Phantom

“We are all a prisoner here of our own device” – Eagles

Here I stand, fastened to the void and fallen to the abyss.

The walls seem to get closer and closer,

the light flickers rabidly,

and the room shrinks to hollow spaces.

Stifled voices in my mind follow an eerie silence.

For a swift moment, I forgot 

how the wind tastes like when basking in the sunlight.

Or what the sun even looks like at all.

Solitude.

To some, it’s heaven.
To some, it’s hell.

One thing is for certain–

its cosmic continuity, 

the unending uncertainty of the certain.

 

Little Rose

eyes drooped, all drowsy
she trudges on the street
with single stemmed roses
tucked in her little palms

forget the stench reeking
from the creek on her side
forget the mud smeared
on her ragged slippers

she keeps the roses
shielded in her chest
as she tries to count
the church pinnacles

on Sundays,
she’d sell Sampaguita

but tonight, a Valentine’s night
she has roses to sell
as she was told
that women like roses

yet, she never liked it
nor any flower
devoid of roots

the bell finally struck
and she dashes to the gate
as though she was a child
fleeing to her mother’s bosom

her little body wades against
waves of people storming out

their noise faints
the cracks in her voice
as she recites her lines
bili na po kayo

Six more stems wilt in her grasp
six more steps from the road,
she pleads
longing for home

———————————

Note: This poem is dedicated to the little girls, left alone and hungered on the streets, selling red roses on the night of Valentine’s a few years ago; may these words shed light to the irony and dismaying reality that is this life.

Tonight, we drink

Tonight, the light dims
as the shots pour
like rainwater dripping
from a broken roof

Tonight, we drown
in burning tequila
–salt on the lips,
like a filthy kiss

Tonight, the spirits spill
from our mouth
like euphoria fading
when midnight comes

Tonight, we drink
and waste away
so tomorrow,
we live again

On Edge

“Calm down!”

they said

but they do not see
the fingers
trembling behind you

they do not hear
the growling
in your beating pulses

they do not feel
the thumps
on your withered chest

they do not smell
the terror
in the smile you feigned

and they do not know
the ruins
and the nightmares
that befall you
and chain your mind