Because poetry month ends today

In Uncategorized on April 30, 2013 at 12:28 pm

My personal NaPoWriMo challenge was to create a suite of 8 poems by the 15th (Maningning Miclat Awards deadline) and a suite of 10 by today (Palanca Awards deadline). Alas, I didn’t make the Miclat deadline, but by this morning I completed a suite of 11. 3 out of the 11 poems were from my lyric cycle for my Poetry Seminar class under Mookie Katigbak. The other 8, though, I wrote from scratch, and I kind of wish I’d gotten them done in time for the Miclat deadline. Nevertheless, I’m happy with them, happier with some more than others. Here are a few poems from my suite.


News of his death
comes as no surprise. In the garden,
persimmons are in season.
Branches heavy with fruit
form an orange canopy.
I sit still to bask in their musk.
Jays fill the air with birdsong.
My son stirs in my womb.

Still: grief,
its twin mourning. Moab’s voice
bounces off tree trunks, garden walls.
I try to breathe only to feel
my throat shut
as if I had swallowed sound.



The day our son died, we did not speak.
Rather: you did not speak
to me. We ate in silence. We bathed
separately. You did not look
at me.

(All the while this silence
a gaping hole, aching,
the shape of a son.)

You tore my sleeping-dress
later that night, seams groaning
in futile protest. There is a hollow
to be filled (your eyes). Now (fingertips
and their urgent pressing, palpating
for where I might be
as empty as you are). I did not

make a sound. I could not
say no.



Prelude: a time
you sang hymns in broken treble—
long before I was born:
stories of slain giants, fallen
kings—I imagine you to be
a beautiful boy, harp in hand.
I have never heard you sing.


I look at you in front of me and wonder
if I can smooth the lines on your hands.
My fingers press against your neck in search
for any former glory. I do not feel a pulse.
I reach for your eyelids to shut them.


Christmas Song For No One In Particular

In Uncategorized on January 20, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Of my living room:
white walls & cold tiles &
wicker seats: the Christmas tree,
forgotten lights: square
of the ceiling, pin lights
on each corner, chandelier
swinging overhead reflected
on the picture window:
wooden panels, doorframes—
one enters and exits
after the other: just
outside, the pig sliced
from his neck down
to his rump—
my father slices fish
in the morning:
some poor man after
some accident or other
finds himself on a table—dead
—and some poor man
slices him open—
like my father, fish.
Let me tell you when
I am most accessible: It is 2008,
and my heels click against floorboards
of a house that would burn down
the following year, I am wearing
to keep me warm some-
thing resembling a painter’s
smock, big white buttons
resting against jutting-out
collarbones, cheekbones
jutting-out when I bump them
against aunt
after aunt, the final
being the one who burns
down with the house
the next year. I do not remember
what she wore that year,
but I remember what her daughter wore
when she entered my home in ’09:
long blue dress
that hung off her frame
so deliciously: I loved her
dress—my final words
to her: she died
with the house. We keep
quiet about these things now.
The day my aunt & cousin died
they were found tangled
beneath rubble—perhaps the collapsed
roof—remains of floorboards—
perhaps whatever remained—
the house
sliced from its head to its rump—
they were found
only to be sliced
like fish:
clavicles to pubis
only to confirm collapsed airways.
As if the roof
was not enough. We know
enough. Let me tell you
when I am most vulnerable:
last night—half-empty
tables, soiled napkins, half-
empty bottles of wine,
the waiter
picking at a hole in his vest,
ice cubes melting
in a glass sweating
onto the tablecloth, forming
rings & rings—& names
of the dead
reverberating from the hollows
of our chests, echoing through
the blue of air, and what
I really mean to say:
we spoke only of people
who had left us,
and of aloneness:
my uncle’s sadness a blooming
bruise on Christmas Eve,
another scar to join stars:
three years down but still
the vice grip of mourning
will not let him go—how
he blames the lights!
We keep them shut now,
leave the trees
to sigh in the dark, waiting
for moonlight to slice through the night
if only to illuminate them.


In Uncategorized on December 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm

“…there is no there there.” –Gertrude Stein

How everything


A grain unfolds



The slightest breeze rends
A dandelion. Its seeds
Find themselves joining
The oscillating wind without
Memory of ever having
Converged somewhere singular,
Without memory
Of ever being whole.

How everything


To look: gas,

And gold. How

Everyone begins

To see.

The stars we see at night are dead.

Grandmother releases
her final breath, joins

else things, now part

of empty space.

From where I am: me, bed
Her   Father,Mother
brothers,wallpaper  Aunt,Her
Always her  some other
woman,caretaker From where I
am  Father,again,against  Doorframe:

a constellation.

We are all light—

Years apart.

The stars we see at night are
Dead: the stars we see at night

Here is distance. We have many words for it. I like to call it else. The tiniest fraction of space is our constellation of electrons between palms, or else things, here. Distance. Hairline fracture, sliver of naked skin: tell me you are here. Tell me this distance is but else. Tell me the kerchief peeking from your clenched fist is as blue as I imagine it to be. My eyes no longer gauge things as well. If I close them you might disappear and I will not find you, lost in empty spaces. Hairline fracture, sliver of naked skin: the where where you stand an improbable floorboard creaking counterpoints to the sound of longing.

Or is it—
What is it called—
Scientifically, I mean.

Instructional: find the star
Closest to the tip
Of the church’s cross.
Its flickering
Is older than the bruise
Of memory. What remains
Are scars in the sky,
Patches of healed
Violence scabbing over,
Finding their way
To sight.


Find the dent
In the air
Where the seed
Of a dandelion
Imprints its memory.

I cannot hold you now, I can’t
not hold you now.

The boy in his sandbox
scoops heaps into his bucket.

A grain unfolds
into everything.

The seed of a dandelion
finds its way home.

22 November-23 December 2012