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>> Saturday, July 31, 2010

i get lost in the exquisite whiteness of your skin and
wonder what hands would not dream of earthly fire
and when your smile spreads like a summer blossom
beauty is as palpable as the splendor of your touch


there is no word as
immeasurable as you
no flower,
more delicate

no season brings me to life or steals
me from it like you do and i submit
mesmerized every time at the slight
gesture of your finger and i become 

a child again

the girl with fish for hair
stares back blankly from the crystalline depths
oblivious to her halo of glistening silvery shoal
round and round it goes

men look at her, look
and pine for her. they break their fishhooks and
curse the selfish gods and at night they draw
mermaids in the sand

but the girl does not
care or seemingly so, for the ripples that undulate
to the breeze veil the tears that cried the sea, her
love ever unknown

the girl with fish for hair has scissors for hands

with you i understand the rain and
long for the coming of fall
my eyes are peeled like stars, strewn
where your windows open




the red trilogy: a three-part story in verses

>> Tuesday, July 27, 2010

the rape of red

the room reeks of semen,
cigarette and guilt.
the last she shrugs off
hastily. she fumbles with
the buttons, one eye
on the door while a foot
searches for the pair
but finds her ring instead.

she steals a last look at
the bed, sighs and smiles
and with fluid steps and
feverish skin she flies out
the door, knocking the
number 7 down, leaving a
swinging letter L but
not a sound is heard.

she falters into the house
that seems a stranger's,
smaller and decaying.
the jutting hips ebb
and the fire in her breast
snuffs and comes a
lonely song in her head,
a requiem for the dead.

midnight finds them on the
empty bed, she's dreaming
of burning his house down
while he stares at the back
of her head thinking,
tomorrow he will
paint the walls

red fades to red

she stares into the wine 
glass lost in the 
swirling and flushed 
dark brew. you look 
wonderful he says. he 
always says that, she 
is certain, to dismiss 
the dead air as if

it still makes her 
uncomfortable, the dead 
air. dead air is one of 
the many dead things 
she has learned to live 
with. she laughs at the 
thought. he smiles. life 
is good he reflects. time

settles into a funeral 
march and she is further 
away. far from the soft 
voices and the clinks of
wedding bands against 
glass. she is back in that
cafe where she met him
while living out her passing.

midnight finds them on the 
empty bed, he's dreaming 
of summers in the country
while she stares at the 
back of his head thinking,
tomorrow she will
wear something

man woman red

it's been two winters since 
he last saw her red dress 
hanging forlornly in her 
spot in the closet. he thought 
she'd forsaken it too when 
he came home to a bereaved 
space, orphaned, not even
a letter to collect his tears.

a smile escapes and rests 
on his face as he recognizes 
a hint of light for his fading 
heart. he thinks, at last, an end 
to dreams of shadowing 
her shadow, only a hint is left
of a love that did not endure,
it's time that he breathes again. 

she still sees his face when she 
dreams in sepia or beholds
the mist lift at the break of
dawn. but the taste of the
pain is diminished every
time, throb by throb. at last 
forgiveness will come, more 
ardently than forgetting.

midnight finds them on their
empty beds, wide awake and
far away. he is spying on sea
gulls taking to the sky, grey
against the sun. she is
gathering, by the 
river, wild roses


Note: The original poem's (the rape of red), ahem, success caused me to write the prequel (red fades to red) and the sequel (man woman red). I guess everybody wants a start and an ending to every story, prose or otherwise. 



my calla lily

>> Friday, July 23, 2010

my calla lily
meek and unassuming yet you
kindle intricate fires in men

from the noblest of flickers to
lustful flames hell hath not seen

my calla lily
tell me, are you reaching out
to heaven to importune grace?

or are you seeking the feel of
my hands desirous at once?

my calla lily
not the purest of God's whites
but the sincerest to mine eyes

your pale pale skin is a prayer
even death pauses to listen

my calla lily
you smolder in my bitter snow
and love shows its face to me


my calla lily
alas, no devotion, no affection
can enamor the heart of time

it favors none, not a flower, not
a man. Oh my lover my friend!

and so this i avow, if you choose

to wilt and wither before i
come to pass, i shall
exhale butterflies

my calla lily

my calla lily



the desert in us

>> Tuesday, July 20, 2010

in the absence of rain
in the stillness of trees
leaves long gone
wintering somewhere

the harsh light on my skin
the unyielding sirocco
i contemplate my retreat
conquered by a spec
of sand in my eye

i am beguiled, taken to
the thirsting crevasses,
dark openings to endings,
where happy might be
i pour like night into day

the desert in us, placid
as a stranger's glance,
calm as a shadow
but a stranger still





sleep to dream to wake

>> Monday, July 19, 2010




the architecture of nostalgia

>> Sunday, July 18, 2010

A lighthouse in Basco, Batanes (Philippines)

first, a vision
of a rose-tinted longing
sensed in blueprints where
lines intersperse with dreams
in domes and vaults,
in doorways and arches.

then a pain of
the bittersweet kind is
born as the winter from
the marble floor or old wood
harks back at memories
measured in length of beams
or weight of stone.

but there is no return,
no grand staircases nor
dark tunnels that lead to
a terrace of a younger world
only columns and pillars
that stand as proud
as you are able to recall.
else, they too shall
fall apart. like the
unfeeling walls that
once shielded or the
roof that not too long ago
(or was it?) sheltered.

and there is no comfort
in turning the other way, to
another window that
faces still water or a tree
for all speak of familiar
pathos and colors
that came to pass like
your secret places
behind the oak door.

you run your fingers
through bricks and tiles,
grooves and cracks,
like you would a lover's
hair and you christen
them melancholia --
at least a name
for the pain.


The Dunguaire Castle in County Galway, Ireland. 



The Colosseum in Rome, Italy


The Summer Palace in Beijing, China.


The Empire State Building in New York City, New York



The Great Pyramids in Egypt


The windmills of Kinderdijk in the Netherlands


The Taj Mahal in Agra, India


A lonely spot in a monastery in Barcelona, Spain


Inside Inside the Round Tower in Copenhagen, Denmark



The Stonehenge on the Salisbury Plain, southern England




the river

>> Thursday, July 15, 2010

                                         the barrio is a patch of green made orphan
                                         by water that is as long and as unwinding
                                         as the tales of loves and woes of the people
                                         whose lives cling to it but curse it...for when
                                         day becomes night, tongues once beholden
                                         turn vicious and vile, prophesying death and
                                         evil once the river's veil is lifted by the dark.

as the moon creeps up to the infinite skies,
its face fully illumined by the sun beyond,
alabaster, purposeful feet scurry, barely
touching the moss that's deep in slumber.
but the now hollowed ground, familiar with
the flight, is alive and whispering in muted
grace, "make haste" it says, "make haste".

                             the light of Aurora drenches the river, quietly
                             seeping through layers of water to a shadowy
                             world until it touches the skin from memories
                             born. insubstantial but yet manifested, it stirs
                             and consents benevolently, rousing the heart
                             that never died or forgot, and that for many
                             a sun, lay in wait to surface and behold again.

the drumming of her heart she cannot quell as
her anticipation is as heavy as the moist air
that clings to the slender grass, bent, scattered
like the black pebbles on which she descends
breathlessly but collected like her threadbare
skirt. as the cool water becomes nothing, her
eyes absorb the gossamer glow from the river.

                            compelled, but not by the moon, she ascends
                            from the depths of forgetfulness like a ripple
                            seen from the after to before. with a nostalgic
                            ache that she cannot place, she breaks the
                            surface of the calm water into a softness so
                            familiar she weeps. as her tears become one
                            with the river.she looks to where she always is.

                                                   seduced by the light, all else is banished - the
                                                    heart soaked in despair, the legends passed
                                                    from tongue to tongue - for after all, radiance,
                                                    surely, is not the lonely devil's cloak. her hair
                                                    from a distance brings bliss, what more the
                                                    face that remains a mystery? the broken man
                                                    failed by the bottled spirits feels whole again.

her core escapes her and momentarily soars,
then shatters into a million stars, cascading to
the ground like the falls that have formed in
her eyes. finally, the girl that the world forgot
is found and time stands still to reveal what
she knows all along, that her visage that looks
like no other's, was somebody else's before.

                             she wails but nothing is heard, only music that
                             sends the birds from stupor to flight. the wings
                             of black fanning the memories back. of her days
                             in the sun, of the water on her feet, of a lover's
                             hand in her hair. but the sweetest she recalls,
                             before their malice sunk her to the blackness,
                             is a child's face that must mirror her very own.

                                                     little by little, emboldened by the second, he
                                                     goes to where his lover awaits. even the birds
                                                     awake to witness the ethereal moment. there
                                                     is music as silt and stones drag his feet further,
                                                     cool, welcoming. his breath leaving him making,
                                                     space for release and perdition. but what is life
                                                     if he cannot see her face? he's near her at last.

                                         the barrio is a patch of green made orphan
                                         by water that is as long and as unwinding
                                         as the dreams of a young woman exiled by
                                         the wrong kind of love. but as the sun rises
                                         her emptiness departs like the diaphanous
                                         remnants of a nightmare. seeing the lady
                                         might never be again, but she knows where
                                         she will always be. and she will always be.

This poem was inspired by the kundiman (traditional Filipino love song) 'Mutya ng Pasig' (The Gem/Muse of Pasig - music by Nicanor Abelardo, words by Deogracias Rosario) and the 1950s movie of the same name.

The kundiman, written in 1926, tells the story of a lady who appears in the Pasig river when the moon is full and sings of a kingdom of love where she was a princess. The kingdom vanished because "love died" but will rise again if love is given back to her. The movie, on the other hand, delves deeper into the story of the lady. Supposedly, she was a thing of beauty coveted by many men in the barrio including a rich and powerful landlord. The landlord had her lover banished from the barrio and forcefully took her as his wife. When she gave birth to their child, he noticed a black mark somewhere on the child's back. Thinking that it was a sign that the child was not his, he drove out his wife one rainy night sending dogs after her until her only escape was the river. The child, a girl, was sent to live with the landlord's servants and grew up believing she's an orphan. When the moon is full, a lady manifests before her. But she's not the only one who can see her.




>> Monday, July 12, 2010

i have been peeking
into your dreams at night
you might have already
seen me, once, twice,
but i become faceless,
shapeless every time
before each and every
rude awakening
my name falling
not into your ears
but on the floor,
with your hand,
as it reaches down
for a cigarette lying
like a faithful dog
under your bed
and i'm gone with the first

i am what you might call,
the essence
that forms when
your restless thoughts
fight for space
in your brain
until all there is
is nothing and everything.
but you know me,
of that i am certain,
you allude to me
when you pray, or when
you think that death
has come for you, too
i may be your fears,
your desires, your bliss
i am the color



the sunflower

>> Sunday, July 11, 2010

my eyes open with the dawn
breaking, my arm vanishes
into the crevice that
is your space in
my bed.

i hear droplets of water from
the shower, but only
your heat remains,
and a whiff of

i trail off into the kitchen
the cold floor and
stale coffee are
witnesses to
my passing.

i fly to the window, hoping,
but there is none,
not even an echo
of the echo of
your name.

i pass the hours looking at
the door, but the
knob remains
silent with
your prints.

i lay on the bed with the moon
in my eyes and my arm
presses, a crevice,
your space in
my bed.




if i go away

>> Saturday, July 10, 2010


if i go away in the
stillness of things
     the slumbering woods
     a lotus in the pond
will words be strung
to ensnare me with

or finally a funeral
for dead possessions?
     doubts never uttered
     secrets never shared
one day in November
in the bitter cold,

if i go away, erase
the maps round you,
     i have faith in arrows
     but i drown in numbers
and change your scent
to bergamot and I will

or fell the curtains
to keep the light in
     a life more complete
     a haven for another
and i will look away.
no more and nothing,

but you must know this

if i go away, i will
leave a wing behind
     dregs of a love lost
     a hint of life afore
and reclaim it in time
to steal heaven's fire

if i go away



music from movies

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