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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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.

 

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