Thrice a millennia ago,
You ruled the northern sky:
A light, chastely probing
Into men, the desire for all
Beyond what is in reach.
Heaven, primeval voyeur,
Witness to all man’s impiety,
Your starlit feet, tapping
Has taken far too long.
Slow is the ageless churning:
Habitually, time pirouettes
To derail the orbit of stars
From their cosmic course.
Usurped, Thuban passes the baton.
Men erect statues of their memory,
Only themselves to send it back, neatly
Packaged in ashes of forgetfulness.
Polaris is testament to man’s knowing:
Time is gluttonous and history forgetful.
The city is dancing,
Eyeing my alienness.
She oozes her way
Right beside me.
The room is loud and moving,
I feel it in my quiet corner.
The ceiling is littered
With fairy lights
And a dusty, unused disco ball.
The open sky is quiet.
City takes my hand—
An invitation to dance.
I wobble towards the floor;
The coming, the going.
My hands gesture upward.
My head bobs with the beat,
The rest of me stays still.
My feet are planted, dead
To the ground.
Beneath them, drops of beer
That find their way there,
Coming together, lost,
Despite the commotion.
Though they are puddles,
Traversed in one step,
I find myself still drowning in them.
cum shit piss and cigarette butts
that is all we are—
mindless automatons driven by desire
all we need is a good fuck, chests
grow fur, we howl
like lubricated monkeys dancing
quotidian sexing the rapid succession
ejaculating onto computer screens
projecting limp bodies
even in the academe we masturbate
the accolades line our bedroom walls
My mother left the Philippines
As if Mayon had spewed her out
From Plangui to Los Angeles.
Her papa died when she was 24,
Buried beneath his home grass.
She would later reclaim his earth
Which rooted him in its breast:
Atop her papa, a roofed monument
Flanked by four pillars, for each child.
Whatever cement could not fill,
As often times money came short,
They had instead built with love:
Other crevices were left untilled
Which one day she too must reclaim,
With her brothers and sister and me;
She, the sojourned hero, glorious
In her homecoming, an eventual box
Always waiting to be sent home,
To rest comfortably in this land,
Under these stars, this monument,
Which sprouted all the way
The tongue unravels,
Poising itself to fall.
The words drop, heavy
Without care for sounding.
So long restrained,
And unused, the tongue.
Sometimes it slips,
Unaccustomed to habit.
Here, at home, preserved:
Is taste of memory:
It surges from nose
To mouth, and spills
Finally to pleasant
Inertia is the city’s heartbeat,
Processing its own road veins
Of jeepneys, ferry of sleepless
Limbs holding onto railings,
Much like how we cup waves.
Afraid for currents to sweep us,
We listless tie our hands to water,
Knowing enough that, if we slip,
Our heads fall awake, the jolt
Too sudden and rest is shorter
Than for what the night permits.
Let me tell you of this metropole,
Its playful habit of forgetfullness:
It knows of the heart’s passions,
And how all of them potentially sad.
I wonder, writer of names
How many have you written
Or how few, how many of them
You knew to be solid?
You, who kept the secret of rocks,
Write poetry’s oldest writ:
Committing name to memory.
Persisting above ground,
The epitaphs remind us
Of how faces looked
When they moved or breathed,
Their lives inscribed
On the indignation of stone.