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
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,
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
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
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
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
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))