No matter how hard you try,

this poem, for you may only

pretend to be a poem:

no dash of salt

no waves nor seagulls

no rose thorns stuck in

an old woman’s tongue.

It’s like a picture

snapped while we were talking

on the phone last night:

my dirty finger was poking

out of my left ear

digging through your muck

of cold sweaty words

(your socks were in your mouth,

your toes were sticking out).

My lips crawled back to where

my gums should have been.

My cheeks puffed up from eating

too much shrimp,

and when the crack split

there was only this




when I laughed

and I hummed out your name.

I was telling you how the funeral went.

My aunt stood on the hallway

fishing mourners

with a plateful of nacho chips.

She was wearing

grandpa’s 24 karat necklace.

My grandma lost her screws

and did an impression

of her favorite pet poodle Fifi.

She ate all her newborn puppies.

My cousin was reciting poetry.

And in the box,

there was an old man sleeping

and he was grinning at me

so I grinned back

and when I did, the old man woke up

and through the glass cover

my eyes stared at me

and his eyes stared back.

(for Lolo)-

A Feast of True Filipino music


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