shorted

 

sometimes smoke tells,

and sometimes it tells lies.

 

sometimes we jump to conclusions

and then our conclusion dies.

 

sometimes stereotypes tell,

and sometimes they break the rules –

 

a book is judged by its cover

by fools.

 

yet sometimes unthinkables happen,

like bubbles in molten glass,

 

fires burst from shorted circuits,

“and it came to pass…”

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darkness overwhelming

Have you but glimpsed beyond the hidden,
The secret thoughts of you,
You would know the color of darkness,
Blacker than black,
Inkier than the thickest, deepest shade of blackest ink,
And that would be the mirror
Of you staring at yourself
In undisguise,
In ungood,
In unpretense.

Have you but glimpsed beyond the hypocrisy,
The shallow smiles that never reach your eyes,
You would know yourself,
More than you ever thought you did,
Or do,
It would be looking in a mirror,
And seeing not the youthful face of your ostensible life,
But rather the truer form,
The Dorian Gray you hide from the world.

Have you but glimpsed beyond the letters of the law
You have phariseed about upholding,
You would see the whiteness of your raiment,
The whiteness of your hands,
The whiteness of your face,
Even the whiteness that mirror yourself,
In all the splendor of your whited sepulcher,
In all the truth of your pretended righteousness.

Have you but glimpsed
At your own wickedness,
As I had on my own,
You would have more mercy
On such a publican
As I.

 

the road to carmel

the road was dusty, and the weary feet
told the captain, shouted, for relief;
the men behind him followed, resolute,
their faces turned toward nabal, and on his roof.

they stood awaiting for the scouts’ return,
the hunger gnawing them, their hopes all burned
for the provisions due; and now, just then,
they saw at last the swift returning feet of men.

but why so swift? they learned too soon,
they brought with them no victuals, only doom:
nabal has laughed to scorn david’s demands,
this was more than the exiled heart could withstand.

the burning anger was stoked to fever-flame,
how dare that man insult this hero’s claim!
their rightful due as guardians of his flock,
now lay unheeded as they stood there, mocked.

the little army yelled triumphal ire,
when in that moment david’s heart’s desire
was bent to theirs — find vengeance for this wrong,
nabal has proved his life did not belong

among the living! thus, their swords upraised,
they ran towards the distant sheepskin gates,
with david leading, heart and eyes aflame,
he charged to consummate his venging claim.

but near the valley, meeting them along
the road to carmel, was redemption’s song:

a train of donkeys, laden overmuch
with meat, and bread, and fruit, and wine, and such

to thrice repay the debt nabal was due,
a rich-robed lady led the curious queue;
before the startled david, thus she spake,
“nabal’s tresspass upon my head i take”

“forgive therefore this maiden that thy hand
remain unsullied from the sin of man;
behold, here is the offering i bring,
accept it please, and oh, refrain thy sting!”

the eyes of david softened, and his heart
was calmed before the humble lady’s part;
“what is thy name?” he asked; she said, “my name
is abigail, and i am nabal’s claim.”

david retreated with his men, and thus
was saved from sinning with the eager lust
of anger in his heart; that path he chose
which led him there, he would have not opposed

the slaughter of nabal’s whole hearth and home,
if abigail had not so timely come
to meet him ere his army reached the walls
and there atoned for all of nabal’s faults.

the road to carmel is the road to grief,
the road oft taken by offended souls;
and long they walk it, holding in their heart
the grudge they can’t forget or won’t release.

but abigail is there, in humble pose;
would you deny her sacrifice for those
who wronged you so? this grievous road must reach
only two ends: you get that which you seek!

one leads to carmel, and to death and tears;
the other leads to that gethsemane,
to healing, faith, and joy, and peace so dear.
what wouldst thou have? the choice is up to thee.

 

sleepy

i never thought of such beauty
existing in that cusp
between waking and dreams,
as i sit in thought,
swaying in a horseless carriage,
taking me home,
i still remember the colors,
the sounds,
that haunting melody,
the scent of mountain air
still sharp as if i, too, was there,
and not merely
a listener to a tale
that i shall take with me,
unforgetting each scene,
i shall take these with me,
this listener to that tale,
not merely, not really,
for i was there, feeling the sharp
scent of mountain air,
the haunting melodies,
the sounds,
i still remember the colors,
as i am taken home,
swaying in this horseless carriage
sitting in thought
between waking and dreams,
i exist in that cusp
of beauty i have never thought of before….

———————-

18 july 2006
11:35 pm
coming home from watching “batad sa paang palay”,
in a jeepney with babes lorayna and camilla jean belleza

the bitterfly

he flies across the garden,
glossing over the blossoms
with a mindset that doesn’t allow him
to see the sun
or notice the colors of flowers,

once upon a time,
during his caterpillar days,
nobody saw him
as more than a worm,
and he believed them,
never trusting himself,
even after he had grown his wings.

he is the bitterfly,
sipping nectar, stealthily, to survive;
he shall never know inebriation,
believing always his unworthiness…
he had become the very thing
he never wanted to be.

the eldest

he watched in envy, this colorful approach
among the desert wind; the flocks were watering
and when his brethren saw his gaze,
they followed it, and frowns replaced smiles,
one even cursed and spat upon the sands.

“looks like it’s lunch, doesn’t it,” he said blandly,
remembering the stories of this approaching lad,
his brothers mumbled, and looking at them,
he saw the vitriolic faces twisted by the same recall,
murder was in those gazes, and his heart was troubled.

he gauged the distance, five minutes, more or less,
before the naive figure reached their place,
and he thought of a sport to play upon the lad,
both to appease these murderous hearts,
and save the life of this beloved boy.

“come near, my brothers, i have a plan,”
and nine swarthy brethren congregated;
he was their eldest, and he knew them well,
deftly he played upon their feelings, just enough to goad them,
and carefully enough to keep their blades sheathed.

the lad was laden with the burden given,
breads, and meat, and honey, and milk,
enough to satisfy the hunger of ten men,
the boy smiled at these brethren he admired,
respected, and emulated; the eldest nodded at the boy.

it happened all too suddenly; as they began to sit,
three of the fiery-tempered sprang and bound the lad,
stripping his coat, binding him with ropes,
and gagging his mouth to prevent his outcry,
the others joined the fray in eagerness

save for the eldest, who was thinking quickly now,
for unbidden, came the flying out of knives and threats,
seeing the paling face and fear-widened eyes
wrenched his heart, and masterfully he spoke,
“bring him down the dry well as agreed!”

he stood unspeaking after they have done so,
they ate in murmured silence, each one steeped
in discontent and fermenting hate; he watched them,
doing his best to find a path of peace, but turmoil
ate at his thoughts, so finally he stood

“i just remembered the last goats that we left
upon the other side of the hill; i shall go,
fetch them hither, and mind that none of you
do anything in my absence, i shall be back soon,
and we shall then decide what next to do.”

he took the coat with him, the favored cloth,
unremarkable, really, except for the pattern,
the carefully dyed colors that marked the lad
as the one their father favored over him,
ah, how difficult it is to understand for him!

but finally he did, and now, he must,
with all his powers protect the lad from harm;
as he was walking back, he had decided,
upon the best way to do it, saving the boy,
while giving time enough for hatred to cool.

a caravan of nubians were just disappearing
on the horizon as he returned, towing the goats,
and as he came he saw the gloating faces,
and his heart sank, fearing the worst;
“what happened,” he whispered, “where is he?”

“see, eldest brother, we were wise!”
said the shrewdest of them, brandishing a pouch
that sounded heavy with silver, “we sold him!
and now there shall be no blood upon our hands,
and there shall be money moreover for our pains!”

with pained heart he tried to search the distance,
for the direction of the nubians’ retreat,
“what have you done! what tale shall i then bring
to our aging father? i said do nothing until i returned,
so that in concert we could decide!”

“what, shall you propose to fetch him, then, oh eldest?”
another spoke; “behold, we have saved his life,
and at the same time gave back to you what thou deserved:
the birthright blessing of our thriving house!
listen, oh eldest brother, listen to our proposal!”

and so, that afternoon love was defeated
by fear and ambition, and an eldest’s dream;
later he repented, and his brethren with him,
but having done what they did, there was no turning back,
they knew not anymore where to find joseph, their brother.

another one for a long hackneyed topic

you know how it goes,
the way the world revolves,
i am simply the tongue
to the oldest name,
a versifier
for its newer clothes,
weaving inexpertly,
calling each tapestry a masterpiece,
but knowing otherwise,

but you know how it goes,
i am not alone,
in this quest for semblance of meaning,
i shall go on,
calling clouds names,
placing meanings where none exist,
in this oldest venture in the universe,

and someday,
i shall stumble upon the final vein
of gold,
and walk away with the prize
of a soul to match my own.