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

Advertisements

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 clobbered 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.

 

In Extremis

I’d leave my corpse in your hands and my name on your skin,
so you’ll never forget that I’d live there

I’ll house you in a graveyard and
bury you like roots and coffins,
for you to feel how it’s like to be left alone

With frost and rain, I want to efface your memory
and I’ll teach you my name
it will be the only words your lips will kiss,
the only tale you’ll tell

I hope you fall like rain,
forced in its downfall,
lonely and shapeless
with nowhere to go,
nothing to do,
but fall

Because when you leave, you used the windows and
leave winter to sleep in my bed
and now sunlight is a stranger touching my skin
my body is a map of your lost expeditions
but I’m the only one presumed lost and
you, the only surviving member

Now I dream, cloth with the memory of your face
enduring what remains of my withering self

Subdue

When you speak in your guttural voice and asked “Are you alright?”, I was seconds away to showing you my candor. And If that happens, my wobbly voice will definitely utter the miserable truth. But thanks to the Holy, my withdrawn mind reacts posthaste that it washes out my vocabulary and  drains it to a formless thought. Emotional perfectionism is a disease and I was its wretched host for years. Long-muted melancholies were now part of my system that it will take an absolute reconstruction to make it voluble. So when I hear your voice asking, I can only allow the sound of three words to permeate the air and those words would be “Yeah, I’m fine.”

Understatement

At times, you asked me why I’m  quiet, tight-lipped.

Well, I’m not quiet.

My mind is roaring and booming thoughts of you and I’m terrified that my lips might betray me and it might tell you how much I adore you.

Like when I look into your brown eyes, I see the North Star.

It makes me believe that whenever I looked into your eyes, I could find my way out of the tangled woods and back to safety.

Like when your cold face etched a smile, my insides are bursting, erupting and colliding over and over and It makes me wonder why I’m still breathing and why I’m still alive.

And when your warm hands caress my cheeks, I’m scared you might scorched because my face is burning like hell and I never thought I’d love hell that much.

And when your gorgeous eyes, your beaming lips, and your soft hands do their things at the same time,

I felt like I’m a million times more beautiful than Helen of Troy.

And Greece’s golden age is just a petty history.

For you are the greatest history never told.

I just hope you never, ever asked me if I love you.

Because I might I say I do and regret it later for It’s an understatement of how I felt for you.

You

I keep crossing out word, lines, whole passages

until nothing is left

except  you

I keep deleting names, dates, events and images

until nothing stands out

except  you

I am singing the songs, dancing the beats, painting the pictures

that would remind myself

of  you

I am furnishing my thoughts, putting them together

creating a poem out of loose words

to portray the feelings I have

for  you

But I knew that everyone will read this,

and everyone will notice,

everyone will know

except  you