Friday, December 23, 2016


moons hung in place
of other heavenly bodies,
since you told me you kept
a piece of the night in the pools
of your eyes, and that
it was a mistake
to have dived into them. but
i wanted an answer and
there were no other places
to extract knowledge of you
out of, not outside your own
universe rabidly kept close to
and within yourself -

and so we rewrote our world
into having cold, cratered orbs
stuck to our ceilings, grey
and hard and unfeeling like old
and over-chewed gum. we moved away
from having luminescent suns
and learned to love in darkness,
at least on my part, removing
the need to pay respect to
the made-up looks
you may have invested hours into,
in powder rooms of every house
we’ve been in.

and sometimes when lightning
disrupts our blindness
it is a reminder, constant, consistent, cruel,
and it is truth, torturing, tenacious, terrible
that i cannot know you -
that i never can.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

how to build a religion

first, imagine yourself as you want to be remembered.
think of: if you were to write yourself into history.
you must amplify all the righteous acts you or you may
not have done. you must sell the most fantastic ones
as divine and miraculous. you must erase from existence
all the times when you were cast inferior to your new image.
but, you may keep most of your pettiness, as they will come
in handy as a weapon later, particularly among the blindest
of your followers. then, set that image of you apart
from yourself and
call it God

second, find and cast a foe as everything you are not.
where you were the victim he was the tormentor.
where you were and will be the just and victorious,
he was and will be the unrighteous and conquered.
pin on him all attributes of evil and pettiness, except,
of course, the special ones you kept for yourself
- like your homophobia - then ensure that he
is powerful and terrible but less so than you, and
call him the Devil

third, you must take advantage of the faith of many.
drive them to have the human-based, human-like god,
caged god, as the center of their lives, that they shall
have no other way to live. you must threaten them
with promises of eternal burning and pain should they
deviate from your prescription of life. also, as important:
have them work and pay your bills, build your cathedrals
and finance your other luxuries. daydream until you
believe you can do this eternally, then tell others it is
something they can aspire to as well, and
call it Heaven

fourth, be vigilant for there will be those who will not
buy what you have to sell. they may see through the holes
in your story, or their faith might be inclined towards
something else. never mind if they are kind and humane,
even if they are more so than you or your followers.
you may and it’s allowed to mistake your treatment of
them as kindness: that you are doing these lower humans
a favor. but keep in mind that you are superior, and
call them Heathens

and lastly, you must be aggressive, be firm as it is for
the righteous good. shame them. ostracize them.
demonize them. run an inquisition. burn them at the stake.
crucify them all. then,
call it their Salvation


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.