Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Cook Out

They were doing barbecue in the patio
The warm noonday breeze wafted the aroma
Of steaks, broiled potatoes-in-skin pressing through
Screen doors, settling in the hems of curtains
The savory smell of burnt fat of t-bone edges
Hovered tantalizingly despite the gusty breeze

A sudden downpour sent the cook scampering for cover
Upsetting the heavy grating, scattering the smoldering
Embers hissing a sizzle upon the touch of cold rain
Half cooked choice cuts and potatoes hardly browned
Yanked out of the fire into a tatty wicker tray
And sent hurriedly to the table on the covered porch

A few steak cuts fell on the grassy floor
And the hissing meat hastily picked up by tongs
Find themselves back on the smoking grid
Purged clean by the glowing red hot coals
And with the foliage of celery sprigs and salad greens
Voila! A magnificent filet seared to perfection

The rain shower went without abatement
Guests in wide umbrellas soon came
Tramping on mud puddles and dried leaves
Glad to have come and partake of fine dining
Toasting the chef for a commendable fare
A wonderful steak offering fit for a king

My Lady

She appeared softly into my twilight
In her trail a brilliant mane flowed
Like a cloud with myriad tiny suns and stars
An opalescent mantle of dreams and fantasies

The lanterns of past celebrations
Stood motionless and without light
She has stolen their gaiety and glow
Now hers to keep and unwilling to share

But I claim all that is hers is mine
As her whole being is mine, no other
Though captivated and enslaved
Still am her master though held in bondage

I have entrapped her in a silken cage
But she moves freely out of this velvet prison
The sturdy bars and steely nets cannot hold
This indocile lady I dare call my own

The Night of the Headhunters

The flame tree is in a mantle of red explosions
The ladies and young lasses watch by the window sill
Gazing at the flaming spectacle from the living room
Unaware of the blood lust this carmine display
Provoked among the young men in the village

The menfolk sauntered in pairs, in larger groups
Moving restlessly, listlessly in the dusty street
Into the alleyways and sitting in the corner stores
Taking swigs of gin in quarter peso cups
Primal instincts in restraint, innate urges on hold

The old men talk about the forays into other villages
At the first night of the flame tree's full bloom
Young men, then, eager to gift the village lasses
Ghastly trophies of truncated heads impaled in poles
As proof of valor, manhood and intense devotion

But that is just old men talking, some boastfulness
Coming from barren bodies and the bragging of the ignored
The young lads gather to listen to tales of their headhunter past
Wreaking havoc, sowing terror upon hapless hamlets
Heads of their prey strung together like hanging coconuts

The full moon cast a beam on the treetop blooms
But the red was not there, only darkened patches
More stories went on as the time and the gin dissipated
A wizened elder fell asleep in the middle of his tale
As village boys staggered back to the safety of their huts

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Eden Redux

The lifeless ground
raised twigs from dust
like arms in prayer
the Pharoah's obelisk
juts out from parched
red Nubian clay
beneath an oppressive
and torrid eastern sun

Is this Osiris' realm?
On crossing the divide
I find myself alone
upon opening my eyes
at the solemn hour
my tremulous lips numbed
No more to kiss, nor to
utter a fervent orison

My eyes wandered
Seeing fabled sights
A Unicorn pranced
around the Tree of Life
The lion and the lamb
cavorting in play
Adam chiding Eve
saving her innocence

Is this Eden now?
Here in the Eastern plains
where the Euphrates flowed
It hasn't changed a bit
Paradise still fittingly called
Even after the deluge
Its beauty preserved
unstained by original sin

Don't Smell the Roses

My nose is not with me
even as I felt for it
on my face, it is not there
yet I see the gore putrefying
under the noonday sun,
all around the busy square
without the putrescence
it seemed somewhat appealing.

In the place where I stroll
at the cobbled city hub,
by the banks of a viscous river
unsightly with scraggly lilies,
among urban fecal flotsam
yet without the redolence
my mind anticipated
it looked lovely.

It had an insistent charm,
that I was seeing, feeling
but not smelling,
life couldn't be so bad
without having to smell
the sordid realities at the
edges of our existence.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Shameful Verses

At twilight I plucked the twigs in a gossamer trap,
It hummed the most mournful of nocturnal airs,
An entrapped cicada droned grating sounds
As it wriggled to be freed from its cage of lace.
On the forest floor small frogs whistled shrilly
While scurrying rodents made crunching noises
On rotting dried leaves glistening with dew.

The night sounds brought to mind sad verses from the past,
Resurrected from the depths of long forgotten episodes.
The haunting euphony of twilight sounds stirred anew
The pining for lost loves that were thought long gone.
Oh how I poured my heart then in a beggar's bowl, and
Tore my soul like a penitent's tattered rags,
How cruel of you not to have seen, nor felt, nor heard
Pleadings from a lad feverish with love's contagion.

I look back and remembered making a vow,
Not to embarrass and humble myself at such a low.
No more will I mewl nor whimper for hurt,
No more maudlin verses wallowing in mush.
But then, in this dark and soulful corner of twilight,
Memories are like shafts of light sharply beaming
Asserting their presence against my resolve,
Shameful outpourings reluctantly remembered, verses
That should have stayed locked in strong metal boxes.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Words Like Goats

Words I have released from the confinement of a corral
Run all over the white expanse of a blank scroll
I disavow any hold on them as they skitter and
Frolic like young goats in a field of succulent grass
Some are playful and chase away the butterflies
Partaking of the bounty of the field sipping nectar from
Errant flowers in small clusters dotting waves of green
Black and white kiddie goats scamper with mayhem in mind
Bullying the runts, snorting as they scatter them afield
Others still go about peaceably munching fresh grass tops
Unmindful of the noise from the raucous and rowdy bunch
Some with amorous intent follow their noses and nudge
Coy she-goats into being mounted by one or two hot billies

Once freed from my mind words are on their own
As they get ingested, digested and regurgitated by anyone
Who happen to be within reading sight and distance
What words turn out to be after being spewed from my pen
Are transmuted by happenstance, disastrous or serendipitous
Some of them become uncouth and rapacious vandals
While others blossom into gracious courtiers with elegant miens
Others still put on the pompous and pedagogic demeanor
There are words who don saintly halos and others yet sordid horns
They become what they become, I deny authorship once released
From the confines of my teeming but well intentioned mind
There are so much more to worry about than being misunderstood
I write what I feel and think, not my fault if they don't get it
Caveat lector

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Juan Makabayan's Quandary

Juan Makabayan, home from a rally
Sat down and contemplated on the gash
His forehead suffered, grazed by a shield's edge
The throbbing pain nagged on refusing rest to
A tired body just gone through a day in the streets

Can't even recall what it was they were fighting for today
Yesterday it was Gabriela's cause for battered women
The day before, an agrarian protest for disenfranchised farmers
Was it for the squatters of Tatalon, or was it for estero dwellers?
or anti Cha Cha demonstrations at the Palace perimeter this morning?

Too many causes so little time, so puny the efforts to make them count
What was it that he desired for the Pilipino or for Pilipinas?
Could he wish it to be like before? What was that?
Pilipinas was never great nor noble in the past. It has a history
Of subservience from one tyrannical master to yet another

The time of the maharlikas of early barangays was never a notable one
It even inspired a plot of an erstwhile dictator to make vassals of us all
In a glamorized new society which would enthrone nobility of dubious origins
A devilish scheme to perpetuate rule and reign through countless generations
Making Cha Cha a sophomoric effort and so crassly unimaginative

What could be more ignoble than our lot from our colonizers?
From the Spaniards who brought in more sword than cross
To the unmitigated cruelty of the Japanese governance by samurai
And Americans, not be outdone in craftiness and in feigned altruism
These are histories you wouldn't wish for us to go back to in time

What of our politics? Was there ever a time we can regard as golden?
Quezon wanted governance by Pilipinos though run like hell and they did
Through the worst of times, our leaders were dancing to the piper's music
Except for a few truly dedicated statesmen the best era of our politics were
Besmirched by duplicity, machinations, disunity through regional factionalism

The more immediate past and the grating present has not shown any virtue
Our governance from the time of our independence has been checkered
Rapacity and greed was not exceptional to Marcos as successors learned well,
And abuse by leaders and their cohorts was the hallmark of every administration
Varying only in the magnitude of theft, graft and abuse of the people's money

Even as now the presidential circus has set up their tents in our midst
Self styled nationalists, patriots, men of the poor, media propped personalities
Now scramble to hide their gruesome pasts: convicted criminals, the scandal tainted,
The intelligence and mentally challenged, the sycophants, the power obsessed
Raising millions, nay billions, for the best Makati and New York makeover experts

Juan Makabayan sat up from his uncomfortable makeshift wooden bed
What is it am I fighting for? Was it worth a hundred bruised noggins?
There were so many causes to fight for, all seemingly just and worthy
Yet he could not grasp it in its entirety, what all of it was supposed to do
To the Pilipino, to Pilipinas, for whose sake he protested in all of his young life

Do these protest moves change things? What changes do I want to happen?
Who among the candidates will be the proverbial white knight to make the changes?
He felt the crisp smoothness of a hundred peso bill in his pants’ pocket
A handout for the day’ protest, an allowance from rally organizer
For the first time in all his protesting days he felt uneasy and discomfited

The Flight of the Eagle

Up there, gliding on an ever widening circle of flight
The eagle hovers and scans the stretch of the land
Looking for some semblance of divine sense
But no, the carmine splotches on the desert floor
Offered no comfort nor solace for tired wings to rest
Everywhere it seems violent carnage has taken its toll
Indiscriminate slaughter of the ignorant and the innocent
The best of men lacking the resolve to stop the inhumanity
While the senseless and callous intently inflict their mayhem

Will God intervene or is this is the way of all things?
Natural laws enacting, a ruthless decree to save the many
From deprivation, from the inability of natural providence
To give each of God's children a share of His munificence
Who are the many? Are African refugees counted among them?
Are the people of poor countries not part of the many to be saved?
Oh the pain, oh the wretchedness of not being chosen
Deprived of a divine birthright, a promise of salvation reneged
Throw away humans, bargaining chips in the eternal balance

The eagle soars on, the land below will always be a hostile patchwork
No matter how stretched his wings, no matter how keen his eyes
No favorable wind will find him restful oases and idyllic Edens

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Long Day At Home

I sat listless
My writing chair is hard
I should change it
It occupied me too much
Instead of me occupying it

Nonchalantly watching
From a windy veranda
Birds alighting on twigs
Nice to see but the birds

Walked towards the gazebo
No reason to do so
Just being led
By a chirping wee bird
Flitting close to a feral cat

Black Labradors growl
As I approached
Then the redolence
Of dog turds
Abused my nose

My lychees flowered
But they dried up
Withered early
Like young dreams
Robust but stillborn

I rushed down
My foot prints
On stony garden steps
Vanished traces
By blinding light

The pond fish
Greet with avid glee
Awaiting morsels
With barbs attached
They did not bite

The mango trees
Failed me again
Flowered like last year
But erased by the rain
My ax gashed a bole

The sunset lingered
Too long for me
Wanting the day's end
But the sun
Got entangled in the trees