Sunday, August 31, 2008


Fear not the uncertain
For even he is not sure
Of what, of who, of when

Hold uncertainty by the ear
Chide him for his bullying
He who knows not, knows not

Of what’s to be or will not be
Live life without concern
As sparrows and lilies of the field


Ermita turned blue at six
Then burst into gaudy red
In the fading month of November
At seven

Passed through the narrow lanes
Congested by pied faced whores
On half moon doorsteps
Of smutty dives

Damsels with tattered wings
Fat and unguent faces
Emaciated crispy masks
With pasted welcoming smiles

Urchins in rags
Look at white thugs
Expecting silver drops
In their young slots

Lights off and on
Deafening blares of PAs
Incoherent attractions
Cling willfully to the senses

Now into the famed circle
Ephemeral fairies cavort
With thick pasted faces
And sagging eyelashes

Through quaint abodes
Of a bygone elegance
Reborn as couture houses
And campy discotheques

In another turn smugly sits
A neo-baroque church
Unmindful of the din
Indifferent to the sin

We made three rounds
Uncertain of intention
Not stopping at any
Papier mache distraction

Seeking comfort
In this desolation
Gentle love or tenderloin
But, we drove on

Friday, August 29, 2008

Strawberry Hill

On a hill of endless jade
Red strawberries dotted a swathe of green
I hurried to sate my bulging wicker
When you surprised me with a nudge
I thought…
You were happily busy with your chores
And didn’t even know I was there
On our neighbor’s hill of jade
Picking luscious strawberries on the green


What hat will I wear today?
To cover the bald spot and hide the gray
An obligation to human frailty

With smug but studied poise
Chin held high to hide the fidget
This charade willingly played

My shame and discomfort
For an inelegant noggin with
Scraggly growth sparsely strewn

Happy am I to be seen in
A dignified pose, a gentleman’s air
Topped with a Stetson in suede

Another Love Poem

I give you my loveNonchalantly, unaware
Like a day passing its memory
To tomorrow.

Today becomes brighter, warmer
Even before the sun woke up the dawn

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Night Cover

The gloom of the dark night
Blackens the filth, the squalor, the sleaze
Of narrow streets and inner city hives
Darkens the pavements, the curbs, the walls
The habitation of the wretched, the damned
Hides the sins of perverts, killers, pimps
Slimy, quivering loathsome lowlife

The gloom of the dark night
Covers the city in innocent black
All’s well in the world until the first light

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tagaytay Mornings

Bare feet on glistening wet grass
A chorus of leaves rustling, humming
Wake my soul from its stupor

Black Labradors howling protest
Over the bread man’s honking horn
Gladden my jaded heart

Snails hurrying to greet the worms
Pacing through slithery trails
Ease my knotted sinews

Zesty sparrows collecting by the gazebo
Quarreling over seeds in a frenzy
Remind me of my daily grace

Frogs and turtles chatting by the pond
Placid water disturbed by their noise
Impress that silence is a virtue

Hungry blue birds avidly watching
Over tiny ripples made by wee fish
Stir my awareness of other’s needs

Carillon ringing its morning tidings
Clangor against brassy chapel bells
Arouse my lust for life

Evergreen giants brushing off
Wet mist from heavy shoulders
Teach me tolerance and forgiveness

A spectacle, a tableau, a pageantry,
Greet the dawning of each day
Tell of life’s lessons in Tagaytay mornings

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Leveler

Face with pride the dreaded Leveler
Follow his lead and not hesitate in your stride
The end is everyone’s fate
No argument has ever won its case
So quit a struggle that you can’t win

Face with pluck the dreaded Leveler
Honorable men proclaim their great deeds
With ignoble dealings veiled by deceit
Wastrels who spent the day and threw away the night
Rued their wanton ways and but not soon enough
Face the dreaded Leveler with head held high
Moribund journeymen with keen eyes see
Staring wildly at a blazing ethereal scene
Give up, give up, the rally is futile and tiring
And for you, my brother, the events are cast

Fight not fate, give up the struggle
Your fateful number has been drawn
Move on, you’re holding back the queue
At the rear they are giving a hefty shove
Face him now, the dreaded Leveler

Manila, Recently Dead

Manila, recently dead
Bowed under by a heavy yellow cloud
Ersatz forest in its midst struggled
But soon black soot effaced the green

Trudging wraiths crossing Quiapo bridge
So many dead men walking in a line
In silence but for footfalls on greasy cobble
Walking, not knowing wither they all go
Flowing downbridge into the plaza of demagogues
To where the women walked on shortened legs
As the cathedral belfry shouted at the throng below
Amulets, offer amulets to the blackened Messiah!

This city will not live, no not at all
Rouse your homeless and hamletize them
‘Til only mangy dogs beg in the filthy curbs
Oh Manila, recently dead, I leave you now
No one laments your passing

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Death Does Not Live Here Anymore (draft)

Death does not live here anymore
Stripped of name but one with the north wind
And the one who lives west of the moon
Whose meat has been minced by white ursine beasts
She will be honored with brilliant signs
Senseless she made better sense
Heavy shod trolls broke crags in rage
Lovers come and go but love remains

Death does not live here anymore
Nor in the deep chasms of the sea
She who was about to die did not die easily
Body racked in agony, hamstrings stretched
Straining torture racks creak yet not break
Even a heart with faith shall snap
And primal evil prevail in west of the moon
But earnest affection is impervious to pain

Death does not live here anymore


I sought shelter from the rain
In frayed book pages
I used to sit at the head of the table
And listened to by all seated
Dictating everything under the sun
The years have changed me much

Youthful heckling and jeering
And behind the back scheming
The shameless punks at their worst
At tweaking irreverently
On views of another time
The years have changed me much

No woman looked twice
At frayed book pages
Yet the damsels in my youth
Are etched deeply in my brows
Fie on tyrannical time
The years have changed me much


The venerable gentry claim
And this is a truth oft told
Nothing escapes change

Shedding leaf by leaf on the bough
Like long nailed yogis with bony knees
And limbs like gnarled mangrove roots

On shadowy floodgates
Youth and beauty ebbs away
Mirrored on receding swamp waters

haiku 51 to 93

51. What a lovely place
And yet so cold and forlorn
Warmth and light soon comes

52. Bathe in morning dew
Freshness filled the morning air
Withered before noon

53. With Godspeed I go
To conquests, fame and fortune
Dare burst my balloon

54. I will get through this
Stark and somber prison bars
Sunlight's shadows cast

55. Ah, the palms beckon
Leave the dreary icy cold
Balmy breeze await

56. Rest your tired wings
On a velvet purple bed
A long flight ahead

57. The silver lining
In our lives are all but gone
The sun let us down

58. Dream of Boracay
Palms swayed by the balmy breeze
Waves lap at white shores

59. Shark fins soup is nice
But it is vain indulgence
Save the man eater

60. Fairies celebrate
Elfin fireworks light the sky
With floral sparkles

61. Merciless beauty
You flaunt your allure to all
But deny pleasure

62. Brown and red leaves waving byes
To folks passing through
On the river bank

63. Not a stately tree
Grown from sapling with my care
Woodsman spare this one

64. What mystery waits
For us at a river's turn
A loud splash resounds

65. The fiery sundown
Protests the end of the day
Be my homeward light

66. I wish I could join
Trees towering above me
Beckoning breeze rustle

67. It is five thirty
Time and tide waits for no man
Bid goodbye on shore (7/18/08)

68. Warm glow envelops
My being at seaside dusk
Waves crash at the shore

69. A solemn moment
In a mysterious glade
A leaf crashes down

70. Dark clouds hovering
Over an unsuspecting sea
Soon thunder rumbles

71. A herd of sheep graze
Above the twilight's glimmer
A shepherd calls out

72. Village secrets flow
Washed and cleansed by the cascades
Still the brook babbles

73. Where kept secrets are
Lay beneath a placid lake
Fish scurry to shore

74. The rains have come late
The bowers are long dried up
Brittle branches crack
(Haiku contest winner (6/10/08)

75. My own private beach
Far from the maddening crowd
Waves break the quiet

76. Race the water flow
From rills to the great river
Slip on mossy stones

77. Apocalypse mounts
Gallop through the boding dusk
Thunder claps resound

78. Waste water buried
Into deep and dark chasms
Yet the redolence reeks

79. Drifting butterfly
At rest on crimson petals
Sweet nectar savored

80. Come out of hiding
Be vain little flower
Give shine to the world

81. The doggone dugong
Moves apathetically
No eddies swirling

82. Cool stream in the shade
Trysting place for a lover
How quietly he hides

81. King of the mountain
Youthful game we played before
Now a lonely place

82. It is never warm
Where the river meanders
The chill numbs the ears

83. Dimming light of dusk
Turns the world into slate gray
A cold night descends

84. It is summer’s end
The nestlings have flown away
Decayed nests crumble

85. A sitting duck floats
On a serene waterway
A blast found its mark

86. Through a running brook
Scurrying fish dodge pebbles
Hurrying to nowhere

87. Thoughtless north wind blows
Upon a desolate shore
Beachcombers have gone

88. How awesome God’s deed
Breathtaking patterns divine
Even in barren climes

89. The birds have flown in
Arduous journey from harsh climes
Swarm in lambent shores

90. A barren wasteland
Dry dust and shimmering heat
Dog day afternoons

91. A village stays calm
In the face of a looming threat
Of global warming

92. Pink blooms in display
Amidst a cover of green
Rare charm chanced upon

93. Icy cascades flow
In a rill with whitened banks
Laced filigree broke

Monday, August 11, 2008

Water Bitch

I adored you last night
Dainty in silky kelp
Swam into sight
Unmindful of the flotsam
And jetsam stream
Midst haughty pearls,
And blushing corals
Floated upward with bloated eyes
Fleeing softly, more inwardly
Your face grinning, breasts
Deadly smothering
But rising from the depths
Grasping wrists
Wresting, grappling limbs
Feigning postures
Then reverting
Quickly but gently on all fins
Through an opacious reverie
In the ebony depths
You sleazed on sea foam
In garments woven by the tide

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Today, Yesterday and Maybe Tomorrow

The morning greeted me with a loud irritating whirr of the cellphone’s ringtone that my wife had set at five thirty in the morning. She goes to mass everyday in the seminary just in front of our house in the country.As was my wont I rose from the bed to go to the living room to pick up a book of short stories which I left by the edge of the molave dining table.

There are about half a dozen paperbacks about short stories. One, which almost finished reading is an anthology put together by Isagani Cruz. The rest were all from American and British writers. What I like about short stories is the convenience of being able to stop at any page and return to it sometime in the day. Also it suits well my short attention span and this enables me to read the whole story before my mind starts to do a mental walkabout.

My wife passes the table on the way out and planted a kiss on my forehead before picking up an umbrella that was leaning on the kitchen wall. It was drizzling outside and the cold entered the house as she exited through the kitchen door. I stood up and went to the cupboard to get my personal mug from the shelves. My wife’s mug was not on the shelf. She must have used it the night before and could have left it on the bed’s side table or maybe on the counter of the “lavabo” in the toilet. Then I went to the cabinet where all the beverages were stored. There were boxes of tea of all sorts; jasmine, earl grey, oolong, flavored ice tea, Vietnamese coffee in powdered instant form, dairy creamers and some ground coffee in doy packs. I was looking for the sugar free coffee sachets. I found the box resting on a plastic container filled with splenda. There were just two left. I made a mental note to get another box either in Manila or in the Seven Eleven convenience store at the rotunda which was just two minutes away by car.

I started to riffle through the pages of the Filipino short stories paperback and seeing that I have read most of the contents, moved on to the next which was the selected short stories of John O’Hara, the author of the popular novel/movie during our time entitled Butterfield Eight. I have never read any of his novels but his name was memorable because of the movie which starred Elizabeth Taylor. What I like about his short stories had nothing to do with goodness of his writing style nor the interesting plots. It had to do with the fact that his stories were really short…way short than the average short stories in the other books of either Filipino or other writers in English. I took fancy on one which was titled No Mistakes. I leafed through to find out how many pages the story occupied and seeing that it was just about four pages on one and a half spacing I proceeded to read. Done after a few minutes I moved on to the next story. I did not check on its length and after reading a page remembered to check the pages and finding out that it was at least ten pages long I lost interest and put a bookmark on the page and stacked it with the rest of the books on the table.

Another early morning habit that I have is to go to the computer which was at the bottom second floor of the house. I switched on the computer and waited for sometime before the computer engaged the menu icons. Irritated by the waiting I repeated in my mind the resolution to subscribe to broadband. As the icons appearance appeared one by one I searched for the dial up icon and clicked it. Almost immediately the dialing sound started and after a while the bubble announced the connection.

My home page is My Yahoo. From there I click on the mail page to check on the new e-mails that went in the night before. The next destination was the Philippine Enquirer web page. Going through the headlines and stopping to click whatever interests me I, then, go to the sports page. As a last stop, on to the lotto page whenever I had tickets.What occupied most of my time with the computer are the blog sites. I have three regular blog sites where I post my writings. Most of them would contain the same posts. The reason for this is to have as much reader exposure as possible. The principal blogspot that I have is named Halcyon. The two others are the Filipino Writer and the Penster Community. Halcyon has the more international breadth of the three. I would receive reactions and other responses from bloggers in other countries, mostly from the US.

In the blogs I check on interesting new posts, reactions to my writings and occasionally I respond to the comments offered by the readers. As a last act I would do the postings of new materials in my blogsites.What comes next is creating new items for posting. Recently I have started to write poems. This is something that I have never done before, my writings having been restricted to prose as in short stories, essays, and my autobiography which is forever a work in progress. I sometimes do a series on a given theme or platform. The examples of these are Quote NotesX20 and Aesop’s Foibles. Quote NotesX20 are 20 essays that start off with a quotation mostly from famous authors while Aesop’s Foibles are modern adaptations of Aesop’s Fables which amplifies the moral lesson or in most case twists the story in such a way a new moral is formed.

With the usual things done I would click into the free slot machine games. In the freeslots website there are more than a dozen different slot machine themes to choose from. I flit from one to another depending on the kind of luck I would have on particular games. I kept on telling myself to stop this silly waste of time but it is really a great diversion from the routine. I am afraid the slot machines are become a part of my daily routine and I should firmly resolve to get out of the habit.

I have some seeds of short stories which I hope to germinate. A list of possible stories which I categorized as Tales From the Workplace are stories culled from the actual experiences from my years as a corporate creature. I must be careful to disguise the characters and the situations lest they be recognized by the persons I picked up the slices of life from. Another bag of seed stories are taken from Maria Cristina St. of my youthful days. I have quite a collection of short ones which have been labeled as Maria Cristina Tales. Included in this group are sketches of families and their members, incidents, boyhood friends and rites of passage. Another bag of seed stories are those taken from my boyhood experiences in barrio Wawa were most of my summer vacations have been spent. Like Maria Cristina, Wawa is a treasure trove of interesting characters, fantasy trips in an estate wrapped in an aura of mystery. Other sources that I intend to tap would be the days in Loyola Heights where I spent my teenage years. Loyola would include days in school first jobs, special friends, crushes, courtship and activities that were organized by the youth club we had in Loyola.

Then, there are the essays which are occasionally written. Topics like disgust with the present state of affairs in government, politicians and society in general together with reflections, random thoughts are what I write about. There are some personal pieces which may never see public exposure.

These should keep me busy and out of mischief for a while.


August is the tyrant month
Trees growing from graves blossomed
Upturning sod for lost loves
Rotting roots lusting for affection
Cursed mud flow with smothering sweep
Covering earth’s spongy face
Stirring subterranean low life brusquely

September’s calm was welcome in Wawa
Fresh cool winds greeted us at the pala-pala
Basking in the glorious sunlight of the strand
Then drank ‘coke’ while juicy gossip flowed
I am your cousin from Manila, no stranger at all
We played at hermana’s house all day
Then took the karetela ride back home
The horse bucked and we almost fell
Grabbed on, steadied your hold to break the fall
Out there in the inconstant sands I set myself free
I knew much of the perils and headed home
Before September ended

Sea Dirge (an exercise in modernist poetry)

Let me sing my song, a tale for all to know
In salty tongue, the unkind days
The harshness that had to be lived
And the strong longings I abided by
On a frail boat these have I borne
With treacherous billows, I had to suffer
Keeping vigilant watch at the prow
Brittle craft against perilous cliffs.
Oh, the cold froze my senseless toes
Even the ropes chilled; words froze
Wrenched my heart and hunger stirred
In sea-sick misery I mused
How lucky they are on firm sod

I despaired in the harshness of an indifferent sea
Endured the merciless cold, oh, what wretch am I
Away from my beloved
My face bearded with froth, in the roiling sea
Nothing was heard ‘cept for the churning waters
The creaking rigs, then I think of home
Sea-birds’ boisterous din was solace
The chatter of the gull was gaiety
Their song in the wind was a paean to my ears

Howling gale against the jagged wall, like a sea eagle
With ruffled mane, plummeted with a shrieking scream
Fateful claws like scythes open to the quick
Thus my deliverer came with violent sweep
In the watery fields

Friday, August 08, 2008

Heart Break Motel (with apologies to TS)

Come, I’ll take your hand and go

When the dark of night blots out the sky

Like a love struck swain stumbling

I will lead you to familiar, gaudy burrows

In mired floor cafes still wet with spits

Alleys that stalk you like unforgiven wrongs

From feigned conventions and politesse

You turned to rudeness that you couldn’t help

I babbled and you waited for me to quiet down

But then you took my hand and led me in

Oh heavens, I was not denied once more

Another discomfited tryst of a one night stand.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Putty Man

I come with my senility in the cold of December
Listening to raindrops and whistling for wind
I have become spineless, an aspic goo
Face plastered upon a limestone wall
Nose, eyes and ears trickling like dripping clay

I talk to you with sticky, gummy throat
Pleading words unheeded and ignored
A blustery gust smothered by an open expanse
Like a stray cat pussyfooting on bladed walks
Now a groan with hardly a sound, a weak mewl

Charon will meet me at the banks of Styx
Soon to cross the stiles with fare in hand
Think of me, now that I have become
A wretched and troubled soul
A spineless man, an aspic goo