Nang may magawa ang mga bitwin

Month: December, 2012


I would take anything else over this silence
Brooding between our bowls of soup — yes,
Even the eavesdropped noise: the old man says
He knows where to get cheap beer. The lad
From across the table mentions some girl
Named Cassandra, who has been ignoring him
Since — then he fades as clattering spoons
Become conversation starters. Is the food
Delicious? In response you shove a mouthful
And almost as if I understood what you mean,
I went back to finishing my meal. Did you hear
The waiter talking about how Eduardo died
Last night when Jose Fernando shot him
In the chest, while Maria Leonora watches —
Who? I didn’t understand. Can you repeat
What you said? You sipped the cold water.
Have you watched any movies lately? Silence
Means no. Me neither. I’m sorry for being
So nosy and talkative and being insensitive, and
I should shut up now. I’m sorry. Let’s just eat.


Either way, I’m taking the plunge

I’m still in a dilemma
whether your eyes
are two distant oceans
of unfathomable waters
or two pearls, iridescent,
sleeping silent within oysters.

Nang Minsang Di Kita Nasilayan

Nasaan na
ang patunay
na ako ay buhay?


Sa aking palad

Ang bituing-bituing

Sa kabila nito
Ang mga luha


Kay bigat
May bigat

Ang liwanag

Sa palad


Na naman

Banaag pa rin
Ang liwanag


Sinalok ko
Ang pagpatak

Sa palad

Ang timbangan
Di pa rin


Take the world and turn it over, try and see things
in reverse: the sky is land, the earth is an ocean. The sun
throws beams over buildings and homes like skipping stones
and it ripples and waves — the fishes stir awake
on corals of concrete, our tired feet searching stillness
in the midst of disturbance. Places murk. Sun rays lurk
on the deepest floors. Tell me there is something more
than just floating. Clouds started racing, and you tell me
‘We do not belong here’. Our eyes rise above the sky
and we do not belong here. Above there are wider spaces
and the ocean cannot hold enough fishes who dream of better seas.
Can you stop the night from casting its net? What sets
apart the dreamers from the dream, when our scales gleam
on moonlight, all of us write? Tonight I sought at being caught,
getting tangled; the nets of the moon, I have wrangled.
If I do not return, do this for me: turn
the world over its place, and I will resurface.


Tonight, I feel like writing — in fragments
because I cannot fully grasp the thought of sleep
right now. The fan is buzzing as it shakes its head
and I wanted to say I’m sorry for some reason
although I did nothing wrong to it. Penance
must have a metaphor: it is when you are the only one
who is still awake at an ungodly hour while the rest
of the city is under the blankets. Conversations
with an electrical appliance is futile but nevertheless
comforting. In a monotonous tone, the refrigerator says
that I still have to wake up early tomorrow so I beg
for a glass of cold water as if it would calm me down
but the tricycles outside are loud and I am growing
incoherent with every passing minute. I will now speak
with my blanket sprawled across my legs, my feet
indecisive of whether they would want to be outside
or under it. Every now and then something raps
on the roof and I scare myself. The deadlines are
hunting me down for the things I have yet to write
and this is some sort of an apology, a placeholder
for something I have yet to name. Notice how the poem
lies to itself: nothing here is fragmented. Everything
might correlate to something. I need the schematics
of my mind. Somewhere, random recessive memories
have maps. This leads to that. This leads to slumber.

Sa Umaga

Sa umaga
ang duklay ng damo,

ang mga ibon
sa tuktok ng akasya
upang sumalok ng tubig
sa mga dahon.

Kung lilisanin mo ako
sa darating na umaga,
iwan mo ako
ng isang butil ng hamog.


How you wished to stay alive
and step out of your own skin, how deceptions

disgusted you as you fold and unfold
every page of failures read to you over and over:

remember Father calling you unloved
as he batters wooden doors and Mother

with her blood against fragments
of china. You recollect her anguish on your wrist

as she regathers shards: the smell of blood,
the sharpness against skin. I have tried to save you

a lot of times when midnight
drowns you but you love the sea of solitude

so much — its salt on your face,
its dark waters on your lungs. Tonight

I fear the litanies would anchor you down,
the tides and the waves of sorrow will consume you

so please remember that I will be here,
by the shoreline, waiting with warmth in my arms

and the words you are longing to hear:
you are loved, you are loved, you are loved.