Thursday, July 7, 2016

no goodbyes, goblin king

I figure the wedding happened somewhen in the 70s - when
many of us were still on our way to the world.
The Starman had landed in London, and when
he touched ground, one foot was slightly ahead of
the other, and I imagine the sound each footfall made: not
a thump each, instead, his right foot rang, “I do,” and
his left foot followed, “You do, too,” and
just like that the world was married to Bowie

Some may think the world divorced him some decades into
the marriage - all the younger brides and grooms out of
posters we cover our bedroom walls with taking over;
I myself in my youth found a muse in Jennifer Connelly in
The Labyrinth, and for years I reveled in that truth until in
my adulthood, a faceless, part-time, one-time, online friend
had to speak the other side of it: that, for the world, it was all
about the Goblin King’s crotch dominating the screen and now
we wonder how it must have been like had 3D technology
landed in 1986

And then some may even think the world was widowed early 2016, but
do you ever really believe in such improbability? When,
in the middle of a board game my Monster fires up
her Macbook for music, and As The World Falls Down breaks
the silence and the world is reminded, the world falls down, to
its knees, again, and says, “Yes, we still do.”


Friday, May 13, 2016


, i said

but let me backtrack for
a moment

bar: quiet until
she crept up
from the darkness
to my side

flight stewardess
, she said
her credentials
she offered me

: the airports she’s been
the airports she’s fenced in
the nearby city lights
they never failed to leave her
to wonder what faraway
secret wonders
they could’ve shown her

she looked
, in her sadness
, as genuine as a pearl still nested
with its mother
, so

, i said

and she smiled and she declined
to believe me
still she elected
to linger
, to solve me?

the treasures you hoard?
, she asked
safe in Swiss banks
, i said
for it is how you do it these days

the knights hounding you?
, she asked
each one domesticated by now
, i said
, i guessed

and the things left to burn these days?
, she asked
, and

, i said


Sunday, May 8, 2016

your kingdom gone

if you were half as decent
as you dictate for me to be,
would you take time to step
outside your kingdom in your clouds?

would you measure jars of honey
that overflow from your mouth today,
against an ancient tragic joke
that slipped from the mouth of a man,
never mind the two decades and excess,
of hard work a man has put together?

never mind that honey from your mouth
has gone stale, ancient in its own way.

would you listen?
to the little stories, to the little events,
even if they come from who you might deem
as little people, insignificant, indecent,
from your kingdom in your clouds?

i know you know how their words fall together
like puzzle pieces across the land,
upholding a legend you are bent to smear,
blanketing parks like Luneta in red and blue,
but i doubt if you know why.
still, you could ask: Father, Mother,
is this how it was like,
to have the little people carry you?

listen to the trickle of blood, sweat, tears,
the very drops of ink we use to paint our hopes
on self-made placards, and would you tell us,
how much further have we to bleed, labor, and weep,
to be worthy of your definition of decency.


Saturday, April 16, 2016

safety is that one taxi roaming the streets at night

talk to a Dabawenyo,
and you will find that he feels neither oppressed nor afraid.
he is confident his rights are neither ignored nor trampled on.
instead, you will find he is self-governing,
he is a willing and inspired agent of change,
because he has a trustworthy leader who does his part.
he understands his leader is not without flaws, but he is wise
to value his leader’s heart and accomplishments over other men’s fears and promises.
he sacrifices the momentary satisfaction (and risk) gifted by firecrackers.
he lets go the need to kill himself and those around him with cigarette smoke,
he pays his taxes assured it will be used to build a better world for his children.
and when he sleeps, he sleeps knowing his children are safe,
even as a passing taxi’s engine murmur outside like a familiar, soothing reassurance.


Monday, January 11, 2016

eleven januaries for a tanka


we are what we eat
today i am half lettuce
perhaps a bit fowl
sans feathers, all wings and thighs
unfit to take, off or root



fall comes to shed you:
my sated kind of sadness,
but you shall keep me
with your shade, a game hostage,
my certain kind of madness



the star peeks through leaves
for shadowscapes on your skin
the goddess of winds
stir a storm of butterflies
that resets a universe



you’ll think her alive
her sighs resemble breathing
fall not for phantoms
not for the sole fount of sound
desecrating the quiet



do you have my scars
to line with gold and silver?
my broken angel,
i have mined enough for two
will you let me fit with you



her head a lantern
the night moths her nemesis
they flicker, flutter
this ghostly war rages on
in my head i conjure death



Death rakes the fallen
the mortal fruits of Adam
a gift to ascend
you often take for granted
seldom welcomed with a smile



somewhere beneath skin
i search for your universe
a quest for contact
a quest to comprehend you
i signal for your spirit



on the seventh day
you fled this garden to rest
i rose with questions
was i bone from her ribcage
you stabbed in the ground to grow



if i had one shape
i would be a globe spinning
phasing through seasons
free falling off your shoulder
out of orbit at your shrug



countdown, fahrenheit
same birds herald your coming
you’ve come for my warmth
temperature keeps dropping
i greet you through gritted teeth



This was a shot at a challenge to write a tanka for each of the eleven items in this article, within the first eleven days of January 2016.

Friday, November 13, 2015

anchor salted harbor shelter stay

you pull up your anchor and
the rusted chains surface link
by link from the water. each
a memory, each a prey to salted
winds, increasingly susceptible
to fading from me. the oceans
come calling. the unknown
pulls you. it is as irresistible
as gravity of a million moons,
for you. i am the shore, love.
inconsiderate waves, insensitive
undercurrents intrude relentlessly,
they eradicate your mark
on my sand. i try to hold
on to you but i am water. i said
i am sand. am i harbor? only
for you but one never to return to.
and i lose you. link by link.
memory by memory. the horizons
pull your eyes. meanwhile i try
to hold on to the last link.
the first link. the best link.
i try hiding it in a shell. maybe
it will be a pearl - that morning
you came and looked as beautiful
as radiance of a million suns
to me, were you pulling towards
a shelter we mistakenly thought
you would want longer
than your stay


Monday, November 2, 2015

for all the loves we entrust to the ground

Let them judge if I offend when I choose not to walk solemnly on consecrated grounds,
I would rather trample and stomp on rain puddles and be condemned in the eyes of men.

I believe all we bury are our own loves that the body cannot contain in your absence.
I like to believe you are far, elsewhere, gleeful; and have no use for my desolation.

But if the afterlife is after all where we leave you, I walk as you’ve known me walk,
so you may hear the familiar tempo of my footfalls, and know I have never let you go.