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

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

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

what's after forever lingering is a question mark. old math counts in whole numbers much simpler than algebra. that a young boy found after riding a tuktuk whose driver charges fast forward. with bumpy DVD presentation. The screen blanked. a media player on Windows. Is it definable by numerical positions relative to base 10? How distant can spaces be from each other? So. all Lego. 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. Regardless. What is after forever? The precision of a caliper is not in question. the laptop powered down. 12 .Ordinary Words Seminar Notes A lecture is the music in the room.

Ordinary Words About Poems 13 .

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

words give up their spirit while coffee and melatonin deliver their coup de grace. But it was silent about the freezing rain over piled up snow. My poem chills in the cold. With every word frostbitten. the paper murkier than the road. A dead poem His poem lifted my eyes to the ceiling of his ambition. 15 . lines fall apart. the sort that makes people fall asleep or warm themselves up with books. leaving the TV set on all night. breathless. and colored blankets. from where his lines hang down to expose a body. twisted. overhead lights.Ordinary Words Zero degrees Celsius The weather forecast for the city is below zero degrees Celsius. 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 .

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

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

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

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. if you let me. I can plant seeds here and there. 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 . Before us are rocks.Ordinary Words To return To return is to shuffle recollections. Where we stood has been altered. if you just say so. to superimpose images against what is seen. black against an earth. This side of the mountain can return its color once again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ordinary Words This heaven This morning I was lifted up to heaven at a speed of 500 miles an hour. piercing the massive clouds to where the sun shines with clarity at 31. the sun is unhindered.000 feetif these were ordinary strings they would have snapped. 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. blue skies stretch all over. Up here. but they remained tied up to you. 29 . Ten hours in heaven did not do me good. my heart's thoughts with yours.

on its two sides. stowed under your desk. 30 . grey and black fabric hiding the strength of steel partly exposed underneath its structure. it doesn't care for your absence nor for the silence of the space where you once were. It remained still. 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. touching the stiff black arms. But unlike me.Ordinary Words Empty Space The sensuality of the curve flowing downward. is undiminished by the checkered.

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

I recall. It doesn't feel anything. I sighed. 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. now bloodied. you noted.Ordinary Words When wounds heal Do you recall? you asked pointing to the scar on your knee. Something else dies when wounds heal. fallen on the pier. 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 moment flashes back: First out of the boat. then free falls. 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. You didn't cry nor wince. Yes. I hear people raise their voices: Turning around I seeyou. 32 . Your eyes were drained of tears long before by countless wounds from tripping over unsteady hearts. lost your balance when the boat moved and all your weight was carried by your knee.

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

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

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

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

ebony hair quietly fastened on your exposed shoulders. 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. your lips. arms. your long. 37 . But this I rememberyou on my camera viewfinder: your dew-glazed skin shimmering under autumn light. wet with rain. nor the shade of trees. I don't miss Boston looking at your photograph: Not its coffee shops. the brilliance of lamp posts reflected on the pavement.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. with mountains and snow to complete the photograph.

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

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

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

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

Ordinary Words Death 42 .

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

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

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

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

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

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

his physical laws. In a purposeless universe. There is no better time for gravity to bring you back to me. on this sunny day with the grass all green. In this vacuum.Ordinary Words No Better Time* It was a matter of bad timing. 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. Einstein asserted enough about spaces and for you it meant no vacancy. 49 . 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. demonstrating Einstein. there is no room for the sound of your agony. disappearances are just too far away from us. Death happens here regularly.

' 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.' 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. a different life. who tried to make your blood spill to the right instead of leftwill remember this place.' So you went on like husbands and wives do.Ordinary Words Simple Statements It started with your simple disclosure: 'I have a tumor in my lymph nodes. their weight. 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. 50 . I heard your violent coughing. a brief statement was sent out to all of us friends. to match yours. only the agent of coercionthe one who bored a hole into your head. calculating my words. echoing the pain I never knew. except from this you couldn't divorce. 'The chemo is not working. 'It has not reached Stage 1.a search for hope. their tone. Today. how they dragged you away from your routine. One gallon of liquid was taken out of my lungs.

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

Ordinary Words Images 52 .

in his thoughts. 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. The ears catch first the silence. 53 . as it plunges into the cup. He carries on between the presence and absence. leaked by rain clouds above the garden where I stood. You are still here. the shrill bouncing on the walls.Ordinary Words New Year Fragments Darkness breaks up into colors then black. It could break an ear drum. then the blast. Violent waters Her finger met the steam half-way. blinking off and on in his memory.

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. after clearing debris off him. 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. found him curled. as if running away stillwith white rubber shoes.Ordinary Words The Chinese sprinter He lies on the ground. His friend later found him among the rows of the dead. fallen like a house collapsed by a great quake. each one celebrating death. blood. and a Chinese textbook over his face. lips locked with another Sucking life in from each other. In this side of town. stumbled over the shaking earth and the tumbling concrete. Strange masks. 54 . The tremor sprinted past him. as his legs failed to deliver more. every night is Halloween As hands catch another. whose door was used for his makeshift bed.

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

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

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

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

Ordinary Words Others 59 .

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

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

62 . 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.Ordinary Words Resignation Letter He's browsing some papers on the table where I extended my hand last unacknowledged hanging like a bridge fracturedties. row of thick books. chords.

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

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

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

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

Ordinary Words 67 .

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