Nothing’s Too Far
There is no escaping the long arm of memory,
& the more I try to, I turn to it instead:
During trips to my father’s house tucked deep
in Badbad, I learned as a child to look at the blurring
flowers when responses to “Are we there yet?”
were nipped & cold. Sometimes a few cows
& the harmless disarray in backyards of distant huts
that peppered white shorelines. Most times trees
& tall grass as the car sped by faster & faster,
countless of them bowing & kneeling skittishly
as if I was blessed with nobility, an unexplained reign.
“Your highness,” as if they were saying
behind me. “You’re getting there.”
The ripe sapodilla fruit
cracks open as soon as it hits
the ground, hard lacquered
ovules exposed like unsheathed
black talons. Now how is
every little spot everywhere
brighter than the usual
after a storm? How protracted
are the days, afternoons like
the tripling of a grasshopper’s life?
The sun is a shock and the blue
in the sky maniacal, obscene,
as if it is about to rub itself dry
against us like a dog
in want. As if it is peeled off
all its sickly tint and we are
condemned to a brightness
we could not dare unlook,
the rich pandemonium before us
unignorable. We may not have
every second in the world
to see things with better eyes,
but please not all at once.
Can this whole year be a day
to get through? I still long for
grace, for gradients and a glow.
Not a burning. Just spare me
the fire that risks singeing
entire forests and dreams.
Give me a soft patch of soil
with a nice shade. I pray
I know what every seed needs.
Flower, Proposed Addendum to Definition of
: something that flows over
: adornment on anything rid of life and joy
: a trophy or a cluster of trophies
: a necessary praise, sometimes sentimental
: a memory made visible
: to fill, as in to reach the point of flowing over
: to captivate by being visible
: to persist despite the obvious impediments
: to be worthy
// my body is flowering
Poem for the Future
The future comes with embellishments,
as it has always been in the past. Each of us
would have a version of convenience,
a snapshot of a sunrise with a gloriousness
that would depend on the window and where it faces.
How we frame this story may matter more than
we could ever imagine to someone. Were it
not for grace, there is no imagining, such as:
We may never tell time again through birds
that checkered the skies with wings decked,
those that wove afternoons with tender anthems.
All of the mysteries might lose their glint,
as today’s history could only go by in whisper.
Especially in the ears of one who still listens to it.
Yes, we will never run out uncertainties.
But clay can still be shaped with enough
dirt, water, hands patient enough to figure
out the right push, the intimate nudges. Now,
do you know why trees keep their shadows long
before the sun could haul back its last slender rays?
They make pathways for lost souls, guide
them back to light for one more chance.