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Posts Tagged ‘smell’

No amount of words can bridge

the distance of years in silence-

because the sun hides its face

like the way a tyke, fatherless

and left out into the world

to fend for himself. Alone.

 

Someone has to refuse

to become the victim anymore.

You knock some doors

and it is locked. You are not

welcome there. And a hand

is restrained to touch his own

 

shadow or an image reflected

a life mirrored in water.

Disowned molting who just

learned its first flight

and give ambled wings

to shattered dreams.

 

Of the smell of gunpowder.

The handprints on paperbills

and the bitter taste of wine.

None of which represents

your true bone stripped of flesh.

An animal with no redemption-

heartless and chained.

 

You will refuse to let the past

define you of who you will become.

 

And you begin the journey

to a place of faceless and nameless

strangers. You will exist

as though you just have lived

and strip down the shadow

as an old clothing. Naked and free

shimmering like a newborn child.

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The hours tick like sound of punch cards

in this corporate machine treating

people like ants filed into ranks.

Mountain of paperwork  piled up

into sandbags. Bring it on, breach

my levee and let me drown forgetting.

 

Labor becomes a habit. Of numbness

and enjoying the suffering.

 

Like the sound of water from the tap

during a morning ritual in oblivion-

silence resonates like a hidden bell.

I wait until it fills the tub overflowing

down the rim and the clock raced

to the minutes rushing for the train.

 

Like the way the thinning soap glides

my body and the necessity to wash

away yesterday’s worry-rat smell-

that doomsday spell. A thank you note

and the termination letter. The downsizing

and the news keep rolling off the press.

People pick up some gossips to chew

and I am excited to blab my hunger.

 

Like the constant whining of the weekend

laundry, hoping detergents rinse the stains

and filth of missed deadlines. And overtime.

And I got the time to soak away thinking

about the next line to a poem, capturing it

before it goes down the drain. In limbo.

 

And I hope to keep afloat above it 

like a flotsam of dreams in a stream

carried away in the fading of days.

Figuring it out how to bailout myself 

like a straw in deep water.

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Think about the pen and the fingerprints

romancing in the glistening dust against the sunlight.

The faded photographs with watermarks

of remembrances salvaged from the past.

Brittle to touch and slowly turning to ashes.

 

Think about the bookmarks of dried rose petals

and the faint smell imprinted to the pages,

rescued from the years of forgetting the ones

that mattered most. And the dreams that never

meant to be owned like the earth where I stand.

 

If the promise of coming back becomes a distant memory-

counting each sunrises and every new moons. Let hope

travel its feet while I sit beside by the window waiting.

For innocence will turn my graying hairs to white

and youth will leave me like the wilted leaves of autumn.

 

The season changes and they say time heals every wound.

But the scars of our love-thorned lives remains relived

in our book of days. I wish the summer winds will carry

the ashes until forgetting. I wish sleep will banish the things

which I failed to tell you when you left me. I moved on.

 

I have written letters with the pen until it dried out of ink

I have recorded our memories for fear that it will be lost too.

And my waning mind gave birth to words I have bookmarked

with fresh flowers that blooms from the same earth I will lay

with my dreams. I am not afraid anymore of the longest night

 

until tomorrow.

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His past smells of a ditch

drying up its putrid stink

as stale as the street air.

It belongs to a smoggy neighborhood.

In the memory of tattered rags

flapping like flags on the clothesline.

As if dreams can be scavenged

out of the hilly mounds

of garbage, dumping its gifts

of someone else’s trash turning

into someone else’s fortune.

 

No one cared about armpits

getting wet and sour for hours,

as long as the bad odors

can promise him little money

to buy fish sauce for rice.

Sniffing heaven on earth-

little angel never complaining

about life, about the linger-

of those occasional whiffs

from the broken sewer.

Nor the rising sting of steam

emanating from his broken skin

pierced by the cruel sun.

 

Nor inhaling the dry cough of cars

and buses farted poison.

The way he exhaled yesterday

walking on a pavement slow,

feeling the throbbing locomotion

churn on his empty stomach.

A street urchin squeezing the crowd

like a fly hopping on a hope

above the grease and grime

that smeared a childhood.

 

He won’t cover the past

with today’s perfume

nor sanitize its images

in suds of detergent.

He’s not ashamed

of the scent of his past-

the smell of poverty

that swarmed his innocence

and have walked

the muddy line across

the nook and cranny

of his every bones.

He survived them all.

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The sanctum smelled of incense and human sweat.

An airless space reverberating whispers of prayer.

She folded a piece of cloth with the holy verse

dipped in animal blood. This is an amulet.

For someone who is afraid of thieves.

 

She knelt across the table ready with her questions

“Do you need a husband? Do you need a wife?”

“Do you need another? Do you need a child?”

“The lines on your palm says you will be rich.”

“The card says you will find your true love.”

 

Then she brought in her candles, started

to light it with a match. She began to read

from a withered book- in its brittle leaves

filled with strange symbols of spells and magic.

Summoning wisdom from the invisible.

 

“Someone wants to harm you, better beware.”

“Keep this stone in a bottle and hide it in your closet.”

She has seen it all- customers come and go

leaving her money for that token of gratitude.

And accepting them as a way of getting by.

 

She keep on caressing the old crystal ball,

ignoring the signs of her grey and thinning hair.

She believed she has power to prevail death.

But  time slowly creeps like a thief in the night

when she can no longer be speaking about

 

the future.

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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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