Banana Cue

Poetry by | August 26, 2007

Kanina pa kumukulo ang tiyan niya
Ngunit walang pumapansin sa kanya.
Napakadungis ng kanyang mukha’t katawan—
Sindungis ng saplot na basahan.

Isang ale ang naawa,
Inabuluyan siya ng isang piso.
Tumakbo siya sa nagtitinda ng banana cue.
“Makakakain na ako!” aniya sa sarili.
May ngiting gumuhit sa payat niyang pisngi.

Kinaumagahan, nakitang nakabulagta
Ang batang palaboy—
Namatay sa gutom dahil
Ang halaga ng banana cue
Ay limang piso na!

Dahil sa Isang Libro

Poetry by | August 26, 2007

Minsan sa aking buhay
Ako’y nagmistulang patay.
Humihinga nga na parang tao
Ngunit tumigil na sa pagtibok ang puso.
Pilit kong hinanap ang liwanag
Ngunit balot sa kadiliman ang aking daan.

Tumigil sa pag-inog ang aking mundo.

Hanggang ako’y nagising hawak ang isang libro.

At tumibok nang muli ang aking puso.
Narinig kong muli ang musika ng buhay.
Niyakap ko bawat salita ng natagpuang libro.

Bakit ganuon?
Nagsimula ang lahat nang dahil lang sa isang libro!
Binago ng isang libro ang aking buhay.
Isang librong tanging may larawan
Ng isang lalaking may koronang tinik sa ulo.


Poetry by | August 26, 2007

They say he is my brother.
Of dark brown skin and
curly mane,
he smells of brown earth,
for years living with little water.

The first time I saw him
was for diarrhea.
The second for schistosoma.

The third for worms and diarrhea.
He smelled of yellow earth
drowned in vinegar and gas.

But I like my brother,
template of innocence, alien dreams.
What is your name? I asked.
I’m Mandoliman, but call me Jim.
And your sisters at the bedside?
They’re Evelyn, Margie, and Jane.

I’m Mandoliman Marancing.
I don’t know my father and mother.
My older brother is a bum.
He got killed over a bottle of rum.

I smell the blood and the rum,
the future of little Mandoliman


Poetry by | August 23, 2007

On our sixth anniversary
your parents surprised us
with ice cream and cake.
You cooked my favorite
dish and I brought sweet
red wine. We drank
to each other’s
happiness with a dagger
gleam in the eye. A toast
to a long life, knowing
this would be our last.

My father standing very still

Poetry by | August 12, 2007

His face half-lit by the sun
half-lost in a thought that follows someone
from the window he sees his children
faces brightly packed with purpose
impatient with a pet sunning on the driveway
and their mother’s first message of the day

He knows the fine hours are over
the neighborhood cars all starting
grinding to dust the singing of neighborhood birds
then they will roam the streets and the city
will growl like an awakened beast
he loves the beast nevertheless

He loves what he does not have to get used to
if at its designated time and place
because everything moves a little closer home
he says to himself
including those that hurt my ears
and those I have never heard

In the evening my father tells his story
in a voice ripened by his own silence he says
a street is stretched longer
by cars that speed on it
the length shoots beyond space
beyond what men see and know

When cars speed on
they iron out the heavy trudges
left by men whose footsteps know
the weight of the universe
cars have no feelings
they do not understand what footsteps are all about

My father comes to stand very still
by the window late in the dark
when he finally goes to bed he speaks
to himself his hands clasped as in prayer
a day always turns itself in he says
no more innocent than men it needs sleep

The Rebirth

Poetry by | August 12, 2007

it was not the sun
that died that morning
but us finding darkness
more comfortable.
we dropped our tools,
dropped to our knees
and crawled back to
the womb of memory
and there we dreamt
of better mornings, warmer sunshine.
But how could we know
while we floated in the belly
of silence and cold?

limbo is the worst place.

in another world,
we were ready to die again
suffocated in this sac of stagnancy–
but a push and a heave,
a breathe of protest
against the bred silence,
and we pass through another birthing.
this one slower and more painful
until we see
the light
and burst out laughing.

Prayer for Mother Earth

Poetry by | August 5, 2007

We foolish mortals, not knowing when the rain is coming nor the comet; theorizing in our ignorance, at last we begin to behold our very home crumbling in smoke and poison air. Our own destructiveness is hypnotizing in its intensity; this is madness.

The groans of earth can be heard by your saints; while the poets are appalled, feeling in their bones the future not so future debacle, yet their warnings remain unheeded, the public go their merry way, ignorant that the end of their world was long ago prophesied.

Your majesty divine creator; No one can measure your understanding of us foolish mortals. Nothing is hidden from thee, and most surely thou art aware of those small places of the planet where the integrity of your creation is respected and preserved. And as for the rest of us, it is cosmic destruction. The overripe fruit awaits the moment to drop in the furnace.

I do not presume to know where are your human saints that obey your laws and respect your eco-balance, but my prayer is for them, that thou would protect these few, that they would be strong enough to continue as they are so that there would still be a remnant of beautiful earth where birds sing, where grasses wave, where the leaves of the trees would clap their hands, as your word goes forth and returns, O god of mystery, O consuming Fire!

The Chair

Poetry by | August 5, 2007

You stole it!
You made me sit!
Bit by bit…
Now I’m in a fit!

I missed my education
In a learning institution
Where’s my retribution?
You have all the solutions.

Empty words
I shouldn’t have heard.
I wish I were a bird
Is that something you earned?

It’s eating me, this life
I never did improve my sight
I want to fight
But you withheld my flight.

Oh, I’m in no treat.
I’m nothing but beat,
What’s there to eat?

An instant microwaved seat.