6 Poems from Lingka (1994)

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1. Afternoon Talk on Solitaries

The solitaries in the brown of an afternoon

Speak again in whispers.

Their interred godlings

Return from our worldling’s world,

This word, crimsoned at love’s end,

The memory of self-escape

Johnsoned at a navel’s edge.

This is the boundary of the holy.

This is the incarnate

Fashioned again into naught

As we recome into ourselves, we,

Habited spectators of the play of flesh,

Our suns in our loins rising again

In each piercing of our first fears.

We are afterwards resurrectees

From the anger of our child within

Our penile trials, the child our child,

The hawked upbeat of canticled, walled lies.

No, the solitaries do not know speech.

No, the solitaries no longer talk.

We do not remember the curses from delight.

First night conquests and surrenders

Have been worded in wilted wishes,

Them fathered ecstasies

Advertently privatized,

The common just the rays of insulated

Imaginings in the pawned perspectives

Of betrayed twilights.

There are the working gods here.

They divine the stars the sweat

Of childless arms

Figuring our the sums in their late

Evening chants, matins for more mornings

That will again fail us.

But we think: we think of scythes and sickles

And anvils and hammers and bannered loves

For the least of the last.

We think of the lives

Lost into alien words,

The consolation these of solitaries

For Padre Centina’s elect, Dom Roque’s too

At his abbeys in mud

And Ophelia’s musings of wilting flowers

At a priory in her stricken heart.

Do they ever talk, these solitaries,

Of the dying destinies of traitorous leaves

Greening faked altars

In this only nullity

Of lonely nights?

We think again of veined truths

Dimensioned in caresses

For our patented self-absence and self-abuse.

And they mouth litanies about us.

We are wordsmiths from psalm’s moons

Taking their seats in our numbered sobs.

There, here, there is no rice, Comrade Christ!

There is no agua bendita, Comrade Jesus!

There is no roof over our dreams, Ka Mesias!

Sir Holy, there are testicles in falsities we prize!

There are contours of torture in truth, Father Christ!

And dear, our dearest, Comrade Mary,

There is a bleeding magnificat

In the feminine nonsense of our pink cardinals!

So: the solitaries at love’s end

Lie to us.

They talk about bloodied truths as they troop

Into the naught of the night

As night’s sorrows eat us up.

And then again, once again,

Our children ask of us morsels of loves undefined,

Our wives request for lonely fucks.

They continue to speak to us in whispers,

These solitaries from our own lies.

Emptied of self-love, man-for-others they are,

These solitaries lust after lost loves,

Run after morning shadows trucked in priories and abbeys

And abandoned altars in ours minds,

Flirt finally with their inherited sums

From the legacies of fucking friars

Retire for the midnight with their cloaked gods,

Masturbate with their masks,

Envy our fears

And together we spill the seeds

Of first morning delights.

The solitaries speak now

Of the brown of a feigned afternoon

Indwelling in our raped minds.

The solitaries whisper of repeated self-abuse

And their agonies at least.

2.  A Kulambo Hawker Has Been Felled By Firepower In Makati

Death’s wish zings through a dead man’s dried wound,

Stokes up the Dasma brook’s silence within

As Ayala wakes up to prey on its last.

Death pays for the sniper’s orchids for the wake,

This nightfall as the kulambo hawker

Calls out for the lunch coin.

The dead man doubly falls, face flat on a pool

Of revolutionary promises, poems, and pesos

Ejected from a greened grave

Now red with the major’s greed.

Death vudus lamentations now.

It abolishes even a dirge,

Exorcises the murdered song

And declaims the lost kindness of lost whispers.

The dead man kneels now,

Comes alive in the estranged approaches

Of Makati’s night life,

Resides in the absence of that darkness

In this one last glow of this one last fight.

The night bullets drive our sins away.

They sear off the clouds from the F-4’s tale,

This verbiage of a sudden hand

Becoming soothsayer of brown brotherhood

And blest benevolence only the traitors know,

Them heroes from camote pies and banana cue

And piety too.  The soothsayer is parold now,

Becomes offerer of pawned basi and tuba,

Sacrificer of some forgiven pandesal.

Too, he evolves into a Saviour of babes

She murdered before their navels

Could worm their way to the embassy on the boulevard

And turn white and dream of snow and Baby Ruth.

It is enough to discourse about

The failed calling out to the man,

The blankets he sells becoming a bonus

For the mortician of the nation’s dreams.

There are always a demon for every season,

You know, the demon the reaper in the harvest

Of tears and deaths and fears.

The first casualty falls.

He falls flat on a brown land,

The last casualty rises up

To announce a ceasefire with life,

Breathholders we are, boozers of browned blood.

We lift the dead to the altar of our fallen gods,

Christen him our king and redeemer and mesias

And wish him another wake at the Paseo de Roxas

As the APC rolls its tiered head,

Spits truth from the anteroom of a forced farce,

Calendar the grief

Of the dead man’s god, cross-lover, gone,

Done, unloved.

3. The Wayland In Makati

   Comes To Marikina

   (For The Unknown, Salvaged, Burned Young

     Man At The Back Of St. Camillus)

The innocence of the blade

Put an end to your adolescent daydreams and cheers.

The pain that came after

I could only imagine, child, brother, cousin,

As you welcomed the depths of alones defined

By your celebrating executioners on that moonlit night

That was also theirs by might

Speak now to me in aggrieved silence,

You, nameless son of a betrayed land, also

Now nameless in the silences of false springs

And April rains and fallowed fields and tilled gardens.

Stand up, rise up, rise again for us the living,

We who will still have to see the fruitfulness of sins.

Tell us of an M-16 on a captain’s drawer

Rusted by song

A 29 in a neighbor’s attic shines

And goads white-robed men to preach,

Talk about the loving, ever-giving act of bees

As you lay ther my son, my friend, my cousin,

Your body fed to the wild dogs of seminaries and convents

And churchmen singing lauds and vespers

And filling up their tummies with the sweat

Of your father, your mother, your sister, your cousin.

Did the churchmen ever hear you wail

And tell of the glories of dying for stories

Grander than ourselves?

Did they ever peep from their screened windows

And watch you die together with the tallest grasses

As the fire erasing your name from your lips

Sealed you narratives of liberating dreams?

No. I tell you they never did.

The seminaries and convents are refuge of vampires

Making definitions about life out of thin air.

They read the bible, the vampires, and other doing so

They eventually become midwives of afterhopes.

See it now, my nameless cousin, my names friend:

They genuflect before you in your penultimate scream.

Also, they resuscitate your voice,

Fish it finally into their cruets and chalices

And label your deathclothes to make of them

Relics they will cut up and sell for some believers.

In the meantime, they pocket the proceeds

To bankroll democracy for the clerics and their elites.

But until such things happen

Plainclothersmen will come and will cry rivers

With your mother and sisters and father and brothers

And friends.

Don’t forget this now:

It is the ripper of hearts and memories

Who will suck the lie of your death.

The witnesses will not fail to come

The witnesses will not fail to stare

At your scorched body, the smile in your face

Drowned by your long long agony.

The witnesses will come and they will comment

About the weather.

They will hear the seminary and convent bells

And the vespers recited by pretenders.

Me, my friend, I will steal your smile,

I will also steal your death.

4. Yacat’s Thanks To The Red Cross

Yacat’s thanks to the Red Cross

Does it matter now, the braving of bullets,

Can its spring the dying city stream back to life?

Hear, soldier, listen to the gun that sasses

The song of our common deathless embalmer,

Economist is he of numberless breaths,

Storyteller too of subterfuges and ruses

Only fallen angels ever know.

Look at it now, soldier:

Wage against the sun abirthing.

It spewts fire from the blushes of dawns

We will never ever possess.

Think of control towers bowed down by the weight

Of a palace’s logic, the tumult of wicked palm

And psalm run we go, away

From the ghosts on the walls of avenues

Peering into the doors of our secret recollections

Of presidents and first ladies and housewives and brown

Cardinals and bishops afflicted with white wisdom

And English and guns.

We light, we try to, at least, the yellow candles,

Place them on the balusters of our only hope

To welcome the night star to be reborn

In the dawning dusk.

5. Three Middleclassmen Monitor The RH Report On The Year-End Coup

To welcome the years of our bourgeois bravery

Fecundating the real fearers in us

We sip the substance of this poem about to be made,

The one about the coup’s currents, its blow-by-blow

Drama a Valium for a heavy, tight, deep sleep,

One good for the dying and the dead.

The next we turn in to our graveyard sleep,

Talk about peace from the saplings of strayed bullets

Dipped in the salt of buried common angers now muted

By the silence in nunneries as per

The word of the prince his highness.

But the silence is estranged, betrayed, is now also

Aguinaldo’s ball of fire

Fertilizing the bloodletters dreamfields.

We confuse the Tora-tora for the housewife’s honey

We spoon into the mouths of babes

T9o make them regain courage and vicious strengths.

This could also be bravery to the despot

Despairing, defecting sides again.

Our noon breakfast becomes lunch untouched,

Supper snatched from children’s cups,

Frozen coffee served for the first hoarder of life,

Phantom-like, jetting to the warehouses of plasticized love.

The silver god skylarks the double meanings of funerals,

Sings of endless swan songs, of godlings too taking a fall,

Falling in a master stroke for the last death rite,

Counter-offensive for a dying sob

The meadows we figure out from the strange sounds

Flash bloodied blades of carpet grass,

Buds too declaring dust

The industrial valley magics from the river of

            ambulance trucks

Negotiating the lonely reaches of an amputee’s touch

The sighting of black-banded warriors, carnival princes

Gnawing our freedoms within gobble up

The widow’s might, the rhetorician safely perched in

            another land

Dreams of the preybird’s ark, his customary elegance

Singeing falconry in a sikorsky goggling the ramboys’ suns.

They gloze this go-getting gob that hawks the truth of

Of a doggish fight, orthopedic, sterilized, paralyzed,

The same brotherless, sisterless, motherless, fatherless

Grab as the riffle sings, stages a dive, featheredges

The power of the fathering night, illegitimate diner

In the only peace table on the run.

We eagle-eye the sore of a race’s mental wound,

Think of the game of the wild, fabricate another smile

Four our souling lives.

6. The Coup While They Sell Democratic Lies

David sashays before Alvarez

And the putschists

Laugh the numbness of the prophets.

These are the doomsdayers of smoke,

The harvester’s final act,

He who makes burial plots out of planed furrows.

This is also the gift of life

To the harbingers of apocalypse at Libis.

I have seen the plate of the poor man

Filled with leveled sunsets,

The episode, the passion of an old testament song,

Infant blood drips.

A father’s head rotates in its protent,

The son capturing the father’s body’s spasmic jerks.

A civilian scampers to the crevices of intruding nozzles,

Runs after the shadows of the earth, endless, parturient

The Nagtahan stakes out its widow’s incense.

Here is a peso for the duped gunmen

Invoking sanity is marbled earth.

The price of a prize has been unpegged.

The waylaid becomes another

Number filling out the voids

Of drugged bullets unspent as yet.

The rhetoric of peace comes as droplets, rains come

From the embrace of failed heavens.

Death fills up the basketb of the marketer,

Surpriser, host, deciver.

Meanwhile the canned applause

In the fighter archaic tales

Overfloods Masaysay.

They reach out to the national embalmer.

I raise a half-staff for holed-out men

In white strips, now red, now pink

Now green, now dim.

The men dream of a cup of unwelled tears

From mothers, comrades, and sisters

There are the recesses of youthful games

For dead children, orphaned

Sometimes by the redundance of drunk dances

Encircling the deep, the deep

Loving just the same quick embraces.

(Note: all these were first published in Lingka (1994)) 

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