Monsoon Madness


To Leonard Matlovich

Those cartridges that are empty
are golden like the sunlight
and the highlights of his hair.
He loved

that gold like he loved the petals
of the flowering daffodils gleaming
in the dawn with auric splendor.
The bullets

are scattered like seeds of loss,
two cold bodies of men, oblivious
to the blood that seeps
over the ground



Paano susumpain
ang nagpapatihulog?

Kung ginto 
ang dugong didila
sa mga tipak, 

kung ginto
ang magiging bitak 


Dead Chicken

I murmur an apology to the skull in my hand, 
no lighter than a handful of pesos.
The curve of its beak winds into a low note,
a soulful whistle that carries me to a graveyard 
where I writhe under the soil. 
Schoolboys place me on the end of a twig,
confines me in a box with a spider.
I am no lighter than an eyelash on the cheek
of a wailing daughter, dead mother, dead father
dead everyone, this is a festival of carcasses
Where in the sky forms a beak of its own,
it raises its head to hammer its mouth back down.
Poisonous rainwater and whipping wind,
I think I hear an apology in its zapping too
It says, carry me to Eden on a Sunday evening
where the moths bounce around a dimly lit bulb
in the backyard of your childhood home.
Dogs’ full bellies exposed and frogs dancing
a cotillion of lucky escapes.
At this point I think of my own skull
crushed or ground or fed to a salivating mouth
Would I concern myself then, of forgiveness?
My eyes a glassy mush, a skull void of purpose
What is there to shield against once the head rolls away? 
The blades of grass open a mouth,
always a form of hunger to be satiated
My body becomes host today, and my head, 
a blasphemy of some verse in a holy book 
My murder is nothing but a color,
easily dismissed as a broken crayon. 
Nothing but the earth mourns me and 
I find myself rolling off to sleep, my mind in sepia 
I think about all the dead chickens
and that I am a tick and a tock away
from having my own head crushed. 


The Garden of Beings

long, long serpent slithers 

close with his male human 

lovers wrapped in each other’s 

skins but the aswang does not 

envy a small bit—her lips occupied

with her diwata’s own pair

a vision of brown and ethereal 

whiteness beside the tree that expels

a sigh of contentment as its exposed

roots clutches close its mermaid sweetheart 

underneath these couples grow a grass—green 

as the Eden’s but holy only to us.