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Posts Tagged ‘stomach’

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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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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At young age, I was severely smacked down by our pet dog.  When my father learned about it, he brought down his gun and pulled the trigger. The dog instantly died. But I was hospitalized, sending my parents into panic if I had contracted the dreaded rabies.  But thank God, there is no indication of infection.

Through the years, the wounds got healed. But the mark of that dog’s bite has deeply sliced through my heart.  Everytime, I see through their eyes are thousand words that connects me to their world. No matter how ferocious they can be, my heart will melt at the sight of those angelic beings wagging their tails when they meet you.

I had never been hateful of dogs, even if I had that bad  incident. And I am just into thinking, if that one incident has something to do with this affinity to the canine creatures. I guess so. There are just so many dogs who came in and out of my life.  And I can feel the pain whenever the time of separation ensues. I can’t bear the thought of leaving them there when I have to be somewhere.

I remember Cotton. A fluffy haired white dog who lived long enough with us since childhood and became part of our family. Everybody just adored her though she never had any puppies. But she became a loyal and faithful dog who never tires to come to you when she is called.  I remember as a child, I would join in whenever my aunt will bathe her by the garden hose. Oh, I would just love chasing her running away whisking out the water away from its body.

When I was in gradeschool, my father and my mother have left us to the care of our grandparents  to return to Manila for work.  I felt the loss of connection.  I am in limbo. I felt emptiness. But a dog has saved the day and made me assured of company from then on.  But like the others, the dog died and I was in deep sadness. I can still recall how I invited my playmates to come with me under the guava tree , to have a funeral for the dog.  I made some wooden cross, some santan flowers plucked from a neighbor’s garden  and put in on top of the mound.  When my grandmother have found out, she was so angry with me and shouted to stop the ridiculous thing or I would got spanked.

I have forgotten some of the names of my dogs. But most of them, I remember them giving birth underneath my bed.  Then in the morning, I will hear some little cute noises from its newly born puppies.  There is a dog who still remembered me even after three years of separation. When I held her to my arms, she gave out a heartfelt cry like a long lost child.  There is a dog that looks like a tiger who have gone missing after a New Year’s celebration. There is also a dog who  one day came home before dying. We later discovered that he got a huge knife cut in his stomach by some heartless bystanders in the street.

I remember Vladimir, the  dog who is sleeping during the day but a guardian through the night.  I remember Ella, my aunt’s dog in Cavite, who walks like a polio victim due to some birth defects, but she managed to have two beautiful puppies Jack and Ace. I remember Fubu, An-an’s dog in Fujeirah who loves Filipinos that much.

But for now, I try not to have a dog.  I don’t want to have the same feeling of loss anymore when something happens to them.  And the  pain of losing them just lingers so long.  I can’t help it. But the fondness I would remember, is when those innocent eyes of the dog would  search you through and start wagging their tails as a sign that they trust you enough. That you can be their dearest friend for life.

A dog is indeed a man’s bestfriend.

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