Kalawang Katiyakan

Mala-kahel na kayumanggi
ang compound na ito
Iron Oxide sa Ingles
Fe₂O₃ sa Kimika
parehong wikang banyaga.
Sa karaniwang pananalita
bubong ito ng barungbarong
sinubok ng panahon
Inulan, binagyo’t naarawan
kaya’t madaling tablan
Kung paulit-ulit nga naman
at may pormula na ang bagay-bagay
pakikibaka ba ay tunay?
Kung nangungusap ang mga mata,
bakit pa kailangan ng mga salita?
Kung lahat ay tiyak na
para saan pa ang mga tula?
Kalawang ang katiyakan
at may saysay sa kawalan

Crumble

Cursed-the world is-
At the core, this
Pandemonium crept
Irking the inept
Taxing the prole
Above all, the scowl
Lifts the facade
Industries have worn
See the strange compromise:
Men over women

White over black
Ah! That hierarchy of yore
Strong over weak

Alas! But learning the lore

Limbered the rank and file
In retirement, with
Ease, watch it crumble!

Collagen

Ilang taon, tanong nila
(Sagot) A?
Parang di naman (sagot), ke bata niya tignan
Parang ako pa namali ng sagot, aywan

Lingid sa kanila,
Ilan sa kinahuhumalingan niya:
Bigen at jobos na kulay itim para sa buhok
Ba-bye puting sulok

‘Pag nga salmon ang ulam
Collagen sa pinggan niya ang imbakan
‘Yung balat-balat, taba-taba ng isda
‘Yun ang sa tuhod niya inirekomenda

Ilang taon na nga ba siya?
Kumakain ng balat at taba
Sabi niya, kaya siya tumaba
Sa pagkain ng tira ko no’ng ako’y bata pa

Hanggang ngayon naman,
Sa tuwing napapadami ang sandok ko
Sa alok ng mundong ‘to,
Si Mommy pa rin ang umaako.

Mahal ka namin, ma! Salamat sa walang-sawang pag-aaruga! Maligayang araw ng mga ina!

I See You in the Spaces

I see you in the patio
Sunlight still low
Taking a sip of coffee
On a filigree
And how ornate! I thought
How you brace yourself for the day’s bout

I see you in the market
Oh, the way you fret
Brows furrowed
Beneath the clothes of old
In dear voice,
“Suki, that’s 3 for 100”

I see you in the calendar
Am I taking it too far?
We’re only in the month of May
But I might say
I am frayed,
Staid

I see you in the canvas
An obra maestra, ’twas
Strokes of light in orange, yellow
But mostly blue in color
“Longing” in acrylics
Dimensions: here and now

I see you in the photos
You weren’t really there, no
In the halations
Graduations, celebrations
I still wrestle with
The negative spaces

I see you in the spaces
In blank pages
Between paragraphs,
Lines and words
In the absence of which
Makes all else gibberish

I see you in the spaces
Between now and never
And what could’ve been
Goes only as far as my imagination
But I see you in the spaces
And transience in this world
Is made bearable

Happy birthday up there! Hope you’re having a blast!

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