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

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

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. 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. 11 . Insight The enlightenment desired when reading lines lies in control. Reach out to that knob. It could be w__ i___ d ____ e______ r. and ergonomic. purely arbitrary. The ground offers no affinity.Ordinary Words Puppet What if gestures incline a word. The black. turn it clockwise and see the brightness rise and pupils dilate in search of meanings in b ______ r _______o ____ken lines. inclined _______________word ___________is a puppet controlled by key-strokes.

12 . that a young boy found after riding a tuktuk whose driver charges fast forward. what's after forever lingering is a question mark. Regardless. 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. all Lego. with bumpy DVD presentation. Is it definable by numerical positions relative to base 10? How distant can spaces be from each other? So. 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.

Ordinary Words About Poems 13 .

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

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

Ordinary Words Sex. Love & Marriage 16 .

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

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

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

Ordinary Words To return To return is to shuffle recollections. what is felt under this different sky. browned by lack of grass and trees. 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 . This side of the mountain can return its color once again. Where we stood has been altered. its past and present will be one. I can plant seeds here and there. I fear the rains took away whatever is left between us. to superimpose images against what is seen. black against an earth. if you let me. if you just say so. Before us are rocks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The longing lingers in every synapse where you used to be. He is playing Mangione like a broken-heart’s groan. 27 . The saxophone moans. to cool it down. drifting high. If I were the saxophone. while despair hogs the seats around me. I tried the shower to wash away bites of longing for you. holding it captive. low. Instead. painful and itchy. its cry lingering filling me up with notes.Ordinary Words Your absence bites Your absence bites like ants that swarm on my skin. But your absence left its marks all over my mind. 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. overloads my nervous system. then back as I drink the wine. agile fingers would caress me. drain it off from consciousness like water to the sink. When the saxophone moans Melancholy fills the wine glass. I sit here with the wailing tunes listening to a lady bawl her lines as if they were mine.

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

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

on its two sides. stowed under your desk. It remained still. is undiminished by the checkered. nor a squeak from the metal support whenever you turned around my way. But unlike me. touching the stiff black arms. it doesn't care for your absence nor for the silence of the space where you once were. 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. grey and black fabric hiding the strength of steel partly exposed underneath its structure. 30 .

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

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

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

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. Parousia* He waits by the table like a disciple. The distinct sound of her wings. keeping watch for signs of her arrivalher feet shuffling. confirms her reprise. 34 . she will choose to land. Picking up another one. His eyes did sparkle like a soda drink before the acid strikes a hungry stomach. 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. whistling. her shadow sliding underneath the wooden door until a knock ruptures his silence-she calling out his name. then shakes his head.

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

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

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

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

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

as sunlight broke through the trees dotting the expressway. a complex set of algebraic equations. April Fool’s Day I laughed when you said good-bye on April Fool's day. and break her down like a puzzle. 40 . Don't be distracted by her voluptuous data in long-winded clauses. 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.Ordinary Words A worded math problem She is a worded math problem. Plot on paper what you foundpoints of tangency. Go ahead. simplify her complex polynomials.

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

Ordinary Words Death 42 .

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

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

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

now black is the motif. the marriage is given up like doves let go on wedding day. what is up next?' As he lays out what to expect. W(Age)s* "Stipendia enim peccati mors gratia autem. I lost you in the details of many new morningsmourning. 46 . Soon.Ordinary Words Lost* He confides 'She only has a few days left. 'So. The day you leave I will be somewhere else looking for you in places we have been." Breath-deprived. we'll reach the terminal (si non sola mors me et te separaverit) but the road is still bumpy up ahead. Where before the bride wears white.' Fighting the loss of breath I ask. the sun eclipsed by clouds. 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.

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. who will cut off the fly from a spider's fiber. You know I would but you left before I could. sought your warm embrace. I miss you whenever I am sad or lonely. You left before I could I miss you mom whenever I am happy. recalling times I rested my head on your slim shoulders. 47 . and broke your heart. You know I would but you left before i could. for the choices I made that differed from yours. I did run to you.Ordinary Words Threads If life were measured like a thread. made you sigh. I miss you mom whenever I felt returning all the love you gave and shared. and wasted your time with my crazy lines. the rain digs on the earth a shallow grave. I miss you mom whenever I felt like saying 'thank you' for standing up beside me.

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

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

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

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

Ordinary Words Images 52 .

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ordinary Words Others 59 .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ordinary Words 67 .

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