Saturday, September 12, 2009

Seven Old Poems

I'm posting seven old, old poems. This is for Vladimir Cordero, who wants to read some of my writings.


Your careless words
Are old curtains flapping
On a small window,
Disturbing the light
That pools around me.
I can't concentrate

On my writing.

I try to catch And fasten them
But they slip away

And turn into something else:
Rats that scurry
And are pesky
In the attic of my mind.


Benjamin spoke that night

Of mountains and moons.

The waiters have stacked the chairs up

As he tried to melt ice like mountains in gin

And swallow bitter slices of lime like moons.

His heavy brows upon my hands told of

The heights he scaled.

But the moon has left him

Alone among the canyons.

I kept him in my arms,

The boy who cried for the moon.

I would have kept him.

Such a boy, Benjamin.

Such a man, Benjamin.

Darkness Has Barely Dispersed

Darkness has barely dispersed.

We braved the cold of ancestral muck.

Our bodies are warm

The grains of our sweat

Hide in the folds of our skin.

The vastness of the fields

Can only be measured by lives,
By the frequency of immersion

Of our bones into the mud,
And the fruition of grains of our sweat.

And the sun will shine
From our brown backs.

Departure Area
(Tan Son Nhat International Airport,
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)

People of different lands

Touch hands at this point

Where one sees beyond and behind

Landscapes of eternity:

Blond girls embracing
An old Vietnamese mother and friends,

Offering bags of lychees
Which seep of the scent of rice fields
And stores of incense and tea
In their baggage of memories

Strewn upon the floor.

Air thick with the scent of leaving,

Hands flourish with leaves of farewell

Shaking their own warm dew.

Goodbyes shed like fragile dried leaves
In a copper autumn, crackling in the wind.

They scattered upon the floor.
I must pick up one for keeps.


Everything passes into memories:

This night, this light,
This coffee-sipping ceremony,
This café, his eyes.

In the rush of things,

We would be shaken

And they fall like coins

And you spend your lives
Collecting them,

Searching the dim crannies.

Sometimes they unexpectedly

Appear under things.
They jangle annoyingly
In your hidden pockets.
Soon, you will have to trade them
For peace of mind.

Memory of a Suicide

The day he cut himself

His blood dripped to the ground
And each splatter became

Red, autumn leaves
That were blown by the wind.

They left no traces
Save for the increase
In the crackle of the wind.

These leaves are the kind

That do not collect around
But seem to dissipate
And become the wind itself.
However, when the weather's bad,
It howls like mad.

Bonfire by Bungahan River

(27 March 1993, Ibaan, Batangas)

We congregated here

By one fire.

On our rough way,

Dust intruded into our senses

And our feet often slipped

Into the darkness.

By the gurgling Bungahan River,

With bonfire built by the bank,

We talked about fire until midnight:

How we often played with it,

How it ravages houses,

How people eat it to earn,

How it illumines the dim corners

Of our lives.

I sat enthralled by the fire,

Vigorously keeping it alive,

This divine gift of Prometheus,

This magic sign of Moses.

I tried to carve my name

In firestone and cast it

Into the fire

Among other carved stones.

Later, I would collect them

For future fires.

I expected we would

All do the same

Like an unspoken pact

Made of light and dark.

But some would rather

Spoke to air and ashes.

On our way home,

We went home by different roads.

We all disappeared

Into the darkness.

Revised 12 September 2009

No comments: