Sandali

Lagi kitang naiisip.
Humahaplos sa aking alaala
Kasabay ng pag-inat ng umaga.
Ikaw ang sinag ng araw
Mula sa bintana kung saan
Ako’y dumudungaw nag-aabang
Sa iyong muling pagdaan
Sa aking alaala

Lagi kitang naiisp
Humahagip sa aking kamalayan
Naka-ayon sa panahon
Tulad ng pagsapit ng gabi
Alam kong ako’y gising pa
Alam kong ako’y buhay na
Nabubuhay sa iyong alaala

Dumarating ka hanggo ng gabi

Ikaw at ako,
Ako at ikaw.
Lagi kitang naiisip.
Ako at ikaw,
Ikaw at ako.

Di ko naiintindihan noon
Nabubuhay ba tayo sa paghahanap
O nabubuhay ba tayong hinahanap

Dumarating ka hanggo ng gabi

Lagi kitang isinasaiisp
Pagkat ikaw ang aking nahanap
Na matagal nang di mahanap ng iba
Sa kabila ng mundong mapaghagilap
Ikaw na nasa aking alaala.
Nakita na kita.

Sa muling pagsapit ng umaga
Sa bintana kung saan
Ako’y dumudungaw, nag-aabang
Sa iyong muling pagdaan
Sa aking alaala.
Nakita na kita.
Lagi kitang inaalala.

Recently published on Dapitan literary folio

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Heartbreak

The cheetah was the white flash
to nothingness going towards
a roof made from a giant book
becoming the word.
Sense was jumping of the window
crashing into a void
of patterned dreams
that ascend only to avenge
lost and muted breath.
Her four limbs were no faster
than chemical reaction and respiration
all that was triumphant
was gravity and his wish for her misery.

She left moments ago
only to say hello to beginner’s luck.
He tapped her conscious mind
with parodies of her failures.
He was granules of earth.
She was not sky.
The landscape was as a hoax
as a galaxy traveler
carrying a sack filled with dry asteroids
but has baptized himself
as a constellation collector
Earthbound.
But she was not.
She ran in lighting vector
For she was speed.
Not anymore, his.
And there was a motion of relief
She felt on her bosom she learned
It was exhale.

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Ang Pula ay Pula

Minsa’y iniisp kong sana
Nandito ka rin
Nandito ka pa
Sa piling, hindi lang
Sa madikit kong alaala.

Sana’y maalala mong
Binigkas ko noon, naalala mo?
Kailangan kong
Nandito ka
Sa piling ko, sana
Ngayon hanggang sa pagtanda.

Kumampas ang mga araw, mahal.
Nagpinta ng mga taon, kay ganda
Kung nandito ka.
Ano na nga ba ang kulay?
Ang alam ko na lang ay ang kulang.
Ikaw, sa piling ko.

Sa bawat kusot ko sa mata
Pag napuwing sa malikmata,
Akala ko nandiyan ka na.
Nalalagasan tuloy ako ng pilik-mata.
Kinurot-kurot hanggang sa madampot
Ang kakapirangot na hibla
Sabay hihipan sa hanging
May kasama nang dalangin.

Minsan kasi akong nagkamali
Kumagat sa nginig ng laman
Ayan tuloy, nagkulang
Ang mga araw kong wala ka na
Pero alam kong babalik ka pa
Pagkat sinabi ko noon,
Diba mahal? Kailangan kita.

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To My Playmates in Damayan St.

I live in a place of sun but of flood water when it rains too hard
Where you could smell a Sunday noon grilling
milk fish and liempo.

I don’t like people talking behind my back.
Just blocks away from Our Lady of Fatima Church
Outside our window, the low mumblings of the elders
and occasional giddy screams of children.

I dream to be lawyer someday.
We playfully blocked each other on the asphalt street
playing afternoon, sun and moon, never rain.

I don’t like the idea of being teased or taunted.
It’s always my turn to fool around.
Let us dream we’ve grown much more than we really did
And get married.
Run about back and forth the ends of our street
Sex is not just a fantasy running in our heads
to the tips of our hair.

On an afternoon of sun and breeze,
We return in front our apartment
Sweating like the plastic of Coca-cola and straw
Enjoying the view of pink bougainvilleas as we think about hopia.

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Who Are

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Restraint

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Cucumber

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Habagat, 2013

St. Thomas Aquinas,
the Patron saint of students,
the name of the ship that recently sunk.
32 dead, 58 missing.
Children mostly.
The students wait for class suspension.
Knee-deep flood
Raising to the level of the heart
A sliced highway, of course, impassable
It’s luck to escape the flood
Thank God for the Filipinos’
Buoyant spirit. A cockroach floats.
Where are the saints?
Dear Maring, you share
Airtime with celebrities doing charity.
The passion of reports delivered, as high
As the flood in Sto. Domingo
Political rivals shook hands.
The list of barangays are names of saints.
Have mercy on us.

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Closing Time

The rain made me drowsy
It does not lull me,
It bores me into a slumber

My eyes are stubborn shutters
The clouds closing for the night
I sense a different spirit of sleep
One that hesitates

I look at it like it has nothing to do
With me, or the house
Or the cats outside
I look at it, I understood
She’s a wanderer,
I’m a prisoner

Her toes tiny as a drop
Of rain, of care
I wish to escape through
The window and believe in portals
To get my fingers wet,
My hair soaked and dripping
And grains of gravel between my toes

But I fear fever and cough
I fear the cold and the dark

Bring me a spoonful of warmth
I decided to listen to the rain

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A Woman’s Lament

What if the only reason you’re staying is because he needs you too much? Love is as minimal as certainty and time and patience survives mutually along with the heavy burdens anchoring the relationship. Space, on the other hand, is only for comfort, a void feeding the soul, wide enough for it to breath. Intimacy is a dull assurance that this is not charity work. The other keeps on faking pleasure while the duration of communion shortens as the excitement fades its colors, as heat rests on a pathetic Celsius at room temperature. The future is a remote place where it withholds your ability to vow and to hold it long enough, like the kid’s contests–the longer who held his breath, wins. It later becomes a competition of the most faithful soul, the winner gets to blame the other for being a heartless liar. The past was where love resides and decided not to come along, it was where the movement of water was more understandable, fluid like the days passing and feelings tilting back and forth, but never spilling off the swaying bowl on the balancing scale. The present is where everything crumbles like over-cooked croutons, too dry to even chew, what more to swallow? Love is now reinvented as a lesser choice to make for yourself and your happiness. It happened that today as present not anymore becomes as past tomorrow, rather a cold cycle, a cursed routine that kills the other inside, everyday. While tomorrow, as the future can never be really sure. She keeps on smiling to be strong. She forgot her hand was on his back, rubbing it as he sobs like a helpless little boy got bullied in school or fell of the bike the first time. Sometimes, it just passes, numb and unfeeling like how the next day is going to be.

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