Ordinary Words

(DRAFT)

Ordinary Words
By Regino Joel B. Josol
Compiled 2012

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Ordinary Words

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Ordinary Words
INTRODUCTION

I have never considered myself a poet, just someone who writes poems. My first try was in my teen years. It was more like an outlet for me – to release anger or love bottled up inside. I would later discover such exercises were more cathartic rather than art. Then, the world of the web came. I chose to “meet” with other people who write poems. The online workshop helped me mature my writing from what it was until then cathartic. I associated online and offline with the PinoyPoet® Yahoo! group who cared about their writing and whose individual members received recognition for their writing. It was this association that help defined what I wanted to do with my writing. I consider my pieces as work in progress. I tried to write about anything that provoked me. But mostly they were just exercises. I wrote them for what I felt then was the beauty I found in it. There were many times I was lazy and did not have anything specific to say or wanted to say in a poem. They ended up in the trash bin. In fact, a lot did. Of the pieces I felt were worthy to be compiled, these were mostly experiences that had some significance in my life. For ease of recognition by readers, I categorized the compilation into categories. I don’t have formal education in this. But I did educate myself from books of several authors and critics of anthologies, and history and philosophy of writing in literature.

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.................................................................................... 6 About Poems .......................................................................................................................................................................................63 4 .............13 Sex..........................................................................................................................................16 Death ..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................42 Images ......................................................................................................................................... Love & Marriage ................................................................... 5 Word Play ....................................................................................................................................................................................Ordinary Words Contents Sections ...52 Others.......59 Index.........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Ordinary Words Sections Word play About poems Sex. love and marriage Death Images Others 5 .

Ordinary Words Word Play 6 .

Ordinary Words
A Matter of Fact*
Waking up is greater than walking up, if and only if the length of arms else reach out to get ration. What if they were reduced to fractionsarms, legs, eyes, heads- can blood drops re-assemble the whole from a pool? Fool! It is the number that counts. To kill or keel over is just semantics. Watch closely the substitutions. Sorry, the final answer has been rigged. The equation was just to distract from the matter of fact.

Straight Lines*
But the shortest path between any two points is not the point. A straight path does not exist for all surfaces. Sour faces are not attractive. In fact, no face exists for the humiliated But that is pointless despite the pores. The bottom line is a collection of points under the table, a flat surface generous with straight lines. Are there gay lines?

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Ordinary Words
No Rule of Three
To get a message across a screen using bullets, follow the rule of three. The rule of thirds keeps subjects in focus too. But, there are supposed to be exceptions. A riddle may not subscribe to rules. A bullet-riddled body violates this rule. To count is a basic skill. Can you reach beyond 56? What is the sound of 100 guns each firing three bullets? and more? You would have discovered no new rules. There are no women or children to isolate. There are only objectives. Even in peace time, the earth is wet with bloodied bodies.

Intersection
Not wanting to lose his way in the labyrinth of lines, an intersection offers a distraction from semantics and antics, of word picks complying with rules, assuming roles coerced on them, as symbols or signs isolated from this and that. But, how does one move away off the fringes of a Venn diagram?

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Ordinary Words
Your exit
You are here. There is no site map as guide to find the nearest exit. A scan for the familiar (I am no liar) will not yield the path. Stay and check each word instead. Get drenched in the meaninglessness. Don't look at your watch wondering when will I point the way out. How much time do you have? I only have one period left.

Fly*
There are lies and there are flies. These will not take you to the moon or flay you before the stars. Interestingly, like parent-birds, the instinct is to fight back, kamikaze-like: fly to the depths and crash. But, the advertised phytochemicals aren't scraping the fat off my veins: Come on, burn, baby, burn. What do I do with you now and how? Look, the plate left unfinished, has a fly feasting on it.

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the shield of yellow light where I am. Silence surrounds me. of the printer's being out of paper. I will enjoy the drift. don't panic. Are the little wings crippled or is this the loneliness of my pillows? I demand your daily tribute of smiles when the sun is up high. But I am here. Who knows? This could be my black sky. If the power goes out while in a lift. 10 . closed.Ordinary Words Black Sky* There is no visible city crow circling this sky. to send v i and jar br a t ion s. That window glass cleaner is blocking my sight. Yet.a coffee-table book. in that skyscraper. irritating your inability to fill in between the sound from lips that wishes to open up. she does not care. blackened by smog. by night.

turn it clockwise and see the brightness rise and pupils dilate in search of meanings in b ______ r _______o ____ken lines. The only li__ m____ i_ t__ a___ t i o n is not in the ___________depth but the w_ i__ d_ t h of your screen. The black. inclined _______________word ___________is a puppet controlled by key-strokes. 11 . purely arbitrary. Reach out to that knob. how much weight is there before dropping out of view? Saliva drips ________________over ________________the _______f ________a __________l ____________ling _____________word but gravity is a separate influence. and ergonomic. The ground offers no affinity. Insight The enlightenment desired when reading lines lies in control.Ordinary Words Puppet What if gestures incline a word. It could be w__ i___ d ____ e______ r.

with bumpy DVD presentation. What is after forever? The precision of a caliper is not in question. the laptop powered down.Ordinary Words Seminar Notes A lecture is the music in the room. a media player on Windows. what's after forever lingering is a question mark. all Lego. 12 . Is it definable by numerical positions relative to base 10? How distant can spaces be from each other? So. The screen blanked. old math counts in whole numbers much simpler than algebra. but it is neither time for ringing alarms nor for the pop-up window offering a view of friends asking questions about lunch on the Chinese restaurant five blocks. that a young boy found after riding a tuktuk whose driver charges fast forward. Regardless.

Ordinary Words About Poems 13 .

14 . like a husband words will come. and so they wait until its neck gets broken and leave. held by a lanyard on its neck. I wait like a wife for a knock on the door of my thoughts. the entry is only by climbing to the front porch. Homecoming The dinner is cold. The readers are like passers-by. the writer pulls back the poem out of view. until the dog wags itself and wails. as fortune would have it. and the house is sealed. Perhaps. But the owner is not around. tonight. watching the immobile body hang quietly. But. to spill like seeds.Ordinary Words Like a dog The poem hangs like a dog. a seat remains vacant. No one feels it right to make the climb. its entire length suspends from the edge.

With every word frostbitten. the sort that makes people fall asleep or warm themselves up with books. My poem chills in the cold. words give up their spirit while coffee and melatonin deliver their coup de grace. overhead lights. But it was silent about the freezing rain over piled up snow. the paper murkier than the road. lines fall apart. twisted. I try to lead it somewhere but it didn't have winter clothes to bear with the rain and wind. breathless.Ordinary Words Zero degrees Celsius The weather forecast for the city is below zero degrees Celsius. A dead poem His poem lifted my eyes to the ceiling of his ambition. leaving the TV set on all night. and colored blankets. from where his lines hang down to expose a body. 15 .

Love & Marriage 16 .Ordinary Words Sex.

You might chance to catch a glance. Your conversation recently has turned to therapies. the sound of water falling from a height. Still Clear* It's not exactly clear which words became the vow we made before God and men. it is like courtship where the thrill is in the chase. give me a second look.haste makes waste. You'll be puzzled. but I do recall the only wild thought I kept: to run away with you. quick. its texture. Maybe if the wonder remains. of bottles and pills but hey. but I only looked to the glow of your eyes. its weight. 17 . intermittent.Ordinary Words A love poem* I will not give away that this is a love poem. Be smitten with written words promising bonding with page. and the thick crown canopy. disappointed and confused: lovelorn. Stare at it long. Run it through a search engine but you will not find a lover's vocabulary in it. But. You worried too much about the cold air inside malls when strolling along its wide corridors. I only see a bride's face fair and unblemished as the day we said our vows. You enjoyed the mountain hikes. to raise the hope that it is here somewhere. The rule remains. The lines are deliberate to lead you on. I only took notice of your hand. elusive.

spot lit on the laptop. The airplane's ceiling lamps are all turned-off but you are my reading light. anything I touch is too warm. Distracted To fall asleep on this seat. I wish for your shade-like presence in this air so dry and still. may appear to shake you off my thoughts. Maybe. I miss the coolness of your skinmy fingers wrapped around your arms. it's the best way to ride this disturbance: youdistracting me. but the air turbulence will shake me awake instead. 18 .Ordinary Words So Dry and Still* In this summer heat. my fingers busy on the keys. on a long haul flight.

the sun gone leaving what we have between us obscured. It's like that nimbus hovering in your sky. with nice colors and illustrations. those parts of you and me unenlightened. testing my resolve against the steepness of the mountains. and not sure how to end. It doesn't come with a bouquet either wrapped with eucalyptus or rosemary’s. simple and sweet. looking back at you. I descend. It doesn't have a dried rose petal with leaves and stem on the page. but never letting go of the rain. It doesn't know how to start.Ordinary Words This is not a love poem (again) The sort you'll find in bookstores and greeting card racks. In the shadows* To where shadows and road wind as one. with words. 19 .

I fear the rains took away whatever is left between us. what is felt under this different sky. its past and present will be one. black against an earth. browned by lack of grass and trees. if you just say so. if you let me. Before us are rocks. I can plant seeds here and there. to superimpose images against what is seen. Have you seen love? Is it something we can speak about or pass over in silence? Is it warm like a poem on paper lying on the pavement at noon? Can it be contained in a bottle and instructed how to spring from it? Can it be measured like a meter in rhythmic pulses along a line? If I say 'I love you' is there a picture in your mind? Is it the same as mine? 20 . Where we stood has been altered.Ordinary Words To return To return is to shuffle recollections. This side of the mountain can return its color once again.

your star's glow just above the horizon of this plain heart. 21 . So. A poet wrote. wary of its fickleness unraveling what we held. into love's unmeasured depths. I will carry yours in mine so you can fill up all the space. So. and integrity. I studied you with maps.Ordinary Words Starboard* Tonight my eyes chance upon. but by it our love we pledged. will. declare to me thisDilectus meus mihi et ego illi qui. my love's weight denting space where you spin. A Promise to Keep The heart is treacherous. 'i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)'. to predict your journey across my sky while sleep agreed to let me be intoxicated by your sight. You fell onto this orbit. on this starry night. Your reflection starboard side. made me grip the railings lest I fall. I promise this as God demands of me to love you with all my mind.

and leaves of my memory are no longer here. rocks. I can still see some trees left from my childhood but without fruit. slapping me outright. Do I see an end-point in your eyes? I think I like what I see. Tap my shoulder and turn my face towards you. you can close the door. I tried again. It's alright.Ordinary Words Half-Open Door I do not know what to expect standing before this old house. Soon. Were those points eyes I would have believed him. The breeze has gotten stronger. citing Euclid's axiom number one. The dust. I will leave. 22 . But mathematicians will disagree. as if demanding why I had not moved on instead of lingering by the half-open door. on what is now a paved road. The shortest distance between you and me I once read a poet who wrote a brief poem he said something like the shortest distance between two points is love. The breeze is still cold. So. it is going to rain and I am still here looking at you. Your welcome is only for the pet dog. clean but stiff like your eyes. one more time approaching the water crashing by the boat's side with its thousand moving points.

Instead. I woke up to this day. you alone appear like a torrent washing down my face. The cup of hot coffee can't sip away the cold space between you and me. 23 . I wished I had remained in some dream scape where stories can be altered to bring up better endings.Ordinary Words After the rain* While the downpour blurs the colors outside the window pane. I have a pair of shoulders served cold for breakfast. The warmth from my omelet did not reach you to thaw the icy silence from your lips. Cold breakfast With half-engaged brain. but you left so soon. I let you cling to me as if to drench my shirt. the sky breaking out in blue and here I am still soaking from you.

24 . Your eyes were sharper than my glasses. your accent Thai. Your fingers keep sweeping through your black hair. You will remember even after wounds heal. a different Cupid but as sharp. light rain was falling on Ploenchit Road. leaving behind scars. love knows when to claim victory. burning. with rebels dancing around him. beautiful lotus flower afloat in the waters of Lumphuni. You have my respect. Lumphuni Lotus Flower It was overcast in Bangkok the day we met. Your lips squint like your eyes. Like burns from explosives. tapping my shoulder for each visual lapse. I smile recalling the laughter in your eyes as rain drops drip on the jumbo jet's window pane. The black Mogadishu boy smiled. firing his rifle at the right moment. Like black smoke ascending from the military jeep. love can scorch your heart with passion. you were gazing at the Powerpoint slide. Your eyes seemed brown as they studied mine but really. Your Chinese skin was the only bright thing next to the white coffee cup. his target within range. passion pours out from love.Ordinary Words Bleeding wound Like a bleeding wound from bullet holes of the ambushed soldier in the street of Mogadishu.

well-arranged. perhaps wondering what we are up to. with each space locking your scent. as we ignite a brilliant glow. in the bed sheet. I prefer it to be disorderly when we play love's games. My body sinking into it is not the same as yours sinking into it too. from where you would have been staring at me with the moon in your eyes. The blanket is not as warm as you. inactivity nor to its bed sheets and pillows over it. This bed is different without you. the blanket removed. exposing our skin to the moon. I prefer it to be creaking.Ordinary Words This bed* This bed is different without you. I'm not used to its silence. so that she may envy us. in the pillows. while the full moon peeks through our curtain. your laughter. I am not used to space draped with loneliness. 25 . I prefer that you fill it with your sound bite in every corner. as she outlines your desirable curves. overflowing with sensual sounds. Let us fill it with groans mixing with the embers of your passion heating up mine.

The entrée is served as I glanced down her thighs. curled up into a fetal posture. The blanket parried against the cold. both of us anxious to be satisfied. There you are with eyes rapidly moving. dark. were you dreaming of someone else keeping you warm? After Dinner I caught her gaze across the table. "The cold weather is upon us. her eyes lingering in mine. quiet. as her eyes remain fully-locked on mine. I wished I were the glass she sips from and that she would sip from it often while her hands envelop the glass. 26 . Can chocolates really make me happy? But what if they are cold and stiff like a wife? Can my palms melt her? I went back up the stairs into a room. Her lips lighter than the cabernet sauvignon. holding it firmly. Were you conserving whatever remained of your love's heat? I slide back into our marriage to exchange body heat with you. you.Ordinary Words Cold weather I whispered. bringing it close to her breasts. tight." The cold breeze breathed to my face when I opened the fridge's door.

to cool it down. holding it captive. I tried the shower to wash away bites of longing for you.Ordinary Words Your absence bites Your absence bites like ants that swarm on my skin. while despair hogs the seats around me. echoing ripples of rhythm across my length And I would not let go of passionate lips blowing solitude away from me until the sax and I groan as one. But your absence left its marks all over my mind. When the saxophone moans Melancholy fills the wine glass. The longing lingers in every synapse where you used to be. its cry lingering filling me up with notes. Instead. then back as I drink the wine. The saxophone moans. He is playing Mangione like a broken-heart’s groan. drifting high. drain it off from consciousness like water to the sink. overloads my nervous system. low. I sit here with the wailing tunes listening to a lady bawl her lines as if they were mine. If I were the saxophone. agile fingers would caress me. painful and itchy. 27 .

our very own endurance race. 28 . like children and mother. I learned to evade the thorns of life while I held you. We were bound together like a bouquet of twenty-one roses. unadorned vow. sprinkled with little white flowers. I thanked the vendor for remembering: our twenty-one years is worth more than twenty-one roses. You went from lovely to lovelier. my red rose.Ordinary Words Worth more than twenty-one roses The flower vendor called up today. deep green stalkmy simple. asking for my order of twenty-one roses. I will join you to loveliest with this hand and eyes for you to hold and behold. one rose for each year. artfully hiding the complexities and compromises of our lives. Twenty-one years is a long journey from 'I do' to I still do. The first rose came with a promise of longevity in its long.

Ordinary Words This heaven This morning I was lifted up to heaven at a speed of 500 miles an hour. the sun is unhindered. piercing the massive clouds to where the sun shines with clarity at 31. 29 .000 feetif these were ordinary strings they would have snapped. my heart's thoughts with yours. Ten hours in heaven did not do me good. but they remained tied up to you. blue skies stretch all over. Up here. The wine didn't weaken the threads weaving in my head about you. the isolation kept me anxious of our fragile link that held on like sunlight to the window.

stowed under your desk. is undiminished by the checkered. it doesn't care for your absence nor for the silence of the space where you once were. But unlike me. on its two sides. touching the stiff black arms. grey and black fabric hiding the strength of steel partly exposed underneath its structure. It remained still. 30 . nor a squeak from the metal support whenever you turned around my way. No sound from the rollers pressing on the carpet every time you shifted your weight.Ordinary Words Empty Space The sensuality of the curve flowing downward.

I want to roar. Sleep came over to turn off the lights while all my thoughts scampered away into its own skycloudy and black. 31 . like the earth the plane. I waited for a star to look into my eyes. to let go. but my attachments stall my lift. to tell her my good-bye. the earth expelling it into the air.Ordinary Words Vanishing point The jet engines' increasing decibels fill up the runway while the body of the plane shakes. ended but I didn't care. I unlock the belt that held my thoughts that could stagger in the corridor while the safety-belt warning sign flashes in the ceiling. I look down at earthly objects vanishing to a point. to dislodge the loneliness draping my heart. The blanket did not warm me the way her smiles or the light from her eyes would have. to boom myself. The featured movie played. Above the clouds I see stars appearing.where she probably hides.

I recall. You didn't cry nor wince. Something else dies when wounds heal. you noted. I sighed. It doesn't feel anything. lost your balance when the boat moved and all your weight was carried by your knee. now bloodied. Your eyes were drained of tears long before by countless wounds from tripping over unsteady hearts. Internal Fracture I thought denials would not wear me down like metals straining against load but their repetition pressed my endurance to its limit. 32 . The moment flashes back: First out of the boat. the view distracted mea green sea of shrubs and grass mixing with blue of mountains while ocean waves break up into white foam stumbling on the beach. It fractured me in ways invisible to you spreading like a crack until we are pulled apart like metals tired of each other where the sex hurts like the weight of a jet engine sheared from the wing. then free falls.Ordinary Words When wounds heal Do you recall? you asked pointing to the scar on your knee. Yes. fallen on the pier. I hear people raise their voices: Turning around I seeyou.

Raining in Orchard Road* Though an alien to Singapore weather. doors open again. Arriving in the new station. while everyone else hurried to MRT or a bus terminal as the rain poured. That turn. left behind like someone I wished should have been here. I crossed Orchard Road in the rain without my rain coat. If only one's heart could quickly do the same. You either move forward across this haze or watch her diminishing in importance. 33 . But your sigh is too far from the window to smear it with doors now closed to any afterthought. I went ahead like other tourists to Orchard Road. The window offered only blurs of colors and shapes for distraction. pretending to rush to dinner and meet a friend. a mild jolt. finally moved the train away from her. anchored in the past with eyes still legible despite the tears and rain.Ordinary Words In the New Station The transit time was brief as promised.

Parousia* He waits by the table like a disciple. Home* He has never done thistrust her memory that when her wings get tired from wandering and looking down she sees the houses and recognize this nest. he studies it like a pretty face in a coffee-drinking crowd.Ordinary Words On Valentine’s Day* He returns the card to its display row as if letting go a spent balloon. Picking up another one. then shakes his head. keeping watch for signs of her arrivalher feet shuffling. whistling. The distinct sound of her wings. confirms her reprise. His eyes did sparkle like a soda drink before the acid strikes a hungry stomach. she will choose to land. her shadow sliding underneath the wooden door until a knock ruptures his silence-she calling out his name. 34 .

Her stay is quickly dispersed but her blue cast on his face lingers. At the pier's platform. reduced.Ordinary Words Centerfold She is not done yet browsing his thoughts like she does his magazines. His image appearing before wind-sent rains splash on its pane. Starting Over Like a thick smoke. But he knew this storm could drench him. determined to find an image of herself in the centerfold of his mind. each one aloof. Miniloc Waters* She is the dawn striking tent off the waters leaving behind the crags. Its flood waters take him away. 35 . unable to find a high ground from her good-bye. withdrawn like a lamp's glow. breaking up his thoughts. scanning each one from his eyes. the horizon remains sunless. the clouds dim the tinted window glass.

foot on brake pedal. fasting sheds weight of anxieties. you know I don't mind missing another one.Ordinary Words Unrestrained The warm fluid swirls. surrounds like a tight knot breaking into. Unlit Road Unable to hold my quench after the first sip. unwavering: I know when to stop. the detox will complete purging us of each other. wanting instead the bed. Tired to say hello or share an evening meal. In a couple more weeks. pot holes. My craving disappeared. the taste of your love on my lips made me swerve on this road I thought I knew wellits curves. speech still smooth. sinking into it like a cut-down log. opening access to depths where breaths are pushed like rapids among rocks. Tipsy. But I am past the fog induced by your abstention. euphoric and red-faced yet my vision is still clear. face down. While car in full speed. you disappeared like a headlight failing on an unlit road- 36 . After all. and humpsunafraid of a little hassle on the wheel. The new clarity is as striking as the gap between us in the bed. Detox You don't come home to my embrace.

the brilliance of lamp posts reflected on the pavement. 37 . I don't miss Boston looking at your photograph: Not its coffee shops. ebony hair quietly fastened on your exposed shoulders. arms. with mountains and snow to complete the photograph.Ordinary Words You Are as quiet as a city street after the evening rains of September but prettier than this scene in black and white. river. your long. pouting against the sun's red-purple light. You are far more beautiful than all the maple or birch trees here ablaze in reds and oranges. But this I rememberyou on my camera viewfinder: your dew-glazed skin shimmering under autumn light. your lips. wet with rain. nor the shade of trees.

Mine is full of blue. sweet. and you are its sun but in yours. see your roses appear vibrant in this light if only you would leave your cloudful sky for mine. 38 . Come. I mean to say good-bye like friends but you would not let me catch your eyes. Outside the train car I stand to gaze at you as the doors snap back: just like a refrain ending. sunlight concedes its space to grey. The Train Ride is Over The train ride is over like a love song slowing down. the time to part has drawn near. I feel unsure if we see the same sky.Ordinary Words Our Skies As a pair. sad.

This New Year’s Eve You used my pants' pocket as drop box. 39 .Ordinary Words Cold Seat The day's first rain restrains the morning light but the cold from the waiting area's metal bench. in time for the fireworks. signed with your name. distracting. This new year’s eve it reads like an expired claim stub. She would have smiled across to him. is amplified by faces and voices unfamiliar. The metal remains cold while daylight struggles to break out. said hello to raise body heat or kept her hair as cover for his armsthe things he needed to unlearn. I bet. slipping into it a note (a raffle entry to win your heart?). It was New year’s eve when I pulled it out. The PA announces boarding time.

Go ahead. Don't be distracted by her voluptuous data in long-winded clauses. 40 . a complex set of algebraic equations. and break her down like a puzzle. as sunlight broke through the trees dotting the expressway. April Fool’s Day I laughed when you said good-bye on April Fool's day.Ordinary Words A worded math problem She is a worded math problem. simplify her complex polynomials. Plot on paper what you foundpoints of tangency. I replied that I myself was leaving just biding my time expecting a screen full of smileys from your reply but all I got was you insistent like the sunlight flashing against my eyes on not being there when I get home tonight.

With her reading done. ____________nor signal. will she miss nights of him laying on her breasts. his laughter’s consumed. exhausted. pushing them onto our gap. its pages once held down her gaze. but muted by ____________a thick air of uncertainty where love like a flame ____________ can only glow faintly. under a lamp's glow? She takes note of what's left of his borrowed time. ____________to undefined depths of insanity. Pieces There is no bridge____________ nor causeway between your absence ____________and my desire. their time together flipping over like scanned pages towards the end. from where anguish ____________does not rise to be heard.Ordinary Words Epilogue She will let him go like a book. ____________the monsoon rains drenched them. ____________crashing down on sharp surfaces to break up _________________________like pieces of myself. It is a heavy log to carry ____________whose weight will plunge it down my mental chasm. 41 . There is no reminder. whose cover once attracted her. nor smoke that can rise ____________to advertise my longing or traces of it in ____________burnt ashes or embers for you to look upon. She had moved on past his breadth.

Ordinary Words Death 42 .

Ordinary Words Not Being Here* On the window panes. what do I know? Your cancer spread like clouds in what had been a blue sky. at 36 degrees Centigrade. those magazines you asked me to buy regularly. the rains came. Signs of you were in every corner: that small picture frame that kept your smile. I've got a box I can't get myself to start filling up. sunlight flashes on and off while clouds assemble overhead. I kept peering at the ceiling for no reason. Today. Daylight. and the laptop full of logs of our chat. But. one afternoon. while rain water dripped on the window glass. A Box to Fill Up* Once in this room. There is no breeze to cool the skin. It was a downpour. At 8pm this evening. is a false hope once overcast gets here. and the room was deprived of daylight. It is likely too soon for a thunderstorm. 43 . streaming through the curtains. that graffiti you wrote on the wall with your lipstick.

while watching early morning TVHave you found a newspaper to cover them? In the calm morning flexing his two arms. Some content may not be suitableIn color or black-and-white. falls the first rain showers mixing you. Why count bodies in peace time? Something about parts and whole. I agree. 44 . Ripped Apart This is a perilous season. Today. I asks. brown and dry. yellows and greens have lost their brilliance. This is more than just an inconvenient fact: keeping your feet wet in disease-infested waters. father lifts from the flood waters his dead son. they are still dead. and the lake's deep blue has turned into shades of grey While on this ground.Ordinary Words This summer has ended When reds. earth and tearsa good-bye to many shared summers.

Jonathan* 'Tis not when a heart beat goes full stop and eyes then lose the power of its stare. and dress it every day until it dries. is to hope a healing can be found. to finally say my good-byeWe have few words for each other. There never will be a good time ever. the color of the bed sheet. can now rest. The weatherman did forecast lots of rain for August. after the doctor said you are gone. Rainy August A sunny 8am did not come true. that my pain like skin scratched by thorns ignored when running away from hunters. As clouds keep shifting. no longer gasping for air. bleed and cry for attention. Nor when the sheet is stretched to cover up your full length. a gust hits the window pane just when I looked away. but love is not bound by them or any other. To nurse loneliness like a wound. your body still warm.Ordinary Words To my brother. 45 . the sky looking grayish white.

now black is the motif. I lost you in the details of many new morningsmourning. The day you leave I will be somewhere else looking for you in places we have been. 46 . we'll reach the terminal (si non sola mors me et te separaverit) but the road is still bumpy up ahead.Ordinary Words Lost* He confides 'She only has a few days left. what is up next?' As he lays out what to expect. Where before the bride wears white. the sun eclipsed by clouds. W(Age)s* "Stipendia enim peccati mors gratia autem. the marriage is given up like doves let go on wedding day." Breath-deprived. 'So. Soon.' Fighting the loss of breath I ask. We haven't paid ours but the debt collector will soon find our address and he might not care about the house or the old car.

You know I would but you left before I could. I miss you mom whenever I felt returning all the love you gave and shared. sought your warm embrace. the rain digs on the earth a shallow grave. You know I would but you left before i could. recalling times I rested my head on your slim shoulders.Ordinary Words Threads If life were measured like a thread. and wasted your time with my crazy lines. and broke your heart. I miss you mom whenever I felt like saying 'thank you' for standing up beside me. dead and swinging like a pendulum? How many threads can bury a spider with legs dismembered by soldier ants crawling over his upside-down body? Stirring the mud. I miss you whenever I am sad or lonely. who will cut off the fly from a spider's fiber. 47 . made you sigh. for the choices I made that differed from yours. I did run to you. You left before I could I miss you mom whenever I am happy.

Ordinary Words Knife in my throat The sharp knife pierces through as it were my malfunctioning mind where once inside. as the full blade goes through my throat. In the mud. The landscape has changed after Apo Omeng died. Where now is the "aplaya" that was green far and wide. frustrations took residence. sun-dried. all doors opening to life locked. crowding out the life-force until choked. sun-dried. the warm sensation of finality. both in bloom? Lahar came to bury the memories in mud. Lahar came to bury the memories in mud. Lahar came to bury the memories in mud. The old river carrying the motor bancas lost its pride. all entry points sealed. the opening encloses an anger that has ruptured as violent as the blood filling up my lungs to an overflow. Macabebe The landscape has changed after Apo Omeng died. The landscape has changed after Apo Omeng died. and the lass with her lad. heartaches. 48 . in his morning ride? It used to be the day's call. sun-dried. Where is the "magtitinapay's" honking horn. a summer morn' has begun. the gasping for breath as if drowning. Where will the "anaks" play under the watchful guide of an apo calling each back when the day is done? The landscape has changed after Apo Omeng died.

disappearances are just too far away from us. like nebulas signing off above our night sky beyond my span of attention as your dust is dispersed in this air. In a purposeless universe. Einstein asserted enough about spaces and for you it meant no vacancy. Green Grass I watch the flowers fall between the small spaces of earth surrounding your new home before my tears blur my sight as I look down. his physical laws. In this vacuum. there is no room for the sound of your agony. There is no better time for gravity to bring you back to me. but the earth's embrace keeps you from us. on this sunny day with the grass all green.Ordinary Words No Better Time* It was a matter of bad timing. Death happens here regularly. demonstrating Einstein. 49 .

that you passed away 8:30 amthe moment when death did us part. When the earth dries up and the grass over you withers then perhaps one stray dog's nose will help us find your skull with a hole that the bullet pierced. calculating my words. their weight.a search for hope. how they dragged you away from your routine. 'It has not reached Stage 1. a brief statement was sent out to all of us friends. their tone.' I thought I saw something in your eyes that reminded me of mornings after my wife and I had quarreled.' So you went on like husbands and wives do. only the agent of coercionthe one who bored a hole into your head.Ordinary Words Simple Statements It started with your simple disclosure: 'I have a tumor in my lymph nodes. Today. Rightist Burial When you're dead and grass has sprouted off your grave with flash flood rushing to pile mud over you again. 50 . except from this you couldn't divorce. a different life.' I looked at you then. 'The chemo is not working. echoing the pain I never knew. who tried to make your blood spill to the right instead of leftwill remember this place. to match yours. One gallon of liquid was taken out of my lungs. I heard your violent coughing.

and leave blood under her nape. daylight fading. displayed in the bodies destroyed. Grease. finger nails pulled. The old man is like a tower fallen on the pavement. His head was severed off. 51 . slit her throat. the cold completing its embrace. Thoughts of another morning make her cry. an eye bored through. His tormentors fried up his brain. dirt stuck on his skin like ruins of a fallen city. the cold advancing to this moment.Ordinary Words Instructions for Timothy She lifts him up. his wide-open eyes confirm. holds him tight. stormed through doors as it were to expose her vagina. The stars come out in the autumn sky to be her witnesses when the nurse pulls away the tubes from him. before complying with doctor's orders to remove him from equipment. His tongue was cut. The young man is the look of a city destroyed. They pulled down her underwear like walls. Craftsmanship Violence has levels of craftsmanship. and keeps him warm. She was like a fortress broken through. for their collection. She kisses him as morphine flows. teeth broken. The clouds came like a blanket over him.

Ordinary Words Images 52 .

You are still here. blinking off and on in his memory. He carries on between the presence and absence. the shrill bouncing on the walls. then the blast. A red rose A red rose held in my hand caught my tears on its petals like dew shimmering from the sunlight's kiss. like a New Year's eve fireworks. in his thoughts.Ordinary Words New Year Fragments Darkness breaks up into colors then black. Violent waters Her finger met the steam half-way. It could break an ear drum. The ears catch first the silence. leaked by rain clouds above the garden where I stood. as it plunges into the cup. 53 .

after clearing debris off him. as if running away stillwith white rubber shoes. stumbled over the shaking earth and the tumbling concrete. Every morning exposed by the window light are bodies littering the floor from another night of revelryBare and unmasked. and a Chinese textbook over his face. each one celebrating death. lips locked with another Sucking life in from each other. The tremor sprinted past him. found him curled. whose door was used for his makeshift bed. fallen like a house collapsed by a great quake. as his legs failed to deliver more. every night is Halloween As hands catch another. Strange masks. jogging suit in red and blue. 54 . blood. His friend later found him among the rows of the dead.Ordinary Words The Chinese sprinter He lies on the ground. gore When the wearers meant to enjoy life to catch a glimpse of wandering eyes that may find themselves locked in yours. Morning after Halloween The masks last night worn under the Halloween full moon Were kissing each other on the floor unmindful of the beer cans and confetti lying around them. In this side of town.

55 . Have I seen a bird fly on your canvas across the coarseness of your strokes? There is sadness in your midnight sky. Fireworks Fireworks rip this black sky to shreds of multi-colored streaks. rain down through a powder-dense air. There is sadness in the midnight sky. Starlight trapped within the circles of the night. Why so much red and green inside a cafe with roomful of folks. upright. its pieces fall. estranged under the stars? There is sadness in the midnight sky. Were you the lone. black tree on the canvas Strong.Ordinary Words Starry Nights There is sadness in the midnight sky Starlight trapped within the circles of the night. touching the stars? Starlight trapped within the circles of the night. only to recollect and repair itself anew. You love stars to decorate your canvas White and blue against the orange lamp light.

the deadline and a few other things placed there for a reasona framed family photograph. smooth.Ordinary Words Work space He will miss this work space: a laminated desk. From left to rightthe job. where everyone smiles. a fixture sitting there for years beside the clock. Another thing placed there for a reasonthat pink slip. proud of their white teeth. the friendships. 56 . a chair turned away from skyscrapers. despite the long hours. the customer. for example. the thousand meals. But. a work space is neither home nor family. matte-yellow.

masked his face. sank death closer to the bones. blood-soaked. This back was disfigured. These bruises came from lies so wicked enveloped in fists whose blows spared neither body nor limbs. their pillars immovable like trash stuck in the river bed by Malacanan. 57 .Ordinary Words Sacrilege The children break out into laughter at the dining table turning his skin blood-red who holds sacred quiet communion meals as he raises his hand to break a bottle of ketchup on the nearest child's fair head. jabbed deep by a spear. lacerated. Old Quezon Bridge The network of steel trusses embed themselves on concrete like shadows of barbed wires and fences on protesters’ skin. Friday. dried. was pierced by mockery and thousand insults weaved like spikes in thorn branches. This skin. His time of death3 pm. These ribs. and torn open by sheep bones of hate. streaming to cleanse an earth. this open fissure. into flesh with every flagellum's whip. This man These punctures on the head. Typhoons and earthquakes have not displaced them. Each clawed itself into skin. blood. these lesions. poured forth water of forgiveness. his crown for his head.

Ordinary Words Sketch The sea water stumbles. glazed in this early light. dew-washed. falls on your thighs. sketching the shape of your flesh like fruits. 58 . the linen clinging tightly on your skin. in a glossy spread. The waves pound your thighs.

Ordinary Words Others 59 .

he looks up at the Christ gazing down on those seated. He leaves but another passenger gets in with his own Bible and pouch. his stern look. put up for his convenience. a fair warning of an approaching discourse of a supposed error starting with definitions. and its consequences. 60 . Faulty Exegesis Without a map.Ordinary Words Siesta in the afternoon's siesta. he raises his palms not to pray but to collect for alms. to etymology of words. the next best thing when evening driving is to learn fast how to read signs. It can distract you like a high beam from an approaching car or much worse misread a Right-Turn traffic sign on the asphalt road. then exegesis. a poor boy serves like a sacristan. Before his altar. Here. head bowed and silentbreeze flips the book's pages. When his service ends. He cleans the passenger shoes as if to make them holy. and even here critical thinking is key or be misled by false and make-shift signs some self-imposed authority. Mobile Church The jeepney has an entry way and corridor leading to an image of Christ above the windshield. where the next thing you see is a policeman's hand waving.

he let go of the pants then underwear. Then. He said. his weight pressing heavily. I use it as my toilet bowl to defecate on. rushing past the throat full of indigestible vocabulary others made me eat.' He led me into a room where there was water and a bucket. 'You need rest. He said. he got up. He laid me down. 'I will take care of you' as he undressed. 61 . bitter words pushing up like acid on my esophagus. when spasms and cramps contract my abdomen. That seemed good. Leaving a twenty-peso bill he told me.' That seemed good. dropping them on the floor. to clear himself of all my stains. My hair still wet. That Seemed Good He found me wandering in Quiapo* and offered to take me home. 'Buy yourself some candy. I watched him get close to me.' That seemed good.Ordinary Words My friend’s ear My friend's ear is my kitchen sink of stainless steel where I puke. First. 'You need a good bath to remove all that grease off your body. He cleaned me up with soap. My friend knows when to press the lever down on the pop-up drain. His hands polished parts of me to his satisfaction. my bowels unable to halt fluid like secretion crashing against the white-glazed porcelain. He led me to a bed and said.

chords. beams severed when I disclosed my need to move on from all these manuals.Ordinary Words Resignation Letter He's browsing some papers on the table where I extended my hand last unacknowledged hanging like a bridge fracturedties. 62 . Gantt chart and calendars on the white board. The letter is left unopened on his desk like metal-bending waters that stayed. row of thick books.

...................................................................................41 Faulty Exegesis ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................35 Cold breakfast ........................................................................53 A worded math problem ...........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................17 A Matter of Fact* ......26 After the rain* .................................................................................................................40 After Dinner ................................................................................................................................................55 63 ...........................................................................................................10 Bleeding wound ..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................21 A red rose ..39 Cold weather ..........................23 Cold Seat..............................................................................................................................................................................36 Distracted .....................................................................................................43 A dead poem..................51 Detox ......................................................................26 Craftsmanship ............60 Fireworks ..........................................................................................................................................................................Ordinary Words Index A Box to Fill Up* ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................18 Empty Space ..............................................................................................15 A love poem* .............................................................................................................................................................................................30 Epilogue .40 Black Sky* .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................24 Centerfold...............................................................................23 April Fool’s Day ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 7 A Promise to Keep........................................................................................................................

........................................................................................................................................................................................................54 My friend’s ear ..........................................................................................33 In the shadows* ...........................................................................................................................................................19 Insight ......................................................20 Home* ...........................................................................................................................................................................53 No Better Time*..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................11 64 ...........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................34 Homecoming........................................................................................................................................................61 New Year Fragments .........................................................51 Internal Fracture ...............................................................................................................................................................41 Puppet .................................................................................................................................................57 On Valentine’s Day* ......................................................32 Intersection....................34 Pieces ....................................................................................................................... 8 Not Being Here*.........................................................................................14 Lost* ..............................................46 Lumphuni Lotus Flower .............................38 Parousia* ............14 In the calm morning ..........................................................48 Miniloc Waters*.............................................................Ordinary Words Fly* ...................................................................................................49 No Rule of Three ................................................48 Like a dog ..22 Have you seen love? ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 9 Green Grass .................................................................49 Half-Open Door ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 8 Knife in my throat ..................................................................................................................................................................................11 Instructions for Timothy ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................35 Mobile Church .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................60 Morning after Halloween .........44 In the New Station ...............................................................................................................................................................................................................................24 Macabebe ..................................................................................................34 Our Skies .............................43 Old Quezon Bridge ..................................................

.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................50 Sketch ................................................................................................................................................. Jonathan* ................................................................................................35 Still Clear* ..........................22 The Train Ride is Over .....................................................................29 This is not a love poem (again) ...........................................................57 Seminar Notes ...Ordinary Words Raining in Orchard Road* ........................................................................................................................10 Simple Statements ...........................................12 Siesta .................................................................................................................................................................................................21 Starry Nights ...........................................................................38 This bed* ......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................47 To my brother.............................18 Starboard* ................................................39 This summer has ended .......................................................................................................................................................................44 Sacrilege ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................17 Straight Lines* ..............................25 This heaven ..........................................................................................................................................................................................20 Unlit Road .................50 Ripped Apart .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................62 Rightist Burial...................................................................19 This man ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................44 Threads .36 65 ...................................................55 Starting Over ...........................54 The shortest distance between you and me .....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................45 Resignation Letter .......................................................................60 Silence .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................57 This New Year’s Eve ...........................45 To return ..........................36 Unrestrained ............................................................. 7 That Seemed Good...........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................61 The Chinese sprinter ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................58 So Dry and Still* .............33 Rainy August ...............................................

........................................32 Work space ............................................................................................15 66 ...........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................Ordinary Words Vanishing point .............................................................................................................................47 You .......................................................................................................................................................................56 Worth more than twenty-one roses ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................37 Your absence bites .........................................53 W(Age)s* .........................................................................46 What is after forever? ......28 You left before I could ......27 Your exit .............................................................12 When the saxophone moans ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 9 Zero degrees Celsius ...........................................................................................31 Violent waters................................................................................................27 When wounds heal ............................................................................................................................................

Ordinary Words 67 .

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