Growing Old


Before, when the scorpion
in my blood still

ached to sting, the rain of your hair
on my cheek, or the mere flicking

of your hip, or even just the tiny
triangle carved on your breast could

grub thirst in my throat; and, oh, how
many times did we paint Malacañang

wall red? Now that the scorpion
in my blood has already lain

limp, I just want to sit and listen
to your voice, I’m contented taking

a sip of nectar from your meta-
phors of love and revolution.


a sudden thud hit my groin

A sudden thud hit my groin –
a nameless force so strong
that I lost the light.
And I lay there on the street,
baring my breast to the beast
roaming around in my dreams.
Why can’t I slay her? Why,
with all the powers of silence
and sighs, can’t I slay her?
The moment I think of defeating her,
she lurks with the fangs
that glitter under the wounded moon.

No one needs death. Dying
is just a trickery of sorrow,
pretending to maim, to numb the senses.
But even in death, metaphors hover
and haunt the poet. Death,
therefore, never settles anything;
it only sharpens whatever dreams have blurred.
Symbols strike their targets so shortly
that they fade the moment they assume

Cotton candies taste like wine.
Try them with your eyes closed
and feel the clouds swirl in your throat.
Extend your hands sideways
and you’ll know how birds learn to fly.
Flap your hands and your face will bathe in fog –
so pure, so blue, bleeding like a bloodless corpse.

Imagination is not fond of mimicry;
it conjures only what is real but yet unrevealed.

‘Why should your body lie on this forlorn street my child?’
God asked me. And I felt that my skin is of earth and on it
crisscross spiky beliefs and ideologies of self-righteousness
of bigotry, of maiming, of killing.

Survive! you who fit this wretched world the most;
but bear the brunt of the scourge of impotency.
Emmanuel, your god is in you. Summon the demon,
let it prostrate before you, but bear in mind the bareness
and barrenness of this truth: prostate gland
can never desecrate what is sacred.

Scared of scars and scarcity,
the economists hurl holy rocks
against the howling wilderness of hunger.
Why can’t they turn these stones into bread?
Why can’t they turn these wastes into waving
waistlines of wisemen who visited Jesus in the manger?

I can no longer dream of a white christmas,
my measled toe is burning with love
of Africa. Mandela, how many prisons
does a man need to gain the world market of ideas
and orgasms? Why can’t we eject our souls like a cd?

Spring sprouts like tubers, but plumbing needs tubes
and plastic straw through which the public trust
will be sucked and pubic hairs
will be hot oiled and groomed.

Some of the giants are really gigantic,
like the tsunamis braved by muro ami’s.
But even then, the vase of roses still tantalize
the eyes of a lion. And the sea shells,
the sea shells just lie there like my body,
waiting but not expecting anyone.
Just there, ready to offer the songs of the sea
for those who understand why do an abandoned corpse
decompose while a moribund composition uplift the soul.

Enlighten me my friend: is life really just a wink?

31 january/ 13 february 2007