Urban Jungle

Concrete trees mount this jungle?
the home of the corporate hoarders and lunchless laborers.
Sunlight veils its walls, producing shadows 
to shade the windowless homes.
Traffic symphony signals the roofless residents 
to wake-up, to look for a new cardboard sleeping bag
and to scout another cave for slumber.
Elite apes live in concrete treehouses
while peasant roaches creep the cemented ground.
Both live harmoniously
with freshly picked out supermarket fruits
and recycled meat as nourishment.
Garbage fertilizes the jungle streets
and nurtures the strong with bacteria.
Every night, bullet rain blesses this jungle
to purify it from weeds, and blood splatters
the walls, painting a geographical
map of metropolitan mass murders.



I. Gongs


Gods will be angry
If gongs have no harmony.
Strike it properly.


Gongs made of copper.
But it?s a sincere offer.
Marry my daughter.


The gong?s an heirloom.
Perfect present from the groom.
No love, meet your doom.


Candy Keeps An Island Alive

Every December, my uncle pops rice paper candies in my palm. 
They barely survive the voyage to mouth. I can?t explain 
how the heat from my supplicate hands boil its sugary coat. 
When it gets to my mouth, 
lingers like an island, saliva aquamarine,   
           pacific ocean tongue. Sucks out the gummy bits. 
They cross miles and miles for me to digest, take the plastic out 
of the ground and crumple, sounds like a song.   

This is why I wear charms and keep a birthright in black hair,
be the flour in the pandesal, the sweet ensaymada, 
           fathers kimchi, I take it upon myself.
This candy sends me to sugary tombstone where I indulge 
for a second, imagine this is what 
their dirt taste like and how  
could America taste better than this?


At Napagod ang Hagdan

Maya?t maya ang pagdaan mo sa aking mga baytang, 
Tila isang dambuhalang dumadagan sa katawan. 
Malimit pang magmadali ang hakbang mong may pagyanig, 
Na para bang isang lindol at ikaw lang itong manhid. 

Kadalasan ay ako rin ang ?yong tagpuang-pag-ibig, 
O di kay? ay up?an o patung?n ng ?yong g?mit. 
Sa ?kin mo rin iniiwan ang basurang ikinalat, 
At ang dura mong animo?y luha niyong mga ulap. 

At sa hul? ay muli kang nanlalata sa pagdating, 
Mabibigat ang ?yong hakbang at mayroon kang hina?ng. 
Sinabi mo?y pag?d ka na sa pagbaba at pagpanhik, 
Tugon sana?y pag?d na rin ako sa ?yong pagbabalik.

Aklat Antolohiya ng LIRA Fellows 2018, Great Concept Printing Co., November 2018

Liwayway Magazine, Manila Bulletin, Marso 2019