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Archive for the category “Poetry”

Three Thousand Steps from Baticulin

Every count takes a second.

Look at the vagrancy of vultures,

 ensconced in a dim and paltry ensemble

of cities and parks.

Lights are running over shadows.

A whiff of cold, acid air

Every second on a footstep,

aiming to reach the long queue of jeepneys,

drew fear for the rumbling  motorcycles,

and a man licentiously fair to wander round

an aching ankle.

A thousand steps more and,

more faces stepped on some thousand yards

closer, still, yet amorphous still,

of what now shall we call man for a man

a woman for a woman?

The essence gone on some wild liberating law

Gender’s no issue.

But the law took time resolving

and the morals took less evolving.

Photograph a menacing façade:

a contrast like poverty built upon gleaming skyscrapers

or say, a ramble, a car chase, a love story on corruption.

Five hundred steps more to Greenbelt.

Ah! Shades of green and a touch of good old opulence!

But these memories,

 lest be kept among

outfits of washed out style and glory,

are preserved, bounded, exhibited.

Three thousand steps and we end

to say ‘at long last we reached the destination:

comfort, art and exultation.

It no longer boast of a sound choice

so we pepper films and prints,

malls and streets,

trains and PUVs with as much words,

compositions, sceneries

and say,

‘nay, it is a beauty.’


Your Love is Better than Star Cinema’s Idea of Romance

Ilang ulit na kitang iniwan at pinagpalit

Pero ang mga sagot mo sa akin

dinaig pa ang pag-iibigan nina

Basya at Popoy

Paano ko ba pwedeng sukatin

ang Iyong walang hanggang pagtingin

Paulit-ulit, kung saan-saan ako naghanap

pati dagat ng kapariwaraan, sinuong ko.

Pero anong sinabi mo

“Return Oh faithless child.

I will heal your faithlessness.”

Aakuin mo pa pati ang kahihiyan ko

“The shame of your youth you shall forget,

For He who has become your husband is your Maker”

Bakit mo ako mahal?

Anong kaya kong ibigay na wala Ka?

Ang pag-ibig mo ni hindi ko kayang ma-i-pinta

o i-tala sa librong may hangganan ang mga pahina

bakit mas alam mo pa ang nilalaman ng puso ko

sino ako na pinag-uukulan mo ng panahon

Bakit hindi ka man lang gumawa ng eksena

tanungin mo ako sa iyong pagtatampo

“Paano naman ako?” Kunin mo ang para sayo!

Bantaan mo ako. Isigaw mo, agawin mo ang para sayo.

Binago mo ang laro ko.

Ang buhay na hinihingi ko sa iba

walang pag-aalinlangan mong inalay

Hawak-hawak mo ang puso ko

na laging nagdadalawang isip na sumuko

Ikaw na hindi scripted magmahal

kahit walang kamera, nagpaparamdam ng iyong tanging pagsinta

hindi ko na kailangan pang sabihing ‘sana ako na lang, ako na lang ulit’

Ikaw, ang Leading Man mapa-prime time, bad time, in time, sometime,

hanggang end credits o part 12 ng isang nakakasawang sequel.

Ito pala ang tunay na pag-ibig.




by Roger B Rueda

They dawdle like a soft black bench someone has cast off in the rice field.

Their tone of voice has ancient lilts and synchronisation.

They would not kiss you for a dialogue about the characterm the oblique,

echinated psyche.

Their longing grief is expressed by standing at a standtill.

Under their own steam is their skill.

\For them it is an earthly travail which, for the moment,

they stoop to continue spinning.

They traipse along outer reaches of the countryside continually,

from the moorings to ponds, and peacock on cards

wreathed in flowers considerately.

Their countenance gawk into the vague shadows.

They jiggle their heads like slothful mechanism,

mutely in favour of themselves.

When I’m Closer to My Thoughts

Here’s to the preponderance of thoughts over intelligence

These invariably long strings of thoughts

Nocturnal reflections on jeepneys and buses,

The preternatural occurrence of miracles,

and madness.

Slowly tripping, alighting from space to space

The letters summon a trial condemning the mere use of words

has the sentence been sentenced

punctuated to meet its prison and death?


Today, I have to go back to being a child. Being a kid.

I have to write these questions within me. What was it like?

What was life like when I see a product, a toy, a bar of chocolate?

When I read a tagline…

What was it like when I like something?

When I see it, did I even read it?

When I read it, did I even ponder about it?

What was it like when I understood it?

Was Maurice Sendak right

when he said childhood never did exist?

We all didn’t have one. That vague past didn’t at all create some magic

when I played princess and had that long, flowery blanket as my dandy frock.

When did wisdom begin?

In a tagline of a product? Of a candy stall?

When I was taught to share? To give?

Did I learn to share

while a kid felt envious over a stack of coloring books

-and realized in his old age- he had just then learned how to – covet?

And didn’t I just learn from the cold stare I gave – indifference?

If I had been an intelligent kid, I would have known what intelligence stands for.

So I have to get back with these latest discoveries, theories about the smarts.

‘Tis Gardner’s theory.

What was it like not knowing everyone

was born with something,

a talent, a skill, other than the mere task of existing?

How will I say it as a child? How will I write it as a child?

What about for a title, an advocacy title? “My Dumb Days are Over.”

And a tagline like: “Now You Know You’re Smart, Kick Some Ass?”

Or will I threw some tantrums because for 20 years,

some of us had learned to compete, rate from 1 to 10,

which one sucks the most, which dumbness, idiocy

the world has no use for?

How will I put it so it would sell?

The message is all about the smarts

and that they need not feel bad for not

excelling the way others excelled at class…

and that for the most part,

quitting school doesn’t seem like such a bad idea after all.

A Zero Intellect

I swear there’s just too much noise in my head.

I reviled it.  In return, it beguiles me.

How can a human brain worry about so many things,

think about so many things, all at once?

So many thoughts that couldn’t find their way

to grow into words, powerful, life-changing words.

I don’t get it. Why does an idea, big in its primordial state,

have to be so small and simple in order to be great?

Or why in the million years the human race has survived does an idea

have to resurrect change?

Something fair, middling becomes good.

Good suffices us not, becomes better, best, great.

After great, adjectives spawned, there’s awesome, brilliant,

fantastic, magnificent, fantabulous,

and it all somehow find its footing

to absurd, unnerving, ludicrous.

If it were contentment the sheath where spears rest

will we stay still, stay put and live?


Pagkagising habang ang wisyo’y lumilipad pa

yamot ang kalaswaang ninanamnam ng katawan.

Pinag-iisipang kasalanan ba o hindi ang paghanga

sa mga sinag na pumapaso sa mga hapo ng mga binti

at pagkayod ng mga bisig laban sa mga yupi ng sahig.

Ulit-uli’y mamimili. Mabubuhay ba o magkukubli.

Ang mga buno ng di pagsang-ayon sa mga plano

Bakit diyan dumapo ang init, ang libog, ang hapdi

Bakit doon kung saan ni anino ko’y di makalapag

ang aliw, ang sarap ni bahagya ay di nabawasan?

Nagbibilang. Ilang bituin? Ilang damit? Ilang letra

upang sa pagkalunod ay di mapabilang

sa madlang ordinaryo- arbitrayo – nasawi o nagtagumpay?

Di kaya’y sa pagbilang dapat nang tuldukan, sumuong

sa yungib ng pagkabulag?

tumuka na parang isang peskador

naghuhukay para may kainin, ma-itala, maisuot.

Sa pagbabadya ng panahon at sa walang hanggang pag-iisip

buhay ba’y maaaring pumirmi?

Ulit-uli’y magsisikap hawiin ang bukas

Kapalarang pilit isinaklob sa mumunting mga kamay.

Ito ang lupon ng dyos-dyosang pagkabuhay

naaalala, maaalala, at nag-aalala.

Who is Maria Clara?

Touch Me Not

by: Regine Cabato

She fancies herself a regular Maria Clara

who is the most popular girl in the school

with a lovely voice and an even lovelier face,

hair cascading down and around it like waves.

If perfection had a personification, she would be it.

Prom Queen. Theater Guild. Choir’s leading voice.

But it stands to be debated (perhaps the Student Council

and Parliament could be of service here) as to

whether or not her man is lucky to have her –

or if she is lucky to have her man.

What is he so busy with anyway?

Why does he not hold her or kiss her on the top

of her head or throw pebbles at her window or

text her ‘Good morning!’ anymore?

He fancies himself a regular Crisostomo Ibarra

the best male role model,

the one every boy wants to be.

President of the Council, Grade-A student,

school paper correspondent, jock. maybe it’s all gotten

into his head so much so that he neglects his sweetheart.

Obviously he does not see her dying inside.

Obviously he does not notice there are also

many other eligible men for her; even worse,

there are many other secret admirers

(stalkers, if not as good-looking) who hide behind

doors and walls and cubicles, always watching,

ever so keenly, waiting for the right moment of breakdown –

the perfect opportunity.

Obviously he does not realize that the demands of the youth are many

and one of them is flesh.

Woe Betide Love (Or is it the other way around?)

An impoverished poet, indebted to his boorish and obnoxious friend, John Keats (Ben Wishaw) had taken the pall of life and perhaps, death, too, as it had first taken the life of his sick brother. With nothing to live for, nothing to live by but his passion for his writings, Mr Keats embraced the remaining years of his life musing in silence under his tattered coat. Until a seamstress, whom he fondly called ‘mixstress’ breathed air into his sullen days, Mr Keats found love, the muse of his inspiration, in Ms Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish).

How else can I describe their darkling passion for each other but through the beauty and life of one great creation, such as poetry. “Poetry soothes and emboldens the soul to accept mystery,” just as their love was a refuge where they can find understanding, comfort, and acceptance. “If poetry does not come as naturally as leaves to a tree then it had better not come at all.” What do they need out of love but the truth, honesty, and a bond strong enough to fight conformity. “Poetic craft is a carcass, a sham.” Was there ever a strategy, a concoction of spells, mathematical and scientific formula to love, to feel its greatness and depth? to learn about its pain? about its gain and losses? Their love story was the essence of a poem.

The film upholds so much value about love. The colors when the characters were devoid and filled with love, the score that gave it a sweet, lonely departure, the supporting characters that made loneliness lonelier despite of their presence, and the utterance of words from a poet and a seamstress — two people who were totally different, with statures in life that cast them unmatched for one another — I must say, there lived a poetry, a love that betide nothingness and everything else.


Six Hundred Thousand Meanings of a Love Song

The artistic world has its own slate of writers and poets that had indeed romanticized love. Their individuality merged with our present idea of what love truly is. On an abridged format, a line, or one erotic word, we have unconsciously tatted umpteenth embellishments on the nature of lust and love or the folly after the consummation of unrequited love and of course, the rapture in our soul once we contain love on our own bottle of dreams and expectations.

With regard to matters of the heart, the world, time — the mere passing of age — are nothing. We want to acquire, to possess what is that “more” in loving and living the same way we manipulate machines or a video game character. We crave to be the subject of love’s sacrifice, joy, tragedy, and triumph. We want our heart’s demands to be put in an equation for everlasting sustenance, inspiration, companionship, truthfulness, loyalty, and affection. We yearn for the unconditional, for an extraordinary love from an ordinary person; thus, the invalidity of our own formula.

These songs often fall on the category of inane religious sensibilities and practices. If it were, then loving must be a boring religion too. The songs were written by an imperfect king whose heart was just as vulnerable (sometimes, conceited, gullible) as ours. It is for us to do a bit more researching to grasp even just the one out of its six hundred thousand meanings 🙂



Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
for your love is more delightful than wine.
Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
your name is like perfume poured out.
No wonder the young women love you!
Take me away with you—let us hurry!
Let the king bring me into his chambers.


We rejoice and delight in you;
we will praise your love more than wine.


How right they are to adore you!

Dark am I, yet lovely,
daughters of Jerusalem,
dark like the tents of Kedar,
like the tent curtains of Solomon.
Do not stare at me because I am dark,
because I am darkened by the sun.
My mother’s sons were angry with me
and made me take care of the vineyards;
my own vineyard I had to neglect.
Tell me, you whom I love,
where you graze your flock
and where you rest your sheep at midday.
Why should I be like a veiled woman
beside the flocks of your friends?


If you do not know, most beautiful of women,
follow the tracks of the sheep
and graze your young goats
by the tents of the shepherds.


I liken you, my darling, to a mare
among Pharaoh’s chariot horses.
Your cheeks are beautiful with earrings,
your neck with strings of jewels.
We will make you earrings of gold,
studded with silver.


While the king was at his table,
my perfume spread its fragrance.
My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh
resting between my breasts.
My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms
from the vineyards of En Gedi.


How beautiful you are, my darling!
Oh, how beautiful!
Your eyes are doves.


How handsome you are, my beloved!
Oh, how charming!
And our bed is verdant.


The beams of our house are cedars;
our rafters are firs.



I am a rose of Sharon,
a lily of the valleys.


Like a lily among thorns
is my darling among the young women.


Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest
is my beloved among the young men.
I delight to sit in his shade,
and his fruit is sweet to my taste.
Let him lead me to the banquet hall,
and let his banner over me be love.
Strengthen me with raisins,
refresh me with apples,
for I am faint with love.
His left arm is under my head,
and his right arm embraces me.

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
Do not arouse or awaken love
until it so desires.

Listen! My beloved!
Look! Here he comes,
leaping across the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
Look! There he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattice.
My beloved spoke and said to me,
“Arise, my darling,
my beautiful one, come with me.
See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
is heard in our land.
The fig tree forms its early fruit;
the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
my beautiful one, come with me.”


My dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the hiding places on the mountainside,
show me your face,
let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely.
Catch for us the foxes,
the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards,
our vineyards that are in bloom.


My beloved is mine and I am his;
he browses among the lilies.
Until the day breaks
and the shadows flee,
turn, my beloved,
and be like a gazelle
or like a young stag
on the rugged hills.


All night long on my bed
I looked for the one my heart loves;
I looked for him but did not find him.
I will get up now and go about the city,
through its streets and squares;
I will search for the one my heart loves.
So I looked for him but did not find him.
The watchmen found me
as they made their rounds in the city.
“Have you seen the one my heart loves?”
Scarcely had I passed them
when I found the one my heart loves.
I held him and would not let him go
till I had brought him to my mother’s house,
to the room of the one who conceived me.
Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
Do not arouse or awaken love
until it so desires.

Who is this coming up from the wilderness
like a column of smoke,
perfumed with myrrh and incense
made from all the spices of the merchant?
Look! It is Solomon’s carriage,
escorted by sixty warriors,
the noblest of Israel,
all of them wearing the sword,
all experienced in battle,
each with his sword at his side,
prepared for the terrors of the night.
King Solomon made for himself the carriage;
he made it of wood from Lebanon.
Its posts he made of silver,
its base of gold.
Its seat was upholstered with purple,
its interior inlaid with love.
Daughters of Jerusalem, come out,
and look, you daughters of Zion.
Look on King Solomon wearing a crown,
the crown with which his mother crowned him
on the day of his wedding,
the day his heart rejoiced.



How beautiful you are, my darling!
Oh, how beautiful!
Your eyes behind your veil are doves.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
descending from the hills of Gilead.
Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn,
coming up from the washing.
Each has its twin;
not one of them is alone.
Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon;
your mouth is lovely.
Your temples behind your veil
are like the halves of a pomegranate.
Your neck is like the tower of David,
built with courses of stone;
on it hang a thousand shields,
all of them shields of warriors.
Your breasts are like two fawns,
like twin fawns of a gazelle
that browse among the lilies.
Until the day breaks
and the shadows flee,
I will go to the mountain of myrrh
and to the hill of incense.
You are altogether beautiful, my darling;
there is no flaw in you.Come with me from Lebanon, my bride,
come with me from Lebanon.
Descend from the crest of Amana,
from the top of Senir, the summit of Hermon,
from the lions’ dens
and the mountain haunts of leopards.
You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride;
you have stolen my heart
with one glance of your eyes,
with one jewel of your necklace.
How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride!
How much more pleasing is your love than wine,
and the fragrance of your perfume
more than any spice!
Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride;
milk and honey are under your tongue.
The fragrance of your garments
is like the fragrance of Lebanon.You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride;
you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain.
Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates
with choice fruits,
with henna and nard,
nard and saffron,
calamus and cinnamon,
with every kind of incense tree,
with myrrh and aloes
and all the finest spices.
You are a garden fountain,
a well of flowing water
streaming down from Lebanon.


Awake, north wind,
and come, south wind!
Blow on my garden,
that its fragrance may spread everywhere.
Let my beloved come into his garden
and taste its choice fruits.



I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride;
I have gathered my myrrh with my spice.
I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey;
I have drunk my wine and my milk.


Eat, friends, and drink;
drink your fill of love.


I slept but my heart was awake.
Listen! My beloved is knocking:
“Open to me, my sister, my darling,
my dove, my flawless one.
My head is drenched with dew,
my hair with the dampness of the night.”
I have taken off my robe—
must I put it on again?
I have washed my feet—
must I soil them again?
My beloved thrust his hand through the latch-opening;
my heart began to pound for him.
I arose to open for my beloved,
and my hands dripped with myrrh,
my fingers with flowing myrrh,
on the handles of the bolt.
I opened for my beloved,
but my beloved had left; he was gone.
My heart sank at his departure.
I looked for him but did not find him.
I called him but he did not answer.
The watchmen found me
as they made their rounds in the city.
They beat me, they bruised me;
they took away my cloak,
those watchmen of the walls!
Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you—
if you find my beloved,
what will you tell him?
Tell him I am faint with love.


How is your beloved better than others,
most beautiful of women?
How is your beloved better than others,
that you so charge us?


My beloved is radiant and ruddy,
outstanding among ten thousand.
His head is purest gold;
his hair is wavy
and black as a raven.
His eyes are like doves
by the water streams,
washed in milk,
mounted like jewels.
His cheeks are like beds of spice
yielding perfume.
His lips are like lilies
dripping with myrrh.
His arms are rods of gold
set with topaz.
His body is like polished ivory
decorated with lapis lazuli.
His legs are pillars of marble
set on bases of pure gold.
His appearance is like Lebanon,
choice as its cedars.
His mouth is sweetness itself;
he is altogether lovely.
This is my beloved, this is my friend,
daughters of Jerusalem.



Where has your beloved gone,
most beautiful of women?
Which way did your beloved turn,
that we may look for him with you?


My beloved has gone down to his garden,
to the beds of spices,
to browse in the gardens
and to gather lilies.
I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine;
he browses among the lilies.


You are as beautiful as Tirzah, my darling,
as lovely as Jerusalem,
as majestic as troops with banners.
Turn your eyes from me;
they overwhelm me.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
descending from Gilead.
Your teeth are like a flock of sheep
coming up from the washing.
Each has its twin,
not one of them is missing.
Your temples behind your veil
are like the halves of a pomegranate.
Sixty queens there may be,
and eighty concubines,
and virgins beyond number;
but my dove, my perfect one, is unique,
the only daughter of her mother,
the favorite of the one who bore her.
The young women saw her and called her blessed;
the queens and concubines praised her.


Who is this that appears like the dawn,
fair as the moon, bright as the sun,
majestic as the stars in procession?


I went down to the grove of nut trees
to look at the new growth in the valley,
to see if the vines had budded
or the pomegranates were in bloom.
Before I realized it,
my desire set me among the royal chariots of my people.


Come back, come back, O Shulammite;
come back, come back, that we may gaze on you!


Why would you gaze on the Shulammite
as on the dance of Mahanaim?



How beautiful your sandaled feet,
O prince’s daughter!
Your graceful legs are like jewels,
the work of an artist’s hands.
Your navel is a rounded goblet
that never lacks blended wine.
Your waist is a mound of wheat
encircled by lilies.
Your breasts are like two fawns,
like twin fawns of a gazelle.
Your neck is like an ivory tower.
Your eyes are the pools of Heshbon
by the gate of Bath Rabbim.
Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon
looking toward Damascus.
Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel.
Your hair is like royal tapestry;
the king is held captive by its tresses.
How beautiful you are and how pleasing,
my love, with your delights!
Your stature is like that of the palm,
and your breasts like clusters of fruit.
I said, “I will climb the palm tree;
I will take hold of its fruit.”
May your breasts be like clusters of grapes on the vine,
the fragrance of your breath like apples,
and your mouth like the best wine.


May the wine go straight to my beloved,
flowing gently over lips and teeth.
I belong to my beloved,
and his desire is for me.
Come, my beloved, let us go to the countryside,
let us spend the night in the villages.
Let us go early to the vineyards
to see if the vines have budded,
if their blossoms have opened,
and if the pomegranates are in bloom—
there I will give you my love.
The mandrakes send out their fragrance,
and at our door is every delicacy,
both new and old,
that I have stored up for you, my beloved.


If only you were to me like a brother,who was nursed at my mother’s breasts!
Then, if I found you outside,
I would kiss you,
and no one would despise me.
I would lead you
and bring you to my mother’s house—
she who has taught me.
I would give you spiced wine to drink,
the nectar of my pomegranates.
His left arm is under my head
and his right arm embraces me.
Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you:
Do not arouse or awaken love
until it so desires.


Who is this coming up from the wilderness
leaning on her beloved?


Under the apple tree I roused you;
there your mother conceived you,
there she who was in labor gave you birth.
Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to give
all the wealth of one’s house for love,
it would be utterly scorned.


We have a little sister,
and her breasts are not yet grown.
What shall we do for our sister
on the day she is spoken for?
If she is a wall,
we will build towers of silver on her.
If she is a door,
we will enclose her with panels of cedar.


I am a wall,
and my breasts are like towers.
Thus I have become in his eyes
like one bringing contentment.
Solomon had a vineyard in Baal Hamon;
he let out his vineyard to tenants.
Each was to bring for its fruit
a thousand shekels of silver.
But my own vineyard is mine to give;
the thousand shekels are for you, Solomon,
and two hundred are for those who tend its fruit.


You who dwell in the gardens
with friends in attendance,
let me hear your voice!


Come away, my beloved,
and be like a gazelle
or like a young stag
on the spice-laden mountains.

–From Songs of Solomon Chapters 1 to 8

Every word of sacred Scripture has seventy faces and six hundred thousand meanings (Mark Batterson, Primal)”

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