Tounge-tied

Sometimes, words

I should be telling you

are suspended

at the tip of

my tongue

So when you ask me

“what’s wrong?”

I can only make out

the easy

“nothing”

And the words

you didn’t hear

died in my lips

and aged with time

I have grown a forest

out of the things

I didn’t tell

and if you listen well

you’ll hear the rain

came from the

questions you never ask

and the weight

drags on every day

that you’ll find my smile

prepared to break

set to die

You see, when words left

Silence knocked

and asked me

to pack my bags

and let go

but you said

“stay”

and

“please, let’s fix this”

and

“listen to me”

I knew I have to throw this away

I should let go

I knew I have to leave

but

Sometimes, words

I should be telling you

are suspended

at the tip of

my tongue

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Daisy

Her name is Daisy

A one-year old blush

A flower with myriad colors

that loves plenty of sunshine

A tripping, living fragrance

She is chirpy

until she was taken away

by an innocent mask of a woman

with the promise of the sea,

of gardens and parks, 

of a cap and gown
I saw Daisy on a video

Hanging upside down

Naked and with her arms

and legs drawn apart

Her body is a patchwork of red, 

Yellows and blues

She’s howling

Muffled by 

a duct tape on her lips

Whipped with a belt 

until her petals fell one by one

She is a child of daylight

A dream stained with hot wax

from melted candle

Poured in the middle of her thighs

And she cries and cries
One day, people in blue tied the masked woman

And took the little flower away
I saw Daisy today

sitting under the sun

with thoughts – naked and 

hanging upside down

the duct tape on her lips

obscured

Her petals gone

Her lips cry

“Aguy”

**aguy is an expression in Tagalog which means ‘it hurts’

The old warrior’s cry

Perchance, it was a dream.

We were flesh and cheeks, decades ago

Marched the land with mud in our boots,

Courage in our faces and loyalty in our chests

Slinged our bolos and guns to protect Perlas and its people

from the life-stealing villains lurking in the day

We perished from blood to bones

with an oath in our lips

“Get up, Stand up”

against the fiend.
Perhaps it is a dream.

We, tired and rotting bones,

who fought to defend Perlas with all our courage,

peaceful for years in our graveyard,

still aching but consolable

We, tired and rotting bones,

were shattered

when the man who spilled the blood of the innocents,

destroyed their homes,

left their bodies for the reaper,

came and lived with us.

Ferdinand

now sleeps in our home.
Wish it’s just a dream

The tired and dead bones we are, 

embrace the old fighters pain

Singing of our wounds,

scars, stings and shocks

Some bodies heard

and they sing with us.

But more bodies don’t.

They sing louder of his glory and wisdom

and chant deeper of contempt.
It is easy to turn a blind eye 

when you were never hurt.

It is difficult to heal when 

you suffered the whips and whacks,

when your children are all missing skeletons,

when the countrymen you fought and died  for

glorify its killer

Perhaps he deserves sympathy.

Perhaps he deserves rest.
But don’t we?

The Purge

On the margins of the night, come hear the fireworks from the guns,

empty shells in the cold roads

warmed by the blood in the streets.
These are the nights of the purge,

A stranger clothe with darkness touches the open windows, the light posts and damp houses

Speeds through the alleys in the blaze of his hunger

His eyeballs, a hint of command and evil

His hands, heavy with ammunition,

Gigantic and calloused,

Ready for assault.
Dinner was served in a house with empty flowerpots, where

the wheels sleep on the roof

A lady dressed the table with dried fish

waiting with disconnection notice in one hand, distress in another

Her three little girls taking shelter under the safety of their camp

made of threadbare blankets, maybe it covers the pouring troubles
The watchman just finished his shift and walks past the corner of the street,

weary with his clabbered beard and wrinkled eyes,

past the shadows and silhouettes of bakeshops,

past the shoeless shoemakers,

across the lonely intersection,

To the alley of houses damped with sweat and tears of

pauperized folks,

He knocks on the door,

the lady stared long at his eyes

and his back that carries the weight of disappointment

Sighs when he saw the notice sitting in the table

Nine more moons before the next pay

The God sits next to the television, a Sampaguita hangs on His fingers

and the guard sat in the couch

His body mirrored in the window
The long night awakens the spirit of the stranger

He saw the prey across the open window

He raised his iron hands towards the target and bang, bang, bang

The silence shies away

The cartridge gave away three bullets

Two shots in the back, one in the head

and the moon cries

Bullet casings dropped on the dirt

The blood stains the couch where a body sat lifeless,

The sound of the lady mourning

And soon, hundreds of lips talking
“A drug suspect was slain” the man in the television says

“He is innocent,” the mourners wept

“Another man shot dead”

“In other news…”
His is a little death, nameless and forgotten,

His is just a number added to the names of the dead
a stone in a cemetery

a drug war’s sacrifice in this confused humanity

The country will lament him no longer and

In the morning, another cry will come but the evening will take it away

Just like that
Whatever took hold of the man will always be remembered by the air

And when the trumpets had all sounded, judgment will stand tall.

 

 

The stranger barrels past the trash bins,

past the road signs

and the dying plants held in the water containers.

In the dirt, a badge was recovered.

 

How can I love thee

Oh love with bright eyes, I come with hands empty — only eyelashes, cheeks, and arms brimming with hopes and dreams

Hopes like fluttering butterflies

and dreams like knights and horsemen, with courage but swords. 
Only with these little hands can I love you

with coffeepots and teacups

with rain-soaked skin 

And dusty floors with pawprints of  dogs
Only with songs of the stars can i love you

I paddled to the shores of the stellar

brought home a pocketful of Tinkerbell’s dust and a handful of Peter’s neverland

to give you
Fly with me

Across the clashing of thunderstorms, past lilies and roses, 

a flight inches from the sea,

Through countryroads,

And postcards,

and mails, 
Only with stones and flames can I love you

With the wet grass under your head and embers suspended in the air failing to reach the sky

Kiss me beneath the stars,

A kiss under the tunnels of stone
Only with the finger’s promise of staying can I love you

I am here in the morning 

And at night, 

to listen to your secrets and little deaths, 

solitudes and rain clouds

Watch your ebb and sinking ships only to rise again
For you come in the midst of my hurricane and cloudburst

To seed yourself in my heart

and grow unearthly special

and you make known to me what is light in the darkness, 

you, my beloved one.

My body is a walking museum

My body is a walking museum.

My bones heavy with hands running down my spine and when touched, it does not break

It is made up bricks and bricks of catcalling – “sluts” and “whore” – molded into walls that held my back.

These thighs are reviewed one, two, three, four, five stars

Like an open hotel, a service, a merchandise ready to be sold

on demand

in a market

And my eyes, a call for attention they say

It speaks ‘yes’ to passerby, to schemers, to the libido of men, to the sleepless sexual drive whenever and wherever

These breasts hide in plain sight that invites to be seek, to be fondled

Seduces the neighbors conclusively

without its knowing

And the beasts of the day openly sniff these shoulders like a bee

Like a mosquito ready to attack in a blood-smell
All you daylight bullies, slut-shamers, catcallers, and predators who accuse us provocative no matter what we do or wear,

Bury me.

Bury me and see how I dig myself out of the heap of soil

Bury me and watch as I crawl out of your verdict as an object of your egoistic desires

Bury me and look at me fly

Because these wings are too strong and too big for your shallow opinions to bring me down
The big breathing world encircles me in its grip,

but watch me break the clutches of your mouths and bodies
You hit like rain and it falls formless.

Watch me, a towering blossom of a tree, sip down these waters and grow into miraculous beauty
This woman is breathing

Evolving

Unfolding

And her artwork is not for your touching.

Fever

The fever paces the streets, blinding the corridors in its nocturnal sadness

looking for eyes wandering, lost,

still and burdened in its own color
The wind plays with the cold for months even in the warm seasons.

A body crosses the bridge still wearing his mustache, tangled with ice

His eyes, a black hole; his lips, the shredding of a self

He’s suddenly whole, then suddenly empty

the fever builds a house out of a man
stores in it jars and jars of isolation, rusty toolboxes, dustheap of journals, of photographs, letters unread

the floor is soiled and dirty

the walls stand in exhaustion

At night, he dances with the doom and torment, with brooms and sticks and unusual

Distress plays a music ethereal in his ears

the fever took over the bedposts, the pillows, the blanket,

and the darkness has a bright color

the cellular rings and rings until it stopped

The man is helled to bed and sorry

until he is no more

Until he is nothing
The fever finished the house

Steps into the chair like a master

Harried the depths of his heart

and found nothing

Soundlessly, the man hangs himself in the ceiling

And the deads sound the bells of forlorn

The fever smiles

and parades the street looking for sad eyes to feed.