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Sight


Your pupils drift into the corners of your eyes

Casting a line into mine,

But from an angle–skewed.

So I can admire your jaw

And the smooth firm flesh

Where your neck and shoulder meet.

I can smell the saline and ash

Seeping into your collar.

The sliver of chest you’re flashing

Is a shore of glistening sand

Begging me to crash into it.

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Our gaze is linked by a thick

And heavy rope,

Tethering a boat on the dock.

My eyelids flutter now and then

As they strain from the weight.

My eyes moisten

And you assume that they twinkle

For you.

 

My face is a veil of iron–

Lips still,

Expressions paralyzed

Our thoughts traverse

Only the bridge that links our eyes.

 

Eyelids close

Then open again.

Twinkle.

 

You shift on your seat

And the momentum sends you standing

Then drawing the bridge with your footsteps.

As our spaces intersect,

The bridge is drawn

And the gaze is lost.

 

The back of your hand

Brushes my skin as you walk past.

Your tiny hairs are grapnels

That snatch my flesh

Beckoning me to sail to another sea

Together.

 

Motionless, I anticipate you backstepping

Turn to me,

Throw a line,

Let me feel you

Fear my certain rejection.

 

But your pride gave you wind

To just move on,

I keep my sight from wandering after you.

 

Out of sight,

Out of mind.

 

 

Birth


The sound of the chisel against these iron bars

Is tick-tock-tick-tock

Our meet-cute is a forty-minute cab ride away

Yet I remain imprisoned.

These metal arms that long embraced me

Have gained the warmth that my intent

Could never extract from your arms.

The sound of metal on metal

Keeps bouncing on my head

And sends me rocking forth and back

Like a baby.

 

This cell of anonymity is the womb that bears

My unborn love for you.

Why must it face the sun?

Why must it let out a cry?

Why must it be severed from the life-giving bosom?

 

My love is a parasite.

It must latch on.

 

Destiny contracts.

Stronger and shorter in between.

Flesh and blood are the delicate

Tendrils that root me in imagination.

 

Time and the tide of my emotion

Will thrust me into reality–

 

Stillborn.

The Endless


Time has no purpose but to mark the steps

To show the forward motion

To give context to the journey

To this familiar nowhere called Us.

 

Maybe the feet know to go

Where your footsteps have left their warmth.

Maybe the center of my gravity

Is in the core of Was-just-here.

 

Maybe the heart is just too used

To being left behind

In the Almost.

 

In the ocean of Where-you-were,

The limestone cliffs of What-we-could-have-been

Shine like a beacon for my storm-tossed soul.

The crashing waves become hands upon my cradle

Drawing on this sleep,

Never ending this dream.

 

Our “here” just keeps on drifting beyond reach.

We never are and can never be, only

 

Might

Remains to move me.

 

 

The Comeback


Sometimes I think I’ve gone too far

away from you

That I’m back where I started–

Right behind you.

If only your memory were a corpse

Buried in the ground,

And I never had a shovel

Or pick

Or spoon

Or hands-

Then there would be no nights like this.

 

But you’re a seed,

That turned into a tree

And you know how I just can’t

Resist the shade.

And you bore fruit

And I ate them all

And spat out the pits.

 

Maybe if I just kept still–

 

Maybe if I destroyed you–

 

Maybe if you just stopped mattering

And I stopped muttering

We start happening

And I stop hoping.

 

Then I’d see that the seed

Was a weed

And the fruits were all spiney.

 

That would be as far

Enough to get past you

So you can be where you need to–

Behind me.


On my way to work today, I saw a 15-foot billboard of the Mandaluyong City Ordinance against riding-in-tandem. Riding in tandem is the Filipino equivalent of a drive-by.

The said ordinance prohibits two males from riding the same motorcycle together, unless they are father and son. It sounds absurd, but wait till you see the pictures.

I remarked on the billboard and the taxi driver weighed in… (I’m paraphrasing)

He explained how terrible the problem of riding-in-tandem is. His neighbor, who was having coffee in front of his house one morning was shot 10 times on the head and face by two armed men on a motorcycle.

The two strangers rode up to the front of the house asked the neighbor what his name was and bang– (times ten)

Wait, there’s more…

The motive? The men were hired by a trader from whom the victim owed 8 sacks of charcoal. (that’s Php1,200/$30+) It’s so fascinating how some people can so arbitrarily assign a value on someone’s life. And because they do, seemingly absurd solutions turn into City Ordinances.


Was it right over left or the other way around? He clutched one hand with the other over the unmoving chest— it doesn’t matter, just pump the shit out of it.

One, two, three, four… he should have paid more attention, but there’s no use arguing with himself about it now. Man, if this worked, he’d be a hero. If it didn’t—

Two days ago, in the toilet, he was just imagining this exact same scenario. If he did die, would he feel anything? Maybe regret. Maybe frustration that he didn’t feel the feelings one does in the situation. Definitely guilt.

Has he succeeded in completely numbing himself? Does that make him a terrible person? Less human? But, he shed a tear with that slightly forgettable advert, out of the blue. Why don’t the feelings ever come at the exact moment they’re supposed to?

He checks for a pulse, pinches his nails to check for circulation. Was it appropriate to say “hey, hey, are you okay?” It just seemed awkward.

How long has he been unconscious anyway? Not so he can gauge the chances of resuscitation but because he wanted to make sure it was acceptable to stop trying.

What went on in his mind was not a feeling of sadness, or fear, or helplessness. It was a familiar non-feeling. It was an awareness that something was absent- a something that did not leave a hole, but would have made the moment richer, or more important.

It was this awareness that kept him within bounds. That kept him from crossing over into the region of social disorder.

He went through the motions automatically. He didn’t realize that there was a faint beating where his fingertips touched his wrists and the color on his lips moved from purple to blush.

Then suddenly- he gasped for air, then coughing and then tears. His hands clutched him and he held out his arms, cradling him as he should.

“I thought I had lost you.”

“I felt my life passing before me.”

“I wouldn’t know what to do if you didn’t come to.”

“But I did. I’m here now. I love you.”

“Sure.”

Drugs


Move with ease, the heart contains a thunderbolt: exciteable and exciting and exacting like Zeus’ cleaver.

It draws a void across my heart to bring you forth– my half, my other, myocardia.

Let the zephyr of my daydreams take you away, the nights in my day, permanent fantasy.

I will steal fire and let it burn on my hand to light you up, my forbidden man.

I blaze.
I glow.
I ash
And disappear

Goodnights


The wind machine drones off into a lullaby
and my weary eyes have met the force of gravity.

Your image is projected on my eyelids

and my mind knows it will find no sleep.

You ask me why i never lay beside you,
why i never lie at all.

And i know you know it’s for fear of dreaming,
because awake we do live on.

I crave your every meaningless expression–
The affected effort to touch my heart.

The words uttered with
meaning escaping,

and leaving the nasal baritone as proof.

You do have eyes for me.

And your mouth and feet,
they seem to follow.

Never your hands.

And never my eyes.

You stand ever so close,
Fists clenched.
And i stay
Eyes unflinched.


As we lay on the grass,
your belly was my pillow.
I was reminiscing
as you checked on the news.
The sky was that in-between color of cold pink,
little particles of water vapor vex and touch us randomly-
stirring a wariness of a hesitant drizzle.

Your breath is steady
while mine is drowned in the sound of you,
the feel of every blade of grass,
tasting my skin through my clothes.

Now, I do not care for the filth.
I do not care for the myriad footsteps that trampled our bed.
I do not care for the
waste of pleasures consumed,
of moments stolen
and light beams evaded.

I see the past,
yes,
and how blurry it is
through my myopic memory.

The stars themselves could not decide
whether to shine or fade.
They twinkle,
like your eyes and mine.
They zoom,
however steady in the sky.
And they each hold a wish for you and me.
A promise once only
hung upon a tree.

Is the earth exhaling or is the sky breathing down on us?
Is the world turning
or do we drive it around?
Is that not my heart beating in your chest?
Is this not your warmth kindling my breast?

It could be night fall,
the crickets have assured it.
But it is only dawn.

And you are with me.

FETUS


All but love curls up into a ball
And bounces around you.
Red and light like a slightly heavy balloon
That bursts with deliberateness.

My fingers are restless:
Today, I drew a sad boy
In shades of black and dots of white-
For contrast.

All in the name of being your missus.
Missus my surname hyphen your surname.
Hyphens become demeaning,
Like a prolonged negative sign.

It is the eve of Christmas
And a turkey is roasting
In my imaginary womb,
Stuffing stuffing the turkey stuffing me.

And you, the proud father,
Wait across my virtual vagina
With anticipation
And of course, a carving knife.

I wheeze-wheeze-wheeeeze
As you cheer me on
Simultaneously salivating
And feeling light in the head.

One great push
And my foot skims hell.
I am ripped apart
And bring forth your feast.

The turkey is burnt
With dots of white- for contrast.
Today, you eat a sad boy.
His fingers are bitter.

The red ball bounces around you
And explodes with deliberateness.
Like a slightly heavy balloon,
Love curls up into a ball.

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