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Posts Tagged ‘reach’

The clock strikes the twelfth hour.

As the familiar sound of wind chimes signals

another year of moving on,  slow and steady.

Remembering the images of the man

within the constant, shifting revolutions

of sunrise and sundown in this woman’s life.

 

Witnessing how lifelong travels have ended,

forging across countless dinnertime of growing old.

Around the fireplace, rekindling romance.

Recalling the stories of the fishermen,

of sailors down the Mediterranean.

Of cowboys in the Wild West

and the wildlife in Africa.

Of the mystical journeys

from the sands of Arabia

to the sands of Samarkand.

 

Those intimate exchanges of lofty dreams

and grand ambitions traveling marvelous

distances of north going down south.

The eastern spring and the wintry west.

Witnessing how she listened. And almost

forgot the difference, whether it is

the story of this man’s life in the stories.

Or simple make-believe.

 

Witnessing how she wobbled achingly

at her feet standing up and lighting a candle,

whispering a prayer. Memories became

mighty flexing arms reaching out for the years.

Discovering the man who makes her laugh

and who makes her cry the silent tears.

Witnessing a love that will never grow old.

Those quiet devotion as ageless and tireless,

pacing along with the hands of time.

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Today. I start

bringing in new logs

I felled from my fortress.

I will coat them anew

in fresh paint of goodwill.

I will securely fasten

each wooden plug,

each wooden cleat,

each wooden brace

to build us a stronger span.

Against the strong winds

and the storm that will try

to bring us down.

 

I will fortify the foundation,

reinforcing the tablet of stones-

your kind words into my memory.

As the arch of my hands

stretches out to reach you,

in peace.

 

Gone are the moments

when anger flickers

like flames of fire

among us. Gone

are the days

of charred remains-

the ebony nights, in tears.

Of the years when

turbulent waters

divide us. I start

 

to mend the bridges

I burned before.

That is to say, I am

opening the carriageway

of warm exchanges-

crossing to your side,

once again.  Someday.

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To Pablo Neruda

I write these letters in smoke. They are fog

to the starry night of the south where you existed,  

circumnavigated the world, then extinguished

as a flame, long before I was born.

 

You said you had lived in the springtime

among the cherry blossoms of the west. While

here on this island, I had lived humming

lullabye amidst the scorched patches of sand.

 

I cannot sit still and my memory was filled

of your presence here. I can hear your voice

from a distant time and place. Your voice has traveled

and finally touch down inwardly and it lingers.

 

Tonight, the sad lines of your verses haunt me forever,

love is short and forgetting is so long”.

I chewed the words on my empty stomach

as the light from your waning moon fills my room.

 

I have no windows, they are shattered.  There is no door to enter,

so you don’t need to knock.  Inside my house is fire left by bombs

and gunfire.  And on my earthened floor are scattered pieces

of limbs and severed heads of dead dogs and cats devoid of shelter.

 

I have seen the heaven through the bullet holes on my tin roof.

And the fire is still burning from within. I have seen the clouds

unfolding and unfastened as I became the enemy of the gods,

pot-bellied in the pulpit- imposing cruelty to fools purchasing piety.

 

I have been an inheritor of misfortune, like a stubborn root

of an old dying tree, digging the earth to its graveyard, a tomb.

I seek to find in this endless tunnel, a repose for my corpse-

stiff, in pain and left there naked, writhing in the cold.

 

I can no longer find the stars in the night sky, Pablo.

And the tears begin to fall like rain on the tin roof.

Outside, you wailed a storm, flooding my being,

persistent, engulfing me with the soliloquy of the night.

 

This bed I made out of the coconut tree, lacerating my body

of little knives, that have sliced and shredded my soul. And I

smelled of the blood through the blade of your words

as I whisked them away to the westerly winds to reach you.

 

I ask you. Why things happened this way? History blood-stained.

And the sea mourns while changing course of the mighty river.

In the horizon, a crimson tide of the many who died seeking the meaning

of their lives. And the night birds still singing their lonely dirge.

 

I ask you. Where are the lilac? Immortalized in sonnets by men,

those middle-aged aristocrats. And the women becoming birds of prey,

caged and waiting to be sold.  Incessantly knocking on the doors

to see some faint hope traversing the day into their neon light.

 

Where are the language of stars? Deciphered by hypnotized strangers

who quest for clues and signs and wonders.  Why does the rain

did not stop from falling? I am bailing out to exist from this deluge,

finding redemption while concealing my cowardice. I cannot fight.

 

I am poor, Pablo. But I know your name. And the dense earth that

we both lived, became the pavement for  marching foot falls

of the many striving to live to see until their dying day- freedom,

justice and equality. Unanswered like prayers, unheard of the divine.

 

Your verses did not speak of dreams and leaves and great volcanoes

of your native land.  Your verses did not promise the opium

that will heal the wounds of time.  But your verses have spoken

of the blood in the streets.  And the blood in the streets, I have seen.

 

I will offer an elegy in my homeland. I will sing your song in vain,

hoping for someone to hear and join me singing your immortal chorus.

Your ashes I would want to scatter into the night clouds until tomorrow.

When morning will be awakened by pilgrims sojourning the other world.

 

And still, I am waiting for the stars to appear in the Far-east. I had

only a rose to your funeral.  I will not be able to attend. But I will

whisper to the westerly winds my discontent and the endless despair

you will hear from the shore of this island, questioning existence.

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A little rain. And it started

to chill empty souls as shadows

prowling  some pallid walls. Alone

and not a sound.  Some midnight walk

without the stars, only lamplight. Blue.

Is the color that falls on these cold

cobblestone, silver shimmering

streams of tears by its wayside.

While the heart has melted

the shape of love, lengthening

into dark shadows embracing

empty spaces. Stretching out

to reach you.

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I once had the chance to swim the Pasig River when I was just about five or six, I guess.  An uncle, who was a robust teenager that time, invited by his friends, tagged me along with him one afternoon.  We walked across J.P Rizal street and descended some flight of steps going to the not-so-murky water.

Uncle led my hand and told me not to be afraid. And when we dipped ourselves into the water, I felt the river current slowly pushing its force against my fragile frame. Suddenly uncle let go of his hand, and I was left wading by myself. He just laughed and laughed, along with his friends to see me panicking and gasping for breath. When I was just about to submerge into the water, he just snatched my hand in time and landed me safely back to the steps.

I was panting heavily as I watched amazingly to uncle and his friends vigorously swimming against the river current. Hoping that I could grow instantly  and have the strength to swim as long as I wish. 

But when aunt, uncle’s big sister, learned of our little river escapade, she scolded uncle for taking me down to the river, saying that the polluted water could make me more sick.  And aunt blares her disappointment at the two of us and told  me that it is too dangerous to swim in Pasig River, and I could get myself drowned.  My mother has allowed me to stay at aunt’s home for the summer to have my routinary medical EENT checkups. 

I just kept on listening to my aunt’s endless rant to uncle and heard her say that she was really disappointed with me and could send me right away back home. But I just  smiled  and throw a toothy grin to uncle, silently thanking him for taking me down the river.

I am thanking him for expanding the fragiled radius of my being. A new-found freedom, to allay fear of not sizing up to what other boys of my age can do. I don’t want my being sickly hamper the extent of what I can do. To belong and be accepted to a fraternal brotherhood like uncle’s.  And it is a feat that begins my tearing down of the walls of my sheltered existence.  A youthful independence. 

I am thanking him, because that’s when I have learned to stand up and defend myself when I am being wronged. To keep up heading on even when the circumstances are getting against me like a fierce river current drowning all the strength I could muster.  To exceed the limitations of what my mind tells me that I can only achieve that much.

As a child then, I believe, most of us, have become warriors against our own. When we have learned how to be brave even when we were afraid and often get discouraged.  When we  are walking out there in the world,  somewhere, winning our inner battles and living uncertainly day by day, and never giving up. 

Pasig River is my Rubicon,  where a warrior child in me has been borne out of the mighty rush of the river current while bailing myself out for survival. An invisible force pushing me to edge out and discover frontiers I have never been to before, now possible and within reach.    

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