outside the café
while nubile virgins
book their bodies for cheap pesos.
Will the nightmare
ever end?
O Dawn is a long-time coming.

3.
The buzzword Revolution
is no longer fashionable.
The young have their cell phones
to mark time
& Internet to tell authorities off –
O We are watching;
we shall not fall
for your promises!
Blogs have shifted
to summer
of cool vacation spots
where lovers can tryst
by the beach side.
Who shall bother
with Lenin’s question:
What must be done?
Flee to the mountain
& encircle the city
from the countryside?
But is everyone wired?
Who owns the corporate servers?
No one is listening:
But Big Brother does
who will mark your word
for it.
For Snowden in Russia:
everything is a never-ending
surveillance!
How can time shift
magically
when more Taipans and mestizo caciques
make it
to Fortune list?
Americans play their China
card on the table
to wangle an onerous treaty:
O they speak
with forked tongues
while screwing the country
like an Olongapo whore.

4.
The young lawyers
are still deluded
they can make sense
of the system
by opening a loophole
they can slip in
with the equitable…
But the law
does not operate
on formal logic
lest philosophers & mathematicians
take over the magisterial
chamber…
No more hiding
in the open field & foliage
to figure out
why courts contravene
the moral edict?
O How we trust
guys in coat & tie
mouthing legalese
who claim to bend
the law
according to reason
& logical gambit…
That the law serves all –
the innocent
& the foolish
must languish
in judicial orbit…

5.
O They agree –
the old people
in their rocking chairs –
the movement must
ruminate over
the wayward fall.
O how they secretly wept
that it should not
have happened to nicer guys –
but has God better reason
to allow the disappointing fable?
As if truant angels
have stumbled on earth
with their clipped wings
in immaculate mission?
Are there cherubims
waiting in the wings?
Is the foliage
heavy with fruits & flowers?
The resolute know
history moves in helter-skelter way
like a drunkard
zig & zagging on the road.
April is just around the corner,
but why must all
mimic the Calvary
like penitents?
History has a roller-coaster trajectory
& cynics could only shrug off
the circular story…

6.
They do not mince words,
simple as they are:
The revolution is finished.
The general can’t hide
his secret glee.
O How he taunts
the enemy across the other side:
“We’ve got your supremo!”
Sophists take pride
in the clarity of the line:
But the paradox of the discourse
is like the ocean floor
that hides the broken ridges
below the surface.
The smoothness
cannot calm down
the undertow:
he therefore must simplify
for the masses to realize
who the lord of the flies is.
O truth is a rhizome,
post-Marxist Deleuze & Guattari
theorize:
“Like a tuber or moss”
if one node is cut off,
lines would link up
with the other,
allowing the organism
to flourish & grow
as if the center over holds.
O Nothing is ever sure,
stable,
authorities cannot eternally rule.
The game has turned deadlier,
multiple –
the morning shadows
loom over the circle of fear.
At the camp fire
warriors recycle old fables
while figures in the nightscape
measure them with radical will.

7.
Their voices
ripple in the air.
Who should allow their
electronic infamy?
O They chose their ex-comrades
well to confess
the founding leader
is siphoning their funds
off to live luxuriously.
O the old demonizing stratagem
done through the years:
a lie repeated the nth time
passes for standard paradigm.
The old Nazi technique
that bodes well for Gestapo clique.
But who will unveil
the assets if an imaginary pistol
is cocked at their hands?
They had no choice?
To read the satanic lies?
O How early to push the domesticated
over the edge
who had been processed
like maddened tigresses.

8.
Both sides
will review & assess
the aftermath.
The state will congratulate
its useful snitches
for trapping the elusive captives:
the others will change
& rectify the security net.
How could the enemy
slip through its safe houses?
Who tripped them off?
Where’s the leak?
Who could have betrayed
the people’s trust?
But this is paranoia
that caused them innocent lives.
It took decades
to heal the collective sanity.
Is it kismet?
Caution is a tactic
but too much of it
paralyzes…
Que sera, sera?
Damn the torpedoes!
Life cannot flourish
in the rabbit hole!
When they were young,
who would bother
with origin & fall?
The people is the main argument,
O mantra that must not be forgotten!

9.
Revolution
is the trickster’s ploy
for novelists & poets
to mix with the subject
of guilt-ridden conflict
in the theatre
of life & the abyss.
How metaphysically they long
for Christ to descend
& solve the eternal contradiction.
Should there be freedom
or bondage
which Duvalier & Marcos
dictatorially advocate?
O visionaries prattle
about the utopian past
that never, never was!
Thousands have fallen
by the wayside
in the journey to the Final Act –
But the night has been
long & perilous:
ever historians doggedly focus
on intentions & heroes
whose errors seem
lamentably human, forgivable!
O How can we get out
of the pit?
Should we philosophize
over gin & tonic
inside deserted cafes
until lights dim
& evening kicks us out
with our eyes wide open?

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SUMMER TIME

1.
Liza del Giocondo,
“mother of five
born into an aristocratic
Florentine family,”
aka Mona Lisa,
whose enigmatic countenance
had puzzled men
through centuries,
could have been secretly
laughing at those who languished
at her feet –
she was a feminist,
claims William Valver,
mathematician…
Did she feign to feast
on male adoration,
wrapping on her pinkie
her imaginary lovers
while allowing them to paw
her body
& becoming visually distant
in her mind…
This wife to a silk merchant
who thought he had bagged
his prized animal?
Should men folk beware of her
wiles?
O They must – rare is the magnanimous
victor in amorous combat.
How could she have transcended
time & space,
eclipsing the common tale?
A way to survive the patriarchal
terrain
as if mockery is key to the game…
O let blood flow
while love is suspended
in mid-air.

2.
Gonzalo Mosca
was a “radical hunted
by Uruguay dictators
& fled to Argentina
where Jorge Mario Bergoglio,
aka Pope Francis,
gave him “safe passage”
& refuge by pretending
to be silent on the military junta.
The way to survive
a cruel regime?
Never to blow one’s cover
in public
by going with the flow
& save some soul
who would openly protest
the brutal militarist blow?
Well, the priests aver,
the Pope was in his own way
a patriot –
a mode of resisting
that didn’t set well with
militants who exposed their hearts
to the evil mob?
A stratagem that beats
activist resistance
who confronted the barrel of the gun?
O Not to show your cards
in the face of impunity,
or survive tumultuous history…
Is this revisionist apostasy,
as claimed by martyrs who perished
in the night of the generals?
O How do you reconcile
biographical accounts
& the fruits of discovery?

3.
A.
Summertime & the sun
burns under his feet.
The trace of smoke
from the leaves that have
turned brown
shoot out of the foliage
of his heart –
& he longs for her
who shall quickly vanish
in summer
where clouds dissolve
into the azure sky.
O Why does his head
ring hollow as the sun
blazes in the air?
Can he seek comfort
in the solitude of stars
inside his room
where voices have died down –
the children gone out
into the field
& grown monstrously overnight?
They who shall disappear
in the air
that wantonly flares?

B.
O If it rains
will his heart open
toward the reckless tempest –
but where is the alcove
to seek refuge –
when flowers of monsoon season
will soak to ruin
the parched terrain.
O Beware of what you ask for –
wise men caution –
& so stranded in the shadow
between sun & moon,
like a rat he scampers
for the ancestral solitude
of lovers fallen
into the void.

5.
Death is always
poised to strike all down.
How can witnesses
dare spin their invincible yarns?
The evil shadows flock
around survivors,
& darkness seeks their eyes.
Always the light in the tunnel
is an orange glow,
but, like the candle, it quivers
in the wind…
Shall they ever learn
not to dare the sun
to strike them with its solar flare?
O mortals stolidly carry on
to surpass the limits of desire
as summer draws
to its end
when leaves drift down
from the boughs
& memories are dry empty nights.
O She always vanishes,
a shadow that morphs
with evening & dawn…

6.
Always a chance encounter
in summer
when the heat grips like a plague
in the air –
& we turn dizzy,
as if the world has gone upside down…
Do we dare plan our lives
when the world widely spins,
then abruptly stops at a dime?
A painter was struck down
in the heat of the night,
leaving his young & innocent children
behind.
How could God explain all
these things to the widow
who shall bear misfortune
like a beatitude?
What color shall reign
on the canvas of his essential grief?
His friends refused
to believe he’s gone forever –
this summer of uncertain weather
& portentous thunder.
O Que sera, sera?
O tell it to the marines
who shall suffocate
as the horsemen gallop
strangely on the high way.

7.
Old Merlin didn’t know
math or physics.
But he had a hunch
time & space could be
one,
once upon a time.
“Waves of gravity
that rippled through space
after the Big Bang
had been detected
for the first time,”
scientists report.
“The universe inflated
dramatically”
in the “blink of an eye,”
driving time & space apart;
O this is almost magical,
in the old medieval lore,
that would allow
the idea of schism
of body & soul…
Only in the movies
is this possible
where images could do the trick
theorists simply dream of.
The huge explosion
must have been mind-blowing
if we were to witness
the origin of the universe.
O Necromancers didn’t know
what they were intuiting!
The truth is always
beyond imagining…
Astral travel
& all these psychic phenomena –
How did Einstein
lift the veil over
techno witchcraft?

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EDSA REVISITED

1.
Alice Herz-Sommer,
survivor of Holocaust,
has died at age 110.
She “spent two years
of World War II in Czechoslovakia’s
Terezin camp
by playing the piano
to entertain the inmates.”
“I am Jewish,” she said,
“But Beethoven is my religion.”
Did the body survive
the rigor of the camp
by living in the ether
of heavenly art?
The artist had set her eyes
on music
to lift her frail body
beyond the limits
of mortal suffering?
To persist
in this realm
must be the grace
of heaven
for all spirits
who dare to be blessed!
Did writers
of the Nazi camp
eclipse the infamy
of the flesh
by churning out words
only their kindred
could decode?
O such Rx
is antidote
for the organic
that descends into the void!

2.
It is not a zero-sum
that sparked the Revolt
at Edsa:
The singular act was
delivered from the start
by fallen angels
come out of the void.
Was it a miracle,
the bartender at the café
teases,
that the clergy & fanatics
claim to reveal
the instrument of salvation
from heaven?
As if martial law was stopped
by God who instructed
the Dictator to retreat!
O The aftermath of the truth-event
was restoration of the old order,
with saints & sinners
switching rolls years later…
Evil has gone full circle –
saints & necromancers
are tainted with purloined
gold & ceremonial scepter…
O How should bystanders remember
that strip of highway?
The Revolt was an accident
of wooden cross & hot air!
The center shifted its palaver:
In Egypt, the military
is quick to tighten its grip;
in Syria, Assad
never fails to pull the trigger;
in Ukraine, the protestors
are headlocked by Russian
& Western virtual combatants…
O in the Philippines
the dictator’s family
is back on the saddle…
O after the Revolution
on top,
the fall into the void?

3.
What will a child
ever remember?
His memory exists
groping in the vacuous dark
where figures swim
in the ethereal womb
like ghosts –
with voices slipping away
from the Heinous Act.
Historians have gone blind;
testimonials are kept in the attic,
while children gambol in the sun
knowing nothing of the crime!
O there lies the Internet
at their command –
their sole source of truth/lies.
But they are engrossed
with playing war games:
on the imaginary chessboard,
pawns & queens move about
in numbered symphony
within logic
bereft of oppression & injustice…

4.
They have been trekking
along the winding mountain side,
but the young cadre,
also strong & resolute,
never felt his companion,
old warrior of guerrilla wars,
would also tire…
How he marveled secretly
at his persistence –
unlike his former comrades
who turned apostates
& abandoned camp:
the missions was never lost on him
who lacks academic credential,
but the ideological direction
to actualize the mission
no matter who falls by the wayside.
To persist like a human automaton?
He puffs on his cigarette, & sighs.
One has lived long enough!
As they reach to unpack in the zone.

5.
He has not seen him
for decades now.
He knew he had gone underground
with a new bride in tow.
Now he has surfaced back
& turned legit:
the coast is clear?
His science-trained eyes
the state can’t afford
to dismiss.
O if only they could bump
into each other:
but will he remember?
They were classmates once
in the Russian language…
But these days
European lingo holds sway
over the kids who dream
of working overseas,
never to soak in the forests.
The ideological horizon
has been calibrated.
Has he stayed too long
freezing in the crossroads?
Tempus fugit,
the Greeks would quip.
O How the old fall into despair
& the opening grave…

6.
His combat zone
is anywhere –
tangling with state police,
risking truncheons
aimed at discerning heads –
O How sweet it is
to kill the innocents & unarmed
with impunity by authorities:
Marshalls possessed
by banshee spirit!
So he has only scars to exhibit
& regale
curious kids
who marvel at his simulacrum exploits
on the internet…
O Did he risk it all for nothing?
He’s older now,
his once-upon-a-time comrades
had struck it rich
in joining the corporate state
like any existential apostate –
there is the family to keep,
bills to pay
& anything economic
he didn’t touch in his
philosophic despair…
O What has remained of the day
in his dimming memories?
Only the bravura habit
of a drunken time
that has radically shifted –
O Is he still at the crossroads?
Stranded in the corner
of the street?
One must move on –
but what direction?

7.
The son of the dictator
is dismissive:
only the opposition’s version
of the truth
dominated the discourse:
It’s all propaganda.
His Northern turf is sold, intact –
has cut them electoral slack.
As in the theory of Baudrillard
who pursued his hyperreal simulacra,
he could not see any hidden
meaning in the sign at Edsa.
Like the Gulf War,
it never happened…
Did they loot the national coffers?
They found Yamashita’s gold!
Did they torture detainees?
That is a post-structural fantasy!
[O Everyone is in a time-warp,
leery of the lessons
already foretold.]

8.
At the literary combat,
speechifiers chattered about
the golden book
of 50 years ago
that changed the literary rule –
O How did they answer the
young
skeptical of the critics
who claimed them for their genius?
But the old masters
only wrote according to
their own impoverished woes –
the smelly tenements,
the dilapidated nooks
that were in character
with legendary underdogs…
Today
will the young practitioners
claim them for their own?
It’s a different time,
different world,
different radical mode!
So they go on chattering
about memory down the road,
ending the summit
with ceremonial toast.

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FOREVER

“Twenty years ago,”
Robert Frost wrote,
referring to his “protégés”
in a letter recently unearthed,
“I wish I were rich
and independent enough
to tell them to go to hell.”
The tone is nasty, forbearing
for a “rustic sage”
who smelled of snow
& divergent woods of his childhood –
O such coldness of spirit
that would boast
of his “craft”,
& clandestinely scare
other poets,
& subliminally including himself –
even “crushed the poetic ambition
of his daughter Carol
who committed suicide,”
The observer chuckles
at the scurrilous infamy
of this wordsmith
who had lived his station
impervious to the hellish
turmoil of his chronicled heart.
Did he ever fall in love?
Sounds freaky
for those out to probe
the secret chamber
of his art?
He had married his secretary
after his wife’s demise…
Aesthetic indulgence
or libidinal ennui?
Old-fashioned love
or postmodern alienation?

2.
In Zizek’s follow-up
of a Marguerite Duras’s story,
the lovers wouldn’t
look into each other’s eyes,
but instead stare outside,
as if something bigger than
themselves
lurk in the horizon:
the Cause, the Collective’s –
that will bind them more
like welded steel…
Is it Eros
that is purely libidinal
(Che Guevara calls
ridiculous)
or the agape
to change humanity
stranded in the countryside
poised to cut through
the heavy foliage
that stands before
the utopian goal?
O love in the time of revolution!
O how insane,
almost totalitarian,
for unbelievers
to perish in the dream
for the common good!
The young cadre,
on a break from the region,
would not point to the word love
itself:
she’s a companion
in the journey to egalitarian rule…
O living dangerously
that Friedrich Nietzsche
would heartily approve –
The Superman
who would raise the bar
for the masses
trapped in the valley of unholy
good…

 

3.
So, of course,
this is the void
that lovers must confront –
in the barren landscape
they are twisted marble figures
in fitful embrace
as if bracing
for galactic storms:
Can one, after all,
hug a tree, a pennant, a stone,
never a human soul
that must carry on
with entangled hands
in the journey
toward the spectral future?
What if he/she falters
or falls by the wayside?
Forever is not a warranted word –
O the infamy of the Absolute
that informs
everything is written in the Kabbala
of stone…
Time decrees the rule
of changing seasons –
whatever the future brings
is foreseen existentially
in the smithy of Nietzschean

solitude…

 

4.
There they are:
the old lovers
who have fallen for each other’s
charm
in their twilight years:
both are pumped up
to make a go of what
the shadow in the labyrinth
would bring forth:
with blindfold caution,
they would grope
for their final definition
of what love is:
She, who must exorcise
the specter of her first lover
who had gone beyond
the tunnel of light;
he, who would cast
his eyes on the crimson horizon
where love is fury & emotion.
At the altar,
will they promise each other
like the juvenile Romeo & Juliet
to swear their hearts’
viaticum
while forever is only a wink away
from death & perdition?
How will memory disinhabit
the secret pain & longing?
The ordained warriors will
fall into the abyss
with eyes wide open
to welcome all tribulations
of love the second time around –
like Mandarins
they will efface the scars
of their summertime wound.

5.
O lovers know
the flesh is heir
to unbearable decay.
Love grows,
love dies…
So saying, he flirts
from one flower to another
in quest of his askewed
desire.
All mortals, he avers,
are forever in search
of their soul’s ideal –
Hopping from one conjugal rite
to another,
as if he were blessed
& privileged
to live a meaningless life
on earth
as per decree by the above:
where lies justice, then he asks?
But the other women
should wonder, too –
her heart seized by fear
& trembling;
life is too short
to let go of the fruits
in the Edenic garden.

 

6.
So surely,
biochemists are quick
to trace love & affection
to chemical secretion
that constitutes
puzzling fatal attraction…
O the empirical is all?
It happens naturally that way?
O what will be its
real definition?
What of the lifetime choice?
Happenstance or perdition?
The You & the I are in
constant flux,
transformation
with time as the emperor
that scripts rise & fall?
Is this the mystique of forever?
A notion of God
that is equivalent of perfect
continuum?
O love ends –
as physicists would tell,
the “final gleaning”
in time & space
that are slowly freezing?

 

7.
A.
He was a stray
who found shelter
in a household
that welcomes guests.
The old yaya
would feed the brutalized
with dutiful smile.
But she had to be hospitalized
for some bodily ailment
& her animals,
puzzled by her absence,
would amble into her room
as if to sniff
the stagnant gothic air.
The disappearance
of gentle hands
was too much to bear?
Brownie went missing
to hide in some shell
of a corner in the compound
after burying his bowl
as if to show
resentment & despair…
The guardian of the house
had to coax him out
of his hiding place
like a child
who refused his daily meal.
Nights before
the abode would fill
with animal cries:
when she came back,
a calm would eerily
settle down
like a cool, silent fog
& tails would crazily,
all over the place
wag.

 

B.
Kayenne would stoically
wait for him from his day job –
O cats, they say, can live alone.
But when he jangles his keys,
he would hear him
whine & scratch behind the door
as if he had been abandoned
far too long.
Once inside, he would
excitedly be underfoot,
his joy so visible to behold:

 

C.
Bugsy
would laze
like some pharaoh inside
his aluminum cage
which forbids him
from trespassing the territory
claimed by Kayenne.
He would rise up
for his special meal
after the kidney surgery
as if the guardian of the domicile
had played truant,
a stranger from exile.
O How his eyes
burn like white-hot coals
in the dark corners
of his mind –
this memory
of a feline
who turned the familial tribe
most human, benign, wise!

8.

If only he were rich,
the husband would send her

to a hospice
to care professionally
for her needs.
The doctor’s prognosis
was grim, non-negotiable.
But he was neck-deep
in debt at the office.
How do prayers ram down
heaven’s door?
His is a virtual avalanche
that could turn to stone!
The gates wouldn’t open,
no angel would dare peek out,
even curiously listen…
O He has tried to pump up
her spirit,
but she would rather let go
burdened by unbearable
pain & sorrow…
O How could he push himself
up from bed
to face the sun from darkness?
Her time on earth
is limited;
every moment must be cherished!
If only he could weep
like a child…
But the kids are watching,
he must gut it out
in these days & nights
of inconsolable grief…

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