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

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

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

the laptop powered down. Regardless. all Lego.Ordinary Words Seminar Notes A lecture is the music in the room. The screen blanked. that a young boy found after riding a tuktuk whose driver charges fast forward. old math counts in whole numbers much simpler than algebra. 12 . a media player on Windows. 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. what's after forever lingering is a question mark. 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.

Ordinary Words About Poems 13 .

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

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

Love & Marriage 16 .Ordinary Words Sex.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ended but I didn't care. to boom myself. to dislodge the loneliness draping my heart. Above the clouds I see stars appearing. to let go. 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. the earth expelling it into the air. I unlock the belt that held my thoughts that could stagger in the corridor while the safety-belt warning sign flashes in the ceiling. I want to roar. I look down at earthly objects vanishing to a point. 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. but my attachments stall my lift. like the earth the plane. I waited for a star to look into my eyes. The featured movie played.where she probably hides.

Your eyes were drained of tears long before by countless wounds from tripping over unsteady hearts. I hear people raise their voices: Turning around I seeyou. 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. I recall.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. It doesn't feel anything. It fractured me in ways invisible to you spreading like a crack until we are pulled apart like metals tired of each other where the sex hurts like the weight of a jet engine sheared from the wing. then free falls. The moment flashes back: First out of the boat. you noted. fallen on the pier. lost your balance when the boat moved and all your weight was carried by your knee. 32 . I sighed. now bloodied. Yes. Something else dies when wounds heal. You didn't cry nor wince.

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

Parousia* He waits by the table like a disciple. she will choose to land. The distinct sound of her wings. His eyes did sparkle like a soda drink before the acid strikes a hungry stomach. 34 . Picking up another one. whistling. then shakes his head.Ordinary Words On Valentine’s Day* He returns the card to its display row as if letting go a spent balloon. he studies it like a pretty face in a coffee-drinking crowd. keeping watch for signs of her arrivalher feet shuffling. her shadow sliding underneath the wooden door until a knock ruptures his silence-she calling out his name. 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. confirms her reprise.

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

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

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

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

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

and break her down like a puzzle. Go ahead. 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. as sunlight broke through the trees dotting the expressway. simplify her complex polynomials. a complex set of algebraic equations. Plot on paper what you foundpoints of tangency. April Fool’s Day I laughed when you said good-bye on April Fool's day.Ordinary Words A worded math problem She is a worded math problem. 40 .

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

Ordinary Words Death 42 .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ordinary Words Images 52 .

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ordinary Words Others 59 .

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

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

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. beams severed when I disclosed my need to move on from all these manuals. chords. Gantt chart and calendars on the white board. 62 .

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

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

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

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

Ordinary Words 67 .

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