Thomas

incredulity-of-saint-thomas-1602

The Incredulity of St. Thomas by Caravaggio (1601-2)

With you, no mountain
would move. Yet see
how far he goes
to keep you:
this man,
whose wounds you know so well.
And now your knees falter
at the voice that has once
called you out
of yourself, an entaglement
of boats and nets.
Unless you enter into this torn flesh,
you cannot understand
what it means to bear the weight
of a thousand souls,
you cannot understand
what it means
to touch eternity.

Salvador

Salvador_Dalí_1939.jpg

Salvador Dali, 1939 by Carl Van Vechten

Last night, I dreamed of you, dark-haired and mustachioed,

lying on the surface of your glass-floored theater.

Tristan and Isolde was playing somewhere, and I saw

that the music was coming from your chest.

You asked me if this was a dream,

and I asked you if you were real,

and you responded, “Surreal”.

There you were, dandy as a swallow,

speaking of time and memory

and catastrophes, though in your heart

I saw you pining for your Russian muse and a paintbrush,

as though these were all that mattered in the world—

and seeing my mind, you asked, what else, what else

is left of life but heart—but alas, Salvador,

this was where life failed you,

for the best of all possible hearts

cannot stop clocks from melting.

So there you were,

your clocks were melting,

and you started melting,

and that was the point I knew

that this was a dream,

when you began to point to something I cannot recognize

dying before my eyes.

Patria

 

Juan_Luna_Spoliarium

Spoliarium by Juan Luna (1884)

Today, I lose you

again. And how surprising,

how it happens: always

like a nagging thought

at the back of the mind,

confronted with a peculiar euphoria

clouding the reluctance brewing

in the part of me that holds claim to

decency—always

with a furtive glance at the past

before drifting into

the abyss of uncertainty, the future

looming like an illusion,

like a cloud of opium telling us

the things we like to hear best, then

dooming us to

despair.

 

Today, I am losing you, and it is night,

and this is like

stopping moonbeams from shining

past your window.

You search the room

for signs of sanity: chairs and tables and piles of work

and poetry books that tell you

this will pass, the things you lose

will not matter six years from now,

or three decades from now,

when you have gotten used to it,

the monotony of their absence

becoming the new normal.

Gone

fire in up

Photo from Rappler c/o Chad Booc.  

http://www.rappler.com/nation/127813-up-diliman-faculty-center-fire

 

Ours is a world that thrives on

endings;

these are the axes

of change

and continuity; points

of rebirth.

Not that we want them.

So much of life’s tragedies

happen beyond our wanting.

For what is the human will

against the dogma

of impermanence?

These are the sort of things that

erupt

by the force of inertia, the way

sound dissipates into silence,

the mortality of things

succumbing

to the consequences

of being.

Gravitational Wave, A Poem

This is the way such collisions go:
sound fading into the darkness
of inifinity,
floating past the silent
universe,
its echoes ringing through
a billion years’ worth of
distance,
its resonance outliving
the moment of
tension.

Because this is how it is
with waves, one force
enfolding into
another, rippling through
the boundaries of time and space,
their meaning reduced to
a cipher,
a faint chirp
breathing through platinum
reflectors, like the faint cry
of an aftershock,
though what has happened
has happened–
the collision,
the wave,
light and space shifting
their contours to accomodate
the tragedy:
two black holes
engulfed in each other’s
misery.

Girl before a mirror

girl-before-a-mirror

Pablo Picasso, Girl Before A Mirror (1932)

 

The thing about Picasso, you were telling me,

is the wholeness

of his fragmentation.

We were gazing at the image of a girl

before a mirror, and in my mind,

I was wondering which was the girl,

and which the mirror,

two strangers gazing at each other,

and you prattled on about

cubism; modernity

and

its

compartments.

I nodded as though I were comprehending

everything: the burst of a dozen colors

among the jagged puzzle pieces,

the girl,

the mirror,

the girl inside the mirror,

whichever self is more real.

In the specter of confusions,

the world is clarity,

and the self,

a blur.

Shooting Star

It was my first time

to see one of these

strange and beautiful

creatures of the sky

coming from nowhere,

falling somewhere

no one knows exactly

how they live

and die, at least

for us non-astronomers—

we know so little of shooting stars,

except

to marvel at their

spark and insignificance;

they light up the sky

in a second’s flash, then leave it

pitch black,

not a trace of the fire

that consumed it in

a moment’s ecstasy;

when the moment ends,

it is just one more

shooting star,

though

they say it’s much larger

than you or me, yet God

knows why, though it falls right

before our eyes, it never

seems to fall

on us.

 

Humanity washed ashore

for Aylan

The sea contains your secrets now.

The sea, in its tragedy and calm,

has put you to sleep and cradled

you back to the clenched fists

of a heartless humanity.

How borderless is this world

that offers no escape

but the sea?

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Misencounter

Death always comes

with an element of surprise.

He greets you from behind,

and before you know it,

you’ve fallen into his arms,

faster than you can say,

“Marwan”.

Somewhere, a child longs

for the strong arms of his father.

Somewhere, a leader calls for peace.

They call it misencounter,

this sight of mangled limbs, bloodshot skulls.

Such accidents have become

so commonplace, no one

asks for

forgiveness.

In the farthest Ithaca of your dreams,

Penelope finishes her weaving.

The shroud that is to cover these

torn parts of you sparkles clear

beneath the overcast sky.

They call you heroes,

heroes

of a misencounter.

Your nation mourns for you.

In paradise, you mourn for it.

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Traces

“An ineffaceable trace is not a trace.” – Jacques Derrida

L'echo du Vide by Salvador Dali. (url: http://www.artrepublic.com/prints/13236-lecho-du-vide.html)

L’echo du Vide by Salvador Dali.                                                                           (URL: htttp://www.artrepublic.com/prints/13236-lecho-du-vide.html)

Some agonies harden into dull aches,

momentarily blurred

by the nuisance of smoke steams from old train engines.

Frequently forgotten, yet faintly acknowledged,

like a lingering image at the back of the mind,

scent of an aftershave, rust of an

old metal bar of an

old swing in an

old park…

and you, clenched-fist, clenched-jaw

you, breeze through your days

like an aeroplane caught in the

whiteness of clouds, drinking in

the aimlessness of it all, insisting on

the ordinariness of it all,

glad to be up there, not minding

the occasional vertigo,

the abrupt turbulence,

feigning asphyxia

at the thought of landing.

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